The Past Week: March 29-April 4, 2009 (Hugo Chavez Takes Over Food Producers, Sounds Off on the G-20; A Government Bailout Special; “The Reluctant Ones”

~~By InsightAnalytical-GRL

As the  G-20 circus brought out the whole gang in London, Hugo Chavez was doing his thing in Iran.

Chavez had this to say about the G-20 summit:

Venezuela’s Chavez: Capitalism Must End

Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez on Friday ridiculed the G-20 summit’s attempts to deal with the global financial meltdown, saying that capitalism is in crisis and must end. Chavez criticized the G-20 nations’ pledges of more than a trillion dollars for lending to struggling countries at Thursday’s summit in London, calling it “the same medicine that’s killing the patient—a trillion dollars … more money for a bottomless pit.”

SNIP

The IMF and the World Bank are “tools of imperialism” and must be eliminated, Chavez said.

MORE

Well, he has a point…But does this mean that he’s no longer Obama’s “best buddy” since Obama is part of the Obama Borg?

Meanwhile, a couple of weeks ago, Chavez took steps to deal with Venezuela’s economy during this global economic crisis:

Chavez trims budget, adds debt to counter crisis

(SNIP)

Chavez, who won a referendum last month allowing him to stay in office as long as he keeps winning elections, is popular for spending oil revenues on health and education programs for the poor majority.

During 10 years in office he has nationalized much of Venezuela’s economy including major oil projects as part of his drive to build a socialist state.

On Saturday, he cut the 2009 budget by 6.7 percent to $72 billion, raised the minimum wage 20 percent and increased planned government financing to $16 billion from $5.6 billion. And he increased a sales tax to 12 percent from 9 percent.

(SNIP)

Economist Luis Vicente Leon described the package of measures as moderate but said the government was gambling crude prices would recover later this year.

“These are not truly deep measures, they don’t attack the fundamental problems of the economy,” Leon told Reuters.

Faced with Latin America’s highest inflation, Chavez has in recent weeks increased pressure on business to lower prices by taking over farms and rice mills and threatening to nationalize the country’s top private employer, which makes food and beer.

What do you think of that last part?  When does Obama go after the food supply?

***

The next two items courtesy Kenosha Marge:

johndeer-bailout

***

A couple of weeks ago we learned that Evan Bayh has put together a group of “pragmantic Democrats.”  Then there are the Blue Dogs:

Centrist Dems: Dogged If They Do, Dogged If They Don’t

By Froma Harrop

There’s trouble around the Democratic campfire. The party has the White House and solid congressional majorities. But what it doesn’t have is everyone on the same page, strumming the same chords, singing the same tune.

Liberals who kept the fires burning during the long Republican reign now fear that moderate Blue Dog Democrats will thwart their much-delayed dreams. Elected from purplish parts of America, the Blue Dogs are fiscal conservatives who regard expensive new programs with a wary eye.

What’s a liberal to do? First, recognize that the Blue Dogs are the reason Democrats have such nice majorities. They are why the dreams are even on the menu. Second, concede that the Reluctant Ones have a point.

(MORE)

“The Reluctant Ones”…has a certain ring to it, yes?

***

THE PAST WEEK

*By American Lassie

Saturday Sanity: The Antidote to the Madness (April 4, 2009) Spring Winds; Squirrel Wars; Bees Invade Feeder; Wounded Butterfly; Sunrise Over the Organs; Slick Lounges Around

Non-Stop Campaigning Here in NM-CD2 By Bill Richardson’s Hand-Picked Freshman Rep Harry Teague, Who’s Splitting His Votes Pro/Con on Obama Policies

Iowa Gone Wild With Nazi Reference at Public Hearing (Listen to the Audio) as New Yorkers in CD-20 Test Obama’s Popularity

Canada Follows the U.S. Terms for GM/Chrysler; Harper Still Worrying About the “Eased” ‘Buy-American’ Clause in Stimulus Package

Closing Out Women’s History Month With Dr. Mary Schweitzer, Ground-Breaking Molecular Paleontologist, and a Special T. Rex

*China, the Treasury, and Real Estate (As in the New World Trade Center); Cross-Pollination:The New America Foundation/Council of Foreign Relations

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

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

~~By InsightAnalytical-GRL

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

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

From The Guardian archives (March 3):

Putin and Medvedev factions locked in Kremlin financial power struggle

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

SNIP

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

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

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

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

MORE

Who will win?

***

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

Japan Readies Missile Interceptors

Published: March 27, 2009

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

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

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

MORE

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

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

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

***

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

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

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

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

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

Thousands join London G-20 protest

***

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

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

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

SNIP

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

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

MORE

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

***

THE PAST WEEK

*By Kenosha Marge

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

~~By InsightAnalytical-GRL

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

***

From The East African, Kenya:

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

By DAVID KAIZA

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

(MORE)
***

From Inter Press Service News Agency, Italy

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

Analysis by Jim Lobe

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

(MORE)
***

From Inter Press Service News Agency, Italy

IRAQ: U.S. Pushes In Their Excellencies

By Adam Morrow and Khaled Moussa al-Omrani

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

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

(SNIP)

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

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

(MORE)

“Project Foreign Policy—Style!” Introducing This Season’s Newest Look–Obama’s Magic Foreign Policy Shoes!

Welcome to the new show on Bravo, “Project Foreign Policy-Style“!  Stay tuned as our resident style guru, Fahreed Zakaria, guides us through the trials of putting together a brand new foreign policy!!  Or is it really new, or just an expert tweaking to create a fresh new look for the season?

First, we’ll rewind to the day before the election to the preview show. Scat’s Blog picked up American Lassie’s pre-election post on the Trilateral Commission ties to the Obama crowd (see below) and provided a link to a CNN transcript of CNN’s Global Public Square with host Fareed Zakaria. Guest judges included former Secretary of State Madeleine Albright; former chief of staff under Ronald Reagan, Ken Duberstein; and former national security adviser under Jimmy Carter, Zbigniew Brzezinski.

Maddy went into her closet stuffed with classic foreign policy attire and came up with this ’80’s vintage look from her PERSONAL collection!  Dated? Well, the panel thinks they can “MAKE IT WORK!” by personalizing and updating the look for Barack Obama!!

Obamas Magic Foreign Policy Shoes!
Obama’s Magic Foreign Policy Shoes!

The gist of this entire “Cliff Notes” review of foreign policy, held entirely to enhance Obama’s appearance,  was the assumption that Obama had already won and John McCain was irrelevant; that “style” was a huge issue; that while Bush was WAY too arrogant in dealing with other nations, even Bill Clinton’s foreign policy approach was a bit too “arrogant” ; and that Colin Powell got the “Good Housekeeping Seal of Approval.”

Of course, there was no mention of how the Bush Administration, as arrogant as they’ve been, did finally begin paying attention to foreign policy fashion and began talking with North Korea (finally following Clinton’s lead) and enlisting the aid of China in the process; how there have been contacts with Iran, and how the plans to deploy defense shield missiles in Poland (with Polish approval) has kept Russia off-guard (until now).

So, what did the foreign policy style gurus opine the day before the election?

First, note the glaring, implied assumption that Obama and his style leadership would win as Zakaria questions Brzezinski who echoes the Biden “gaffe” about the “testing” awaiting Obama:

ZAKARIA: All right. Let me ask you on the issue of policy, though. Does the president-elect start thinking about sending signals to foreign governments? Does he start actually sending those signals?

BRZEZINSKI: I think it depends on two things — one, on the nature of the president himself, and, two, on the circumstances.

I think what is going on right now — which is nothing less than a global crisis of American leadership, nothing less than that — I think the president-elect, whoever he is — and I have my own preference — will have to start sending signals right away, and will have to get ready to deal with some imminent problems.

Then, catch the comment by Brzezinski on who could become the new, fashion trend-setter as Secretary of State…and it isn’t Kerry or Richardson:

But then there is a second task he has to address, and that is to choose his Cabinet, to choose his foreign policy leadership, with which he will then make decisions.

And here, I think, a very important possibility that’s open to him — for the first time in a long time — is to create genuine bipartisanship in the decision-making process. And he can do that either by appointing a very distinguished leading Republican to the post of secretary of state. And there are some. And he has mentioned some of them by name. He’s traveled with some of them.

ZAKARIA: Who would you suggest they be?

BRZEZINSKI: Well, I would think, of course, such names come to mind, Senators Hagel and Lugar. But there may be others, but particularly those two.

I think that would be extremely reassuring and encouraging, both domestically and internationally, and would send the right signal.

Oops, where’s Olbermann on this? What does HIS fashion sense make of all this?

We then take a short detour for a rather smug exchange about McCain’s chance of winning the elite fashion world’s approval:

ZAKARIA: I should point out, there is, of course, a chance that Senator McCain will be elected president.

ALBRIGHT: Yes, we know …

(LAUGHTER)

The conversation continues with Albright discussing how the Obama crowd will change how things are done with a Republican Secretary of State, because, apparently with William Cohen, a Republican as Secretary of State under Clinton, things weren’t “bipartisan” enough. Frankly, it seems like just a bit too much “sensitivity” and only a chance to make a subtle dig at Clinton:

ZAKARIA: But let me ask you, Madeleine. You worked alongside a Republican secretary of defense, Bill Cohen. Does it work?

ALBRIGHT: I think it does. Though it was very funny, because when Bill first joined us, he used to say, “Well, you all have to do this.”

And we’d say, “What do you mean, ‘you all’? You are part of us.”

And I don’t know whether he thought of himself more as a senator dealing with the executive branch, or a Republican dealing with Democrats.

(LAUGHTER)

Ken and I have talked about this a lot.

DUBERSTEIN: Right.

ALBRIGHT: And we, in our own way, are going to do something about that, because I think, generally, there has to be a bipartisan approach. And people find it hard to believe that I was able to work with Jesse Helms. And because I was, I think we managed to get much further on NATO expansion, for instance, or a variety of issues.

You have to be able to work with the opposing party. That’s our system.

So, you’ve got a Republican in as Secretary of State, following the policies of Bill Clinton, but because his “style,” at first, isn’t quite up to par, the whole deal isn’t “bipartisan”?  But, oh, working with Jesse Helms..HEAVENLY!! HUH??

Zakaria then turns to the subject of Iran. Again, note how McCain’s fashion acumen is totally ignored in the set-up:

Madam Secretary, you spent some time trying to deal with Iran in your term in office, and you actually made some overtures — I thought very innovative ones. You apologized, in some sense, for America’s role in a coup that had brought the shah of Iran into power. You expressed regret about it. Some of those moves were reciprocated, many were not.

Obama faces, in a way, a similar challenge with regard to Iran.

Should he do something? Should he try and do something ambitious? Should he try and somehow restart a process you began?

Albright begins:

ALBRIGHT: The question is what’s going on in Iran, and whether — what the changes — Ahmadinejad is apparently not feeling well. He is facing elections.

I think we think of Iran as very monolithic, and it may not be. And that’s even more reason to actually begin talks with them. And talking is not necessarily making nice. It is delivering tough messages and listening.

(SNIP)

ZAKARIA: Ken, Reagan faced the same challenge in a way, because the issue was negotiating with the Soviets. He had seemed to suggest in his campaign that where they begin to — as he famously put it — they began to die on him, one after the other.

DUBERSTEIN: And then he finally got one he could work with, which was Mikhail Gorbachev.

But Reagan always thought that the power of ideas could triumph. And so, the answer was, of course you’re going to talk to your adversaries. And you’re going to listen to your adversaries, as well.

Duberstein then says that the U.S. hasn’t been talking enough (and certainly Clinton NEVER talked about the “power of ideas”), but then Brzezinski appears to say the opposite before giving away the store and Duberstein seems to agree:

ZAKARIA: Zbig, what about this point that both Madeleine and Ken are making about talking?

So, you start negotiations, perhaps with the Iranians. It seems to me Iran is not yet ready to rejoin the modern world. The regime rests on a certain oppositional element of defiance and opposition to the United States.

So, maybe we start talking and the talks don’t go very well. What do you then do?

BRZEZINSKI: Well, don’t forget that we have been negotiating with North Korea for quite a while, and we finally have made some progress. It hasn’t been consummated yet, but the progress has taken place. And China has played a very constructive role here.

It seems to me that, if we engage Iran in conversations, in negotiations — without preconditions, without demanding that, in advance of the negotiations, the Iranians concede on the critical issue of the negotiations — then we might be able to make some progress, and other countries are more likely to join us.

DUBERSTEIN: Precisely.

BRZEZINSKI: They’re also more likely to join us, if we don’t conduct these negotiations in an atmosphere of mutual abuse or of military threats, because that doesn’t help the atmosphere in the negotiations, and it also helps the Iranian extremists to mobilize public opinion behind them.

So, the style involved in the process is almost as important as the substance.

Then it’s back to how Clinton wore his foreign policy outfits. Not very well, it seems, so we get another dig at Clinton who apparently, displayed “arrogance” toward Europe…according to Zakaria.  (Are you buying this? It’s a new line on my radar…)

ZAKARIA: Madeleine, people in Europe tell me that they found that even dealing with the Clinton administration was tough in this regard, that there was — both on the economic side and the foreign policy side — there was a degree of American arrogance.

Oh, dear.

Then we come to the topic of Colin Powell, which reveals how Republican insider Duberstein has decided that the Colin Powell endorsement is the “Good Housekeeping Seal of Approval” for Republicans. Yes, Colin Powell takes home raves for his stylish appearance and performance at the U.N.!  And his accessories–those fake photos–to DIE FOR! (literally)

ZAKARIA: Let me ask you about your friend, Colin Powell.

DUBERSTEIN: Right.

ZAKARIA: Powell endorsed Obama — very public and very successful, I think, a moving endorsement.

You’re a Republican. You were Reagan’s chief of staff. Will you tell us who you’re going to vote for on Tuesday?

DUBERSTEIN: Well, let’s put it this way. I think Colin Powell’s decision is, in fact, the Good Housekeeping Seal of Approval on Barack Obama.

ZAKARIA: And you’re going to take it?

DUBERSTEIN: I think so.

ZAKARIA: And we have to close. Thank you all.

So, the poster boy for the entire Bush Iraq-U.N.-Congress fake-out gets a free pass these days, I guess. If you’re an Obama supporter, history be damned! But, at least Powell LOOKS good, in either a uniform or a snazzy suit!

Remember, this little fashion preview/Obama infomercial happened the day before the election.  The judges simply swooned politely and in full agreement, over Obama’s haberdashery without one iota of concern about the man’ substance.  A waste of airtime if you wanted to find out anything about policy. But, SIGH, what a package they described!!! Perfect in every way, from his tasteful ties down to his classy footwear!

Now, let’s go back to that mention of Gorbachev.  Post-election, like Mahmoud Ahmadinejad and the PLO, Gorby is on the list of Obama admirers, perhaps hoping to get some sartorial tips from the man himself. (But what’s this I hear? Iran firing some sort of  new surface-to-surface missile?)  But Gorby is even MORE smitten.  From RIA Novosti, the Russian News Agency:

Gorbachev calls on Obama to carry out ‘perestroika’ in the U.S.

Former Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev has said that the Obama administration in the United States needs far-reaching ‘perestroika’ reforms to overcome the financial crisis and restore balance in the world.

The term perestroika, meaning restructuring, was used by Gorbachev in the late 1980s to describe a series of reforms that abolished state planning in the Soviet Union.

(SNIP)

Gorbachev said that after transforming his country in the late 1980s, he had told the Americans that it was their turn to act, but that Washington, celebrating its Cold War victory, was not interested in “a new model of a society, where politics, economics and morals went hand in hand.”

(SNIP)

He told the paper that the world is waiting for Obama to act, and that the White House needs to restore trust in cooperation with the United States among the Russians.

“This is a man of our times, he is capable of restarting dialogue, all the more since the circumstances will allow him to get out of a dead-end situation. Barack Obama has not had a very long career, but it is hard to find faults, and he has led an election campaign winning over the Democratic Party and Hillary Clinton herself. We can judge from this that this person is capable of engaging in dialogue and understanding current realities.”(MORE)

Oh, I get chills every time I hear someone talk about “politics, economics and MORALS” in the same breath, don’t you?  Makes me want to go out and buy a new outfit!

I guess Gorby is blinded by the glitz, perhaps…after all, he cites the Obama campaign as an indicator of being able to “engage in dialogue.”  “Hard to find faults?” What? Well, Gorby hasn’t been in power for about 20 years and is hopelessly stuck with those big shoulder pads from the era, which is unfortunate for Obama, judging from what the current Russian leadership thinks of the new fashionistas in D.C..

Seems Vladamir Putin’s hand-picked successor Dmitry Medvedev has just moved a few new missiles to Poland’s borders.  Now, it looks like Vlad himself maybe ready to strut his stuff on the runway again.

Constitutional Changes Go to Duma

…National media reports have suggested that Medvedev might step down as early as next year, perhaps on the pretext of the need for a new election under a new Constitution, clearing the way for Putin to return.

The Cabinet official said he also doubted that Medvedev would use the constitutional amendments as a pretext to leave before the end of his term. But he added that he had heard rumors since Putin’s first day as prime minister that he was already tired of being the prime minister.

Back during July’s European vacation,  Obama came out of a meeting with Gordon Brown “shaken” (British Commentators: The Chosen One Looked “Shattered” After Meeting Brown….and Did Cameron/Obama Discuss “Conservative Means” to Achieve “Progressive Goals”? and it looked like a repeat performance after his security briefing just after the election.

Can you image how the new Obama style will fare if he has to meet up with Putin? Obama will probably suggest a friendly round of shooting hoops and won’t those Magic Foreign Policy Shoes make it special! Putin himself showed great “anti-style style” when he took off his shirt and displayed some great beefcake photos out there before he left the top office, so I don’t know how Obama’s lightweight style will compare.

Maybe Obama will have to be carried out on a stretcher, with his Magic Shoe-bedecked feet dangling limply a la the Elton John’s big shoes as the he’s carried off in “Tommy,” after “The Champ” is defeated in spite of his rhinestone glasses and shimmering outfit!

The Big Boots

Oh, but you can bet that the little lights on Obama’s Magic Foreign Policy Shoes will still be flashing for the folks back home.  After all, even if you get creamed, you’ve gotta keep up your STYLE no matter what…and “MAKE IT WORK”!

*****

NOTES:

See Minute 4:25 of Elton’s Pinball Wizard video to recall how those big shoes were carried out with “The Champ” and disappeared in disgrace …

The Story Unfolds 2: Obama, Biden, Brzezinski, Carter…and the Trilateral Commission?

You can buy vintage LA Gear Lights here for about $400…


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

~~By Grail Guardian

Editor’s Note: Part 1 of “The Lineup” has been added to this post to make the information it contains easily available.–See the Part 1 for the comments to the original posting.–GRL

After Part 1 of this article was published, we received several requests/suggestions for more individuals to be included in the hit parade. As with Part 1, please circulate it to friends, family, co-workers, casual acquaintances, or anyone who needs to be educated about the truth the MSM has kept buried. And per a special request from reader Song, I would like to challenge each and every one of you to ask 10 people to vote against Barack Obama on November 4th.

The Lineup: Part 2

clip_image002Alexi Giannoulis: Became Illinois State Treasurer after Barack Obama vouched for him. He has been described as a “man who has long been dogged by charges that the bank his family owns helped finance a Chicago crime figure”. Giannoulis “pledged to raise $100,000 for the senator’s Oval Office bid,” Charles Hurt reported September 5, 2007, in the New York Post. Lynn Sweet of the Chicago Sun-Times reported, “Before he promised to raise funds for Obama, Giannoulias bankrolled Michael ‘Jaws’ Giorango, a Chicagoan twice convicted of bookmaking and promoting prostitution.

“Giannoulias is so tainted by reputed mob links that several top Illinois Dems, including the state’s speaker of the House and party chairman, refused to endorse him even after he won the Democratic nomination with Obama’s help.” States Congresspedia

clip_image004Jim Johnson: Former Fannie Mae Chair that was hired to vet Vice Presidential candidates for the Obama Campaign. Johnson allegedly received $7 million from Countrywide Mortgage, one of the biggest players in the sub-prime mortgage fiasco. He received below market mortgage rates form the lender that Obama railed against personally:

“This is a company that is as responsible as any firm in the country for the housing crisis we’re facing today. When Countrywide Financial was sold a few months ago, its top two executives got a combined $19 million. These are the folks who are responsible for infecting the economy and helping to create a home foreclosure crisis….They get a $19 million bonus while people are at risk of losing their home. What’s wrong with this picture?”

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Emil Jones: President of the Illinois Senate and Obama’s political mentor. When in the State Senate, all of Obama’s accomplishments were in his 7th year. Jones was discovered to have handed Obama all these bills after being worked on by other legislators. Jones is credited with the statement “I’m gonna make me a U.S. Senator.” When asked who that might be, Jones replied “Barack Obama”.

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David Axelrod: Chicago political consultant and Chief Strategist and Media Advisor to Obama, Axelrod has worked on the campaigns of John Edwards, Deval Patrick, and Eliot Spitzer. He also owns ASK Public Strategies, a firm credited with mastering the tactic of “Astroturfing” or organizing a political effort and making it look like a grassroots effort. Wikipedia describes it as follows: “Astroturfing may be undertaken by an individual pushing a personal agenda or highly organized professional groups with financial backing from large corporations, non-profits, or activist organizations. Very often the efforts are conducted by political consultants who also specialize in opposition research.”

clip_image010Tom Daschle: Former Democratic Senate Majority and Minority leader who was voted out of office by South Dakotans despite his presitgious position. Daschle is now a nationa Co-Chair for the Obama campaign. According to Wikipedia: “On February 13, 2006, Daschle became one of two Democrats (with Rep. Jane Harman of California) to endorse a warrantless domestic surveillance program conducted under the authority of President George W. Bush by the National Security Agency (NSA).”

clip_image012Percy Sutton: This 87-year-old icon of the Civil Rights Movement recently recounted a story where he claimed he was asked to write a recommendation for Barack Obama to enter Harvard. Sutton’s quote follows:

“I was introduced to him by a friend who was raising money for him and the friend’s name was Dr Khalid al Mansour from Texas. He is the principle adviser to one of the world’s richest men. He told me about Obama. He wrote to me about him and his introduction was ‘there is a young man that has applied to Harvard and I know that you have a few friends left there because you used to go up there to speak, would you please write a letter in support of him?’ That’s before Obama decided to run. And he interjected the advice that Obama had passed the requirements, had taken, and passed, the requirements necessary to get into Harvard and become President of the Law Review. That’s before he ever ran for anything. I wrote a letter in support of him to my friends at Harvard saying to them I thought there was a genius that was going to be available and I surely hoped they would treat him kindly.”

clip_image014Khalid al Mansour/Donald Warden: The mysterious man Percy Sutton referred to in his interview is somewhat difficult to identify (a very common name in several countries). The al Mansour that is also known as Donald Warden has ties to both the radical Black Panthers and has served on the board of a bank in Nigeria that may have connections to money raised for Barack Obama. For more detail, I recommend the following 2 articles, and bear in mind again the caveat “follow the money”: (photo not readily available)

More at Texas Darlin’s blog:

Dr. Khalid Abdullah Tariq al Mansour

Khalid al Mansour/Donald Warden: Obama Money Man in Nigeria?

The ACORN connection:

While not all directly associated with Barack Obama, these people formed the basis of his political philosophy and influenced him heavily, sometimes via theory, often via a strong organizational connection. Understanding who they are leads to a better understanding of the 2008 Presidential election.

clip_image016Saul Alinsky: Writing a brief overview of Alinsky is nearly impossible; so I strongly urge you do look into the varied sides of this man further. That being said, Alinsky was a radical and community organizer (sound familiar?) who started the movement that grew into the SDS and ACORN (among other groups). Perhaps his own words explain his ideas best:

“Make the enemy live up to their (sic) own book of rules,” Alinsky wrote in his 1989 book Rules for Radicals. When pressed to honor every word of every law and statute, every Judeo-Christian moral tenet, and every implicit promise of the liberal social contract, human agencies inevitably fall short. The system’s failure to “live up” to its rule book can then be used to discredit it altogether, and to replace the capitalist “rule book” with a socialist one. (Courtesy Discover the Networks.org)

Alinsky served as mentor to many (including Hillary Clinton, who is said to have studied him and then continued on her political career, and Barack Obama, who still uses his techniques on a daily basis in this election), and put the fear of God into just as many (he one traveled to Oakland, CA and the local politicos were so shaken that they actually passed a resolution to ban him from the city). His talent was for organizing the poor into powerful political forces that can combat government and replace it with Socialism. Barack Obama is said to have taken Alinsky training when he began his Community Organizer career in Chicago. To understand Saul Alinsky and his followers is to gain much insight into Obama.

clip_image018Richard Andrew Cloward and Frances Fox Piven: Columbia University radicals and creators of the so-called “Cloward-Piven strategy,” which called for swamping the welfare rolls with new applicants, beyond what the system could bear. The idea was that the resulting economic collapse would lead to political turmoil and ultimately socialism. This concept was used effectively in New York City, and was cited as one of the causes of the city’s financial collapse as welfare rolls jumped from 150,000 to over a million in just 10 years.

(Photo not readily available)

clip_image020Wade Rathke: The founder and chief organizer of ACORN (Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now), a group Obama has worked for and represented in lawsuits, and Service Employees International Union (SEIU). Rathke’s brother Dale was reported to have embezzled over $940,000 from ACORN and it’s affiliates, which Wade did not report to the full board and kept hidden for 8 years. ACORN is under investigation for voter registration fraud in 18 states, and past employees have admitted to simply making up names of supposed voters. Many consider ACORN to be a leftist extremist organization using the principles of Saul Alinsky and Cloward & Piven.

clip_image022George Wiley: Mentor of Wade Rathke, founder and leader of the radical ACORN, best know for his use of the Cloward & Piven strategy. Wiley is known as the Founder of the National Welfare Reform Organization, and as a pioneer of the radical “franchise” concept, now used by ACORN and other groups, which helps local activists quickly build local outlets of national activist organizations by using church groups and other pre-existing community groups.

clip_image024Carl Davidson: Former President of Students for a Democratic Society (SDS) with Bill Ayers and Bernadine Dorhn (a precursor to the Weather Underground), Davidson is credited with organizing the 2002 Anti-War rally where Obama gave his infamous speech against the Iraq war. Davidson is a self-styled “progressive for Obama” according to his blog http://carldavidson.blogspot.com/

clip_image026Claire McCaskill: This Missouri Senator has supported Obama since her children shamed her into it in the beginning of 2008. McCaskill has been a vocal supporter, and her name was bandied about as a potential VP pick by Obama. She has been accused by ACORN workers in MO of using the organization to bring out new voters to support her instead of registering new voters or getting them to support a minimum wage bill as they were hired to do. The workers were all fired from ACORN after refusing to campaign for McCaskill.

clip_image028Herbert and Marion Sandler: A New York lawyer and Wall Street analyst that sold Golden West Financial (GDW), one of the largest savings and loans in the nation to Wachovia Bank just before their portfolio dragged the S & L under. Wachovia failed in the recent Wall Street crisis as a result of the high number of sub-prime mortgages it acquired in its $24 billion purchase of GDW. The Sandlers personally made billions (yes, that’s with a B), and went on to fund organizations like ACORN and the International Crisis Group, the staff of which is said to form the basis of the future State Department of an Obama Administration.

clip_image030Peter Lewis: Chairman of Progressive Insurance who along with George Soros gave $23 million to Moveon.org, and formed a group called The Democracy Alliance, both strong ACORN supporters. In 2004 he was one of the top donors to 527 groups promoting a far left agenda. Lewis describes himself as “half screwball, half businessman” and once showed up to a City Council meeting wearing a Lone Ranger outfit.

For a look at ACORN on video, see Uppity Woman’s post from 9/30/2008 “Video:Barack Obama and ‘Let’s Take Over The World” Acorn .'”

***************

Part 1–A Who’s Who of The Associates of Barack Obama

~~By Grail Guardian

For months now, we’ve been reading and hearing from the Obama campaign that it’s not experience that matters for Barack Obama (whose paper-thin resume includes being a Community Organizer, Chair of the failed Chicago Annenberg Challenge, and running for public office), but rather the excellent judgment that he displays. In light of the continued media frenzy favoring Obama and shielding him from public scrutiny, I decided that it would be timely to revisit that judgment in the form of the people Obama associates with professionally and personally (both past and present). I personally have been able to find few people that are close to the Illinois Senator that I would want anywhere near the Oval Office, but I’ll let you be the judge. I intend this article to be part of a much needed grassroots effort to educate those that only get their news from the Main Stream Media or do not follow politics closely, so feel free to link it, print it, e-mail it, or do whatever you need to do to get the word out (giving proper credit and/or links to Insight Analytical and myself is always appreciated). You can consider it an Obama 101 Picture Book Primer and a serious attempt to save this great nation.

Continue reading

Part 1–THE LINEUP: A Who’s Who of The Associates of Barack Obama

~~By Grail Guardian

EDITOR’S NOTE: Part I has been combined in a double post with the follow-up with more Obama connections in Part 2 HERE.

For months now, we’ve been reading and hearing from the Obama campaign that it’s not experience that matters for Barack Obama (whose paper-thin resume includes being a Community Organizer, Chair of the failed Chicago Annenberg Challenge, and running for public office), but rather the excellent judgment that he displays. In light of the continued media frenzy favoring Obama and shielding him from public scrutiny, I decided that it would be timely to revisit that judgment in the form of the people Obama associates with professionally and personally (both past and present). I personally have been able to find few people that are close to the Illinois Senator that I would want anywhere near the Oval Office, but I’ll let you be the judge. I intend this article to be part of a much needed grassroots effort to educate those that only get their news from the Main Stream Media or do not follow politics closely, so feel free to link it, print it, e-mail it, or do whatever you need to do to get the word out (giving proper credit and/or links to Insight Analytical and myself is always appreciated). You can consider it an Obama 101 Picture Book Primer and a serious attempt to save this great nation.

Continue reading