Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Iraq's Beautiful Losers, Russia's Ship of Fools, and Our Own Bob...

Eugene Robinson
Michael Grunewald
David Ignatius

"EVEN when BOB endorses SOMEONE here ITS like the KISS of DEATH to that candidate." - John Miller

"Beauprez is a member of a tired and out of touch group of political hacks that have driven our State's party into the ground." - geoslav

Probably the most important link above, is to David Ignatius's article on the increasing influence of Iran on Iraqi's Shiite politicians and the resignation of Iraq's security chief: "Gen. Mohammed Shahwani, the head of Iraqi intelligence since 2004, resigned this month because of what he viewed as Maliki's attempts to undermine his service and allow Iranian spies to operate freely. The CIA, which has worked closely with Shahwani since he went into exile in the 1990s and has spent hundreds of millions of dollars training the INIS, was apparently caught by surprise by his departure..."

Credit for recent fertilizer bombing in Baghdad was claimed by a Sunni group allied with al Qaeda, from the NY Times: "The attack, it said, meant to ''wreck the bastions of infidelity'' of what it describes as the pro-Iranian government of Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki... The al-Qaida statement Tuesday said it sought to kill Iraqi government officials. It said the explosions ''shook the earth under their feet and tore apart their hearts of fear and horror, proving to everyone the weakness of their government.'' The group is based out of Syria, and the two countries are bristling at each other and withdrawing their diplomats, ouch!

"But it also expressed regret ''for those innocent people who were killed'' because they were accidentally at the targeted sites and wished the wounded speedy recovery. It warned of more attacks, and urged people to ''keep away from the places'' of the ''heretic'' Iraqi establishment." Gee, that was awfully nice of them to give a warning after the fact. In the beginning of the US occupation, it was often stated by insurgence groups that to bomb innocent civilians is against Islamic law; how far they have come in such a few, short, callous years.

The Shias, for their part, have formed a new political coalition, putting on a public face that its time that they must all get along, except for those Kurdish dogs, also from the NY Times : "Iraq’s top Shiite political leaders gathered in a sweltering hotel ballroom here on Monday and announced a new alliance, a new name and a new platform. Absent was the country’s most prominent Shiite political leader, Prime Minister Nuri Kamal al-Maliki... The creation of the alliance — which includes a former prime minister and a sitting vice president — represented the opening of an election campaign that is likely to be as contentious as
it is decisive in shaping the kind of country that will emerge. Mr. Maliki’s refusal to join the alliance, after weeks of negotiations behind the scenes, intensified a bitter political struggle over the leadership of the country’s largest sect ahead of parliamentary elections in January." The upcoming elections will be the first without US protection and it will be interesting to see the outcome, and if terrorist intimidation will be used here again, either by the Sunni minority, Shia agents from Iran who are operating more freely, or the Kurds, whom both Sunni and Shia would like to see excluded...

On that Ship of Fools...
Remember the Russian cargo ship, the Arctic Sea, that was supposedly hijacked off the coast of Sweden? Now that the ship has been found and recaptured, none of the mysterious questions remain, like just what exactly happened? The BBC reports: "Russia's top investigator has said a cargo ship which went missing for more than two weeks may have been carrying a more sensitive cargo than first stated...Speculation in the Russian media about what happened to the ship has included suggestions of piracy, a mafia dispute, a commercial row, smuggling or trafficking."

There have been so many contradictions, for example, the crew said that they were boarded by at least 10 armed men, while the 8 men that were on the ship when it was found said that they were environmentalists seeking shelter from the storm. One of the most prominent r
umors is that the ship also contained missiles for Iran along with the timber for its cargo. Now, the Russians haven't confirmed this, but coincidentally, two days after the ship was hijacked, the Prime Minister of Israel made an unannounced trip to Russia for a private meeting with ministers. A couple of days after he was back in Israel, Russia publicly announced that it was revisiting its policy of arms trade with Iran... so, if the ship did contain sensitive materials, the Russian government was fully aware of it, and is now trying to come up with a plausible scapegoat, like our CIA wishes it had - hey, how about those two idiots that were contracted to create the waterboarding program? Yeah, let's put them on the boat and cast them adrift along with other independent contractors like Blackwater...

Bob Beauprez may well be dead in the water...
Bob Beauprez's decision not to run for the Senate against Bennet has caused a few yawns around our fair state of Colorado, but he did make national mention in the Politico: "Beauprez expressed renewed interest in running earlier this month, after the two announced Republican candidates — Weld County D.A. Ken Buck and Aurora city councilor Ryan Frazier — posted underwhelming fundraising numbers. But in recent weeks, former Lt. Gov. Jane Norton has emerged as a likely candidate, and Beauprez's decision means she’s very likely to jump into the race."
One cloud hanging over Bob, that he would have to clear up before he entered any race, is the federal investigation against him that has been put on hold now that he is out of any office, from OpenCongress: "Bob Beauprez is currently under investigation by the Justice Department’s Wyoming office. The probe is examining whether Beauprez, a candidate in the 2006 gubernatorial election in Colorado, accessed a restricted federal database for information used in a television ad to attack his Democratic challenger, Bill Ritter. State investigators, who began looking into the matter before the Justice Department, have concluded that the information in the ad came from the National Crime Information Center, a federal database for which only law enforcement officials have access. Using the database for any purpose other than law enforcement is a federal crime which carries a punishment of up to one-year in prison. Beauprez ultimately lost the gubernatorial election to Ritter. " Local conservatives like Bob a lot, though no-one I talked to has read his book or can tell what new ideas he has that would invigorate the Republican Party. Guess he now will be working behind the scenes... Bob, I'd like cream in mine, please...

late night jokes from the only show not in reruns last week:

"Ladies and gentlemen, before I came out here, I got some early results from the Afghanistanian election. And this just in, apparently Al Franken is ahead." --David Letterman

"You folks excited about the Afghanistan election? Well, don't get too excited because there's already reports of irregularities in Broward and Dade County." --David Letterman

"The current Afghan president, Hamid Karzai, is opposed by the Taliban. You know the Taliban? Over here, the Taliban, we call them healthcare protestors." --David Letterman

"You think campaigning is difficult here in the United States. You try campaigning in Afghanistan. You ever try to put a bumper sticker on a camel? I mean, come on." --David Letterman

"How about this Brett Favre guy? He retires, then un-retires, then he retires, then he un-retires, then he retires and un-retires, then he retires again and un-retires. Now he's playing for the Minnesota Vikings. And it's not easy. I'm not saying he's old, but he's getting older. Before playing, he had to pass a rigorous physical and also a death panel." --David Letterman

"They did this survey of money down there in Washington, D.C. I'm talking about cash money. And they found that 90% of all of our currency has traces of the drug cocaine on it. Yeah. And I said, 'Well no wonder Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke is so crazy!'" --David Letterman

"Here's something else came to us from a new survey. You folks like to eat fish? You enjoy seafood? Boy, I do. When they got done testing money in Washington, they tested fish in the United States. And they found out that every single fish in the test contained mercury. Jeremy Piven said, 'Well who's laughing now?'" --David Letterman

"Wait a minute, hey. What is this, an audience or a death panel?" --David Letterman

"But you know, this is a great thing about the United States of America. We take any situation, make it something good. You know, we are a glass half full country. Mrs. Paul's, the fish sticks people, they heard about the mercury in the fish and they've come out now with a tasty new fish stick which you can also use to take your temperature." --David Letterman

"Squeaky Fromme has been in prison since the '70s for trying to shoot President Gerald Ford. Out of prison now. But she's described as an unstable gun nut. Here's how unstable and nutty she is. Even Dick Cheney won't go hunting with her." --David Letterman

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