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.

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