Friday, August 14, 2009

Impeaching an Ayatollah, Squeezing the Burmese Pythons

Paul Krugman
Eugene Robinson
Kamran Bokhari & Fred Burton

In the links above, Paul Krugman talks about the hysterical Republican rumor machine now in full swing: "... any Democrat who made it to the White House would face “an unending procession of wild charges and fake scandals, dutifully given credence by major media organizations that somehow can’t bring themselves to declare the accusations unequivocally false...Sure enough, President Obama is now facing the same kind of opposition that President Bill Clinton had to deal with: an enraged right that denies the legitimacy of his presidency, that eagerly seizes on every wild rumor manufactured by the right-wing media complex."

Eugene Robinson prefaces his synopsis on this long, hot summer, thunderous in some places, with a dire preface: "We're told the economy is on the mend, but we still see six-figure job losses every month. The health-care debate has become so polarized that even if it ends in breakthrough legislation, chances are that opponents will still be irate and supporters more exhausted than overjoyed. The deficit is gargantuan, bipartisanship is nonexistent, the prison at Guantanamo is still open, and the war in Afghanistan looks like a potential quagmire. The summer has become a bummer." Notice, to become a columnist you have to come up with these cute one liners, extra points for internal rhyme... Kamran and Fred give an analysis on counterinsurgency in Pakistan, great for any foreign policy wonk.

We all know that religious leaders can get autocratic and think they are infallible, it happens from Mormon cult leaders to Korean cult leaders who own American newspapers, and to homegrown Christian evangelicals who are bisexual. In Iran they are cranking it up a notch, calling for the impeachment of the Ayatollah Khamenei, from the BBC: "A group of former Iranian MPs has appealed to a powerful clerical panel to investigate if Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei is fit to rule...Addressed to former Iranian President Ali Akbar Rafsanjani, who heads the Assembly of Experts, it demands "a legal probe on the basis of Article 111 of the constitution, which is a responsibility of the Assembly of Experts.The article says that if the supreme leader "becomes incapable of fulfilling his constitutional duties" he will be dismissed. The letter denounced the recent trials of protesters held in Tehran as a "Stalinesque court". It also said Kahrizak prison near Tehran, where much of the alleged abuse of detainees took place, was worse than the US facilities at Abu Ghraib, Iraq, and Guantanamo Bay in Cuba." If this ruse works, Ahmadinejad is toast. While Khamenei may well be senile, his sin is probably complacency because nobody, but nobody publicly challenges the top Ayatollah, being next in line to God and all that... The larger problem, which all of the political maneuvering is hiding, is that the Iranian economy is in bad shape and is a major reason for Ahmadinejad's bad reputation before the election along with his right wing reactionary views. He would fit right in and be comfortable here in Colorado Springs, I can see him now having coffee with our own Ayatollah, James Dobson, schmoozing with Bentley Rayburn, Amy Lathan, and Bob Beauprez, who's politics are similar to his own...

US Senator Jim Webb, who is the chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations subcommittee on Pacific and Asian Affairs, has traveled to burma to meet with the ruling junta today. No telling if they will meet with him, but we are hoping that something positive happens, as reported by the BBC: "US Senator Jim Webb has arrived in Burma on a visit during which he is to meet military ruler Than Shwe. He would be the most senior US official to meet Than Shwe, the Democratic senator's office said in a statement... He is not expected to meet Ms Suu Kyi or American John Yettaw, whose uninvited visit to her home led to the trial which ended on Tuesday." Even though the stupid American is in a Burmese prison, we would rather have him back home. Perhaps Mr Webb can also bring back Aung San Suu Kyi, but I don't think she will leave Burma, she has committed her life to helping the Burmese people. The EU has imposed sanctions on the Burmese rulers and the judges from her recent trial: "The EU said judges involved in Ms Suu Kyi's sentencing would now join military and government figures in having their overseas assets frozen and travel to the EU banned." So no more spending the money they have ripped off from the country and stashed in their private Swiss accounts...

Glenn Thrush's column in Politico reports on the new term "Palinize," as used by Michelle Bachmann in a fundraising plea, " Don't let them Palinize me!" The urban dictionary's definition is: Palinize:

To smear or mock someone using falsehoods, baseless accusations or unsubstantiated character assassinations for the purpose of blocking them from achieving a goal.

To exaggerate the truth or lie by omission.

To attack a person for his or her conservative values by focusing an inordinate amount of attention on a single example of that person falling short (or being perceived as falling short) of the values they espouse.

late night jokes:

"President Obama has been explaining his healthcare plan now to senior citizens. And yesterday, at a town hall meeting, he promised the crowd that he will not, quote, 'pull the plug on Grandma.' Then, there was an awkward moment when Grandpa stood up and booed." --Conan O'Brien

"Yesterday, GM announced they'll be releasing a car that gets 230 miles a gallon. And today, Nissan said their new car's going to get 367 miles a gallon. It's crazy." --Conan O'Brien

"In a related story, Toyota just announced their new car will get 500 miles per gallon, plant rain forests, and give birth to endangered pandas. So, that's the one you want." --Conan O'Brien

"According to a new report that just came out, NASA doesn't have enough money to track all the giant asteroids that could crash into Earth. NASA says we shouldn't worry though because they've given the job to Bruce Willis and Ben Affleck." --Conan O'Brien

"During his town hall meeting in New Hampshire yesterday, President Obama tried to make a point about private companies and the government providing the same services. He said UPS and FedEx are doing just fine; it's the Post Office that's always having problems. That's probably going to anger some postal workers but what's the worst that could happen?" --Jimmy Fallon

"But at the same meeting, he said twice that the AARP supports his healthcare plan, even though the AARP hasn't endorsed it. He's probably thinking of that other senior citizens group. What's the name? Oh, yeah, Congress." --Jimmy Fallon

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