Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Hugh Hefner of the Airwaves, Charities for al Qaeda

Kathleen Parker
Dana Milbank

"Slowly, we're beginning to understand what hope and change were all about. Translation: Sure hope this change works." - Kathleen Parker

If you think of leaving, you can go...
The only reason I can think of for Sarah Palin's book coming out so soon is that the publisher wants to place it at the beginning of Christmas shopping season. Normally, the editing process takes longer than the time spent writing, but in this case the ghost writer may be given the bare minimum. Since nobody has ever heard of the woman who wrote the book before, the gamble is that it could be so badly written that reading it is literally painful, causing sales to slump quickly. Or not.

According to the New York Post, another reason for the book's quick release is because nobody wants to book her on the national lecture circuit: "Palin's bookers are said to be asking for $100,000 per speech, but an industry expert tells Page Six: "The big lecture buyers in the US are paralyzed with fear about booking her, basically because they think she is a blithering idiot."

Many big lecture venues are subscription series, "and they don't want to tick people off," said our source. "Palin is polarizing, and some subscribers might cancel if she's on the lineup." Other lecture buyers are universities, which have a leftist slant, and corporations, which dislike controversy.

"Palin is so uninteresting to so many groups -- unless they are interested in moose hunting," said our insider. "What does she have to say? She can't even describe what she reads." On the other hand, she sure is doing her best to cash in on her 15 minutes of fame before the next round of elections come up...

rush to judgement...
Every time I visit Rush Limbaugh's web site, I'm amazed by the size of his ego. It really is all about him. To his credit, he's lost a lot of weight lately, and you might be glad to know that the color and fashion challenged El Rushbo recently jogged one fifth of a mile! Can you tell that I'm having a hard time focusing on world events this morning, and m trying to find a way to include the picture of Rush in his horrible golf shorts? Also, Bruce from, where else but South Carolina, thinks Rush should be a judge in the Miss America Pageant because: "me and my friends already refer to you as the "Hugh Hefner of the Airwaves" because of the all the raving females that often openly flirt with you on the air so I think you fit right in." I'm thinking the poor man should stick to his angry rants against Obama, it makes more sense than this crap. Also, many of his listeners think that he is a real man's man, a rush to judgement for someone who convinced his local draft board to rule him unfit for combat because he had a gigantic boil on his butt at the time, probably self induced... My new bumper sticker:

  Real Men Can't Sit Down!

Which reminds me of a raunchy joke that Nikita Krushchev once said of Germany's Konrad Adenauer: "If Adenauer pulls down his pants and you look at him from behind, you can see Germany is divided. If you look at him from the front, you can see Germany will not stand." Congratulations to Angela Merkel on her re-election...

funding you local terrorists...
In a report to Congress, the Government Accountability Office reported that charities based in Saudi Arabia are still finding ways to circumvent the law and send funds to terrorist organizations, proving that the bin Laden family can't fund them all by themselves: "Since 2003, the Saudis have barred charities from transferring money outside the kingdom, but the GAO said that this hadn't prevented Saudi-based charities with branches abroad from serving as funding sources for terrorist groups. Some of the money is being smuggled out of the country in cash through the use of couriers, it said...

... Further, experts we spoke with agreed that there is no indication that the Saudi government is providing funding for terrorism," it says." I wonder if George HW Bush has donated lately, since he's had real close ties to the Saudi's, even having business offices there. Of course, he may not have known whom he was sending money to, since he's coming down with Alzheimer's, or now known as Lou Dobbs Disease...

Other charities include China and Russia, who are Iran's two largest trading partners and the reason why increased sanction don't mean spit to the Iranians, many who are out protesting against their government again...

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

AK-47 Politcs, I Am Not a Racist!

David Brooks
David Ignatius
Steve Coll

“Human nature, in no form of it, could ever bear prosperity” - John Adams

"Why do democracies hate women so much?" - Omar40

"Well, I'll be damned"  - Richard Nixon

Wow. Sarah Palin has just finished her memoirs in a blistering four months, and is at the printers now. It will be out in November, just in time for the Christmas book buying season. It's titled Going Rogue - An American Life. Her ghost writer must be good, to whip out 400 pages in such a short time. I wonder if we'll be able to tell which sections were written on too much coffee... I would provide a link, but Amazon hasn't put up one yet on their site.

I've never been to South Carolina, I've always wanted to visit because it's so beautiful. Now I'm curious to travel there and see the sights and wonderfully demented folks myself, their state having given us Mark Sandford, Jim DeMint, and now Dean Allen, who: "... drew 500 people to a fundraiser Saturday that included the giveaway of a $700 AK-47 semiautomatic rifle.

Dean Allen charged $25 a pop for his "machine-gun social," which included the giveaway, 20 rounds to shoot in a machine gun of your choice and a barbecue, held at an indoor shooting range in Greenville. Allen, a Republican, is running for adjutant general, a position that includes administering the Army and Air National Guard, among other things."

It makes a great gift for those old men who never went to war and pretend they are tough-guy hawkish patriots, content on sending other people's kids to war. Hey, I have an Andy Hardy moment, let's invade Iran... "I like to tell people I'm not the country club conservative," Allen told the Greenville News. "I'm the machine gun one."

I find these kind of characters wacky and fun to read about, but a pain in the ass to talk to in person. You can't actually have a conversation where there is give and take, it has to be a lecture or an anger filled rant that feeds on itself indefinitely; it's self sustainable. Too bad we can't harness and sell that energy to the utilities, a few rabid  right wingers could fuel most of the major cities and keep us warm during the long winter nights.

A lot is being written right now in a self righteous mode about Jimmy Carter's statement about Southern White Racism having trouble accepting a Black president. Many pundits immediately wrote columns saying hey, we're not racist, we just disagree with Obama. Which is a valid point, that when you talk about policy, it's about ideas and social philosophy, and race usually is not a factor.

But others, who lack any self introspection, misinterpreted the remarks as saying that anyone who disagrees with Obama is a racist. And they are now loudly whining and repeating this argument. I read at least one letter in my local paper each day on this, or a post by my fellow Colorado bloggers. It makes me want to talk like a pirate, ARRRR...

I thought that one of the reasons Obama got elected was because people were tired of mean, vicious attack style politics. But after the election, this style has boomeranged back with a vengeance, Most of the "home-made" signs at the tea party and townhall rallies were taken from lists of sayings provided on websites, and they often gave more than fifty at a time to choose from. So, many of the personal attacks have been planned and organized, knowing that it would inspire people to take things one step further.

In reality, Barack Obama is not a fervent left winger, but a political moderate who enjoys listening and weighing in on both sides of an argument. If the Republicans hadn't decided to just say no and protest everything that he is proposing, and went to the White House for real give and take conversations, they would find more of their agenda being put on the docket. But that would take real change on their part, something that I could believe in...

Monday, September 28, 2009

Mundane Intolerance, Honduran Holiday

Paul Krugman
Fareed Zakaria
P J O'Rourke

"Every once in a while I feel despair over the fate of the planet." - Paul Krugman

"I hadn't noticed I was a racist, but that was no doubt because I was too busy being a homophobe." - P J O'Rourke

Well, now that the world leaders have left the US after the UN meetings, world affairs have settled back down into regular, mundane intolerance. Pakistan had proposed talks with India to air out all of their grievances, but was rejected by India because of resentment over the Mumbai massacres.

Israelis and Palestinians had clashed in Jerusalem when a group of about 150 Palestinians had gathered at the Temple Mount compund to deny any bunch of Jewish activists that might secretly sneak into their sacred site, no sharing allowed. Unfortunately, someone either gave them the wrong information or pulled a really good prank, because the group of Jews turned out to be a group of French tourists. But the Palestinians stoned them anyway, police were called in, batons were used as well as tear gas, and the Palestinian Authority cried out for support against this unwarranted vicious attack!

And now that the Holy Month of Ramadan is over, Sunnis and Shias in Iraq have gone back to planting bombs and blowing the crap out of each other. Where are the French tourists when we really need them? The Iraqis are lamenting that, for some strange reason they cannot fathom, no foreign firms want to come in and develop any businesses. Most of the ill gotten graft that was extorted from the US and its contractors has been squirreled away and won't be used or shared beyond buying villas in the south of France...

para bailar la bamba se necesita una poca de gracia...

In scenic Honduras the situation resembles a telemundo soap opera, too bad its real. The rich farmer and ex-President Manuel Zelaya is camping out in the Brazilian Embassy with a scant sixty five of his family and closest friends. The Honduran military wants the embassy to turn him over to face justice, or whatever passes for justice and treasonous charges. The fake head of the government keeps changing his mind if he will meet with Zelaya, flip flops every two hours as his body cycles  change. Four diplomats from the OAS were turned away at the airport Sunday, who were supposed to help in the non-existant negotiations.  The excuse given was “They fell on us by surprise.”

As for Mr Zelaya, he keeps phoning constantly out to radio stations, broadcasting weird, contradictory messages. Two stations have been shut down in retaliation : "His cellphone calls, broadcast on sympathetic stations, swing between calls for peaceful protest and cries like, “Restitution or death!” Well, Manuel, be careful what you wish for...

porker debate...
Are you going to get your flu shot this year? I got mine last year and came down with the swine flu this summer. Maybe it helped because I didn't die, I just lost 19 pounds in three weeks. I'm really debating whether to get another or go down to the local University and attend a keg party so I can contract it again, better than getting addicted to diet pills again... If I drink nothing but Red Bull while I have the swine flu, will this pig be able to fly...?

late night political jokes:

"President Obama made a big speech. He welcomed the members of the U.N. General Assembly to New York, and he said, 'I'd like to encourage you to do some shopping while you're here.' I think it worked because China immediately bought eight banks, two car companies, and the state of Wyoming." --Conan O'Brien

"While he's in New York for the U.N. conference, Libyan dictator Muammar Qaddafi is traveling with an entourage of 50 attractive female bodyguards. The guards are there in case Qaddafii gets attacked or in case he wants to make a music video from 1985." --Conan O'Brien

"According to The New York Times, Manuel Zelaya, the recently deposed president of Honduras, he's holed up with supporters who don't bathe, eat only rice and beans and one guy who hasn't changed his Che Guevara T-shirt in days. So apparently, Manuel Zelaya is holed up in my freshman dorm room." --Conan O'Brien

"Health officials are now saying that the swine flu could be spread at college keg parties. They say if you attend a keg party and come home feeling numb and vomiting profusely, you're probably fine." --Conan O'Brien

"Federal authorities have issued a flurry of bulletins warning that sports stadiums, entertainment complexes, hotels, motels, apartment buildings, and transit systems could be targets of terrorist attacks. Well thanks for narrowing it down." --Jay Leno

"In fact, you know the safest place to be now? Airplanes. Stay in the air as long as you can." --Jay Leno

"Well, according to the FBI, terrorists may be targeting sporting events here in the United States and people attending games are being told keep an eye out for anybody looking suspicious or anybody who looks like they might be a threat. Well, what do you do at an Oakland Raiders game? That's everybody." --Jay Leno

"Oh, and that Colorado man that's arrested for lying to the FBI and having links to al Qaeda, well, they got him on an additional charge. Planning to use weapons of mass destruction. He reportedly purchased bomb-making ingredients from a beauty supply store. Did you hear his defense today? He said, 'Don't hate me because I'm beautiful.'" --Jay Leno

"You know about Qaddafi living in his tent? You know this whole wacky story? After residents complained, Qaddafi had to dismantle his tent he was living in outside of New York City, in Bedford, New York. You know, say what you want about Qaddafi, but don't you wish your relatives, when they came, would stay in a tent on the front lawn?" --Jay Leno

"Sarah Palin gave a speech to a conference of investors in Hong Kong yesterday morning. Then she spent the afternoon shooting pandas from a helicopter." --Jay Leno

"And according to the latest rumors, the former CEO of eBay, Meg Whitman, about to announce she is running for governor of California. See, that shows you how bad the economy is getting here in California. Now we're just another piece of crap on eBay." --Jay Leno

"It's fall here in New York. It's cool, getting dark earlier. The temperature's dropping. The leaves are changing. In fact, the only thing that hasn't changed is Qaddafi is still talking at the U.N." --Jimmy Fallon

David Letterman's Top Ten Questions To Ask Yourself Before Spending $63,500 On Dinner With Sarah Palin

10."Is the tip included?"
9."Do my kids really need to go to college?"
8."Is it 'All the Moose You Can Eat'?"
7."Should I prepare by reading every magazine and newspaper?"
6."Does it have to be at the Denny's where Todd works?"
5."Should we have dinner in Alaska or Russia?"
4."Will she hunt and shoot the main course?"
3."63 grand? That's nearly half of her weekly wardrobe budget!" Remember that reference?
2."Is there valet parking for my snowmobile?"
1."Will I be done in time to get to the 'Fire Dave' rally?"

Sunday, September 27, 2009

Bad Boys Bad Boys, a Detainee By any Other Name...

Evan Thomas
Rajiv Chandrasekaran

"They must often change who would be constant in happiness or wisdom." - Confucius

I want to give a shout out to my man Confucius, who turned 2,560 this month. There are officially over 2 million people who are recognized as his descendants, and even more who just like to make up funny quotes.

mojo men...
At the UN General Conference, Barack Obama was going to sit in charge of the Security Council meeting. He had plans to reveal information that western intelligence had known for several years, that Iran was building a second nuclear enrichment facility.

Iran wanted to take some of the wind out of his sail, so they informed the nuclear regulatory agency beforehand that they had the facility, but really had no intention of hiding it, it just slipped their mind, they had so much else going on, what with the fake election and all... But, while their sly leader was sitting down for an interview with Time magazine, Barack went before the cameras and, with two other leaders of the free world, announced that Iran was in violation of its agreement, and what sneaky sons o' bitches they are, how are we ever going to trust anything they tell us? He got some of his mojo back.

Today Iran, needing to prove its virility, launched a short range test missile that can go about 100 miles. Tomorrow they will test a longer range missile, one that might make it to Israel or American ships. We are  such bad boys... what are you going to do with such an in your face affront? How can anyone stand such adolescent, sullen behavior? Gonna say we weren't elected?

It takes jailing a village...
Speaking of bad boys, US authorities has closed the largest internment camp in the Iraqi desert. It held 22,000 detainees and there are two more that are operational. I guess the guys were just sent to other facilities, because none of them have been charged with anything, or will be taken before a court. And unlike messy ol' Guantanamo, where we have to eventually take responsibility of the prisoners, we can just hand them over to the Iraqis when we leave...

Now, if Texas secedes from the Union like Rick Perry threatens, we can just occupy them like any other terrorist state, and then we will have a place to transfer the prisoners from Afghanistan, Pakistan, Iraq, and any other place we happen to pick up detainees in our War on Terror. Maybe we could rename it Bushistan or Aftexastan...

Saturday, September 26, 2009

What I Missed, the Art of Negotiation

Maureen O'Connor
Lloyd Grove

"I’m talking about anyone who wants to be president in 2012. … You need to call out this type of hatred.” - Joe Scarborough

“You think the Constitution is radical? You think my rights are radical? How can you even ask that, you stupid, stupid—”  - anonymous

The links above are from the Daily Beast, a story about a townhall meeting hosted by both Michelle Bachmann and Ron Paul, and a profile about my neighbor Michelle Malkin, who's making money hand over fist these days while the rest of us poor bloggers sit in front of our tiny laptops writing rambling, run-on sentences...

the ones I missed...
I missed a few terrorist plots in yesterday's post. According to the Christian Science Monitor, the other plots are: "The terrorism suspects named this week are a mix of legal residents and US citizens, and appear to have been drawn to radicalism in various ways.

•In a separate case in Texas, a young Jordanian-born man, Hosam Maher Husein Smadi, was arrested and charged Thursday for trying to blow up a Dallas skyscraper. According to the FBI affidavit, he told undercover agents "he came to the US for the specific purpose of committing 'jihad for the sake of God.' " He was set up by agents with fake explosives.

•In a similar but unrelated federal investigation, agents charged Michael Finton of Illinois with trying to blow up a Springfield courthouse. Mr. Finton apparently converted to Islam after being released from a state prison where he served time on aggravated robbery and battery convictions. He was also provided with a bogus bomb by agents.

•In New York, Betim Kaziu was indicted Thursday for trying to join a terrorist group overseas and fight US troops in Afghanistan and Iraq. Mr. Kaziu, a US citizen from Brooklyn, was arrested in Kosovo where he was apparently trying to join an Islamist militant group.

•In an ongoing North Carolina investigation of seven men charged with supporting foreign terrorist groups, two defendants were indicted Thursday for planning to attack the Marine base in Quantico, Va."

Speculation as to why this upswing in activity deals with the anniversary of 9/11, the G20 meeting with so many world leaders, publicizing the arrests because the Patriot Act is set to expire this year and we need to justify all those illegal wiretaps.

decisions, indecisions...
21,000 troops have been deployed to Afghanistan so far this year, which means about 40,000 contracted supporting civilians also are there. Barack Obama is now taking his time in deciding to send up to 30,000 more, to support general McChrystal's counterinsurgency strategy. The Republicans are complaining that he is taking too long to decide, yet they also want to slow down making decisions on health care amendments. They think they have a winning strategy to get more Republicans elected come 2010, and Obama wants to make sure that he has a winning strategy for Afghanistan. Which strategy in the end will save more lives?

Evidently, the US administration feels their best bet in continuing the Israeli - Palestinian peace talks is in supporting Mahmut Abbas, the leader of Fatah and the Palestinian Authority, which has been pretty impotent until now. Since Israel is so stubborn and intractable, despite saying that they will sit down and negotiate any time, anywhere, the next move is to try and get support for Abbas among the Arabian nations, and help beef up the Palestinian economy. This morning, Hillary Clinton has: "urged Arab nations to take steps toward normalizing relations with Israel and supporting the Palestinians in an effort to help restart stalled Mideast peace talks.

Clinton made the case with senior officials from Oman, Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Bahrain, Qatar and the United Arab Emirates on the sidelines of the U.N. General Assembly. The session followed President Barack Obama's talks this past week with Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.

Officials said the Obama administration wants Arab states to make ''tangible'' and ''credible'' goodwill gestures toward Israel and provide political and economic support to Abbas to lay the groundwork for a resumption in Israeli-Palestinian negotiations, officials say.

Among the gestures toward Israel that U.S. has suggesting are opening trade and commercial offices, allowing Israeli aircraft overflight rights and promoting academic and cultural exchanges."

Then, perhaps Israel will tear down the cement wall surrounding Gaza; perhaps they can donate it to the US, so we can use it for our own 600 mile partially built border fence, hypocrites that we are... Or, we can always put it in some incongruous out-of-the-way place that doesn't make sense, like we did with the Queen Mary and the old London Bridge... maybe use it to wall in Sarah Palin's hometown. Or, as Ronnie would say:

Mr Netanyahu, Tear Down Those Walls

Friday, September 25, 2009

An al Qaeda Franchise Coming Soon!, Using the US as a Training Camp

Paul Krugman
David Brooks
Dana Milbank

"Always there is the illusion of the easy path" - David Brooks

"But it will require more than breathing exercises to calm the anger on Capitol Hill. Chalk it up to ACORN season." - Dana Milbank

al Qaeda branching out...
Europe is being targeted by the latest messages coming from al Qaeda, which, if anyone remembers, was originally formed with backing from the CIA. The caves and tunnels where they were based in Afghanistan, were excavated by the bin Laden Construction company from Saudi Arabia.  There are many Muslims living in Europe, including the latest diaspora from Afghanistan and Pakistan, seeking a safer haven. France recently broke up a large refugee camp, dragging the crying and fearful residents of the illegal encampment into waiting buses, to be processed for deportation.

One set of three messages put on jihadist websites, was directed at Germany, warning of reprisal if its citizens voted for a government in the upcoming elections that backed the war in Afghanistan: "Germany remains on high alert ahead of Sunday's federal elections [AFP] "We've raised security to a level appropriate for the scenario and it will stay at this level for the time being," Stefan Paris, an interior ministry spokesman said.

In the third video, released on Thursday, a masked man believed to be Harrach calls on Muslims in Germany to take part in jihad, or holy war."

And our elusive friend, the dead Osama bin Laden, has also issued another audio track, solely for the Euro market: "calling on European countries to end their alliance with the US and withdraw forces from Afghanistan.

"An intelligent man doesn't waste his money and sons for a gang of criminals in Washington," the US-based SITE Intelligence Group monitoring service quoted bin Laden as saying on Friday." US officials say that this is proof that the counter-insurgency strategy is working, that al Qaeda is on the run and searching for other, easier targets to establish its version of an Islamic Caliphate.

the weakest link...
Yemen has been fighting its insurgents for the past five years, and was close to toppling at one recent point. All of northern Africa have their groups, most recently in Sudan and Somalia. A Somalian web site is claiming that a Somali-American was a recent suicide bomber, working for the group Shabab: "The Shabab are waging an intense guerrilla war against Somalia’s moderate Islamist transitional government and are trying to turn Somalia into a factory for global jihad. According to American and Somali officials, several high-ranking Qaeda agents are training Somali militants and recruiting terrorists from around the world to fight in Somalia.

According to F.B.I. officials, around 20 young Somali-American men have disappeared from the Somali community in Minneapolis over the past two years to join the Shabab.

One of them was Shirwa Ahmed, who blew himself up in northern Somalia last October, becoming the first known case of an American suicide bomber. The F.B.I. director, Robert S. Mueller III, has said that Mr. Ahmed was “radicalized in his hometown in Minnesota.” Another Somali-American from Minnesota, Mohamed Hassan, 21, was killed during fighting in Mogadishu several weeks ago."

Coupled with the recent arrest of the Afghani from Colorado, who thankfully, is dumb as a stump and can't follow the directions stored on his computer on how to make a home-made bomb, it seems that the new al Qaeda training ground is the good old USA.

you talk about a revolution...
People trying to change the world, evoking violent responses. al Qaeda wants to go back to what it considers a safer time, live a simpler life in response to a changing world where many cultures combine and influence each other.

We see that clash of cultures here, in a society that prides itself on its freedom yet has one of the highest prison populations, and violent homicide rates in the world. Almost every cultural debate leads us the that brink of violence: "... In interviews with POLITICO, five former Secret Service, FBI and CIA officers say that they, too, are concerned that today’s climate of supercharged political vitriol could lead to violence... some of the experts see the political moment as a part of a larger trend that’s been developing since the mid-’90s — dating back to GOP attacks on President Bill Clinton and continuing through the left’s sharp criticism of President George W. Bush.

There’s a big difference, of course, between a person who shouts at a congressman at a town hall and a person who would do something much more violent. But security experts say that the shouting incidents and other angry moments in recent weeks serve as indicators of an increase in political rage in the culture."

In a world where we focus our anger at silly things like health care reform and making fake birth certificates for our President, the more serious players are posing dangers around the globe. Iran thinks having a nuclear bomb is a source of national pride and it will elevate itself as a world power to be reckoned with, while the powers that have had nuclear weapons for awhile know that it is a terrible burden. Russia's and the US's nuclear armament is getting old, and its time to either spend billion and billions of dollars to upgrade. Good thing they have taken a wiser choice and are seeking to de-escalate.

late night political jokes:

"You know who was here last night? President Barack Obama was here last night. Politics notwithstanding, what a graceful guy. I mean, after the show, he was nice enough to autograph my swine-flu mask." --David Letterman

"It's opening week at the U.N., ladies and gentlemen. Security is very tight here in New York City. A lot of dictators all over the city. You know what I've noticed? Dictators tend to be tiny. Have you noticed this? Kim Jong Il, a tiny little guy. Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. Another guy like this: Mayor Bloomberg." --David Letterman

"Mahmoud Ahmadinejad kicked things off with a hate-filled rant, followed by hors d'oeuvres." --David Letterman

"If you wanted to, you could get on the eBay and you could bid on having dinner with Sarah Palin. Did you know that? Yep, you could bid on it. And the winning bid was $63,000. You get to sit down and have dinner. Of course, you know, for that price - people say that's a lot of money - she'll shoot the main course." --David Letterman

"It's the most expensive date with a governor since Eliot Spitzer." --David Letterman

"That's a lot of money. But you can sit down with Sarah Palin, spend a couple hours; really get to know her. You know, it's the thing John McCain should have done a year ago." --David Letterman

"Last week, Dick Cheney had buck surgery. You know Dick Cheney? Dick 'Shotgun' Cheney? You know, it's the complications from carrying Bush for eight years. That's what it was." --David Letterman

"Actually, I'm getting kind of worried about President Obama. He hasn't been on a TV show for almost 11 hours. Is everything all right? Is he O.K.?" --Jay Leno

"Well, you know what's interesting? Because of all these scandals, the executive director of Acorn, a woman named Bertha Lewis, said Acorn will fire any employees 'too stupid to understand they are not reaching professional standards.' Why can't we get this rule for Congress?" --Jay Leno

"Actually, did you see Obama the last couple of days - he was on six different TV shows pitching his health-care plan. You know the difference between Obama and the ShamWow guy? You can see the ShamWow guy on Fox." --Jay Leno

"And how awful is this? This book claims that John Edwards tried to calm his mistress down by promising to marry her, after his wife died, in a rooftop wedding ceremony in New York with the Dave Matthews Band as their wedding band. Really, Dave Matthews at the wedding for these two? Wouldn't Cheap Trick be more appropriate?" --Jay Leno

"Well, according to the Los Angeles Times, the immigrant population in California actually declined last year. When asked if they had noticed, 80 percent of the people in California said, 'Si.'" --Jay Leno

"Over 150 world leaders in town for the conference. As a result, there's also 150 mistresses in town. So it's just a traffic nightmare." --Jimmy Fallon

"Also in New York is Bill Clinton, who's hosting his own Clinton Global Initiative over at the Sheraton Hotel. It's room 319. Knock three times, ladies." --Jimmy Fallon

"The U.S. government is giving American Indian tribes $224 million of stimulus money to help fight crime on reservations. The tribes say that they're grateful for the money and plan to bet it all on black." --Jimmy Fallon

Thursday, September 24, 2009

New Jersey Nyets, Kentucky Fed Hunters

Dana Milbank
David Ignatius
Joe Klein

Sorry this blog is late today, I spent the morning at the doctor's getting an injection of steroids into my spine. My first time, I hope it gets rid of some of the pain...

The basketball team New Jersey Nets have just been bought by a 6' 6" Russian billionaire. He bought 80% interest in the team, and also is putting in money for a stadium in Brooklyn, where the team is proposing to relocate: "According to the agreement, entities to be formed by Onexim Group will invest $200 million and make certain funding commitments to acquire 80 percent of the NBA team, 45 percent of the arena project and the right to purchase up to 20 percent of the Atlantic Yards Development Company, which will develop the non-arena real estate.

The NBA will review the proposal, and the deal must be approved by three-quarters of the NBA's board of governors." Perhaps he will rename the cheerleaders the Putinettes... This is a first, having a foreign owner, and it can do more to cement friendship between the two countries than any nuclear non-proliferation agreement could.

So far the spin in the American press is all positive, after all, who doesn't like lots of new money? The only whining is being done in Russia: "... some Russian legislators and analysts call it a blow to the nation's sports. "I can't consider this action as anything other than unpatriotic," Aslambek Aslakhanov, a member of the upper parliament chamber's sports committee, said Thursday, according to the state news agency RIA Novosti. "We also have talented children here, but sports isn't being developed. They're not trying in order for us to return to our former sports ranking of best in the world."

The collapse of the Soviet-era "Big Red Machine" that was a dominating force in Olympic Games has rankled many Russians, but the sports prowess has surged in recent years with an array of top tennis players and the recent victory in the World Ice Hockey Championships." I'll save you the quotes saying that he is doing a disservice to the Fatherland, and other old school think-speak...

Club Fed...
Here is a creepy story that is getting all out of control, depending on what news site you go to. According to the Associated Press, a Federal Census worker was found hung from a tree in rural Kentucky, with the word FED written on his chest. You can bet that it was not done with a Sharpie...

The census guy was one of those upbeat, do-gooder types who moved to Kentucky to work with the local Boy Scouts. He had been warned more than once to be careful where he went by a retired deputy. Do ya think that there are some people making money from an alternative economy here? Does a meth lab explode in the forest???

The more liberal sites tout this as an example of tea partyism gone wrong, of rural folks living in the hollows with their only link to the world being Fox News, kinda like rural Pakistan or Sudan. No doubt that there is distrust for Federal employees here, but it has its history with generations of smugglers and moonshine distilleries in the backwoods, updated with the Dixie Mafia in more modern times. And it was just some dumb peckerwood who is too ornery to care to differentiate between a revenoor and a census taker. Besides, its a lot easier stringing up an unarmed 53 year old than it will be when the posse of FBI, state troopers, and maybe DEA, that even now is in pursuit...

late night jokes:

"Now, be honest, ladies and gentlemen. How many of you are here because you couldn't get into the U.N.?" --David Letterman

"And then the Iranian dictator Mahmoud Ahmadinejad gave a hate speech and I thought to myself, where's that 'you lie' guy when you need him?" --David Letterman

"Hey, listen to this. You know the former governor of Alaska, Sarah Palin? Boy, I know her. She's traveling all over the world now, speaking gigs. And she went to Hong Kong and gave a speech and people who heard the speech said it was articulate, it was well-prepared, it was compelling. It's a year late, but …" --David Letterman

"And if it was that good I'm thinking it must have been Tina Fey." --David Letterman

"They paid her $300,000 for the speech, the Chinese, $300,000 for the speech. I guess she apparently could see the cash from her house." --David Letterman

"In a new interview, conservative talk show host Glenn Beck called John McCain a 'weird progressive, like Teddy Roosevelt.' In response, McCain said, 'That's funny. That's what Teddy used to call me.'" --Conan O'Brien

"President Barack Obama addressed the U.N. General Assembly today. His opening line was, 'Some of you may recognize me from my appearances on television.'" --Jay Leno

"Actually, in his first eight months in office, President Obama has made four times as many TV appearances as President Bush. Experts say if Obama continues at this rate, next week he will eclipse Regis." --Jay Leno

"And Iranian leader Mahmoud I'm-a-nut-job, he's in New York this week. Boy, he's really grumpy. I guess the movie on the flight over from Iran was 'Schindler's List.' And he just didn't like that." --Jay Leno

"And Libyan leader Moammar Qaddafi-duck, this moron, was at the U.N. today. He talked forever. He talked on Israel and the swine flu and the JFK assassination. Where was Kanye West to grab the microphone away?" --Jay Leno

"He talked so long, even Joe Biden went, 'Enough!'" --Jay Leno

"Well, I'm sure you heard about this story. Officials have charged three men born in Afghanistan in this terror probe. An official says much of the evidence gathered was suggestive of a plot to attack buses or trains. How scary is that? Imagine terrorists being able to blow up an Amtrak train before it has a chance to run off the embankment on its own." --Jay Leno

"Anyway, this terror suspect who was arrested in Colorado that was charged with detailed plans on how to make the bomb - here's my favorite part. The guy said he downloaded the plans to make the bomb off the Internet by mistake. Oh, shut up, that's the porn excuse! Wives don't even buy that! Shut up!" --Jay Leno

"And according to a front page story in the LA Times, the CIA is deploying teams of spies, analysts, and paramilitary operatives to Afghanistan as part of a broad intelligence search. They said this should catch the Taliban by surprise, unless, of course, they happen to see the front page of the L.A. Times." --Jay Leno

And Sarah Palin gave a speech today in Hong Kong. She was very tough on President Obama. She attacked President Obama on foreign soil. Well, I'm sure the people that went after the Dixie Chicks will be going after her right now." --Jay Leno

"Some good gossip. There's a new book out about Barack and Michelle Obama's marriage. And in it, they say that Michelle Obama was very upset by all these drooling blonds who would push up to her husband and rub themselves up against him. They said this. One blonde was especially suggestive and kept rubbing up against the President. And finally, Michelle said, 'Look, Chris Matthews, get away from my husband.'" --Jay Leno

"Today, President Obama met with Japanese Prime Minister Yukio Hatoyama, or as President Bush called him, 'Mr. Miyagi.' The Japanese prime minister wanted to thank Obama for all of the money that Japan got from the 'Cash for Clunkers' program." --Jimmy Fallon

"The Obama's have been very busy. Tonight, they hosted an evening reception for world leaders at the Waldorf-Astoria in New York. The party was going great until Hugo Chavez started doing karaoke." --Jimmy Fallon

"In a speech to the Clinton Global Initiative yesterday, President Obama thanked Bill Clinton for the extraordinary difference he has made since leaving the White House. Clinton then stood up and thanked President Obama for keeping Hillary so busy." --Jimmy Fallon

"Vice President Joe Biden spoke at a retirement home in Maryland today to reassure senior citizens about health-care reform. The seniors didn't really care what Biden said in the speech, they were just happy to outlive it." --Jimmy Fallon

"Libya's President Muammar Qaddafi gave a lengthy tirade to the U.N. General Assembly today. He was supposed to talk for 15 minutes but went on a 90-minute rant instead. I mean, where is Kanye when you need him?" --Jimmy Fallon

"A pharmaceutical company is developing a microchip to be implanted in patients' shoulders that remind them to take their medication. That's just what crazy people on drugs need, right, a voice talking to them out of their shoulder?" --Jimmy Fallon

"I read this in Time magazine. Former presidential candidate Ralph Nader said that President Obama was 'weak, waffling and wavering.' And then Nader added: 'I do not like him in a house. I do not like him with a mouse.'" --Jimmy Fallon

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Khamenei's Paranoia, Russia's Drug Connection

Maureen Dowd
Kathleen Parker
Dana Milbank

"The Republicans' Deaf Ear Is a Preexisting Condition" - Dana Milbank

"The former exterminator drove the loony Clinton impeachment, pushed the nutty Terri Schiavo legislation, gutted the House ethics committee, engaged in gerrymandering schemes, enhanced the pay-to-play political culture and made the Republican Party so sulfurously partisan, ethically suspect and God-centric that voters recoiled."  - Maureen Dowd, on Tom Delay

the walrus was Ali...
It's a known fact that the Internet is changing the way information is distributed. Instead of a government controlling and spinning information the way it wants, different opinions also are distributed. You cannot have a completely totalitarian regime when people own cell phones and computers, as Iran is learning, much to its chagrin. In his increasing paranoia, signalling that he may be about to lose it and have a mental breakdown: "Ayatollah Khamenei tried to blame “foreign media” for “poisoning Iran’s atmosphere” in recent months, in what may have been an oblique reference to the social networking services that have allowed Iranian citizen journalism to flourish.

Six days earlier, during the latest mass trial of dissidents, a prosecutor in Tehran charged that the social networking sites that Americans generally use to share their thoughts on reality shows, video clips of their children or sneezing pandas were actually created by the American government to destabilize Iran..." Yes, that's right, "sites such as Facebook and YouTube were devised by the United States in order to wage a psychological war against Iran." Everyone knows that if you play Facebook backwards, the message is "kill Mahmoud, kill Mahmoud..."

The plan to ignore the Taliban and focus more on al Qaeda would work - if al Qaeda were not Sunnis. Local Talibans consider supporting a religious brother first, before listening to a foreign infidel, no matter how good his intentions.

“I do not back anti-Americanism, but this cannot but affect our relations with third countries,” 
More of a problem, is how to make a poor country like Afghanistan more sustainable, so that young boys won't be swayed by the lure of extremism. Giving them computers only makes them more aware of their poverty and hopeless life situation, make them sweat more in the old poppy fields for a few extra dollars.

Russia is pissed at the current wussy US drug policy in Afghanistan. Channeling Vladimer Putin imitating John Wayne: "Viktor P. Ivanov, will press the United States to step up efforts to destroy Afghan poppy cultivation, which he said was feeding a devastating drug problem in Russia. The request comes just as American policy makers have swung sharply away from Bush-era programs to eradicate the opium poppy crop, which is used to produce heroin... 

Mr. Ivanov, head of the federal drug control service and a trusted adviser to Prime Minister Vladimir V. Putin, said Tuesday that eradication programs had failed in Afghanistan because they were too weak, and that the United States should apply the more muscular methods it used recently in Colombia, where vast coca fields were sprayed aerially with the herbicide glyphosate.

Afghanistan is seen as a crucial area of cooperation for the United States and Russia, in large part because of Russia’s crippling heroin problem. The authorities here estimate that 30,000 young Russians die every year from drug use. Mr. Ivanov said that 90 percent of Russian addicts used Afghan heroin, which flows into the country freely over the “virtual borders” it shares with central Asian neighbors."

The global need for heroin is diminishing, and the good crops from the last couple of years have been stockpiling. The brother of Hamid Karzai is one of the major players, and he is also accused of ballot rigging during the recent election. Hey, I wonder how the election results are coming along, another country with a landslide election for the incumbent?

Damn, I wish I was an ex-governor of Alaska,
invited to speak for $300,000 and an all expenses paid trip to Hong Kong. Our own Sarah Palin spoke for 90 minutes to a diverse international crowd, mainly composed of folks from the economic set. She seemed to be a success: "... she was articulate, well-prepared and even compelling.

“The speech was wide-ranging, very balanced, and she beat all expectations,” said Doug A. Coulter, head of private equity in the Asia-Pacific region for LGT Capital Partners. “She didn’t sound at all like a far-right-wing conservative. She seemed to be positioning herself as a libertarian or a small-c conservative,” 

For that amount of money and that kind of crowd, she couldn't sound like she normally does on Facebook and Twitter. For that amount of money, I'd change my political affiliation and talk trash about both of my parents... John McCain's ex-political advisor was along to correct any gaffes, and there were no questions taken afterwards.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Three Amigos Kinda Agree on Talks, Where is Zelaya?

Eugene Robinson
Dana Milbank

"Despite all the obstacles, despite all the history, despite all the mistrust, we have to find a way forward." - Barack Obama

"We will not have peace until Palestinians accept that this is the land of Israel"
 - Israel Dalven, West Bank

"I dream of peace so we can live together, Palestinians and Israelis, side by side"
 - Omar Mussa Soleiman, Rafah, Gaza

the three amigos...

The big three met today, and a historical moment happened when Benjamin Netanyahu and Mahmut Abbas shook hands. Hopefully, it won't be a meaningless one.

Beforehand, Israeli President Shimon Peres: "... expressed hope that the tripartite meeting between Netanyahu, Abbas and Obama would lead to the resumption of Middle East peace talks."All sides have tried to lower expectations from the meeting, but the expectations for peace are always high - I hope the meeting will lead to continued negotiations," 

Both sides agreed to more talks, how could they not? But the fact that they agreed to meet without any of the dumb preconditions that have been set in the past, is a step forward. This is what George Mitchell had hoped to accomplish. The weird part of this is that both Netanyahu and Abbas had already agreed to appear to be reasonable, why did it take such a public stage for it to happen, why couldn't they have agreed weeks before and already sitting down and hammering out an agreement?

Because an actual written document is still a long ways off, especially over the West Bank settlements and East Jerusalem. The big question is who owns the land and has the final decision?

Most of the publicized response has been from the Israeli and American Jewish community. The most stubborn in their views are the right wingers, as the Jerusalem Post notes: "The Israeli Right was less enthusiastic about meeting and its participants. Interior Minister Eli Yishai slammed the "Palestinian conduct round the meeting," which exposes "another layer in their systematic behavior, the end of which is reinforcement in harmful stances in order to upgrade via confrontation [previous] agreements, which they blatantly trample," Yishai said. Please note the derogatory speech, no way these guys will budge on any issues put before them...

"MK Danny Danon (Likud) aimed his criticism at the host of the meeting currently taking place in New York. "The meeting proves yet again that we are not living in a Hollywood movie," he said. "Obama should realize that charisma is not sufficient to bring peace. I hope that the meeting will bring a halt to the Hollywood movie Obama is living in." Poor Danny needs to study up on his US geography, at least get the coastline right. He is missing the point that its not charisma bringing the leaders together, but their egos to be seen as reasonable on the world stage... It may take a few days for the arab and Palestinian response to filter through the media...

The scrappy Honduran challenger...

Here we thought that it was only the Iranians who got to protest and have the peaceful crowds tear-gassed and beaten up. Crowds in Honduras marched in favor of Manuel Zelaya: "The de facto government had declared a curfew Monday after learning that Mr. Zelaya, who was expelled three months ago in a dawn coup, had re-entered surreptitiously to rally his supporters and confront the officials who had arranged his removal. After backers of Mr. Zelaya defied the order to stay off the streets, heavily armed riot police officers and soldiers forced them to scatter and took up positions around the embassy in Tegucigalpa, the capital."

Mr Zelaya and his wife snuck into the country, driving along back roads at night to avoid military checkpoints, until they reached the capitol. Mrs Zelaya had asked the Brazilian Embassy for shelter. I'ts a universal policy for embassies to give shelter whenever asked, a tradition from when churches were considered a safe haven. Crowds formed in front  of the embassy showing support for Mr Zelaya.

Free Manuel

The Honduran fake government is willing to accept Mr Zelaya, they have offered  jail cell to stay in, and have 18 counts against him, including treason. The treason is that he tried to have a special election to determine if a President could serve two terms in a row. Since the election never took place because the military kicked him out, trying to change the law is against the Honduran constitution, a rather convoluted argument that would be thrown out as frivolous in the US.

The timing of Manuel Zelaya's action was planned to coincide with the UN General Assembly meeting, hoping that the world's compassionate eyes would look favorable on his plight. The media reports that he got impatient of waiting while everyone else hoped the situation would just go away...

late night jokes:

"A big show last night, right here on CBS. The annual Emmy Awards television broadcast. What a show that was. My God, I thought we outlawed torture!" --David Letterman

"I'm happy to say that once again, 'The Late Show,' we were nominated this year, in an unusual category. We were right between Governor Sanford's meltdown and the 'You lie!' guy." --David Letterman

"Have you noticed people are rude now? I mean, that guy just screaming out like that. Listen to this. This is how rude people are in Arizona. People keep ringing John McCain's doorbell and then running away." --David Letterman

"By the way, the Emmys was the only Sunday television program that President Obama was not on yesterday." --David Letterman

"President Obama is on our program tonight. I'm in a great mood because the President is here tonight. I underwent three hours of frisking. Whooo!" --David Letterman

"Don't kid yourselves, ladies and gentlemen. It's seamless but security here tonight at the Ed Sullivan Theater is very tight. They even checked under my hairpiece." --David Letterman

"Security is tighter than Joan Rivers' face." --David Letterman

"But, and I think this is a relief to all of us, the building has been cleared now of all Republican congressmen." --David Letterman

"You know, when you have a big show like this, everybody gets kind of excited about it. And I was talking to my mom today. I said, 'You know, President Obama is on the show tonight.' And she said, 'Well, maybe I'll switch from Conan.'" --David Letterman

"Great to see President Obama again. Haven't seen him since he invited me and Sarah Palin to the White House for a beer." --David Letterman

"The President is here. He's speaking to the U.N. And also, the President is in town to pardon Ernie Anastos." --David Letterman

"We were never able to get President Bush on the show when he was president. President Bush was always too busy not working so he couldn't come through here.'" --David Letterman

"Speaking of President Bush, did you see him last night at the big football game? It was the Giants and Cowboys down there in Texas. And President Bush did the coin toss at the start of the game. Now here's a bit of trivia. The coin that they used to start the game was the same coin that the Supreme Court tossed that won Bush the election." --David Letterman

"President Obama was on a record five Sunday TV shows yesterday. Five. I don't want to say he's on too much, but today, Kate Gosselin said, 'He's overexposed. He needs to pull back.'" --Jay Leno

"Well, let's see, the big international story is Iranian President Mahmoud I'm-a-nut-job — Am I saying that right? Ahmadinejad? I'm sorry — is coming to New York City this week. And listen to this, after he arrives, he's driving his own cab in from the airport." --Jay Leno

"According to Newsweek, the word in Washington is that Supreme Court Justice John Paul Stevens is going to step down next year, which means there's going to be another opening on the Supreme Court. And you know who Obama is going to pick as the new judge? Have you heard? Ellen DeGeneres." --Jay Leno

"And in my home state of Massachusetts, state Republicans are upset over a new tax hike on dogs. It was slipped into a bill by Democrats at the last minute. Democrats claim, though, they're only going to be taxing dogs that make over $250,000 a year." --Jay Leno

"According to a new study just released, famed Viennese composer Mozart died in 1791 from the strep throat. Really? It took 218 years to reach this diagnosis, huh? You think our health care sucks? Hey, the good news, I just hope this gives the Mozart family some closure." --Jay Leno

"And doctors are still arguing over whether being fat should be classified as a medical disease. You know, I think it should be. It should be. Because this time, or the next time rather, your wife says, 'Do these jeans make me look fat?' you can go, 'Honey, I am not a doctor.'" --Jay Leno

"Jennifer Garner is here tonight. She has a new movie out called 'The Invention of Lying.' I think it's the John Edwards story, if I'm not mistaken." --Jay Leno

"Well, more problems for Democratic sleazeball John Edwards. The campaign official who claimed he fathered the child of Edwards' mistress is now writing a book where he says Edwards is the real father. And to make matters worse, it turns out Acorn already registered the baby to vote." --Jay Leno

"At last night's Dallas Cowboys game, President Bush was spotted sitting next to John Madden. Well, actually, a lot of people were spotted sitting next to John Madden. Large man." --Conan O'Brien

"Speaking of former President Bush, according to a new book that's coming out, former President Bush secretly supports gay marriage. Bush said, 'If Bert and Ernie can make it work, anyone can.'" --Conan O'Brien

"Now, there's a new book coming out about former President Clinton. And it claims that when Boris Yeltsin was visiting, Yeltsin got drunk and was found wandering Pennsylvania Avenue in his underwear looking for pizza. The book also claims that when Clinton wanders around in his underwear, he's not looking for pizza." --Conan O'Brien

"Some unfortunate news about California. A new study shows that California has the dirtiest tap water in the country. California officials insist that the dirty water is fine as long as you chew it thoroughly." --Conan O'Brien

"Iran President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad is coming to New York to address the United Nations, but many restaurants say they won't serve him. You can tell which ones because their signs read, 'No shirt, no shoes, no Holocaust, no service.'" --Conan O'Brien

"Big news this weekend. President Obama was everywhere. He became the first president to appear on five Sunday morning talk shows. Five talk shows in one day. Even Heidi and Spencer were like, 'Tone it down!'" --Jimmy Fallon

"Five, that's a record. Though, he still hasn't topped Bush's record of watching 10 straight Saturday morning cartoons." --Jimmy Fallon

"A woman from Alabama won a dinner with Sarah Palin on eBay. It cost $63,000. Palin says she'll take the woman out to a restaurant of her choice and leave after the appetizers." --Jimmy Fallon

David Letterman's Top 10 Reasons Obama Agreed to Appear on the 'Late Show'

10. Heard the lady with the heart-shaped potato was gonna be here.
9. Thought it would be fun to watch someone else get heckled.
8. Something to do with that whole Cash For Clunkers deal.
7. Every president since Teddy Roosevelt has done it.
6. Someone offers you 600 bucks, you take it ladies and gentlemen.
5. We told him Megan Fox would be here.
4. Needed some time to hang out before check-in time at his hotel.
3. I have no idea.
2. Said yes, without thinking, like Bush did with Iraq.
1. Wanted to congratulate Dave on the big Emmy win.

Monday, September 21, 2009

Secret Deal Between Israel and Russia, Good Fences ...

Bob Woodward
Hillary Clinton
EJ Dionne JR

Bibi and Dimitry's excellent adventure..
Over the weekend, Russian President Dimitry Medvedev admitted to CNN that Israel's Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu came secretly to Russia for talks: “He did this under a closed regime, this was his decision. I don’t understand what this was connected with, but sometimes our partners decide it this way,” Mr Back Door Man... Pretty closed-mouthed, but it's now speculated that what I wrote about weeks ago is correct; Israel was trying to get Russia to stop sending "ultramodern S-300 air-defense systems to Iran. The latest version of the weapon, known as the “Favorit”, can simultaneously engage 12 targets flying at any altitude from about 30 feet to 20 miles, and strike them at a range of up to 75 miles away." One shipment was on its way, hidden in a load of lumber on the mystery ship that was hijacked in the Baltic Sea. Israel has been putting pressure on its allies to influence Russia in not fulfilling the outstanding contract for the missiles.

The big question, is what promise has Russia extracted from Israel in return? Israel has helped to train troops in Georgia, which went briefly to war last year with Russia. That's when John McCain announced that we are all Georgians now, which certain Southern Americans thought he was talking about them and inviting them to all future townhall meetings... Israel provided Georgia the use of Predator drones, which the US had generously given them. The US hasn't even given drones to Pakistan or any of its other Middle Eastern buddies, so this was seen as a breach of war etiquette on Israel's part, one that Russia wanted to rectify. Also, the umbilical ties between the motherland and the Russian mafiya who had emigrated to Israel is still pretty strong.

Don't fence me in...
The Christian Science Monitor has a commentary on the GAO's report on the still unfinished fence on the border between the US and Mexico: "Some $2.4 billion has been spent since 2005 on a still-unfinished project to erect more than 600 miles of new fence along the US-Mexico border – a finding that is being met with surprise, anger, and consternation by immigrant groups and at least some border residents. The report also says $6.5 billion will be needed to maintain the new fencing over the next 20 years. So far, it has been breached 3,363 times, requiring $1,300 for the average repair."

It goes on to report that the workers on the fence are often housed and fed in local hotels, while as many as 40 people per day slide past them into the land of the free, unless Joe Wilson and Tom Tancredo have their way. Incidentally, at a recent press interview, Mr Wilson declared that he had been an immigration lawyer, but he has never been registered as one.

Anyway, the Border Patrol says the fence has helped a lot to keep the unwanted and unwashed out, despite the number of repairs to the part that's already been built. Of course, if we canceled the billions allocated for this fence, along with the billions we are spending in Iraq and Afghanistan, there really wouldn't be much of a national deficit. Get rid of the tax loopholes where corporations don't pay any taxes, and you could pay for any kind of health reform, too.

Joe Wilson
Tom Tancredo

Big Bro is watching...
Be careful when you are on Facebook and decide to friend Barack and Michelle. The Washington Times reports: "The White House is collecting and storing comments and videos placed on its social-networking sites such as Facebook, Twitter and YouTube without notifying or asking the consent of the site users, a failure that appears to run counter to President Obama's promise of a transparent government and his pledge to protect privacy on the Internet.

Marc Rotenberg, president of the Electronic Privacy Information Center, said the White House signaled that it would insist on open dealings with Internet users and, in fact, should feel obliged to disclose that it is collecting such information." I don't have anything funny to say about this. There are too many instances indicating that the new administration is continuing many of the old policies of snooping on us citizens, even adding new ones such as this. Who are our friends in this brave new world that is creating the new world order?

late night jokes:

"Well, according to Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke, he says the recession is over. You know, where is that 'You lie!' guy when you need him?" --Jay Leno

"You know, they used to say a recession was when your neighbor lost his job, and a depression was when you lost your job. You probably heard this, right? See, now, a recession is when Wall Street guys get bailed out, and a depression is what you get thinking about it." --Jay Leno

"Senator Max Baucus has unveiled his health-care reform bill. It will require that every single American obtain health insurance. Well, let's hope it works out as well as that California law that says that everybody has to have car insurance. O.K., what happened to that one?" --Jay Leno

"Oh, and of course, there's that big scandal with A-porn, I mean Acorn. They're an organization that gets government money to help poor people. Well, now, they're in a lot of trouble. It seems these two filmmakers went to Acorn's office posing as a pimp and a prostitute, saying they wanted to buy a house and run it as a brothel. And Acorn workers gave them advice on how to get away with prostitution and how to avoid paying taxes. See, here's my question. If they want to get away with prostitution and not paying taxes, go to Congress. These are the professionals. These are the people that know." --Jay Leno

"Big story. Earlier today, President Obama said that he's dropping President Bush's plan for a missile defense shield. Obama is also dropping President Bush's plan to build an elite army of Rock 'Em Sock 'Em Robots." --Conan O'Brien

"The Senate just passed a bill allowing Amtrak passengers to carry guns in their checked luggage. However, folks, Greyhound passengers are still not allowed to carry deodorant." --Conan O'Brien

"Today, what else is going on? Former Vice President Dick Cheney underwent minor surgery on his back. The doctor told Cheney it's a simple operation, he'd be up and having heart surgery in no time." --Conan O'Brien

"Dick Cheney is having surgery today to relieve his lower back pain. And do you know how they administered the anesthesia? They just shot it right in his face." --Jimmy Fallon

"A new Nielsen survey found that Washington, D.C., has the most 25- to 34-year-olds in the country who make over $100,000 a year. Yeah, and they're called hookers." --Jimmy Fallon

"Vince McMahon's wife, Linda, is stepping down as the CE. of World Wrestling Entertainment to run for the Senate in Connecticut. Things are going well for her. She's already raised a ton of campaign money from the folding chair industry." --Jimmy Fallon

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Takin' the Trilateral Train to Nowhere...

Robert Gates
John Yoo
Matt Latimer

"First, to be clear, there is now no strategic missile defense in Europe." - Robert Gates

“I know it sounds arrogant to say,” he told me, “but I redefined the Republican Party” - George w Bush

trilateral commission...
President Barack Obama has secured a private meeting with leaders of Israel and Palestine before the UN meeting: "After a frustrating week of shuttle diplomacy here in which the Obama administration failed to persuade Israelis and Palestinians to renew peace talks, leaders of the two sides are heading to the United States to make their cases again that the administration should push the other harder.

Palestinian leaders say the sources of the frustration could not be clearer — Israel’s refusal to freeze settlement building in the West Bank and East Jerusalem in keeping with earlier commitments and its insistence on holding peace talks without agreeing to deal with the key issues of Jerusalem and Palestinian refugees.

“Without a settlement freeze or an agreement to talk about the core issues, there is no point in starting the negotiations,” Saeb Erekat, the top Palestinian negotiator, who is also going to New York, said by telephone. “Ask Mr. Netanyahu if he is willing to negotiate on Jerusalem and on refugees. He refuses. And we all know that if he ever accepted, he would lose his governing coalition.”

Mr. Netanyahu’s coalition is largely right-wing and pro-settlement.
Israeli officials say they will seek to focus American attention away from settlements and on what they consider the real dangers plaguing the region — Iranian nuclear ambition and Palestinian intransigence."

As we all know, you can't negotiate with right wingers, they won't listen or budge. The Israeli Prime Minister's office announced that: "the meeting will not serve as a preparation for negotiations and not constitute renewal of negotiations where they were left off, but rather be a preliminary meeting to lay the groundwork for further meetings.

Netanyahu, the statement continued, never set any preconditions for meeting the Palestinian leadership and was ready to travel anywhere in the world and meet any leader so long as the meeting would advance peace. The announcement of the meeting came as something of a surprise..."

The Palestinian Authority announced that: "... such a meeting might take place, but stressed that the Palestinians would not drop their demand that Israel halt all construction in settlements before the resumption of peace talks. A PA official said that under the current circumstances, a decision by Abbas to meet with Netanyahu would only be because of the heavy pressure the Americans have been exerting on him in recent weeks."

So, both sides are procrastinating and are making no commitment to sit down and actually negotiate with each other, they will bluster, point fingers, and threaten each other like they have done for over 60 years. Obama might be able to learn from the failure of George Mitchell, who recently toured the Middle East trying to accomplish the same thing. The Palestinian and arabic newspaperss: "accused him of "going to the wrong addresses and knocking on the wrong doors"... Also, Hamas has been left out of the equation, and first you have to get Fatah and Hamas to sit down and learn how to negotiate with themselves before they can play nice with others... Both sides play the role of victim to the hilt, and, as our local GOP drama queens have shown, you can't even draft a bipartisan bill much less have talk for a lasting peace...

Hey, no pressure at all...
So, you're the new Attorney General and you want to make a change in the office. You decide to hold an investigation into the CI and allegations of torture. Not only will it piss off the previous administration and Dick Cheney, but you have incurred the collective wrath of CIA directors past: "Seven former CIA directors have sent a letter to President Obama, urging him to overturn Attorney General Eric Holder's decision to appoint a torture prosecutor.

Holder's decision, they wrote "creates an atmosphere of continuous jeopardy for those whose cases the Department of Justice had previously declined to prosecute." they added that the probe "will seriously damage the willingness of many other intelligence officers to take risks to protect the country."

The seven former directors are Michael Hayden, Porter Goss, George Tenet, John Deutch, James Woolsey, William Webster and James Schlesinger. One former director whose name isn't on the letter: George H. W. Bush..." I first read this on a conservative web site, and the story took up a whole page of small print, which is difficult to read even with bifocals. When it makes it a more liberal site, the story is only a few paragraphs in length. The lesson to be learned here is that something always gets lost in the translation from conservative to liberal...

some late night jokes about the Middle East:

"A ceasefire went into effect between Israel and Hezbollah. Total disaster. We are no longer on the road to World War III. Jesus was half way here. Now he has turn his cloud of glory and go back to heaven -- and it does not get good mileage. Here's the worst part. Guess who brokered this peace in the Middle East? The U.S. and the French working through the UN. The only non-offensive word in that sentence is 'through.'" --Stephen Colbert

"There's now a 48-hour cease-fire going on in the Middle East. Israel will stop attacking Hezbollah, but Hezbollah will not necessarily agree to stop attacking Israel. Hey, we can't even get Mel Gibson to stop attacking Israel." --Jay Leno

"Lebanon. Our president, President Bush, has rejected calls for an immediate cease-fire on the grounds that he'd prefer a 'sustainable cease-fire.' It makes sense. He doesn't want the killing to stop until he's sure it will stop. So, there will be more killing until the president's convinced that there will be no more killing. Or everyone else runs out of people." --Jon Stewart

"Another day in the Middle East. Obviously the cease-fire fell through, talks fell apart, they lasted about two hours. Even the O.J. jury managed to meet longer than that." --Jon Stewart

"We're still on the road to World War III. Things were looking a little grim last week -- all those countries pressuring us to call for an immediate cease-fire, but we stayed strong. Sure, we sent over Condi Rice to negotiate, but she's not there for cease-fire. No, she's there for 'sustainable cease-fire,' which considering the Middle East, is like sending her to bring back Jimmy Hoffa on a unicorn." --Stephen Colbert

"More rockets were fired into Israel today. Israel responded by bombing more targets inside Lebanon. Now there's talk the U.S. might send some troops over there to help with border security. That's when you know the people over there are in trouble, when they start asking our advice on border security." --Jay Leno

"The Middle East crisis continues right now. Everyone's trying to leave the area. Americans stuck in Lebanon say they're frustrated because other countries seem to be evacuating their citizens faster. On the bright side, we're almost finished evacuating New Orleans." --Conan O'Brien

"A lot of trouble in the Middle East right now between Lebanon and Israel. ... Last night Israel bombed the runways at Beirut's airport, putting a stop on all flights in and out. So I'm sorry everybody, you're just gonna have to cancel that relaxing weekend getaway to Beirut." --Conan O'Brien

"This morning the Vatican weighed in on the crisis. The Vatican came out and condemned Israel's attacks on Lebanon ... which is great, because all day yesterday, the Jews and Muslims were asking, 'What do the Catholics think?'" --Conan O'Brien

"Of course, world leaders are getting involved in the crisis right now. Earlier today Germany's chancellor called for the attacks on Israel to stop. After hearing about it, a spokesperson for Israel said, 'You know things are bad when Germany's got your back'." --Conan O'Brien

"At a joint press conference with President Bush, German Chancellor Angela Merkel called for a 'de-escalation of Mid-East violence.' Later, Bush called for both sides to 'de-angrify' and 'de-hurt' each other." --Conan O'Brien

"The biggest surprise of the election: it was the lowest voter turnout ever. A dismal 63.2%. That's the lowest turn-out they've ever had. You know we shouldn't be bringing democracy to the Middle East, they should be bringing it to us" --Jon Stewart, on the Israeli election

"Big news in the Middle East. Yesterday the Israeli government began moving thousands of Jewish settlers from the Gaza strip. This is huge. And officials say once the area is cleared of all Jews the area will be renamed Utah." --Conan O'Brien

Saturday, September 19, 2009

Will Obama Talk Like a Pirate at the UN? AARRRR!

Ari Shavit
David Waters
Stephen J Rosen

"A law is a law only when it applies to everyone and does not discriminate." - Ari Shavit

"All that fantastical thinking about the transformative power of diplomacy is now headed straight for the iceberg that is the Middle East." - Stephen J Rosen

"The dirtiest fighter sets the rules of a conflict." - Ed Luttwak

For I dream of the skull and the crossbones,
I dream of the great day to come,
When I dump the mundane for the Old Spanish Main
And trade my computer for rum! ARRR!

First, we make him walk the plank..
President Barack Obama will soon be facing the toughest challenges to his foreign policies on the Middle East. As Stephen Rosen illustrates: "Eight months into his presidency, Barack Obama is fast approaching his first real moment of truth on the Middle East. At the opening of the U.N. General Assembly session next week, the U.S. president will host a ceremonial summit between Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas in hopes of launching talks to achieve a final resolution of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Then, a week later on Oct. 1, Undersecretary of State William Burns will join representatives of Britain, France, Germany, Russia, and China for the first talks with Iran's chief nuclear negotiator to see whether an agreement can be reached to curtail President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad's nuclear weapons program."

If he and Hillary and George can pull just these two things off and set the process in motion, then he could run for Prime Minister of Israel or President of Iran after his terms are up here in the US... But Obama's policy of engagement will be put to the test in dealing with Iran's happy scoundrel, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, who: "... seems so eager to test the tolerances of this new policy than Ahmadinejad? Whether it is crushing democracy in his country, actively seeking nuclear weapons, threatening to wipe Israel off the face of the earth, seeking to extend his influence to the Western Hemisphere through his alliance with Hugo Chavez, continuing to sponsor Hezbollah or, as he did again today, calling the Holocaust a lie, he has done everything possible not only to raise tension with the United States but to serve as an affront to the most basic values and interests of the international community at large."

Or we could throw him overboard...
We haven't heard much about the outcome of the meeting between the North Korean diplomats and New Mexico's Bill Richardson other than the bland statement he made afterwards: "The delegation indicated that North Korea is ready for a new dialogue with the United States regarding the nuclear issue, the question is whether to proceed with face-to-face bilateral talks, as the North Koreans prefer, or to utilize the six-party framework that the United States has advocated. The North Koreans clearly want bilateral talks and not the six-party framework." North Korea has tried in its own way to make nice, like a fashion model who stumbles on the catwalk. It has asked for those bilateral talks, we just haven't made up our minds yet...

That's certainly not the case with Jim Webb, who has opened the can of worms of engagement with Burma: "Webb's five-nation tour of Southeast Asia last month made huge news; he was the highest-level U.S. official in years to meet with the leaders of Burma's reclusive military junta and he had a private meeting with Burmese democracy icon Aung San Suu Kyi. The fallout from Webb's trip has reinvigorated the Washington debate over Burma policy, centered around Webb's controversial push to engage the brutal Burmese dictatorship, which he says should include consideration of easing sanctions.

The pushback against Webb's initiative has been severe, driven by a loose alliance of democracy advocates, former Bush administration officials, and a segment of the neoconservative intellectual brain trust." You don't mess with the Old Asian Hands or that intellectual weenie, William Kristol. yeah, I know his dad Irving Kristol just died, but that doesn't excuse Bill for being so wrong on so many issues so much of the time. His criticism of Jim is: "Webb -- who became the first American official ever to meet with General Than Shwe, the country's ultimate political authority -- has been sucking up to the junta by providing its leaders with the recognition they seek and by pushing the Obama administration to drop sanctions against the country. Worse yet, he seems to have enlisted Secretary Clinton into his cause. "

As you might have guessed, Bill is also responsible for enthusiastically supporting Bush's fiasco in Iraq, and takes a hawkish approach towards any foreign country, wanting to coerce governments to his will rather than the behaviorist approach.

The scurvy dog...
Barack Obama sat down with five newscast shows on Friday, with his detractors saying that he is overexposing himself.. They'll all air on Sunday, so if football looks boring, you can always channel surf. He responded to the question about race that, yeah, there are some folks who don't like him because he's a Black man, but there are more who don't like the government having a hand in every pot. As he put it to CBS: “I think that what’s driving passions tight now is that health care has become a proxy for a broader set of issues about how much government should be involved in the economy. Even though we’re having a passionate disagreement here, we can be civil to each other. And we can try to express ourselves acknowledging that we’re all patriots, we’re all Americans, and not assume the absolute worst in people’s motives,”

“I do think that part of what’s different today is the 24 hours news cycle. And cable television and blogs and all this – they focus on the most extreme elements on both sides. They can’t get enough of conflict. It’s catnip to the media right now. So the easiest way to get 15 minutes of fame is to be rude to somebody,”