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Thursday, July 1, 2010

Obama the Conservative; Palin the Insane; Conservative Policy Still Afflicting US; more (posted 07/08/09)

- Major Polluters Water Down Climate Warming Ambitions The Group of Eight leading industrialized nations and other major economies dropped a pledge to halve global greenhouse gas emissions by 2050, a European Union official said.

- So What If Palin's Insane, Incoherent, Unethical and Unreliable? In spite of her up and quitting the job for reasons that, it seems many in the GOP still think Sarah Palin would make one heck of a president. A new USA Today/Gallup poll found that 72% of Republicans would be very or somewhat likely to vote for her. Are these people nuts, or just desperate? You betcha.

- Bonkers in Alaska Barrack Obama proved, finally, that anyone can grow up to be president. Sarah Palin, however, proved him wrong. Happily, lunatics are still not able to win the White House. Sometimes presidents turn into lunatics while living in the Booby Hatch Capital of the World (Richard Nixon is a case in point), but Americans are still reluctant to make a national leader of someone who proves herself bonkers before even running.

- The Obama Justice System ...even for those detainees to whom the Obama administration deigns to give a real trial in a real court, the President has the power to continue to imprison them indefinitely even if they are acquitted at their trial[found INNOCENT!]. About this assertion of "presidential post-acquittal detention power" -- an Orwellian term (and a Kafka-esque concept) that should send shivers down the spine of anyone who cares at all about the most basic liberties -- Ackerman wrote, with some understatement, that it "moved the Obama administration into new territory from a civil liberties perspective." Law professor Jonathan Turley was more blunt: "The Obama Administration continues its retention and expansion of abusive Bush policies - now clearly Obama policies on indefinite detention."

...In its own twisted way, the Bush approach was actually more honest and transparent: they made no secret of their belief that the President could imprison anyone he wanted without any process at all. That's clearly the Obama view as well, but he's creating an elaborate, multi-layered, and purely discretionary "justice system" that accomplishes exactly the same thing while creating the false appearance that there is due process being accorded.

- Campaign Finance Moment of Truth Decades of lawmaking and court decisions restricting the flow of cash into U.S. elections are on the verge of coming undone, placing President Barack Obama in the unexpected position of presiding over the possible demise of the modern campaign finance regime....Most of the developments now threatening to reverse efforts to reduce the influence of money in politics were set in motion during George W. Bush's presidency....But Obama has otherwise done little to advance the campaign finance agenda and has failed to take tide-stemming steps available to him, a source of considerable frustration for reform advocates who had embraced him as a longtime proponent of reducing the role of money in campaigns.

- Familiar Players in Health Bill Lobbying The nation's largest insurers, hospitals and medical groups have hired more than 350 former government staff members and retired members of Congress in hopes of influencing their old bosses and colleagues [against universal health care].

- The Honduras Coup: Is Obama Innocent? First, almost all the senior Honduran military officers active in the coup are graduates of the Pentagon's School of the Americas (known to many of us as "School of the Assassins"). The Honduran military is trained, advised, equipped, indoctrinated, and financed by the United States national security state. The generals would never have dared to move without tacit consent from the White House or the Pentagon and CIA.

Seeing Obama as Norwegians See Him
by George Lakey
Published on Wednesday, July 8, 2009 by

I just returned from a research trip to Norway where the people I interviewed often brought up the topic of our new President. The first was Kristin Clemet, the director of a conservative think tank. "This spring on a delegation to Washington I was struck again," she said, "by how different the political spectrum is in Norway from your country. Here, Obama would be on the right wing." I checked her view with others -- academics, politicians, activists all over the Norwegian spectrum -- and all but one agreed. In Norwegian terms, our President's positions are very conservative.

When Norway hit a major financial crisis in the early '90s (from a real estate bubble and speculating banks), the Norwegians decided against bail-outs. Three of the biggest banks were simply taken by the government, their senior management fired, their stockholders sent packing. The government nursed the seized banks back to health over time while the economy made a quick recovery. The other troubled banks were left to declare bankruptcy or find new capital. Norway's action sent a clear message to the banks: mismanagement and greed don't pay. The result is that today its own financial sector is clean and only needs to deal with the impact of other countries' disasters. Norway's strategy was very far from Obama's bank-friendly game plan.

When Norwegian oil was discovered, the country decided not to risk putting their new treasure in private ownership. Norwegians were therefore able to lead the world in environmental responsibility and to avoid boom/bust impact on their seacoast cities. Most important, Norway has been stashing the oil profits in a public, socially responsible "Pension Fund" that will support the Norwegians' famously high living standard for many generations to come.

Half a century ago Norway already had a universal health care system that is simplicity itself. There's a single payer (the government) and minimum red tape, something like Medicare but for everyone and better. The entire political spectrum supports this. By contrast, Obama says he backs the failed U.S. private insurance scheme and his team is wobbling on his own modest proposal to add a public option. So I would have to say to thoughtful Republicans: even if you don't like the Nordic blend of capitalism and socialism, with its virtual abolition of poverty, free university education, and enlightened environmentalism, you're only confusing the issue when you try to label the President with the "S"-word. You may think his policies are wrong, but in Norway even conservatives would say the Democrats and Obama don't go nearly far enough.