So Trump is “Changed” by a Gas Attack…And It’s “Bombs Away”… Meanwhile….

By InsightAnalytical-GRL

So, the horrific images of a gas attack in Syria has moved Trump, touched his heart…

Pardon the cynic in me…

He’s escalated drone strikes and wants the policy regarding the sparing civilians to be gone…http://www.truth-out.org/news/item/39914-amid-spike-in-civilian-deaths-from-us-strikes-trump-requests-lifting-policy-limiting-casualties   ….

The USA has killed 9 children in Yemen during a botched raid in Yemen, that was decided upon during a nice dinner, followed up with 200 civilians in Mosul…

We have thousands of children here in Flint, Michigan under threat of lead poisoning that may ruin their brains for the rest of their lives…

He’s keen on gutting healthcare, especially for the poor on Medicaid, which has a huge number of children on the rolls…

He’s willing to gut the EPA and have dangerous NEW chemicals approved that will affect the population…

Etc, etc. as the abuses pile up….

But SUDDENLY, Trump is so touched by the attack in Syria that he is “changed” ….

I guess dead refugee children washing up on the shores of the Mediterranean after escaping from Syria isn’t bad enough…and those freezing in camps and unable to travel onward are just…well, who cares?

Who thinks we are being played as the media pundits furrow their brows about how Russia will react?

Perhaps the Trump crowd consulted with the Russians…to fire a bunch of missiles on an airfield which was OK with Russia.  The Russians can supply more planes if they want to. No Russians got zapped.   A lot of tarmac got blown up….MAYBE some gas? But what really changes??  OH, WAIT…they DID NOT TEAR UP THE AIRSTRIP!!!  Maybe a few oil tanks, etc. but the airstrip is apparently ship-shape!!!

So Putin’s friend Trump gets a change of story from the Russian ties/interference story, gets a bump in the polls, and T. Rex  Tillerson goes over there as planned and talks oil deals?  Assad stays put and it’s business as usual?

And the GOP, who chickened out when Obama asked them to authorize action after he drew his red line, the same crew who bellowed about the need for ACTION after the 2013 gas attack, well….Little Marco Rubio is out there tonight looking very serious and in need of a shave pontificating about the role of Congress…you never know, McCain wants action, so heck, the GOP may do some authorizing now whereas Obama never got an ounce of cooperation on ANYTHING…

Do you really think Assad is going to go?  Do you really think that Trump is going to really do something to upset Russia over their ally Assad?

Do you????

Oh, he was eating dinner AGAIN tonight when the strike was launched…

And, when Trump reads from a script trying to look serious and Presidential? Frankly, he looks like a FAKE to me…

Update: Hillary is reported to have been in favor of bombing the airstrip…but, I bet she actually WOULD have wrecked the airstrip, not leave it intact for the Russian-Syrian allies to continue to have it available for future use…

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Globalization/U.S. Decline Right on Schedule Courtesy Obama Backdown…Summer 2010 Projected Completion of Integration of NAFTA with EU to Counter BRIC/ASEAN Bloc

~~By InsightAnalytical-GRL

A couple of days ago I posted some thoughts on “Globalization in Pictures: Courtesy AT & T”.

Then I stumbled across an update of a something far more “under the radar” that I had found back in March of 2009. See below for the link to that post, specifically the section titled “Canada-EU Free Trade?”

The gist of that tidbit from March follows:

Friday I received the daily newsletter from Radio Canada International and once again there were squibs included that I couldn’t find at either the RCI site or when I searched around the CBC’s news area.

Read these with an eye to several posts that will be starting tomorrow, with American Lassies’s post entitled “THE PROPOSED NORTH AMERICAN COMMUNITY/NORTH AMERICAN UNION: 2010 Is Just Around the Corner.”

OTTAWA: CANADA, EU AGREE ON FREE-TRADE AGENDA

Canada and the European Union have agreed on a framework for negotiation of a free-trade accord after six months of discussions. Canadian Trade Minister Stockwell Day says the two parties will discuss goods and services, investment rules, intellectual property and free circulation of workers. The minister says Canada’s provinces will take part in the negotiations. Bilateral trade last year was worth $90 billion, an increase of seven per cent over 2007.

***

Well, guess what? Things have been moving along…and  include MORE than Canada and the EU.

From Fortune at money.cnn.com:

Plotting the biggest trade deal of the 21st century

Tax-free Champagne, anyone?

European and North American politicians are plotting the biggest trade deal of the 21st century: a $35 trillion, duty-free region encompassing the E.U., the U.S., Canada, and Mexico

by Erik Heinrich, contributor
Last Updated: October 29, 2009: 2:17 PM ET

TORONTO (Fortune) — Not even Franz Kafka could have dreamed this one up.

This past spring, prime ministers Stephen Harper of Canada and Mirek Topolanek of the Czech Republic met with European Union mandarins from Brussels. The setting was Prague’s medieval castle — made famous by Kafka in what is perhaps the darkest novel in his moody oeuvre — where they hatched a plan for the biggest free-trade deal of the 21st century.

How could a development of this magnitude result from a fairly routine conference between Canada and the EU? (At the time, the Czech Republic was responsible for the trading bloc’s presidency, which rotates between member states every six months.) The short answer is that after decades of spinning their wheels, Canada and the EU finally agreed to begin negotiating a free-trade agreement (FTA).

Immediately after declaring these talks as “hatching” the plans for “the biggest free-trade deal of the 21st century,” the reporter immediately shifts gears:

That’s far from a Bond-villain plot for world domination. But fast forward to last week in Ottawa, Canada, where the first round of Canada-EU negotiations reached a successful conclusion, with both sides optimistic that a deal can be signed as early as the summer of 2010.

Wow, I’m so relieved! No “plot for world domination” here!

But it all boils down to trying to save the neck of the U.S. apparently (my bolding):

When that happens, a push will begin for the ultimate goal behind the Prague agreement: a NAFTA-EU trade zone to counterbalance the growing economic power of Fortress Asia, and the ascendancy of the so-call BRIC (Brazil, Russia, India, China) group of countries.

“The U.S. will lose its leadership position in trade unless it comes up with a new strategy,” says Steven Schrage, a specialist in international business at the Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS) in Washington. “It makes sense to integrate NAFTA with the EU.”

Annual two-way trade between Canada and EU is about $100 billion, less than 20% of the total between Canada and the U.S. under NAFTA. But a trans-Atlantic NAFTA-EU trade zone would encompass nearly 1 billion people and account for $35.2 trillion in annual GDP, more than half the world’s total.

The article continues by noting that  China, India, and the 10 ASEAN nations (Association of Southeast Asian Nations) are “not standing still.” Our buddies at Goldman Sachs opine that “by 2050 the world’s three biggest economies will be China, the U.S. and India in that order, compared to the U.S., Japan and Germany today. That represents a clear shift away from the G7.”

A NAFTA-EU trade deal may get stiff opposition here in the U.S.  Why?

However with protectionist sentiment in the U.S. gaining momentum, helped in part by President Obama’s controversial Buy-American position, getting the world’s biggest economy to expand its free-trade frontier could be an uphill battle. At least for the near term.

But wait a minute…

Marc Ambinder in The Atlantic provided a transcript of Obama’s musings in his piece of February 3, 2009 titled  Obama Wants “Buy American” Out Of Stimulus Bill and you can find more stories on the “back down” below!

So, the Fortune report seems to have “forgotten” what went on in February.  Which begs the question–how “uphill” will be this “battle” to integrate NAFTA with the EU in the “near term”?

In my last post I listeda series of posts related to globalization and here’s the link to the post by American Lassie titled  THE PROPOSED NORTH AMERICAN COMMUNITY/NORTH AMERICAN UNION: 2010 Is Just Around the Corner (March 9, 2009) that was mentioned above.

So, do you think all this NAFTA-EU “conflict” will be settled sometime next year?

Well, silly me!  The Fortune article actually informs us that “both sides optimistic that a deal can be signed as early as the summer of 2010.”

DUH!

Everything right on schedule!!!

***

Related Post on Canada-EU Free Trade from March 2009:

The Past Week: March 1-7, 2009 (More on Sinclair Lewis; Canada-EU Free Trade?; China Eyeing the Big Three Automakers’ “Juicy Bits”?; Palin’s “Troopergate” Foe Winds Up In Obama Administration)

Related Posts from February 2009 on Obama’s backdown on “Buy America”:

President Obama to water down ‘Buy American’ plan after EU trade war threat (The Times, UK)

Obama backs down over ‘Buy America’ after EU warns him not to start a global trade war (Daily Mail, UK)

Don’t worry about ‘Buy American’: Obama (Rediff India Abroad)

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)

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

~~By InsightAnalytical-GRL

Nothing like tuning into Turner Classic Movies to find the 1936 film “Things to Come,” a version of the H.G. Wells’ novel about a post-World War collapse of Western civilization and rebuilding efforts through that year.

Not very cheery…and neither is the following…

We touched on Timothy Geithner’s “slip” about the dollar, but this article for yesterday’s Guardian details how the proposal China has put forth for a new role for the IMF (International Monetary Fund) is gaining ground.  And the RIA Novosti news outlet (government run), is reporting that Russia wants a conference that will remove the dollar as the world’s reserve currency.

From The Guardian:

Thursday 26 March 2009 14.42 GMT

Global currency flies with push from Russia and slip from Timothy Geithner

The dollar drops back as China’s proposal for an IMF alternative gains ground

Russia plans to hold an international conference to discuss the creation of a global currency to replace the dollar.

According to the RIA news agency, Andrei Denisov, Russia’s first deputy foreign minister, said: “This proposal is aimed at a practical realisation of the idea about a new global accounting unit or a new global currency. It is a question that should be discussed to create a consensus.”

Denisov’s comments came only hours after the US treasury secretary, Timothy Geithner, shocked the markets by saying Washington was open to the idea, though he later qualified his remarks.

The debate about a global reserve currency run by the International Monetary Fund was sparked by a proposal from China this week.

snip

China’s bold proposal has been made before by independent economists, but it has until now met with resistance from the US and other countries with large dollar holdings. Zhou has acknowledged that such a shift could take a long time.

Zhou says it could “take a long time” but if you heard Peter Schiff last night on the Jerry Doyle show, you would have heard him say that China alone can do the job.  They’ve already expressed doubts about U.S. Treasury bonds and we reported a couple of days ago that they are not going to be purchasing any more.

Just yesterday a talking head on FOX’s Shepherd Smith show predicted that the dollar wouldn’t be replaced as the world’s currency at the G-20 meeting, but the agenda of that meeting on April 1-2 sounds an awful lot like what’s coming out of China and Russia.  See our prior posts for details (below).

We also covered the Steve Clemons’/New America Foundation-sponsored Economic Policy Symposium held yesterday in D.C. which featured Laura Tyson and George Soros. Unfortunately, every browser I tried crashed repeatedly as I tried to listen and also when I tied to click through the link below to see the agenda.

I guess we have to be satisfied for now with a summary of sorts by someone I know nothing about, a certain Douglas Rediker,  which was posted yesterday after the forum was over. But I still would love to be able to read/listen to whatever is on the site, without it crashing!

Here’s an excerpt from Rediker’s short post…I suggest reading the whole thing because it has some hard numbers of interest. He takes a different view than Schiff does on what China can do or will do, but the warning is clear (my bolding):

http://www.thewashingtonnote.com/archives/2009/03/rebalancing_glo/

Rebalancing Global Currency Reserves

Thursday, Mar 26 2009, 2:05PM

At this morning’s superb economic event at the New America Foundation and in testimony before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee yesterday, there was a lot of discussion about China’s recent proposal to consider a move away from the US dollar and towards the use of a new “super-sovereign reserve currency.” The intention according to China’s central bank governor, Zhou Xiaochuan, would be to ultimately “create an international reserve currency that is disconnected from individual nations and is able to remain stable in the long run.”

SNIP

…The short term risk is not that China is about to dump its dollar holdings. Rather, it is the trading floors and fund managers around the world, whose job it is to be ahead of the curve, who may well start to re-weight their holdings on the marginally increased probability that this re-weighting might actually occur in the future. As the numbers above suggest, even a relatively small shift could represent a meaningful shift of capital and resulting impact on the dollar’s value.

There are, of course, multiple forces at work in foreign exchange markets and, among the sure-fire ways to lose money in this world are: 1) to play currency markets and 2) to bet against the US and the US dollar. Nevertheless, the fact that this is now likely to be a discussion topic on the agenda for the London Summit, suggests that the US should not take for granted that the US dollar will retain its current role in the world forever. Currencies are traditionally viewed as a reflection of a country’s economic strength. The US cannot lose sight of the crucial role that the “exorbitant privilege” to print the world’s currency provides and do what it can to ensure that this privilege is not lost. We can’t take anything for granted.

Feeling better now? I’m not…

***

Related Posts:

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??)

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)

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)

~~By InsightAnalytical-GRL

We looked at the upcoming G-20 meeting in yesterday’s post (See: 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), and lo and behold, a few times during the day, I began picking up some items on the TV discussing the meeting, which will be held in London April 1-2.

I caught a few moments of Shepherd Smith on FOX during the afternoon, interviewing a woman who ticked off all the reasons why the dollar wouldn’t be replaced as the world’s reserve currency at the meeting. The discussion was in the context of how it would affect the U.S. economy and how complicated it was, and that’s why it wouldn’t happen. China’s worries about its investments in U.S. Treasury bonds was mentioned and their desire for the dollar to be dropped as the reserve, but the EU was supporting the U.S. There was absolutely no mention of Russia and its release suggesting what China suggested.

Apparently, Glenn Beck wasn’t so circumspect during his morning radio show or his FOX TV show later in the afternoon.  I didn’t hear either but my mother said he sounded EXACTLY like what we had written in our post yesterday.  Since I had printed it out for her to read, she knew what was in it.

Well, what he opined wasn’t EXACTLY what we wrote about, but he touched a whole bunch of bases in giving a general “history” of how we have gotten to where we are today.  It’s like “From Biggest Lender to Biggest Borrower 101.”  Apparently Glenn Beck and IA are on the same page, at least on this one topic.  That’s a bit weird for us, since I think Beck is pretty insufferable, to say the least, but I think the “The One Thing” segment he did yesterday evening was pretty darned clear. This is a very short segment, so do watch it all! (Note: I had trouble inserting the video from the FOX site, so I found it on YouTube. The “title” comes from FOX, however.)

The One Thing

By Glenn Beck

The incredible shrinking dollar: Where’s the outrage?

***

A big hat tip to Uppity Woman who posted about the story by Matt Taibbi in Rolling Stone which actually comes out and talks about the “revolution” that is underway courtesy the big insiders.  Go to Uppity Woman to catch some of the excerpts of note.

And here’s the direct link to the piece:

The Big Takeover

The global economic crisis isn’t about money – it’s about power. How Wall Street insiders are using the bailout to stage a revolution

***

Well,  just in time for the 2009 election is…Al Gore, who issued a press release yesterday about a follow-up book to An Inconvenient Truth.  I loved the film and got a copy of the book as “payment” for my efforts in the not-so-long-distant past at a certain Chicago-based website that went crazy last May.

From the blog, Al Gore:

Our Choice March 24, 2009 : 1:07 PM

From the Press Release:

Today Vice President Gore announced that his next book, Our Choice, will be published by Rodale in the US and by other publishers internationally on November 3, 2009. Picking up where An Inconvenient Truth left off, Our Choice utilizes Mr. Gore’s forty years of experience as a student, policymaker, author, filmmaker, entrepreneur and activist to comprehensively describe the real solutions to global warming. A co-recipient of the Nobel Peace prize in 2007 for his environmental work, Mr. Gore continues to make sense of the pressing issues we face and Our Choice will unquestionably inspire and rally those ready to fight for solutions that were deemed impossible only a short time ago.

I was really ticked when the guy who delivered those stirring speeches about the press and the Constitution during the Bush years turned around and chose to endorse Obama instead of remaining a statesman for the world by staying neutral–the same Obama who took all that money from Exelon and rewrote a nuclear safety bill to please his donors and the Republicans.

So now, Gore will inject himself into the 2009 elections as all the PR push for his book in the period leading up to its Election Day release.  He’s been pretty quiet since the Inauguration and hasn’t talked about energy policy at all, although he’s supposed to be some sort of adviser to the Obama Administraiton.  Elections for governor will be held in Virginia (where Terry MacAuliffe is currently running for the Democratic nomination) and New Jersey (where Democrat Jon Corzine may be facing re-election troubles).  Frankly, I view this “book business” as manipulative and cheesy. And so damned obvious…

***

Finally, on a lighter note…

Augie the Dog and his owner make a statement of sorts about money.  I think it’s appropriate that the bag displayed near the end of the video will be going to the Treasury…Follow this  link and enjoy!


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

~~By InsightAnalytical-GRL

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

Al Jazeera Network TV deal broadens U.S. reach

Thu Jan 15, 2009 7:17pm EST

By Robert MacMillan

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

(SNIP)

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

Al Jazeera declined to disclose terms of the deal.

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

(MORE)

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

***

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

The Money-Changers

Wednesday, January 14, 2009; Page A17

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

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

(MORE)

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

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

***

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

Senate veteran, Delaware everyman faces new role

By BETH FOUHY Associated Press Writer

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

***

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

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

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

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

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

Godpseed…

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

Congratulations, Mark! You did it!!

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THE PAST WEEK

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

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

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

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

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

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

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.

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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)
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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.

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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.”

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