Tuesday, August 18, 2009

From Taliban Assaults to Assault Rifles in Arizona...

Eugene Robinson
Abdelmonem Said
Carl Cannon

As expected, the Taliban are trying to prevent the Afghan election by terrorism: "A Taliban suicide bomber attacked a NATO convoy Tuesday on the outskirts of Kabul, killing at least seven people and wounding more than 50, officials said, just days before the presidential election that the militant group has vowed to disrupt.

Two U.S. soldiers were killed and three wounded in a separate blast, the U.S. command said. Hours before the suicide blast, two mortar rounds struck near the presidential palace in Kabul, the U.S. military said."
This is an important election and symbol, I'm not sure if the Taliban is next going to try and physically stop people from voting, or destroy the rural ballots as they ar being brought back to Kabul to be counted.

A lot has been going on in Iran, who knows if any of it is constructive or just smoke and mirrors to fool its citizens? Mahmoud Ahmadinejad will name his full cabinet tomorrow, but on Sunday he went on television to tell everyone how progressive he really was: "In a television address on Sunday, Ahmadinejad named two women among his final choices for ministerial posts, a first in the Islamic republic's history.

Dr Marziyeh Vahid Dastjerdi, a gynaecologist and obstetrician, was picked to head the ministry of health, while Fatemah Ajourlou, currently a member of parliament, was named to head the ministry of welfare.

Ahmadinejad said he would announce the full list of cabinet members later this week, including at least one more female candidate. He has until Wednesday to present his cabinet to parliament for approval." It's doubtful that the women will be approved by the tired old conservative men of parliament; hey, that last sentence sounded like it could apply to any country, including Britain and the US, just substitute your favorite minority for the word "women" and add the name of your favorite country or extra adjectives in front of the word "men." This could be a new drinking game...

The top Ayatollah, Ali Khamemei,has: "appointed cleric Sadeq Larijani to be the new head of the country's judiciary. Mr Larijani is a member of the Guardian Council, the powerful body that oversaw Iran's disputed presidential election. He is also the younger brother of the Speaker of parliament, Ali Larijani." Ali is the one who was foaming at the mouth, saying how the protestors should be tried, tortured, and worse, for their obvious crimes against his sensitivities. Pundits are unclear what Sadeq's views may be, but he was one of the puppets running the election and then later investigating himself to see if any fraud was committed...

And, in the game of nuclear pong, Iran has stated that: "A senior official in Tehran says Iran is ready for talks with the West on its nuclear programme based on mutual respect and without preconditions. Iran has made similar statements, but recent political turmoil over disputed elections had dimmed hopes of a nuclear compromise with the West, analysts say.
The US has given Iran until September to accept a package of benefits if it gives up sensitive nuclear enrichment. Otherwise it faces tougher sanctions. Iran insists its programme is peaceful. Correspondents say the announcement may come as a positive surprise for Washington, although it made no mention of the September deadline."
Will the diplomats accept this as a real gesture and negotiations then begin, or will the John Boltons and other hawks have their shrill way?... In the meantime, Iran goes back to its age old traditions of persecuting minorities, this time the leaders of the Bahai faith by putting them on trial and bringing "charges of spying for Israel and of "insulting sanctities". And the Iranians keep insisting that they are behaving within the bounds of international law. Yeah, if your laws were made by crazed Ayatollahs... time to substitute your favorite group for the word "Ayatollah" and take another shot of tequila...

Back home in the good, old, most violent country in the world, Talking Points Memo has an update on the man who was armed outside of the Obama townhall meeting in Arizona: 'In a YouTube video, the man who carried a semi-automatic assault rifle outside yesterday's presidential event tells fellow demonstrators "We will forcefully resist people imposing their will on us through the strength of the majority with a vote." The man, only identified as "Chris," spoke against taxation: "Just because you sic the government on people doesn't make it morally OK to steal money from people. Taxation is theft."
He also said "it would be insane" not to be armed, saying he wears a gun at all times."
There were twelve guys packing guns in plain sight, and there have been more at other Obama meetings. OK, I am not this Chris as some have supposed, and I really hate traveling to Arizona because its just too damned hot. I haven't been in Arizona in many, many years since I used to collect peyote buttons for sacred hippy ceremonies back at home...

In rebuttal, TPM reader ZC commented: "It's a truism that people in the west are accustomed to seeing firearms carried around. Having spent all of my life in the west and the majority in rural Arizona, I can say that yes, it's a common site to see trucks and ATVs with gun racks. However, the fact that most of the people I knew growing up owned and used hunting rifles is a very different thing to walking around the downtown area of a major city carrying a sidearm or an assault rifle. An AR-15 is a symbol, for gun advocates as well as opponents. I remember during the 2006 election there were people in Tucson hanging out at polling places in hispanic communities carrying visible sidearms and asking voters about their immigration status. Make no mistake, this isn't about "gun culture" or being comfortable with firearms. This is about intimidation - visibly carrying a firearm - especially one designed specifically for killing human beings is a not-at-all veiled threat, and is meant to silence opposition. Yes, Arizona's outdated laws technically allow them to do it, but laws on the books also prohibit unmarried couples from cohabiting and define a group of women living together as a brothel."
late night jokes:

"Everyone's on vacation right now. President's taking a vacation at this very moment, you hear this? Tomorrow President Obama is taking his family to Yellowstone Park to see Ol' Faithful, isn't that nice? Yea. And meanwhile, Hillary Clinton returns from overseas to see Ol' Unfaithful." --Conan O'Brien

"President Obama was in Montana today. That's right. He met with residents, he held a town meeting and then he went fly-fishing. It's true. Montana residents came from miles around for the once in a lifetime chance to see a black guy fly-fishing." --Conan O'Brien

"An 11-year old boy interviewed President Obama, and the boy asked Obama what to do about bullying. That's right. The response Obama said, 'Shut up, nerd.' And he shoved the kid." --Conan O'Brien

"It's been reported that former Vice President Cheney is hard at work on his memoirs. It's called 'The Five People You Meet in Hell.'" --Conan O'Brien

"A paternity test revealed John Edwards is in fact the biological father of his mistress' child. Yep, experts say they could tell it was Edwards' DNA cause it kept grooming itself in the microscope." --Conan O'Brien

"Every time I turn on the television this week, all I see is angry mobs of chunky old white people. You know I wasn't for these death panels before, but I'm starting to come around." --Bill Maher

"Who knew that electing a black man with a foreign sounding name would make rural white people insane? I don't know how we didn't see that coming." --Bill Maher

"During the election, these people could not quite put their finger on why they didn't like Barack Obama, it was something...now they know, he's for death panels. That's what it was, death panels." --Bill Maher

"And who put this idea in their heads? Sarah Palin, who has settled in to her job very well, an unemployed right-wing blogger. Apparently Sarah Palin quit her job as Governor of Alaska to spend more time on Facebook. I'm serious. She's on Facebook every day now. Because this is the proper forum to confront the President of the United States on the most important issue of our day, a social networking site for teenagers." --Bill Maher

"In her case I can see how pulling the plug on brain-dead people would be threatening." --Bill Maher

"It does seem to be a tad ironic that she's so against killing old people because she's the one who smothered the life out of the McCain campaign." --Bill Maher

"Apparently Dick Cheney, is coming out with a memoir, and he said during the second term, Bush stopped taking his advice. That has got to hurt. When the most gullible man in America stops buying your bulls**t. ... It's so annoying when your boss is disobedient." --Bill Maher

"You remember John Edwards? He finally admitted he's the father of his mistress' baby after denying it for over a year. So it's a pretty classic case of whoever denied it, supplied it." --Jimmy Fallon

"Edwards says he's ashamed, he can hardly look at himself in the mirror. On the bright side, that frees up an extra 4 hours a day for him." --Jimmy Fallon

"Fortunately, some good news came out of the whole thing, he agreed to join Bristol Palin on the abstinence tour." --Jimmy Fallon

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