The Financial Filter: How CNBC Handles Howard Dean vs. Susan Boyle

~~By  InsightAnalytical-GRL

Lately, I’ve been testing my mettle by actually tuning into CNBC occasionally. We don’t have FOX Business here, but you get enough of their angle on the regular FOX shows featuring Neil Cavuto and the weekend financial panels.

Yesterday, I caught Howard Dean just around the Noon hour ET (on Power Lunch), slugging it out with that panel they have which features Larry Kudlow among others.  I was wondering what Dean was doing on there following the latest Geithner comments, but perhaps he’s getting warmed up to defend the upcoming healthcare “reform” that will be vomited out of the Congress and Obamaville soon.

Anyway, Kudlow was yelling again about “why can’t the markets be allowed to correct themselves” to which Dean retorted in perfect Obot fashion “Look what the markets did to the American people!” (sic).

Well, I waited for the comeback…I waited to hear one of these panel people, including Kudlow, respond snappily with how Congress, particularly Democratic members, failed to provide oversight over the housing mortgage debacle, which seems to have precipitated much of the mess we’re in.

CRICKETS!

But, as I thought about it, I figured that’s exactly what I was expected to hear. The GE family of companies that “bring good things to life” don’t consider history and full debate healthy for the 5th-grade level critical skills level of the American viewer. Kudlow is probably under orders “not to go there,” so he doesn’t go there. He’s loud and passionate about “the markets” but he pulled up short with Dean.

But that’s the way it is now. The media is in a permanent state of coitus interruptus when in it comes to discussing financial matters…or most political news. Especially since the Obama folks are so cozy with GE…

Sue Herera and Bill Griffeth, still at it after all these years,  are stuck in the middle of all this.  They’ll get a couple of people on and ask some serious questions, but the upcoming segments which follow always involve some provocative pugilism.  After listening to the Dean segment, which included another guest plus Dean and the four CNBC panelists,  I felt whiplashed, not informed. Mission accomplished!

After 3 PM, we get a lot more sober discussion for a brief time as The Closing Bell airs and things settle down.   Gone is the screaming on the panels and the minute-by-minute, breathless spewing that sounds like the coverage of a sporting event while the market gyrates. Maria Bartiromo anchors and does interviews and the discussions are less hysterical. Today, I caught a young guy from the NY Times and a few experienced hands getting down to the real problems with the financial sector…including the one-time things done this quarter courtesy government largesse that won’t be around to play with over the next few quarters when the rubber meets the road.

Yeah, but then it’s over as we get Fast Money then Jim Cramer’s Mad Money to liven the pace for evening prime time with their gameshow approach to finance and to appeal to the young dreamers who want to get rich quick and don’t have a clue. And then Kudlow returns.

In a comment to yesterday’s post, Lee M. had a musing which captures the zeitgeist of CNBC these days, too…I’ve done some word substitutions where appropriate:

…the cretins over at MSNBC CNBC, having crossed the Rubicon, have no where else to go.

They know that those of us who value our Constitution [journalistic integrity] have written them off, so they keep pitching their wares to the far left and the Obots because without them they would have no audience at all.

Like Julius Caesar before them, the die is cast, and they can’t go back. So they will continue their vile jokes [obvious bias and omissions] that would have gotten anyone else censored [fired] before this. They are tolerated because that is the way TPTB want it for now.

So Howard Dean is treated with kid gloves, the facts be damned!

Oh, but the folks at CNBC certainly DO have somewhere to go, if I may quibble a bit with that first line of the above comment. Where? Well, let’s visit the CNBC website where yesterday afternoon I found somebody dragging Susan Boyle along in a “humor” piece that ties the global economy to her performance…with an odd mixture of  admiration (?) and the requisite mockery (of course).  How appropriate…the taunts begin the day after I write about “Smeargate” in the UK and the level of “discourse”  we have here in the U.S.:

Apr.21
1:49 PM ET

As she concluded the song and the crowd jumped to its feet cheering, Susan Boyle blew a kiss. A kiss that, like the butterfly that flapped its wings, set in motion a flutter of dollars, pounds, euros and yen that will get this global economy humming again.

Will YouTube Sensation Susan Boyle Save the Global Economy?
Posted By:Cindy Perman

As the world grapples with headlines about troubled loans at Bank of America [BAC 8.76 +  0.74 (+9.23%)
and pirates wreaking havoc on the high seas, a lone dove has emerged to save the global economy.

SNIP
Boyle rolls her unknown-to-man hips.

Teenage girls roll their eyes. (Yeah, we saw you, eye-rolling girl at 1:24)

SNIP
Susan Boyle has given people a reason to hope.

A reason to look up from their flaming 401(k) statements.

I dreamed a dream in time gone by

A reason to walk over to their computer and log on to YouTube.com.

When hope was high

A reason to buy Kleenex in bulk at Costco. [COST 46.48 + 2.14 (+4.83%) ]

And life worth living

A reason to go to Amazon.com [AMZN 78.75 + 1.18 (+1.52%) ]

I dreamed that love would never die—

SNIP

I dreamed that God would be forgiving

A reason to watch the made-for-TV movie about her on Lifetime and expose themselves to millions of dollars in advertising. [DIS 19.47 + 0.06 (+0.31%) ]

Do you get the feeling that someone RESENTS the fact that Susan Boyle wasn’t manufactured by the entertainment industry and the mass media, but simply appeared and touched people’s souls without a filter? If the “money machine” were cranking up for one of their fake creations, would you get the slights and mockery that we see directed at Susan Boyle in this piece? Or the cheapening of a great performance (and a pretty darned good song, too) ? The vultures find it so distasteful that the the plebes responded spontaneously even though the entertainment biz types will be trying to make money off  her until the well runs dry?  Personally, I hope she makes a bundle on her own terms and then walks away…before we start getting the “whispers” about her single life that will probably be started up to shove her aside for some plastic doll that can be marketed and controlled for public consumption… Like, what? She doesn’t deserve to make any money off her REAL talent??  Mark my words, Simon Cowell will look like a compassionate saint compared to what could come down further along this road…

Yes, just like the filtering of political and financial news, we have to get a filter in place for Susan Boyle so the public can be redirected to enable the opinion/money makers can move onto creating a fab NEW item for which they can take full credit and reward themselves with extra executive compensation bonuses.  Maybe TPTB can recycle the filters they used with Sarah Palin, Hillary Clinton and a “feeble” John McCain as they deal with Susan Boyle.

Heart seems to have a short shelf-life these days…

Anything More Nauseating that Bill Clinton Shilling For Obama on Greta Thursday Night?? (2/19/09)

~~By InsightAnalytical-GRL

Well, sure there is…listening to The One himself…

But I listened carefully to Clinton last night, making it all sound nice re: the need for the “stimulus” bill etc. etc. and the housing proposals that will reward those who never should have had a mortgage in the first place.  And, it’s a really nice touch when he repeats that he only knows from what he reads in the papers, that he doesn’t know the details….yeah, right!!

Greta talked tough, going after the “image” of Obama flying around the country in tough times. And she made noises about legislators not reading the package and the whole game of URGENCY, then sitting on signing the bill and jetting off instead of a signing in the Rose Garden. She attempted to link the places Obama visited to where the Democrats won on Election Day, where they made in roads into normally Republican strongholds.

Clinton was at his finest delivering reasonable explanations and concluding that the stimulus bill was A-OK. I give Greta some credit for trying to push, but then again, she pushed on some peripheral stuff…no really push on items in the package on things like the ramifications of the health care provisions.

Then she closed with the soft stuff…Clinton teaming up now with companies like Pepsico to fight obesity (sounds like the smoking campaigns delivered by tobacco companies) and Hillary’s trip to Asia.

Greta has a brain, she tries…but I guess she can only go so far. Which is SO frustrating…On the other hand, she may very well be 1) blocked by the bosses from doing anything more challenging or 2) just doesn’t want to go there because of her own politics (Democratic, but her husband supported McCain…so who really knows at this point?)

You take what you can from this sort of interview…so, if you forget about how Greta is framing things and just listen to Clinton, you can see how the wheels are turning in his mind and how he smooths a lot of concerns over by acknowledging them, then putting them away.

He’s the guy who is keeping the average American who sees this chat “calm.” He’s Obama’s best spokesperson…He’s the official “smooth things over” go-to guy.

Here’s the link to some of the video…(There’s a third part on the obesity chat at the On the Record site)

Opening Part with Obama Travel, etc.

What Would Clinton Do? (Economy)

Wells Fargo Bank Goes Insane! (Antidote: Nice Pictures)

~~By InsightAnalytical-GRL

It’s way past my bedtime and after a very busy weekend tending to my mother, just home from the hospital, I ran out of gas when it came to doing a post for today.

However, I’m still up and wired since I got off the phone with Wells Fargo Bank.

It all started when my mother and I set up a joint checking account, a sort of  “just in case” account so I could pay bills, shop, etc. if she couldn’t get out on her own.

First paper statement comes, no problem.

I go online tonight to check this little account, as well as another account that is for an A-B  trust we have.  WELL……………I see that when I sign in to the checking account, there’s the info from the A-B Trust.  Then I try my mother’s separate account and the little joint checking account is there, too.  Well, that’s OK, but what’s freaky is that I don’t have the totals for each account separately. I get the info on the A-B trust,  HER account (a living trust), each combined with the the info from the joint checking account (money which is outside the trusts) into one total.

In other words, each trust account doesn’t have its total separate…the totals both include the  joint checking account. Not good!

So I call Wells Fargo. Around and around we go on the phone…it all has to do with Social Security numbers and since I’m a trustee of  the A-B trust, well, that little checking account is joined to that.  Same thing with my mother, whose SS on the joint checking account screws up her trust and the A-B trust.  And I get linked to my mother’s trust, too!  We’re all thrown in together.   And I’m finally told that the checking account can be de-linked, but if I do that, I won’t be able to see the trust account I need to access online.  WTF???  I’m supposed to straighten it out at the branch, but they are the ones who set it up to begin with…

I can sign onto an account at Schwab and find two accounts there, mine and a trust…but when I click on the one, I get that ONE account, not the money mixed together!  At TDAmeritrade, I have a separate sign-in each for my account and the trust.  NOTHING gets co-mingled there, either.

But not at Wells Fargo. The last question the guy on the phone asked me was, “Why would you not want them linked?”    “Shit,”  I thought… but said:

“Well, it’s useless to sign on to get a total on an account and instead get a number that combines another account in with it!! “

I finished with a flourish, telling the guy that now I understood how Wells Fargo could make a dumb deal and buy Wachovia and their mortgage mess.  The same jackasses who did that deal created this nightmare with accounts being glombed together.

Now, they MAY be able to fix all this, but we’ve decided to close the little checking account and take it elsewhere if we can find a place that won’t freak over two accounts and combine them!  I mean, a trust is treated as a separate individual and money outside of the trust, stays out of it!

I know this sounds boring but these people are taking our tax money to get “bailed out” and they can’t even set up a bunch of accounts correctly and according to the damned IRS rules.

I won’t bore you with this any longer.  To reward you for your patience, I’m posting a few pictures.  The banks are closed since it’s President’s Day so I can’t do anything to straighten out this mess…so I’ll enjoy the pictures and hope you do, too.

Slick in Stylish Off-the-Shoulder PJs

Slick in Stylish Off-the-Shoulder PJs

Tico with His Mealtime Squeaker Toy

Tico with His Mealtime Dinner Bell Squeaker Toy

Tico squeaks toys when he wants to eat!  This is his favorite…

Toro Trying on Some Thread, Which Went Back to the Store

Toro Trying on Some Threads, Which Went Back to the Store for Obvious Reasons

Awhile back, someone requested more pictures of sunsets, but I thought I’d go with a SUNRISE picture instead…

SUNRISE 1/23/09

SUNRISE 1/23/09

Well, hope you enjoy your day today!

And my condolences to Lincoln and Washington who now have to share one lousy day.  Washington who??

Rep. Gary Ackerman, D-NY: “Fighting Dem”? Or Just Blowing Smoke for the Folks Back Home? (Guess…)

~~By InsightAnalytical-GRL

Yesterday, it really looked like we had a “Fighting Dem” as Rep. Gary Ackerman, D-NY went after the SEC over its failure to uncover the Madoff Ponzi scheme, didn’t it?  Ackerman is known for having a gift for making acerbic comments…but how much fight is really there?

First a bit of history on Ackerman. He was a supporter of Hillary Clinton during the primaries last year, endorsing her in late January 2008. On June 5, just a couple of days before Clinton suspended her campaign early on June 7, he endorsed Obama. (There were others who waited another day, by the way. Full list of who did what, when here.)

He showed real signs of life during the Caroline Kennedy/NY Senate saga. He was the first to question her qualifications with comments like these:

From the NY Post (December 11, 2008):

Rep. Gary Ackerman of Queens, a 25-year veteran of Congress, declared in a radio interview: “I don’t know what Caroline Kennedy‘s qualifications are.”

“Except that she has name recognition, but so does J.Lo,” Ackerman continued on Steve Malzberg’s radio show on WOR. “I wouldn’t make J.Lo the senator unless she proved she had great qualifications, but we haven’t seen them yet.”

He took the obligatory hit at Sarah Palin on Face the Nation as things moved forward (December 22, 2008):

WASHINGTON – A Democratic congressman compared Caroline Kennedy to Sarah Palin, saying the would-be senator hasn’t proved she has the “guts and the gumption” to succeed Hillary Rodham Clinton. Rep. Gary Ackerman of Roslyn Heights said on CBS‘ “Face the Nation” yesterday that the Kennedy legend and connections won’t be enough to make her a successful senator if Gov. David A. Paterson appoints her to the U.S. Senate.

So, the fireworks yesterday at the Madoff hearing seem to be pretty typical of Ackerman’s style. (The video at his website is a shorter version of this clip, without the reference to “dung”):

One thing to be aware of is the fact that a lot of the money that has disappeared once belonged to a lot of folks from Ackerman’s district, so Ackerman’s umbrage will certainly play well at home!

Kanjorski-led panel reviews $50 billion fraud scheme

By MARCY GORDON
Associated Press Writer
Published: Monday, January 05, 2009
Updated: Monday, January 5, 2009 6:28 PM EST

WASHINGTON — Republican and Democratic House members said Monday that the alleged $50 billion fraud involving Wall Street figure Bernard Madoff reflects deep, systemic problems at the Securities and Exchange Commission.

SNIP

The SIPC shortfall will only worsen the distrust of investors, already deepened by the worst financial crisis since the Great Depression, said Rep. Gary Ackerman, D-N.Y. His district encompasses the affluent north shore of Long Island, home to many of Madoff’s alleged victims

(Note the reference to the Great Depression, the party line these days as part of the “fear stimulus” being used to pass the pork-laden “stimulus”  package.)

But beneath the brash, confrontational style that plays well on TV, we see a typical Democrat who’s sticking with the crowd:

From November 19th, 2008:

Think Progress » Rep. Ackerman: Auto Execs’ Private Jet Travel Like Guy At ‘The Soup Kitchen In High Hat And Tuxedo’.

But by December 5, 2008:

Automakers’ fourth-and-long plea

Last Updated: December 5, 2008: 8:06 PM ET

Even Rep. Gary Ackerman, D-N.Y., who was the first to raise the issue of corporate jets at the earlier hearing, seemed more open to helping the auto industry in his opening comment this go round.

“One does not always have a second chance to make a first impression. Welcome back,” Ackerman said. “The last time you didn’t get it. By coming up with this plan, maybe you do.”

From September 11, 2008:

Mortgage Mess Unleashes Chain Of Lawsuits

Washington Post Staff Writers
Tuesday, September 11, 2007; 10:34 AM

Credit agencies, which graded billions of dollars worth of mortgage-backed securities as safe investments throughout the recent housing boom, are also feeling the heat.

Members of Congress are calling for hearings and oversight, saying the rating agencies are conflicted because they are paid by investment banks that issue the securities the agencies rate. Institutional investors accuse the rating firms of being slow to downgrade securities.

“Essentially, the originators and credit raters shoved enough pigs and laying hens in with the beef herd that investors expecting prime ribs on their silver platter and money in their pocket ended up with pork ribs on their paper plate and egg on their face,” Rep. Gary L. Ackerman (D-N.Y.) said in an opening statement during a Financial Services Committee hearing last week.

Nice, but what was 13 term Congressman Ackerman doing when there were calls for “oversight” when Democrats took charge of Congress a couple of years ago?  I don’t see any mention of a crusade for oversight in Ackerman’s bio and list of accomplishments at his website. I don’t have the time or inclination at this point to see how he voted when the whole business of pushing bad loans was originally put together way back when, but I wouldn’t be surprised if Ackerman went along with it all then…(See his new legislation introduced January 27, below.)

And he’s right in line with all the rest on other aspects of current economic issues (Also, seee voting pattern, below):

LI House delegation to back $700B bailout

“We, the taxpayers, will get back our investment,” said Rep. Gary Ackerman (D-Roslyn Heights). “Any shortfall where we don’t get our money back is going to be paid for by Wall Street.”

Really???

Ackerman Running for Re-election to Congress

Manhasset Press  October 24, 2008

Following his interview with the Great Neck Record, Congressman Ackerman was to head to Washington to vote on the “bailout.” With the financial crisis at the forefront, he was quick to note: “We have to correct the errors of the past.” He emphasized that the country must “restore confidence and put liquidity in the market” so that “people can pay for education, pay bills, pay mortgages, run businesses …”

With his background on financial service committees, the congressman emphasized that the country “must come up with solutions even before a crisis.”

Congressman Ackerman told how he had put in financial legislation even before this current financial crisis came to a head. His bill calls for credit agencies to be required to put like loans in a package, and prohibiting them from “rating what is not ratable.” And he emphasized that “We must hold credit agencies responsible for what they do.”

Congressman Ackerman termed this “common sense regulation.”

Blah, blah, blah…”correct the errors of the past”…Not without oversight, I’m afraid.

And in the run-up to the now “Bad Bank” which is in the works, we saw how Ackerman was already on board:

Rep. Steve LaTourette seeks help from President Bush to stop National City sale

Posted by Sabrina Eaton, Stephen Koff and Teresa Dixon Murray/ Plain Dealer Reporters November 18, 2008 09:51AM

Other committee members grilled Paulson on his failure to use money in the $700 billion bailout package to reduce mortgage foreclosures. Barney Frank, the Massachusetts Democrat who chairs the committee, put in the hearing record a letter from Rep. Dennis Kucinich in which the Cleveland Democrat urged Congress to withhold more TARP money from the Treasury Department because of its failure to act on foreclosures.

New York Democratic Rep. Gary Ackerman called the Treasury Department’s decision to avoid buying troubled mortgages from banks, as it originally promised, “the second-largest bait-and-switch scheme that history has ever seen, second only to the reasons given us to vote for the invasion of Iraq.”

Paulson said that the money had to be used to prevent a collapse in the financial system and that the Treasury Department is still looking for ways to reduce foreclosures.

Rep. Ackerman can display all the “righteous anger” that he wants for the TV cameras and the folks back home, but I have to ask–isn’t he really just part of “diversion” along with all the huffing and puffing about capping executive salaries?  The Madoff  issue is important, of course, but Ackerman’s brash style seems to be only style when it comes to many economic issues and, like others,  late to the party with his protests.

Eleven Democrats in the House voted against the stimulus bill…you won’t find Ackerman’s name among them.

***

ADDENDA

Rep. Gary Ackerman’s Official Website biography

According to GovTrack.us, Ackerman is a “rank and file” Democrat; OpenCongress cites a 98% record of voting with party (Votes most often with Ellen Tauscher, D-CA)

Rep. Ackerman introduced this bill on January 27, 2009 Source: GovTrack.us

H. R. 710

To secure additional Tier I capital for the United States banking system from parties other than the Federal Government by providing authority to the Secretary of the Treasury to guaranty certain new preferred stock investments made by public pensions acting in a collective fashion, and for other purposes.

If you have a public pension, watch this bill:

(2) INSTITUTION ELIGIBLE FOR INVESTMENTS- Only an investment in preferred stock that meets the requirements of subsection (e) and has been issued by a financial institution which meets the definition of a qualifying financial institution under the TARP Capital Purchase Program established under the authority of the Emergency Economic Stabilization Act of 2008 may be treated as an eligible investment for purposes of this Act.

http://www.govtrack.us/congress/billtext.xpd?bill=h111-710

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

~~By InsightAnalytical-GRL

Looks like Al Jazeera finally is going to get a wider audience in the U.S.  From what I’ve seen of it on the Internet, I’m thinking it’s credible but I AM wondering about the connection to PBS!  Who set up this deal?  Was this just the Bush Administration’s idea or did the hand of Obama get involved somehow? And that the mere mention of NBC….

Al Jazeera Network TV deal broadens U.S. reach

Thu Jan 15, 2009 7:17pm EST

By Robert MacMillan

NEW YORK (Reuters) – The Al Jazeera Network plans to announce on Thursday that it has signed a deal to run its news on Worldfocus, a syndicated nightly news program produced in New York and distributed throughout the United States.

(SNIP)

Worldfocus, hosted by former NBC News correspondent Martin Savidge, is produced by New York City public broadcaster WLIW and syndicated to a number of Public Broadcasting Service affiliates, as well as other stations in 60 U.S. markets, including 27 of the top 30.

Al Jazeera declined to disclose terms of the deal.

The service’s Arabic-language network is available in the United States through the DISH Network Corp. It has been trying to increase the distribution of its English- language network through cable television, but so far is available only in Washington, D.C., Toledo, Ohio and Burlington, Vermont.

(MORE)

The story contains more details on Al Jazeera’s expansion via the Internet, which has grown to include a free broadcast service, YouTube, Twitter…and a marketing campaign being launched in the New York  Times and Washington Post.

***

On Wednesday, Harold Meyerson wrote an op ed piece in the Washington Post on the current financial crisis and had a moment of upset:

The Money-Changers

Wednesday, January 14, 2009; Page A17

…That’s why a bill that Barney Frank is promoting in the House, which would direct banks that choose to take bailout funds to start lending to creditworthy borrowers and designate no less than $40 billion for mortgage relief, is necessary if Congress is to authorize the Treasury to spend another $350 billion on TARP. Over in the Senate, the Democrats seem inclined to think that the need for such legislation is obviated by President-elect Obama‘s promise to administer the TARP in the ways that Frank’s bill would mandate.

If Obama’s appointees inspired sufficient trust that they would be willing to take on the banks, such legislation would be unnecessary. Unfortunately, they don’t.

(MORE)

What? A bit of doubt about Obama’s choices?  But my mind, as simple as it may be, asks this question.  First, what’s going to happen between the House and the Senate?  Seems Rep. Barney is having a sudden bout of  “accountablilty” when it comes to delivering bailout money to borrowers…they should be “creditworthy.”  And  that stipulation has to be within legislation that must be passed to authorize the Treasury to spend more bailout money.  But the Senate is saying “Who needs legislation?  We’ve got OBAMA’S WORD that he’ll do exactly the same thing without the bother of a law.”

So, I then ask myself: if Obama gets his mitts on this money, does it really go to “creditworthy” individuals?  Which individuals?  Will this be “reparation” money? If the recipients are the not “creditworthy” and a lot of them are the same people who couldn’t meet previous mortgages doesn’t this mean that Obama is just repeating the “non-oversight” pattern of the Democrats that helped get us into this MESS we’re in??

***

OK, the guy they tried to tell us hung out at his local Home Depot (he didn’t) and who’s got his son Beau lined up to glide into the Senate is still being sold to us as “Everyman”??  Oh, PLEASE!  From Silicon Valley’s Mercury News, which picks up this AP nonsense:

Senate veteran, Delaware everyman faces new role

By BETH FOUHY Associated Press Writer

As for the story, it’s the same old same old…

***

So, do you have any confidence that Obama will do something to remedy this situation?  Wonder if this is even on Tom Daschle’s radar? From the American Association for Health Freedom:

The Non-GMO Project Product Verification Program is Up and Running

The governments of the US and Canada stand in sharp contrast to sixty other countries around the world, including the European Union, Russia, and China, by not requiring foods that contain genetically modified organisms (GMOs) to be so labeled. They do so despite good evidence that GMOs could have negative health implications for humans and the environment, and despite the fact that 87% of American consumers want products that contain GMO ingredients to be labeled.

***

This week we lost Patrick McGoohan, who was Number 6–“The Prisoner”–in the Village.  I also enjoyed watching him in “Secret Agent” (“Danger Man” in the UK)  when I was  teenager. In fact,  I had a huge crush on him!

And, we can’t forget Ricardo Montalban either, who’s own “village” was on Fantasy Island…

Godpseed…

***

Ever hear of an “extra anatomical tube bypass”?  Well, my 24-year-old nephew had this surgery on Wednesday. He was born with a congenital defect of the aorta and underwent surgery when he was about 3.  His blood pressure has always been high and the meds have made him tired.  It was now time to make the fix since he’s stopped growing.  Instead of messing with the aorta itself and dealing with possible complications from previous scarring, the procedure used was a “bypass” which eliminates the need to arrest the heart and putting the body into hypothermia.  The surgery went well.  I convinced him to go to a medical hypnotist.  He didn’t need any blood transfusions and today, 3 days after the procedure, he’s only on Tylenol for the pain (which even the day of the surgery he described as being only “soreness”) and the swelling is almost gone. And his blood pressure is better now than ever before and equalized throughout his body.

Congratulations, Mark! You did it!!

***

THE PAST WEEK

“The Black President”: A 1926 Novel “Predicts” the Politics of 2008 with Some Eerily Similar Details

The Scanner-Politics 1/15/09 (40 Musical Obama Supporters Slide-Show; Barbie at 50 [French]; Women and the World; “Obama-Cola The Great National Temperance Beverage”; Tina Brown; WLS Chicago–the Governor Sells Furniture)

Hip-Hop Inaugural Events Start TONIGHT (1/14/09)…Ludicras Co-Hosting “Urban Ball”

The Obama/Media Combine Whoring Abraham Lincoln, Non-Stop

Reality Check from Our Chicago Correspondent: University of Chicago & Its Hospital “Terminating” Jobs Like Crazy (Michelle O., Guess Shuffling All Those Indigent Patients Elswhere Didn’t Help the Bottom Line That Much? Your “Plum” Job is Going, Too!)

The Past Week: January 4-January 10, 2009 (Donor Fatigue among Obamacrats; Wes Clark; Ms. Magazine–Total Sellout; Tess; Street Numbers Man; “Grounding” with Harvesting; Betta Fish Drama)

Part 3–Independent Thinking: STRANGE BEDFELLOWS

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

Strange Bedfellows

~~By Grail Guardian

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

On Not Your Sweetie commenter Diana said:

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

Which caused Lee M. to note:

This is not the Hillary that I knew and loved.

And Cookiegramma observed:

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

Back at Uppity Woman, Typewriterstreaming said:

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

snip

And the nail in the coffin came from Deadenders:

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

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

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

Hillary has failed us.

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

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

And our own Kenosha Marge

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

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

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

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

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

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...