Monday, January 25, 2010

Burma To Free Aung San Suu Kyi, McChrystal Ball Sees Negotiation With Taliban, Opium Flooding Tehran

Paul Krugman
Matthew Yglesias
Fareed Zakaria

"Obama has behaved less like a president and more like a prime minister. He has not outlined a broad vision for the country. He has not embraced the best solutions -- from left and right -- for the nation's problems." - Fareed Zakaria
"But it would merely be a reminder that we are, in fact, in a ridiculous situation and do not, in fact, have a functioning political system." - Matthew Yglesias


This may be all smoke and mirrors, but a high ranking minister in the Myanmar government said that it would release political prisoner Aung San Suu Kyi around this coming November. "He reportedly also said that the government would pursue an international-style market economy after holding "free and fair" elections."

The ruling military junta has been in charge since 1962, and last held public elections in 1990, where Aung Kyi won the presidency and was put under house arrest instead: "Last year Aung San Suu Kyi's house arrest was extended for a further 18 months after she was found guilty of breaking the terms of her detention by allowing an uninvited American man to stay at her home. Earlier this month opposition lawyers launched a supreme court appeal against her sentence, saying it was unlawful because it was based on a 1974 constitution that is no longer valid.

A verdict had been expected last week, but the court has made no announcement." So the announcement that she will be released was made at a political meeting in a backwater town instead, proving that the generals are not all that willing to let the court make a ruling and then have to stick by that decision. They also want to keep her in detention until after the free and fair elections, so that her political party won't run any strong candidates against them. By putting her in detention was a ruse to not allow her to run in this free and fair election because what would they do if she won this one, too? Who knows, these guys are older than dirt, their Swiss bank accounts have been frozen by the European Union, and it's possible that arguments made by people like Jim Webb have convinced them to come out of their caves and into the real world and accept some responsibility for the welfare of the people of Myanmar... you may call me a dreamer, but I'm not the only one...

from the mcchrystal cave...

In an interview with the British-based Financial Times, General Stanley McChrystal said that he's hoping that with the surge of 30,000 troops, whose official timetable to arrive is later in the year, it will cause the Taliban to weaken enough that they will come to the negotiating table. So don't expect results before the next six months, which coincidentally is how long the Pakistani military has announced they are not planning any further campaigns. So all of the whining in the press about Pakistan not doing enough against the Taliban is hot air, and co-ordinated attacks will begin when all of the US troops arrive: "As a soldier, my personal feeling is that there's been enough fighting," McChrystal said in the article published on Monday. "I believe that a political solution to all conflicts is the inevitable outcome. And it's the right outcome." If the war in Afghanistan can end by 2011, then General McChrystal can resign his commission and run triumphantly for the Republican nomination for President in 2012, dashing once again the hopes of boring Newt Gingrich, and Mit Romney. Otherwise, think of the bumpersticker and wonder, who is the pitcher, and who is the catcher?:

Newt and Mit in 2012

just say no...

Iran is complaining even more about the amount of opium that is flowing into Tehran from Afghanistan, meaning that they are becoming the main financial source behind funding the drug lords, but it is not the kind of solidarity that they have imagined...

The head of the Iranian anti-drug task force has said, accusing the West of this nefarious tactic against their government: "Those who chase terrorists in Afghanistan, they have left drug traffickers free," he said.

"I think they even guide traffickers. They allow a fifty per cent increase of drug production in Afghanistan's Helmand province, where the headquarters of British forces is located. What does that mean?"

One meaning is that when you oppress your own population so badly that they no longer have idealistic dreams for themselves, they will supplant them with ones manufactured by drugs and alcohol. just ask the Russians or our American Indians. This last year over 400 tons of opium was confiscated going to Tehran, so you can imagine the amount that actually made it there... We could always do our part and recycle some old commercials with Nancy Reagan in them, remember to just say no:

and who can forget that classic, this is your mind on drugs:

 or better yet, this is your brain on radical terrorism:

late night political jokes:
Now that Conan O'Brian is off the air, waiting until he can start a new show on Fox, I can say that he really isn't a very funny guy. I used to think that the best joke writers worked for the Tonight Show, it seemed that most of Johnny Carson's writers stayed on when Jay Leno took over. The humor factor lowered considerably when Conan took over, leading me to believe he brought over his own writers.

Rating the late night comedians from best to worse is Jay Leno, Jimmy Fallon, David Letterman, Conan O'Brian, and bringing up the rear is Jimmy Kimmel, who can't tell a joke to save his life... It will be a dry spell until Jay comes back on the air in March, in the meantime, I hope that the television stations try out some of the younger crop of comedians, there are some pretty intelligent humorists out there like John Olliver and Arj Barker...

"I guess everybody knows that Scott Brown posed naked for Cosmo when he was a law student. See, back then, the GOP stood for 'grand old package.'" –Jay Leno

"Well, in political news, the big upset. A Republican was elected to the U.S. Senate in Massachusetts, filling a seat once held by Ted Kennedy. So, this could tip the delicate balance of power in the U.S. Senate from the completely incompetent back to the morally corrupt. It is Thursday, January 21st, or as John Edwards calls it, 'Father’s Day.'" –Jay Leno

"Well, John Edwards has finally admitted he is the father of Rielle Hunter’s baby. He issued a statement. Really? Who is the statement for? The only person that doesn’t know he’s the father of Rielle Hunter’s baby is Rielle Hunter’s baby." –Jay Leno

"Well, this is pretty sleazy. According to Edwards' former aide, a guy named Andrew Young, he says in an upcoming interview that Edwards asked him to steal a diaper from the baby to do a DNA test. Apparently, the test shows that both the diaper and John Edwards were full of crap." –Jay Leno

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