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Thursday, June 23, 2011

NAFTA, revisionist birther history, a deadly guru, an alleged mind control video, Gore vs. Obama...

This video putatively exposes a pentagon scheme to control the brains of "terrorists." The obvious unspoken suggestion, of course, is that Uncle Sam could put the whammy on anyone else as well. Arguably, large pockets of the American south could benefit from this tech.

That said, there are those who insist that this video is simply an elaborate hoax. Also see here. Come to your own conclusions; at the moment, I don't have the time to get into the nitty and the gritty of this debate...

NAFTA: Remember when Barack Obama said that he would renegotiate or end NAFTA? When he took the oath of office, our annual trade deficit with Mexico was $39 billion. A year later, it was up to $66 billion. Feel free to check my math, but isn't that a 70% increase?

Of course, our trade deficit with China is up to $60 billion or so -- for the first quarter of this year.

Birthers. Slate offers a good history of Birth Certificate "controversy" -- a.k.a., the stupidest conspiracy theory ever (except for the "no planes" theory of 9/11). But I took some umbrage at this...
The early birthers were conservatives and Clinton supporters, people with intense interest in denying the presidency to Obama by any means necessary. The Hillary supporters did some of the hardest digging. It was one of them, going by the name TexDarlin, who took up a challenge to find a contemporary birth announcement for Obama in 1961 Honolulu newspapers. In late July 2008, she found two of them.
First: The real PUMA contingent never fell for that birther crap; it was pushed by people like Larry Johnson and Pam Geller. Although the Slate piece discusses the great TechDude hoax, it neglects to mention my own not-inconsiderable part in exposing it.

Most importantly: The execrable TexasDarlin did not find the Obama birth announcements. That job was done by the late Lorenda Starfelt, a film-maker and good friend to this blog. I doubt that TexasDarlin could find Texas on a map of Texas with the word "TEXAS" printed in 40 pt. letters.

Slate writer David Weigel took his facts from, which -- uncharacteristically -- got it wrong.

James Arthur Ray -- or, as I call him, "Death" Ray -- has been found guilty of homicide in those sweat lodge deaths. Remember the story? Greed propelled the guru to fill the thing up with way more human beings than would ever normally take part in such a ceremony. Fifty-six people paid ten thou apiece.

Penny for your stocks:
Is this the latest incarnation of Jonathan Lebed, or is it the work of an admirer? If you go to the website, you'll see no easy way to discover the names and histories of the financial geniuses behind this scheme. They hide their identities yet they ask you to take their financial advice. That's awfully damned suspicious, if you asks me.

Not too long ago, I thought that "pump and dump" was simply a summary of my stepfather's dating advice.

Al Gore versus Barack Obama. I don't know about you, but I like the sound of that. Salon tells us to drop the G-v-O script, but I prefer to savor the notion.

Gore's Rolling Stone piece is here. His subject is the well-funded climate-change denial movement,which was the subject of a Cannonfire video called "The Science Con." Unfortunately, Gore doesn't directly talk about the Heartland Institute, the Randroid pseudo-"think tank" that is behind much of the effort to convince the public that the facts ain't facts.

Gore makes important points that go far beyond the climate change debate...
In the new ecology of political discourse, special-interest contributors of the large sums of money now required for the privilege of addressing voters on a wholesale basis are not squeamish about asking for the quo they expect in return for their quid. Politicians who don't acquiesce don't get the money they need to be elected and re-elected. And the impact is doubled when special interests make clear — usually bluntly — that the money they are withholding will go instead to opponents who are more than happy to pledge the desired quo. Politicians have been racing to the bottom for some time, and are presently tunneling to new depths. It is now commonplace for congressmen and senators first elected decades ago — as I was — to comment in private that the whole process has become unbelievably crass, degrading and horribly destructive to the core values of American democracy.

Largely as a result, the concerns of the wealthiest individuals and corporations routinely trump the concerns of average Americans and small businesses. There are a ridiculously large number of examples: eliminating the inheritance tax paid by the wealthiest one percent of families is considered a much higher priority than addressing the suffering of the millions of long-term unemployed; Wall Street's interest in legalizing gambling in trillions of dollars of "derivatives" was considered way more important than protecting the integrity of the financial system and the interests of middle-income home buyers. It's a long list.
In the same way, because the banks had their way with Congress when it came to gambling on unregulated derivatives and recklessly endangering credit markets with subprime mortgages, we still have almost double-digit unemployment, historic deficits, Greece and possibly other European countries teetering on the edge of default, and the threat of a double-dip recession. Even the potential default of the United States of America is now being treated by many politicians and too many in the media as yet another phony wrestling match, a political game. Are the potential economic consequences of a U.S. default "real"? Of course they are! Have we gone completely nuts?

We haven't gone nuts — but the "conversation of democracy" has become so deeply dysfunctional that our ability to make intelligent collective decisions has been seriously impaired.
ADDED NOTE: This is the most awesomely awesome thing I've seen in ages.
Bad link for "Techdude hoax"
Fixed now. I hope. Thanks.
Al says that some of what he wrote will be taken out of context to criticize Obama. How can you take his failure to use the bully pulpit to push forward on the promises he made during the campaign out of context?

I guess Al, like the Clintons, is a loyal party member first and a Democrat second.

Did anybody from Noquarter ever apologize to use about the Techdude incident?
It should be pointed out that there are two flavors of birther - the first claims Obama was born in Kenya but the second accepts he was born in Hawaii but nonetheless claims he is ineligible to be POTUS because he father was not a US citizen.

In my experience the second type is far more common but the first receives all the attention.

Either way, they're both wrong.
If we can't have Hillary, I want Al.

I remember it well-- high entertainment for No Quarter in those days. Then they went all anti-teacher and passed my tolerance level for nasty.
Like Bob - I remember it well and used to visit here and No Quarter in those days. I've just found y'all again, in time for 2012's circus.

Re birthers, a commenter upstream mentioned there are 2 types. I've noticed two others: those who still believe even the long form certificate is doctored, not so's to change the date but to change another factor - possibly the fact that O's parents were not married at the time of his birth - that's one instance. T'other is really silly, but never mind: believers in the Antichrist story and Jean Dixon's prediction think the certificate might have been altered to change his date of birth to 4 February 1962.


I guess it keeps us all off the streets - reading about this nonsense.

Obama's parents were not legally married - his father already had a wife and kids in Kenya.

They may have gotten a license and gone through a wedding ceremony but the marriage was bigamous and therefore a nullity.

However none of that relates to Obama's qualifications to be POTUS.
myiq2xu ~~ No, I realise that - but it could explain why O was reluctant for the true certificate to be made public, if it made clear the fact he was born out of wedlock. Embarrassment ?
At one point during the campaign, Michelle Obama said that her husband had been born to an unmarried fact, I think she said "very unmarried." So I presumed that Michelle's word was final.

In the recent bio of Obama's mother, there is no description of a marriage beyond Obama's words from "Dreams from My Father," which described a civil ceremony with no paperwork, no one in attendance and no word given to Ann's family.

It was fairly common then for people "shacking up" (to use a 60s term) to pretend to have gotten married, especially if an offspring was involved.

In California, couples engaging in such a pretense would mutter something about making a quick trip to Vegas. I don't know if a Vegas-style quickie wedding was even possible in Maui, despite the allegation in Obama's book.

So I still think that Michelle had the story right.

Of course, none of this has any bearing on the question of Obama's right to be president. Hell, that's not even a question.
Oh, and Twilight -- the people who filled out birth certificate forms simply took the word of the parents. Just because Barack Sr. and Stanley Ann claimed to be married does not mean that they were.
Hawaiian birth certificates don't show the marital status of the parents - they show the father's name and the mother's maiden name. They also don't show religion.

OTOH - the original birth certificate may show that Obama was adopted by his step-father and his name was legally changed to "Barry Soetoro."

This is because after an adoption a new birth certificate is issued.
Yes - thanks for the additional info. I doubt we'll ever know the truth, but it does seem that there's something hidden - somewhere, somehow. It might not mean O does not qualify to be president, but even so would have some kind of significance.

It's a fascinating topic but one where we tend to go around in circles a lot. ;-)
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