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.

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