Flattering Parade Magazine Spread on Hillary Clinton Let’s a Few Tidbits Drop About Her Situation

~~By InsightAnalytical-GRL

Yesterday morning (Sunday, October 25) I opened the paper to find Parade magazine’s cover graced with a photo of a smiling Hillary Clinton. Reason? A 2-plus page spread entitled “A Day with Madam Secretary.”

Hillary Clinton on the cover of Parade magazine 10/25/09

Hillary Clinton on the cover of Parade magazine 10/25/09

The timing piqued my interest because just on Friday I had caught a discussion of Clinton on The McLaughlin Group.  Host John McLaughlin had outlined several successful Clinton initiatives that had been completed during the past week and wanted to discuss how important it all was…with a twist.  There have been rumors flying around about how Hillary is planning a 2012 run and how both Clintons are seething over what happened in 2008. While Pat Buchanan, Mort Zuckerman, and Eleanor Clift poo-pooed the idea, Monica Crowley held firm.

Zuckerman and Buchanan basically said that Hillary’s work wasn’t really “big” enough to get all that excited over and Clift brought up how, no matter how popular Teddy Kennedy was, he couldn’t derail the renomination of Jimmy Carter.  But Crowley, was sticking to chatter that she’s been hearing for awhile…that Hillary will resign over a foreign policy issue and launch another Presidential bid.  She won’t wait for 2016, either, when Crowley says she would be too old. No, the bid will come in 2012.

Take a look at the Parade piece. The piece is the work of Les Gelb, described this way:

Leslie H. Gelb is president emeritus of the Council on Foreign Relations and has served in senior positions in the Departments of State and Defense. He is the author of the book “Power Rules: How Common Sense Can Rescue American Foreign Policy.”

What’s omitted from this bio is the fact was a long-time foreign policy writer for the New York Times. Just for the record…

The article is positively glowing, but there a few tidbits which raise one’s “suspicions”…


September 16
8:30 a.m. Daily Small Staff Meeting

The Secretary and six of her closest aides, including Chief of Staff Cheryl Mills and Deputy Chief Huma Abedin, both of whom worked on her Presidential campaign, review the day’s schedule, looking for trouble and opportunities. They meet in Clinton’s small, personal office just behind her larger, formal quarters. Practically every day begins this way. They touch on various explosive international hot spots: Pakistan, Afghanistan, Iran, Iraq, Israel, North Korea. Though they don’t talk about it, they seem ever aware of President Barack Obama’s iron-handed control of decisions. One worry today: the President’s decision to cancel the U.S. missile shield in Eastern Europe—a move bound to displease Poles, Czechs, and Republicans.

8:45 a.m. Daily Senior Staff Meeting

snip

Whatever subject comes up, Clinton calls on her practical instinct: “ We’ve got to do a better job explaining to people around the world what we’re doing.”

She manages to get to the White House to meet with Obama and Prime Minister Stephen Harper of Canada at 11:05; no report on the meeting which is off-limits to Gelb, then is back at State by 12:10 PM for ceremony for Senegalese diplomats.

During their lunch break, Gelb brings up the topic of a resignation directly:

1 p.m. Lunch With Leslie Gelb
We eat in the courtyard adjoining the State Department’s first-floor employee cafeteria. Diners gape as Clinton goes through the line, although she does this—most unusually for the nation’s top diplomat—nearly once a month. Many burst into applause.

We sit at a table away from the crowd. Clinton has a hard edge to her foreign-policy views and generally positions herself to the right of her colleagues in national security. Yet she staunchly defends President Obama and his prerogatives. While she’s “not satisfied that we’re executing as we should” in Afghanistan, Pakistan, and elsewhere, she nonetheless argues for continuing “present directions” in most areas. When I question whether the U.S. really has vital interests in Afghanistan, she shoots back that if we simply leave and allow the Taliban to return, al-Qaeda “would come right back, and we’d be worse off in Pakistan.” She continues: “Despite how hard Afghanistan is, we have to make progress. And what we do and what happens in Afghanistan will affect Pakistan.” Regarding Iran, she says, “We can’t choose negotiating partners in countries like Iran. So we’ve got to look for ways to change the perceptions of those we have to negotiate with.”

And what of the rumors, I venture, that she’s unhappy and may step down to run for governor of New York or her old Senate seat? She guffaws. “What nonsense! I love this job and working for President Obama and trying to do something about the critical problems we face in the world—and that’s what I’m going to do.”

Odd though, that Gelb should ostensibly limit the discussion to being governor of NY or running for the Senate again.  Why even bring these rumors up if they’re just rumors that most people don’t even care about?

Right after lunch, there’s this brief report:

2:15 p.m. U.S.-India Strategy Dialogue
Some 60 Executive Branch officials assemble to discuss strategy toward India—one of the new major powers in the world. Clinton stays briefly to bless the effort.

Seems like there’s really no need for Clinton to “bless” any effort when there are 60 EXECUTIVE BRANCH officials all gathered together, right?  Doesn’t Hillary have a role in this at all?

Winding up the day with a 7:30 PM policy dinner on Iran with some 30 experts from inside and outside the government, Gelb makes these final comments:

I scurry to catch the last flight back to New York. The Secretary, with her unfailing smile, repairs to her office for more calls and reading. It’s hard to read the mind of someone frozen in the public spotlight like Hillary Clinton. She has to be perpetually onstage. But what I think I glimpse beneath the unflagging smile and constant concentration is a very tired person—tense, frustrated, but absolutely determined to make her tenure as Secretary of State a success and to accomplish important things.

While this spread in Parade is flattering, one gets the sense of  how tightly Hillary is controlled by the White House and how she may be getting squelched on larger issues.

Frankly, I view Hillary Clinton as being the “finger in the dike” for U.S. foreign policy at this point.  Obama’s bowed to the Saudi leader. He’s squandered our prestige over a failed Olympic bid for Chicago, and he’s dithering on Afghanistan. (Note: France announced on October 15, 2009 it won’t be sending any more troops to Afghanistan). China may be drilling for oil in U.S. waters.  And let’s not forget to mention Obama’s prior rebuffed peace offerings toward Iran.   Hillary talks tougher than Obama does, but, unfortunately, she’s not the one in charge.

Meanwhile, some of our allies are less than pleased about Obama. France’s Nicolas Sarkozy, for example, thinks Obama is “incredibly naive and grossly egotistical.”  After Obama’s speech to the U.N. Security Council in late September (spun nicely here by the New York Times), Jack Kelly appeared on Greta Van Susteren’s show, but here’s link to the full piece he wrote on the subject entitled “Sarkozy’s Contempt for Obama”  (anonymous sources, unfortunately).

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While most world leaders dutifully praised the Nobel Prize awarded to Obama, the many were unimpressed. And there is some fraying around the edges lately, from both the right and the left. See and Obama the Impotent in the Guardian and Analysis: Why Everyone Is Saying No to Obama in the Jerusalem Post.  Obama is viewed as weak, no doubt about it.

I can’t imagine how Hillary Clinton keeps chugging along in this Administration and can fully understand her “frustration.” As for her desire to accomplish important things, she’s pushing against some forces that really don’t want her to get credit for anything “important.”  Heck, when you are up against 60 Executive Branch officials at a meeting on India and you don’t stay very long, what does that say about your position??

Whether Hillary Clinton is planning to take on Obama in the primaries for 2012 or not, there may just come a point where she really DOES decide to resign rather than to have her reputation ruined if Obama does something really stupid.  We’ll have to see, won’t we?

***

Earlier Related Posts:

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) (August 10, 2009)

Hillary Clinton At It Again in Africa…This Time, Talking about Elections…(August 13, 2009)

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.

more

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…


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…

As China (And Other Countries, Too) Makes Non-dollar Trade Deals Around the World, Maybe Americans Should Seek Safety in the Reincarnation Bank

~~By InsightAnalytical-GRL

Over at Investment Watch, a fine blog about the economy, this recent piece summarizes very nicely the forces working against the value of the U.S. dollar, notably the recent actions by China and other countries. The list of countries doing non-dollar deals is growing.

China is making non-dollar trade deals around the world. Other nations too..

Argentina and Brazil have reached a non-dollar deal and 4 other S.A. nations will join in non-dollar trade.

China has reached a non-dollar deal with both of those nations, 4 or 5 other nations and is working on one with Malaysia. Other Asian nations are reaching their own non-dollar trade deals.

All of this reduces the number of dollars they need to get rid of. They are also buying with dollars, copper, iron, oil mines, lending dollars to help nations develop new resource finds on the condition that China gets the resource at market prices.

At the same time, IMF bonds are being bought instead of U.S. bonds.  China, Russia, Brazil and India are involved:

China, Russia, Brazil, and India are buying IMF bonds instead of U.S. bonds in small quantities with China making the largest purchase of about 50 billion but, that is still $50 billion they can’t lend us then.

Meanwhile, the United Arab Emirates is contemplating a new oil currency.

The author comments that:

The biggest problem China has is that there isn’t enough money in the world to lend the U.S for what it wants to spend. That means the dollar will go down whether China wants it to or not and they know it. That is why they are trying to spend as much as they can without dropping the dollar faster.

Also, recall that Iran has already given up the dollar for its oil deals. Iran’s international news network, PressTV, reported in December 2007 that Iran had dropped the dollar:

Iran has halted all its oil deals in dollars following the recent OPEC proposal to trade crude in non-dollar currencies.

“The dollar is no longer a reliable currency, considering its devaluation and the resulting loss suffered by oil exporters,” said Iranian Oil Minister Gholam-Hossein Nozari.

The post at Investment Watch goes on to discuss the the ramifications of devaluation and possible collapse of the dollar.

So, what’s the average American supposed to do?

Well, since the current financial system is a mess, maybe we should look to the future. Ever hear of the ReincarnationBank?

According to the bank’s website, ReincarnationBank offers “a safe and secure management system for its clients – a place they can leave behind their assets and commodities for their return into the next life.”

How will they know it’s YOU when you come back and want your money?

As in this life, in the next you will have memories of previous lives. One of these recollections will be of your arrangement with Reincarnation Bank. Whatever version of the internet or data retrieval mechanisms in use at the time of your return, you will renew your contact with Reincarnation Bank and through regression you will recall the details/instructions that you left at the time of making your deposit. A custodian of Reincarnation Bank will open your letter privately in your presence and will ask you to repeat the details contained therein (whilst in regression). Once this has been satisfactorily achieved, funds/property will be handed back to you and the account closed.

Of course, in some ways the bank is similar to banks operating in the present:

An indication of interest rates cannot be given at this stage because we cannot forecast how long we will be away. But $1000 or $10,000 invested now will have an added value upon our return.

MMM…

Heck,I have enough trouble remembering my PIN now…I don’t know if I’ll remember it if I’ve been spending some time as a gerbil…

What if my memory fails me during regression and I forget my former name?? I lose all my cash?

Well, with the way the present-day financial system is operating, maybe I should take a closer look anyway…and learn some tricks to improve my memory!

***

RELATED POSTS

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

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

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??)

Bill Richardson at Commerce: Scary

~~By InsightAnalytical-GRL

With the hoopla about Hillary Clinton as the nominee for Secretary of State, the nomination of Bill Richardson at Commerce seems anti-climactic to many.  I decided to check out what the Department of Commerce really encompasses and was in for a real education. The various tentacles that reach out from Commerce are something to behold…and, I think, will provide Richardson with a whole lot of ways to make mischief.

As a New Mexico resident, I have to admit that I can’t stand this duplicitous jerk.  Much of my disgust involves his push for the spaceport project and the way he foisted it off on the public. Tops on my list is the way he barred citizens from attending his sales job at a meeting for parents and kids at a public school.  Police were called to assist in shoving away people from the general pubic who wanted to get in to hear what the deal was (See “Rules” article below.)

Of course, there’s all the water he carried for Obama here in NM after stabbing Hillary Clinton in the back (the “Judas” incident as described by James Carville).  Ultimately, Richardson ticked off a lot of Democratic legislators in Santa Fe with his machinations. [See Let Me Tell You About Bill Richardson and “RICHARDSON’S RULES”… AND Bill Richardson’s Star is Falling with a BIG THUD (Not on VP Shortlist, State Legislators FED UP with Him)].

And then there’s the maneuvering he did on behalf of Harry Teague, newly elected to the House from CD-2. For all the ties between Richardson, Teague, and Republican Steve Pearce, see  “Harry T. and the Chamber of Secrets” co-starring Oil and Republicans–Screenplay by Bill Richardson [Subtitle: The Behind-the-Scenes Adventures of Bill R., Harry Teague and the NM CD-02 Democratic Primary].

And then there’s Richardson’s ties to an “ACORN”-like group (Part II: NM AG, “Gutsy Gary” King, Fighting for Transparency re: Non-Profits Like the League of Young Voters and ACORN).

Now, take a peek the Department of Commerce website.

Look at the list of areas on the left and click through and see what each encompasses. Richardson’s new fiefdom deals with everything from telecommunications to Iraq reconstruction to minority business, industry and security, and economic analysis, just to touch the surface.

Putting Richardson in charge of this department gives him a playground that might not have the high public profile of Clinton at State…but, in my opinion, there’s a heck of a lot of ways that Richardson may prove to be more powerful…and more quietly and under the radar…than Hillary Clinton will be in the long run.

***

Here’s one of my pieces on Richardson’s role in the Obama visit here on Memorial Day this past May, which also includes a discussion of a foreign policy faux pas by Richardson. (Search the site for several more part in the series I did on the visit.)

Obama to Visit Site of Bataan Memorial Death March on Memorial Day…To Repair Dumb Comment Damage? (Or…To Straighten Out Foreign Policy Mix-up with Bill Richardson?)

Richardson may not have gotten State, but he’s bounced back just fine by grabbing Commerce.

Flashback to January 2008–The “Not Invested” Weasel Obama on the 60’s (and More)

Yesterday over at No Quarter, a post referred to Barack Obama as “the front man for radicals.”  With the Ayers’ connection now part of the McCain ad roster, my memory brought me back to Obama’s interview with the Reno Gazette-Journal in Nevada around the time of the primary.

At the time, the Washington Post published a story on January 17 which focused on Obama’s comments about the legacy of Ronald Reagan (Obama’s Reagan Comparison Sparks Debate).

By some fluke, the video is still available.

Now Playing

Afternoon with Barack Obama

Video by James Ball

Presidential candidate Barack Obama took time between campaign stops Monday to drop by the Reno Gazette-Journal’s office. In an hour-long chat, he discussed issues like potential running mates, the war in Iraq, Nevada’s mortgage crisis and the back-and-forth with Hillary Clinton’s campaign over race remarks.

The section which has never left my mind and which is interesting now that Ayers is on the national radar starts at Minute 20:49 and ends at about Minute 22:00. Here’s a transcript of the relevant part of the video:

There’s maybe a generational element to this partly, in the sense that I didn’t come of age in the battles of the ’60’s; I’m not as invested in them. And, so I think I talk differently about issues, and I think I talk differently about values, and that’s why, I think, we’ve been resonating with the American people. What I’m saying is that, I think, the average baby boomer has moved beyond a lot of the arguments of the 60’s but our politicians haven’t. We’re still having the same arguments. You know, it’s all around culture wars, even when you discuss war, the frame of reference is all Vietnam. Well, that’s not my frame of reference…my frame of reference is “what works?”  Even when I first opposed the war in Iraq, my first line was that was I don’t oppose all wars. Specifcally to make clear that this is not just a anti-military, you, know, 70’s, love-in kind of approach…

Ironic, isn’t it? That Obama’s friend Ayers himself hasn’t moved “beyond the 60’s” and yet Obama criticizes politicians for still arguing as if they’re still in the 60’s?

But the media doesn’t catch ANY of this…

There are a couple of other parts of the interview that also relate to the current hot topics in the presidential race at the moment–racism and the mortgage problem.

Listen to the slimy S.O.B wiggle around the Martin Luther King/LBJ controversy he laid on Hillary Clinton, as he laughs about how he ‘never made a statement about it” and then launches into his desire for a “tone” that is focused on the American people.  You’ll also love the part where he opines about the “danger of being dragged into the muck” and his ideas about “correcting” the record (Minute 22:28 to 25:49)

As for the mortgage problems, listen to how he cites the lack of oversight by the agencies in charge, the Fed, the Comptroller of the Currency, and a “lack of political will” as the chief culprits in the then-brewing mess…but leaves out any mention of the lack of Congressional oversight by the Democrats in charge, of course…(Minute 2:40-3:20 and 20:50 forward).

Oh, and in case you’re interested…the subject of talking directly to Iran comes in at Minute 34:49.

There are so many more moments of policy assumptions, arrogant statements, facial expressions (gee, he purses his lips just like George Bush!) and other nails-scratching-a-blackboard moments that the entire 49 minute interview could make the viewer scream from frustration–to name a few, his talk about accountability, his belief that he’s a “fiscal conservative,” his management style, making government “cool,” etc.

By the way, the Las Vegas Gazette-Journal was charmed by his presence…they endorsed Obama in the Nevada primary.

***

NOTES

*No “preacher-street thug” voice in this interview, only serious, “elite” Obama here…

*Previous post on Ayers,I Found This Tidbit When I Wasn’t Watching the Debate….RE: Ayers/Obama Early Relationship

*Commenter “thetowncrier” posted some interesting links specifically on Tom Brokaw’s handling of Ayers here...

The Past Week: Recaps & Random Thoughts, September 28-October 4 (Treasury “Bill”; Sec. of Defense Robert Gates & Obama?; Sir Nigel Analyzes; Pimiento Power)

New U.S. Treasury Bill

*****

You know, I hardly watch TV, but I’ve caught a glimpse at that ad with Obama talking to the camera…the first thing out of his mouth is about “Change,” “so people don’t get ripped off” …when I think of the crap the Democratic Party and their “leader” Obama tried to push through with a huge chunk of the bailout money supposed to be funneled to ACORN…it makes me want to throw something at the TV, right at his grinning mug.  And what’s up with the “HOPE for Homeowners: section of the plan, where they’ve changed a few punctuation marks from the National Housing Act that was passed on July 30th?  Anytime I see the word “HOPE” in caps these days, I really have to wonder what really is going on??? Are we really rid of largesse to ACORN or similar groups? (For a brief rundown on the bailout, see Texas Hill Country’s post.)

***

Joe Biden stood in for Obama in the swimsuit contest debate this week with Sarah Palin…and Sarah took home the title!  But then again, she has has spent her entire adult life in beauty pageants…Snark…

***

Buried in the pre-debate hype, another example of Obama’s plans to bring “Change” to Washington …Is Secretary of Defense Robert Gates a possible holdover?  According to this USA Today story, this may be the case:

Obama adviser suggests Gates as possible holdover

WASHINGTON (AP) — A senior adviser to Sen. Barack Obama said Thursday that the Democrat might see Defense Secretary Robert Gates as a candidate to remain at the Pentagon if Obama wins the White House.

Without explicitly endorsing Gates for the job or predicting Obama’s selection, Richard Danzig told reporters that Gates has exhibited leadership qualities that an Obama administration would value.

Danzig, who served as Navy secretary in the Clinton administration and is a senior national security adviser to the Obama campaign, cited Gates’ pragmatic approach and his advocacy for closing the Guantanamo Bay prison for terror suspects. He said Gates has been a good defense secretary.

Gosh, I don’t think I’ll be able to stand the pace of all that change, can you?

***

So, now we see what the British ambassador to the U.S., Sir Nigel Sheinwald, thinks about Obama.  Among his thoughts–that Obama “was finding his feet, and then got diverted by his presidential ambitions.”  Seems that Obama has found is feet in the meantime and is stomping all over anyone in his path.

The Ambassador, writing in a letter to PM Gordon Brown just before Obama’s visit to Britain in late July, adds:

Mr Obama “can seem to sit on the fence, assiduously balancing pros and cons”, Sir Nigel wrote, and “does betray a highly educated and upper middle class mindset”. Charges of elitism “are not entirely unfair” and he is “maybe aloof, insensitive” at times.

“He can talk too dispassionately for a national campaign about issues which touch people personally, eg his notorious San Francisco comments [in April] about small-town Pennsylvanians ‘clinging’ to guns and religion.”

Spot on, I’d say. On foreign policy, Sir Nigel says an Obama policy on Iraq would “gel” with Britains’ views but:

Sir Nigel detects a potential clash between Downing Street and an Obama administration over Iran.

“If Obama wins, we will need to consider with him the articulation between (a) his desire for ‘unconditional’ dialogue with Iran and (b) our and the [United Nations Security Council]’s requirement of prior suspension of enrichment before the nuclear negotiations proper can begin.

Yeah, I guess there will be a lot to “consider”…

And what happened when Obama actually met Gordon Brown?  According to the British press, Obama looked “shaken” after the meeting…see British Commentators: The Chosen One Looked “Shattered” After Meeting Brown….and Did Cameron/Obama Discuss “Conservative Means” to Achieve “Progressive Goals”? for more details.

***

On to more pleasant pastimes…this week in the garden.  I finally pulled out all my pepper plants, including the wonderful pimiento, which had many huge, ripe peppers still on it.  All the peppers went into the freezer, joining the lima beans and green chile!  Next year I will plant pimientos in place of the usual sweet green peppers because here in Southern NM, green bell peppers don’t seem to do well in my garden.  Their shape seems to discourage rotting from any water left on their surface, since they are are heart-shaped and lack the “shoulders” of other varieties; water doesn’t seem to stay very long on their surface.

The wildlife have really taken a hit since the city plowed under most of the trees and shurbs in the arroyo for flood control purposes.  The bird population is noticeably down…far fewer are visiting my feeders.  Only a few hummingbirds are still around, and they’ll be leaving soon. Meanwhile, I had an other toad rescue…I don’t know if it was the same little guy I had rescued several times a couple of months ago…if it is, he’s now a BIG guy and I”m surprised to see him still active.  Anyway, he was paddling in the water bowl and I had to fish him out. I think he actually lives under the water bowl these days. There are loads of hopping insects all over the place…not crickets, but I’m not sure what they are.  As I walk the dogs, several of them seem to flit around with every step we take.

The collards and broccoli transplants are in now and I planted mustard and lettuce this week.  Once I clear the tomatoes, I’m going to try some arugula for the first time.  I was planning to try turnips, but it’s too late in the season, I think. They’d grow over the winter, but would have to stay in the ground too long once spring comes.  Things for summer have to be planted well before the heat sets in here…or else, they fry if they’re too small.  Who would ever think that string beans go into the ground in March?

THIS WEEK’S POSTS

*By kenosha Marge

**By Grail Guardian

Race, O.J., and Politics–The Potential for an October Meltdown UPDATE–SIMPSON GUILTY ON ALL COUNTS

*Thinkin’ Green–The Reckless Life of a Fervent Composter

*From The Folks That Gave You GWB and the War In Iraq, Here’s Obama!

**Parts 1 & 2–The Lineup: A Who’s Who of The Associates of Barack Obama

Gwen Ifill’s Impeccable Journalistic Credentials Will be Tested on This Specific Question…(Update 1X, Post-Debate)

Obama’s Very Own Cultural Revolution (Update 3X–Another Video Surfaces…This Time, Military Fatigues??)

Local Candidates–Out There on Their Own, Unaware of PUMA Power

The Past Week: Recaps & Random Thoughts, September 21-27 (Obama Goon Squads; Mortgage Mess; “Girl Power!” on CNN; Lynette Long on the Record; “Presents” in TX; Obama Strikes Gold; Rezko [Updated 1X]; “Racism” Now in O.J. Trial; For Democratic Reform)