Monthly Archives: December 2014

BFP Book Review- ‘Presidential Puppetry: Obama, Romney & Their Masters’ by Andrew Kreig

by Mike Mondalek, November 30, 2013, published at the Boiling Frogs Post

The Enthralling Connections That Make “Viable” Presidency Candidates

1129_PresPupI was in college when I first read President Obama’s 1995 memoir Dreams from My Father. It was just a little over a year after his inauguration and the book had been curiously assigned in an advanced nonfiction reading course featuring the works of Mark Twain, James Baldwin and George Orwell. A natural aversion to political memoirs undoubtedly left several literary-minded classmates feeling skeptical over the selected reading material, myself included. Not only was the 2008 election still very fresh in our minds, but we were additionally attending classes in Chicago at the time, the very city that had launched it. Many of us had been present for the beginning and the end of Obama’s historical march to the American throne, swept up into a frenzy of youthful optimism and “hope” as we lined the streets outside Grant Park for what seemed like miles on end just for the chance to hear him speak that previous November: tears rolling down Jesse Jackson’s cheeks, Oprah Winfrey’s self-entitled photo op; sporadic puffs of marijuana smoke rising into the sky on an atypical warm Chicago night.

I had mostly skimmed through the majority of it, admittedly. However, the immediate and lasting impression of the text, which likewise seemed to take us all a bit off-guard at the time, was the startling fact that, by God, the man wrote a novel, after all. As someone quite clearly seeking public office, on the surface-level, he seemingly veered unabashedly into the personal, writing in clear, concise, and sometimes startlingly beautiful prose. It can even be argued that Dreams is the anti-political memoir, in a sense: a carefully placed “Establishment-friendly” record of Obama’s past quietly waiting in the wing––like a timed mine.

He could have been a professional novelist, some say. Instead, he wanted to be president.

Continue reading BFP Book Review- ‘Presidential Puppetry: Obama, Romney & Their Masters’ by Andrew Kreig

Barack Obama, His Mother, and the CIA

by William Blum, July 5, 2012, published at the Boiling Frogs Post

So Why the Omission?

0705_Barack1In his autobiography, Dreams From My Fathers, Barack Obama writes of taking a job at some point after graduating from Columbia University in 1983. He describes his employer as “a consulting house to multinational corporations” in New York City, and his functions as a “research assistant” and “financial writer”.

Oddly, Obama doesn’t mention the name of his employer. However, a New York Times story of October 30, 2007 identifies the company as Business International Corporation. Equally odd is that the Times did not remind its readers that the newspaper itself had disclosed in 1977 that Business International had provided cover for four CIA employees in various countries between 1955 and 1960.[10]

The British journal, Lobster — which, despite its incongruous name, is a venerable international publication on intelligence matters — has reported that Business International was active in the 1980s promoting the candidacy of Washington-favored candidates in Australia and Fiji.[11]  In 1987, the CIA overthrew the Fiji government after but one month in office because of its policy of maintaining the island as a nuclear-free zone, meaning that American nuclear-powered or nuclear-weapons-carrying ships could not make port calls.[12]  After the Fiji coup, the candidate supported by Business International, who was much more amenable to Washington’s nuclear desires, was reinstated to power — R.S.K. Mara was Prime Minister or President of Fiji from 1970 to 2000, except for the one-month break in 1987.

Continue reading Barack Obama, His Mother, and the CIA

The American Dream Has Moved to Scandinavia

Mirrored from Washington’s Blog

“Rags to Riches” Much Easier In Scandinavia than America

We noted in 2010 that the American Dream – the possibility of a “rags to riches” success story – has moved abroad … since social mobility in the U.S. is much lower than in many other developed nations.

(And we pointed out that conservatives are as disturbed as liberals by the collapse of social mobility in modern America.)

A paper published last year by University of Ottawa economics professor Miles Corak tells us exactly where the American Dream has gone … to Scandinavia.  Here’s a chart from the study:

Social-Mobility

Denmark, Norway and Finland have the most social mobility (and Sweden is not that far behind).

On the other hand, the UK, Italy and America have the least social mobility.

Continue reading The American Dream Has Moved to Scandinavia

Slap-in-the-Face Wealth Gap Images

by Paul Buchheit, mirrored from Common Dreams

Just 70 individuals now own as much wealth as half the world. In the U.S., the richest 40 individuals own as much as half the country, and the 16,000 American households in the top .01% have accumulated an average net worth of over a third of a billion dollars. As extreme wealth continues to grow out of control, inequality worsens for the rest of us, plaguing our country and our world, spreading like a terminal form of cancer. It should be a major news item in the mainstream media. But the well-positioned few are either oblivious to or uncaring about its effect on less fortunate people.

The data and charts (citations here) come from Forbes, Credit Suisse, and a recent study by Emmanuel Saez and Gabriel Zucman.

1. Just 70 Individuals Own As Much Wealth As Half the World

halftheworld

Less than a year ago, Oxfam reported that the richest 85 individuals owned as much wealth as half the world. But recently updated calculations reveal that the richest 70 individuals now own $1.842 trillion, more than the poorest half of the world.

We’re drawing nearer to the fulfillment of Charles Koch’s dream: “I want my fair share and that’s all of it.”

Continue reading Slap-in-the-Face Wealth Gap Images