The Next Shoe to Drop: IRA Grab Being Set Up NOW–Heads Up! (UPDATE 1X)

~~By InsightAnalytical-GRL

Over the last couple of days I’ve received a couple of regular newsletters from pretty reputable places mentioning an article in Business Week about the growing buzz about plans to get people to shift their IRAs and 401Ks into “income streams/annuities” under the auspices of the crowd in Washington, D.C.  Following the link from both emails resulted in a link that went to a weird Business Week page that looks like a sitemap , but NOT the article in question…a very unique way of scrubbing? (*see rediscovered link with title change, Update below)

Here’s part of what one of the newsletters quoted from the missing article:

Jan 8th:

http://www.businessweek.com/news/2010-01-08/americans-oppose-initiatives-limiting-401-k-choices-ici-says.html

4th paragraph down reads:

“The U.S. Treasury and Labor Departments will ask for public comment as soon as next week on ways to promote the conversion of 401(k) savings and Individual Retirement Accounts into annuities or other steady payment streams, according to Assistant Labor Secretary Phyllis C. Borzi and Deputy Assistant Treasury Secretary Mark Iwry, who are spearheading the effort.”

I don’t have time to poke around as much as I would want now, but I wanted to direct you to a blog which is on top of this and has provided links to various other articles that have appeared in recent months, including those from Bloomberg, as well as analysis from Karl Denninger.

Please check out this post dated January 13, 2010 from the Finance Blog:

Converting 401k and IRA Funds Into “Steady Payment Streams”

Part of the post quotes the January 8 story from Bloomberg.com, which is still available. It seems the Business Week article picked up the story from Bloomberg, since the snippet from the newsletter reads the same.

Retiree Annuities May Be Promoted by Obama Aides (Update2)

By Theo Francis

Jan. 8 (Bloomberg) — The Obama administration is weighing how the government can encourage workers to turn their savings into guaranteed income streams following a collapse in retiree accounts when the stock market plunged.

The U.S. Treasury and Labor Departments will ask for public comment as soon as next week on ways to promote the conversion of 401(k) savings and Individual Retirement Accounts into annuities or other steady payment streams, according to Assistant Labor Secretary Phyllis C. Borzi and Deputy Assistant Treasury Secretary Mark Iwry, who are spearheading the effort.

Guess who’s involved looking out for all of us??   Starts with an A…

Annuities generally guarantee income until the retiree’s death, and often that of a surviving spouse as well. They are designed to protect against the risk that retirees outlive their savings, a danger made clear by market losses suffered by older Americans over the last year, David Certner, legislative counsel for AARP, said in an interview.

“There’s a real desire on a lot of people’s parts to try to encourage something other than just rolling over a lump sum, to make sure this money will actually last a lifetime,” said Certner, legislative counsel for Washington-based AARP, the biggest U.S. advocacy group for retirees.

Oh, yeah and guess who else is taking their piece?

Promoting annuities may benefit companies that provide them through employers, including ING Groep NV and Prudential Financial Inc., or sell them directly to individuals, such as American International Group Inc., the insurer that has received $182.3 billion in government aid.

MAY BENEFIT????   You have to be kidding…And, AIG, AGAIN???

The article continues discussing how people just aren’t putting much money into annuities so they have to be “encouraged.”

There’s a bit of concern being raise, however:

Asset managers are concerned the government may go too far in encouraging annuities, said Mike McNamee, a spokesman for the Investment Company Institute. Seven in 10 U.S. households would object to a requirement that retirees convert part of their savings into annuities, according to a survey the group released today.

“Households’ views on policy changes revealed a preference to preserve retirement account features and flexibility,” the institute said in a report.

But there’s puzzlement, too:

The institute also said annuities have received support from academic research and “it is unclear why individuals usually forego the annuity option” even when it is available. The survey didn’t ask about potential efforts by the government to encourage voluntary use of annuities.

Of course, in the next sentence, the question is answered:

Annuity sales to individuals have come under regulatory scrutiny in recent years over the size of sales commissions and whether some varieties are suitable for older investors.

So, who’s pushing this idea?

One proposal raised by Iwry as co-author of a paper while at the Retirement Security Project, before joining the administration, has reached Congress. A bill requiring employers to report 401(k) savings both as an account balance and as a stream of income based on an annuity was introduced on Dec. 3 by Senators Jeff Bingaman, a New Mexico Democrat, Johnny Isakson, a Georgia Republican, and Herb Kohl, a Wisconsin Democrat.

WOW, bipartisanship!!

And, this crap may not be a product of the Obama crowd alone…Chuck Butler, President of EverBank, and the author of the Daily Pfenning newsletter (one of the two newsletters I received that are discussing this) writes:

Well… A reader sent me a report from May of 2008, where a Washington Think Tank came up with this idea of taking a piece of our pie…

I can’t vouch for this information so I will try to track it down.  But if it’s true, then the idea was around during Bushco…and, if so, then it means this is another example of the continuity into Obama World.

In the meantime, also check out the analysis of Karl Denninger at Market Ticker in a post entitled “401k/IRA Screw Job Coming?” He mentions CNBC’s Rick Santelli’s belief that this is all about forcing money into the Treasury market and then he concludes:

Let me tell you what this is – it is an attempt to prevent the collapse of the Treasury market!

And he goes on to discuss the risks all this portends for the future.

Read it and weep…

****

UPDATE

*One of the newsletters just popped into my mailbox and they’ve discovered the missing Business Week link, complete with a title change, by the way…from

“Americans Oppose initiatives limiting 401 k choices ICI says”

to:

“Retiree Annuities May Be Promoted by Obama Aides”

Notice the change of emphasis??????

Here’s the story:

Retiree Annuities May Be Promoted by Obama Aides

http://www.businessweek.com/investor/content/jan2010/pi2010018_130737.htm

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

~~By InsightAnalytical-GRL

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

more

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

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

Time will tell…


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

~~By InsightAnalytical-GRL

Can somebody explain all this action in Africa?

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

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

August 13, 2009

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

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

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

Then, she went into more detail:

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

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

The State Department went into scramble mode:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

~~By InsightAnalytical-GRL

UPDATE 1: 8/10/09 PM:

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

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

Clinton pushes rights issues in Congo, Angola

snip

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

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

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

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

UPDATE 2

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

Big Dog May Not Return to Leash After Pyongyang

What will this Pandora’s Box yield?

UPDATE 3   8/11/09   AM

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

Vodpod videos no longer available.

more about “untitled“, posted with vodpod

***

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

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

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

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

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

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

Should Africa listen to Hillary Clinton?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

snip

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

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

Anyone making misstatements has to pay for them.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

snip

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Kenya impunity ‘disappoints US’

snip

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

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

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

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

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

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

Clinton adds:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

About Sarah Palin…

~~By InsightAnalytical-GRL

I was at the gym on the Wave when I saw the news about Sarah Palin’s resignation. My first reaction was “Oh, this is bad!  They’ll call her “a quitter.” I listened patiently to the patter on FOX and later at home and, of course, the term “quitter” was brought up, as well as speculation about her not having a thick enough skin,” her family concerns, and maybe how having a Downs child demands more time than she originally thought.  Or maybe she she was just “fed up.” I was informed that she had been acting “bizarre.” I heard the radio news playing back the Katie Couric interview about what Palin read. (Frankly, she said she read everything, which sounds just about like how I would answer on the fly…I’m sure if she had specified at the time, people would have criticized her even for that!)

I can only speak for myself but as I heard more of what she actually said today, especially the part about working for Americans in the future, I actually began to feel good about all this. I love that she focused on the political climate in Alaska. I loved that she didn’t consult with the Congressional delegation.

The “elite” have been out to get her since Day 1 and the Letterman crap didn’t arouse much passionate defense. (The late comments by NOW were just that–late and rather pro forma to save their image after they got an earful, most likely.)  Frankly, the Republicans don’t seem to want her either.

You know what? I would love it if she left the Republican Party and traveled around speaking, pointedly, about the political climate in this country. I’d love if she began saying point blank that the media is garbage.  I would love it if she mused out loud about the criticism about her “stupidity” and lack of “experience” and compare that to this fraud in the White House’s experience and his need for a teleprompter. I would love it if she starting hanging around with a Ron Paul or some of those Democratic reps who don’t approve of a lot of the Obama Adminstration’s crap, the GOP and the demise of this country.

I would love it if she spearheaded a third party.  Basically, I’d love it if she essentially started campaigning against Obama by going after the creeps around him, some of whom have been going after her in Alaska. She can also talk about the Republicans who join in the game.  She can without any problems call out the elites in D.C.  I think the harsh attacks on Palin belie a great deal of fear…She has nothing to lose, so I would love to see her really unleashed on her own terms.

However, if she chooses not to, that’s OK…because I don’t want to see her go down in a small plane “accident”…

Right now the punditry and the elite are rather shocked, it seems. Well, screw them!  We’ve been inspired by the women of Iran recently and maybe here in the U.S., we can be inspired by a woman who isn’t afraid to go out there and be herself and speak her mind.

Whatever she does, it will be interesting.

For now, I’m hoping she goes on every damned talk show and simply unloads.  I hope she gives Obama and the rest of the Villagers some nervous moments.

And maybe she can provide the spark that gets this country to wake up…

Just a couple of days ago she let this drop:

Palin says she’d beat Obama in long run

ANCHORAGE, Alaska — Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin said she’d come out ahead if she went one-on-one with fellow jogger President Barack Obama in a long run, according to an interview published online Tuesday.

“I betcha I’d have more endurance,” she told Runner’s World magazine.

snip

“Sweat is my sanity,” Palin told the magazine.

Somehow, I don’t think Palin is a quitter. She’s playing the game her way.  Whatever her plan is, I say:

GO, SARAH!!


SWITCH THE PARADIGM! Why We Really CAN Make a Change for the Better

(Editor’s Note: This inspiring essay comes just in time for the July 4th holiday.  Enjoy the holiday but take some time to reflect on what it really honors…IA)

~~By Grail Guardian

I’ve been reading a lot of internal squabbling on various web sites lately about whether or not people can or should vote for Republicans in order to restore the political balance in Washington. I’ve “listened” to both sides of the argument and for those who have not been paying attention (or living an actual life instead of following the blogs) I offer this brief summary of each:

Pro: Voting Republicans in is the only way to offset Obama and the idiots in Congress that are bleeding the country dry. The Democratic majority is killing the American economy and Constitution and is out of control. No third party candidate will be able succeed in the current system, so we must hold our noses and vote for all Republican candidates and hope they induce a stalemate in Congress.

Con: The Republicans are just as bad as the Democrats, and we’ll just end up swing from far left to far right (then back again) if we vote them back in. I can’t vote for someone that supports everything I have fought against all my life just to stop the Democrats (i.e.: abortion rights). Replacing one form of evil with another does no good, therefore I must look for the least offensive Democrat to support despite the fact that they will likely vote along party lines (think Kirsten Gillibrand in NY).

I must confess that I can find some truth in both of these arguments, but there’s something I need to point out here: These are not the only options!

That’s right – I said it! There are other choices. To wit, we need term limits and alternative candidates that don’t belong (a totally accurate term in every sense) to either political party. But, but…Grail, you say, how could that be? No Congress critter will ever vote for their own term to be limited and everyone knows that no third party candidate can possible get elected!

Wrong! Ladies and gentlemen, it’s time to play Switch That Paradigm! The exciting game show where you, the American public, actually get to choose the winners! No, it’s not American Idol. Not even close. It’s a nifty concept I learned about from commenter Practical Madman over at Logistics Monster, and it’s called Get Out of Our House. Here’s the concept: If we want to stop the insanity in D.C. we must clean out the political lifers in Congress; the Obama administration (or any other administration for that matter) cannot pass legislation without the support and complicity of Congress (at least as of the writing of this piece), no matter how many mouth breathers support him. The easiest way to do this is in the House of Representatives, since the whole barrel of monkeys is up for re-election every 2 years under the Constitution (yes, all 435 members are up in 2010). Besides, the Senate isn’t exactly a cohesive majority, and if the bills can’t pass in the House they aren’t making it to the Oval Office for signature. Get Out of Our House, or GOoOH (pronounced “go”) wants to dump all 435 members at once and replace them with ordinary citizens that actually (gasp) vote for what their constituents want. That’s right – you and me for Congress!

Here’s the deal: if enough regular Americans are willing to participate, they group can raise enough money to support candidates in every district. People who wish to run for office complete a comprehensive position questionnaire that is posted on line. There are no right or wrong answers, no political philosophy you must adhere to, no liberal or conservative viewpoints required at the door. You answer the questions, and sign a legally binding pledge that if you are elected you will vote the way you answered on the questionnaire or abstain from the vote if there is fuzzy or unrelated material attached to the bill, as Congress is wont to do. (Note: there is an alternative option wherein you can change your vote if you post your intent to do so online at least 7 days in advance and a majority of your district votes that it’s OK for you to change your vote.) Once the candidates have locked in their answers, a series of Selection Sessions are held where members get the chance to vote for or against candidates that best represent how they would like their Representative to vote. Sessions are held until there is only 1 candidate per district, and that person becomes the GOoOH nominee for the district. The whole organization is based on the concept that the candidates will not follow any particular school of thought; for instance, voters in New York City would probably tend to select a candidate with more liberal viewpoints, whereas voters in Butte, MT would be more prone to select a candidate with conservative views that fit the local political consciousness.

Oh, and did I mention that all candidates agree in advance to a few interesting conditions:

· To run for no more than 2 terms (it was originally 1, but was changed due to input on the site)

· To disclose in advance of each Selection Session if you are an attorney (originally excluded, but again changed due to commenter input)

· To disclose in advance of each Selection Session if you are wealthy (a multi-millionaire)

· To resign within 72 hours and pay a fine if you vote contrary to your stated positions (per the questionnaire)

· To resign within 72 hours and pay a fine if you accept funds “other than your federal paycheck”

Are there drawbacks to the system? Yes. Some of the bigger ones are: the $100 membership fee (that is used to fund the candidates that are eventually selected, the fact that at least 500,000 members are needed to make it work, and the inability for people not on the web to participate in the upfront process (we all get to vote eventually, but you must register online).

Some of the other advantages are: the ability to join an existing organization that is prepared for the political process, regardless of your political views, the ability of average Americans to have a “hands on” role in actually choosing the nominee from a large pool of candidates (rather than just the guy who has lost the last 3 times in your area), and the inability of political interest groups (lobbyists, PACs, unions, or even religious groups) to influence the candidates. I personally believe that America is at a “do or die” juncture as a free Republic, and GOoOH may just provide a way back to the basics. We are at a crossroads that our Founders predicted and feared:

“If ever a time should come, when vain and aspiring men shall possess the highest seats in Government, our country will stand in need of its experienced patriots to prevent its ruin.” –Samuel Adams

“A government big enough to supply everything you need is big enough to take everything you have… The course of history shows that as a government grows, liberty decreases.” –Thomas Jefferson

Now is the time for all good PUMAs to put up or shut up. We all agree we want change. We all agree that the current system is not working. We all agree that the time to stop the juggernaut poised to crush our nation is extremely limited. We call agree that 2008 ended the political process as we knew it forever. And who better to change things than us? And who are we? Simply average Americans that have seen the road the political corruption and corporate greed of the current government is leading us down and wish to return to the Constitution as it was written. For those of you that need a bit more background, I offer this excellent video courtesy of Diamond Tiger at Logistics Monster that explains the current political situation in concise and frightening terms. Take 10 minutes and watch it all the way through; if you are not scared at the similarities between circumstances preceding the fall of Rome and the current fall of America at the end, then go in peace and enjoy your final moments of freedom. If you are disturbed and unwilling to take any more, take a serious look at the GOoOH site and see what you think. I know it is not the ideal solution, but if we wait for perfection our economy will be collapsed, there will be record inflation not seen since 1920’s Germany, government will have taken an extraordinary amount of power away from We the People, and our country as we know it will be gone.

Change is inevitable. The only question is: which side of it do you want to be on?

This:

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Or this:

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These images should remind us of a few very simple concepts:

· Ordinary people can make a difference if they believe enough to fight against tyranny

· You can speak truth to power, no matter how well ensconced it may appear

· Women can and do lead the way

· We have what everyone else in the world wants, and we are letting it slip away with little more than a whimper

· “The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing.” (This quote is generally attributed to Edmund Burke but the true source appears to be unknown.)

The truth of the matter is simple: the concept that we, the people of the greatest nation in the world, cannot alter our destiny or stop The Powers That Be from destroying our Republic is nothing more or less than the same mass-marketing advertising scam that has been used to brainwash the masses into thinking we need the latest bright, shiny object on the market to distract ourselves from reality. It’s a sales job – that’s all! If enough of us are disgusted and use our votes, any candidate can be elected and any party can be successful. When you get right down to it, isn’t that all political campaigns have evolved into? Never-ending infomercials! And now the very office of the President of the United States of America has been turned into the world’s largest infomercial. (I’m surprised he doesn’t have a Guthy-Renker logo on his backside!) But that’s really good news, because that means that we don’t have to buy it! We can shop around for what we really want, no matter what they tell us on the tee vee! For cryin’ out loud, when have they ever told us the truth? Isn’t that the whole concept of Madison Avenue (and K Street)? Lie big, lie often, and then lie some more and eventually people will buy what you tell them because that’s what Charlie and Katie and Brian tell them to do!

Well, I’m here to tell you the sad news: Edward R. Murrow is dead and so is the “fourth estate”; John F. Kennedy was barely elected (and probably only then because of “creative” voting in Daley’s Chicago) and there was no “magic bullet” (no matter what Arlen “Which party am I in again?” Specter wants you to believe); aspartame and fluoride are actually toxins sold to us to make profit off of useless chemicals; and the United States Constitution does not grant the government the right to tax income or sales, no matter what the IRS says. They are all advertising scams designed to persuade compliant Americans to buy the “official” version of a convenient fabrication. The idea that no third party candidate could ever win a national election is another such ad campaign, and we have bought it lock, stock and barrel. We even preach it to each other. So the time has come to shift our paradigm and alter our vision of “reality” (whatever that is). Dorothy eventually looked behind the curtain and discovered that Oz was nothing more than a two-bit carnie hustler, and that the ability to return to where she wanted to be was always within her own power. We, too, must accept that we’re not in Kansas anymore and take a good hard look at what’s behind that curtain.

You can save this nation. You can be a US Representative. If you believe in the Constitution of this Republic, I propose you owe it to America to step up to the plate and either be a candidate or at a minimum support the system that may just be capable of returning every day, common sense Americans to the business of running this country.

The choice is yours; what will you choose?

In Search of the American Personality: Warnings from the Nuremberg Trial Rohrschach Inkblot Tests

By InsightAnalytical-GRL

Last week as I waited for nearly two hours to see the doctor, I picked up a magazine called Monitor on Psychology.  This publication is issued by American Psychological Association and I was intrigued by a the title of one of the stories inside — “In Search of the Nazi Personality.”

I took a lot of notes, figuring that the article wouldn’t be online. But, to my surprise, it was.

It’s a fascinating overview of how psychologists and psychiatrists have attempted to analyze the minds of the Nazis who took inkblot tests while in Nuremberg prison during their trials.

From Monitor on Psychology – Time capsule (the bolding is mine):

In search of the Nazi personality

The Nazi Rorschach responses have captured psychologists’ imaginations for decades.

By Nick Joyce
Print version: page 18

It’s true: Hermann Goering, among others, took inkblot tests in Nuremberg prison. What’s less certain is what the results of these tests mean.

In the aftermath of World War II, Allied forces captured and detained many of the remaining Nazi leaders, including Goering, Joachim von Ribbentrop, Rudolf Hess and Albert Speer. The Allied leaders in charge of the Nuremberg trials sought psychological profiles of the Nazis and asked psychologist Gustave Gilbert, PhD, and psychiatrist Douglas Kelley, MD, both Americans, to collect the data using psychological tools such as the Thematic Apperception Test, Rorschach Inkblot Test and the German translation of the Wechsler-Bellevue Intelligence Test. Even though the tests played little role in the trials, the scientists were searching for answers to a question that still lingers today: Were the Nazis evil men or merely ordinary people who did horrific deeds because they were ordered to do so?

Both examiners found all of these men legally sane, but had different views on how to interpret the data.

…Gilbert was attuned to the socio-cultural context of the Nazi leadership. He claimed that the Nazis were raised in a culture that had a primary value of deference to authority to which all other reason and intelligence took a backseat. He concluded that democratic leaders should be trained as critical thinkers to prevent that same kind of blind obedience.

In his 1947 book, “Twenty-two Cells in Nuremberg” (unknown publisher), Kelley wrote that although some of the Nazi prisoners showed some pathology of personality during the examinations, he did not believe they were mentally ill. Kelley cautioned that a Nazi-style government would be possible even in America because it was a “socio-cultural disease” and not a product of insane leaders…

At the time Gilbert and Kelley were publishing their analyses, Molly Harrower, PhD, a Rorschach authority, tried to gather a panel of 10 experts to add their insights, but none agreed to do so because at the time, there was little chance that the world wanted to see these men as anything but pathological.

Thirty years later, Harrower believed the political environment had changed enough to allow for an objective evaluation of the results. She used a double-blind procedure to have 10 Rorschach experts interpret the Nazis’ results and matched control responses from clergy and hospital patients. Harrower arranged four groups of reports, two with all Nazis, one with clergy and the last with patients. The responses of the experts noted no similarities in the Nazi protocols nor signs of mental disturbance, indicating that Nazi leaders were seemingly no different from average Americans.

Harrower’s findings are not definitive and there has been discussion about methodological problems and other factors. But, she published her final work, as part of a book called  “The Quest for the Nazi Personality” in 1995, more than 60 years after VE-Day.

The interest in the personality of Nazi leaders continues unabated.  One has to wonder what psychologists will be saying about the “Obama culture” — followers and leaders — that we’ve seen take over America over the last year…

 

UPDATE,  JULY 2014

How time change!  Compared to the GOP, Obama looks like a saint….