Thursday, October 8, 2009

What Does Honduras, Italy, and Poland All Have in Common?

Choire Sicha
Dana Milbank
David Ignatius
Ezra Klein

"When leaders fail to lead, sometimes we have to make them follow.” - Kofi Annan
“Someone else may be fighting over the ’80s, I’m not.” - Daniel Fisk
“You’ve all lost your minds, best of luck in the twilight zone.” - William Ayers
There was a great opinion piece I read somewhere saying that we should stop paying for Congress's health insurance and let them go buy their own. After all, they currently get to choose an option paid for by the public...

I was reading a local blogger, who was trying to revise history by claiming that the Nazis were considered a left-wing organization, thereby making the gassing and incinerating thousands of Jews the results of liberal philosophy. He also went on to label the Fascists as a liberal movement. I guess this blatant revisionism is going on because the uneducatted among the right-side of American politics is trying to label Barack Obama as both a Nazi and a Fascist, and to turn the argument around that most violence done by governments on their citizens is done by right-wingers. Which is a very sad comment on world history.
If the shoe fits, throw it

Today we'll take a look at some right-wing governments, or, as the media like to call them, center-right. They might put the John Ensign and Mark Sandford scandals in perspective...

first, depose a president. second, hire a lobbyist...
Previously, I had written about the trip to Honduras that three Republican Congressmen took, and surmised that there were secret negotiations between the Honduran junta and Jim DeMint. Jim is a member of a Christian cult called the Family (after Charles Manson's group of the same name?), who's leader has also referred to it as a Christian Mafia because of their oaths of secrecy and pursuit of powerful individuals.

The sinister motive is fun to speculate and fuels the imagination in a Dan Brownish sort of way, but it seems there is a simpler truth: bought and paid for by lobbyists. Once the Honduran military sent its elected president out of the country in his pajamas, they immediately hired several lobbyist, lawyers close the Hillary Clinton and John McCain, to cover all bets. They also hired some old farts who were responsible for our Latin American policies back in the 80's and 90's, and who are entrenched in a cold war mentality:"...they view Honduras as the principal battleground in a proxy fight with Cuba and Venezuela, which they characterize as threats to stability in the region in language similar to that once used to describe the designs of the Soviet Union."

The lobbyists bribe Congressmen with money (donations labeled as campaign funds), write talking points and even speeches for them, and send slanted emails to pertinent members on the Foreign Relations Committee: “We should rejoice, that one of the self-proclaimed 21st Century socialist allies of Chávez has been legally deposed by his own countrymen.” And, since many of our elected representatives are not the sharpest crayons in the box, they tend to be swayed by such weird language...

more addicting than cocaine...

Peruvian justice may make its way across the pond to Italy, where a court ruling has nullified a law as unconstitutional that gives the top four politicians in office immunity from all prosecution. It was a law that Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi had passed as soon as he became elected in 2008: "The ruling related to Mr. Berlusconi’s involvement in three continuing trials concerning his vast media and real estate holdings, including one case in which his British tax lawyer was found guilty of taking a bribe to protect him."

Silvio is one of Italy's richest men, who has sought out politics solely for the power. He is currently being divorced by his wife for flaunting in public his affairs with teenage girls, and appointing models to government jobs. The ongoing investigations and previous trials of corruption charges against him may now proceed, and now new trials could happen where he could end up doing jail time if he's found guilty. His lawyers say that any new trials against him would distract from his ability to govern, but let's be honest here: the man is a clown, he has no interest in the welfare of Italy and its citizens, he just wants the fame and power and will seek it out even if it's negative...

In a press conference, Silvio proclaimed: “The government will forge ahead calmly, tranquilly and with even more grit than before because this will be absolutely indispensable for freedom and democracy in this country.” Like all good right-wingers, Silvio is claiming that if he's taken to trial, it will be a blow against democracy, wrapping himself up in the Italian flag like all good scoundrels. If he lands in the same jail as Alberto Fujimoro, perhaps they can teach each other their native languages, sice they will have so much in common...

did you hear about the Polish...
Poland was also in the news today, fighting a scandal involving gambling, of all things: "Prime Minister Donald Tusk of Poland cleaned house Wednesday in an effort to move past a political scandal over gambling legislation and charges of influence peddling. Mr. Tusk accepted the resignations of three high-ranking government officials while also moving to dismiss the head of the anticorruption agency that has pursued the case.

The anticorruption investigation, code-named Operation Blackjack, has captured headlines across Poland. The allegations by the Central Anticorruption Bureau that public officials used their influence to reduce the burden of new gambling taxes on the casino industry in Poland have damaged the reputation of the government of Mr. Tusk’s center-right Civic Platform party."

Poland's legislature was writing a law on gambling, and the Sports Minister was caught on tape talking to members of a gambling firm. The conversation was published in the newspaper, and the minister resigned.

In an effort to distance himself from the uproar, the Prime Minister Mr Tusk, canned three more members of his government, and wants to get rid of the prosecutor investigating the gambling scandal because he is too left-wing and is out to get him, put his democratic reforms in danger... There's that old paranoid feeling that so many old-school GOP'ers have, as well as the cynical talk about democracy again, like they ever knew what it was...

late night political jokes:

"Well, congratulations to President Obama and first lady Michelle. They celebrated their 17th wedding anniversary this week. Well, at first, they couldn't agree where they should celebrate. He wanted to go to Chicago, she voted for Rio." --Jay Leno

"I think Obama is starting to get a little desperate. After losing the Olympics last week, he scaled back a little bit. Like, today, he was in New York, making the case for Chicago-style pizza." --Jay Leno

"Well, in response to criticism that he's not fulfilling a campaign promise, the President's national security adviser said President Obama will overturn the military's 'Don't Ask, Don't Tell' policy at the right time. When asked what the right time would be, he said, 'Don't ask, I'm not telling.'" --Jay Leno

"Well, the Post Office told Congress this week they are sorry, but they can no longer continue to deliver Saturday's mail on Saturday. Hey, I'd be happy to get Wednesday's mail on Saturday." --Jay Leno

"Well, listen to this. You can't call the swine flu swine flu anymore. It's now the H1N1 virus. You know why this is? This is true. The pork lobby in Washington lobbied hard to get the name changed because they didn't want people to think you could get sick by eating pork. I mean, bacon will still kill you; you just won't get a runny nose." --Jay Leno

"Isn't that NASA fascinating? I think NASA may be my favorite governmental agency because they're always doing cool stuff. We went to the moon. Remember how cool that was? We now have the International Space Station and the shuttle goes up there regularly. They worked on the Hubble telescope. You know what they want to do now? They're thinking about firing a missile to moon. I thought, oh, great, another war. Do we need that?" --David Letterman

"The founder of Cirque du Soleil is currently onboard the international space station. And today, he got all of the other nine astronauts to put on red clown noses. Then the astronauts conducted experiments on the loss of dignity in space." --Conan O'Brien

"Rapper Method Man didn't pay his taxes for three years. Yesterday, he told a judge he forgot to pay, because he was high. And the remarkable thing is that's the one excuse the I.R.S. is totally cool with." --Conan O'Brien

"President Obama gave a talk to members of the House and Senate today about options for the war in Afghanistan. The title of the speech was, 'Any Ideas? Because I Got Nothing.'" --Jimmy Fallon

"North Korea's Kim Jong-Il is now saying that he'll consider talks with the United States if it can help improve our relationship. I'm starting to feel like we're the Jon and Kate of countries." --Jimmy Fallon

"Catholic churches throughout New York City are no longer offering wine at communion to help prevent the spread of swine flu. I like that it took swine flu for people to realize that sharing a cup with hundreds of other New Yorkers is a health risk." --Jimmy Fallon

"I read about this. Apple is withdrawing from the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, because the chamber is skeptical of global warming theories. Apple said that it was a tough call to make, but still not as tough as making a call on the iPhone." --Jimmy Fallon

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