Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Obama's Speech, Korean Artillery Incident, Hamas Clears Itself Of All Crimes, Zardari's Goats

Michael Gerson
Jeff Zeleny
Kathleen Parker

"In the run-up to Barack Obama's State of the Union address, the so-called narrative question is whether the president will be -- pick a curtain -- party leader, president, conciliator or fighter." - Kathleen Parker

If you don't want to watch President Barack Obama's State of the Union speech tonight, you can read a synopsis of what he will say in Jeff Zeleny's piece from the NY Times. He spoke to many of the administration's talking heads to piece it together. Many pundits have been saying how Obama's first year has been a disaster because a Republican won the Massachusett's election, a rather weird criterion to be sure. Scott Brown won because he worked his butt off touring the state and asking for people's votes, while his opponent just assumed the Democratic mantle would be passed on. The funny part is watching the two factors within the Republican Party fight over the meaning of Mr Brown's election. Dick Armey, the man who would hijack the tea party movement is even saying: "Right now the Tea Party polls higher than the Republicans and the Democrats." As I've said before, the tea baggies are too anarchic to organize, they remind me of the radical groups back in the sixties, who often argued over who was the purist in their beliefs and adherence to the Revolution...

The big rumpus is over Obama's emphasis now on trying to bring down Federal expenditures, and he will announce a spending freeze at 2009 levels. He also wanted to have a bipartisan group look at other ideas and make recommendations, but they couldn't get along, surprise, surprise. He will try to create another group by presidential decree, but this time he should lock them in a room and only let them out until after they have accomplished the task. Can I choose who I want on the committee? In actuality, the economy is in better shape than it was when Bush passed the reins, and it looks like we are on a good track for the next three years, so what is all the negative whining for? It will take 10 to 20 years for the job market to recover, though it may never recover fully...

deja vu all over again...

Ever since 1953 North Korea and South Korea have been shaking their sticks at each other across the border, which was created by a weary USA. This week tensions between the two countries escalated with them exchanging artillery fire at one another: "... the North's land-based artillery batteries fired several rounds into waters near the border shortly after 9:00 am (0000 GMT), adding there were no immediate reports of damage or casualties. "Our military immediately fired back in response." 

At first glance this seems that the two countries migh continue escalating tensions, neither backing down. But then, it seems more of a manufactured story created by South Korea. Last month North Korea gave notice that it was going to have some military exercizes in the area. This morning they fired some shells, and while they were in the air, South Korea fired at them, kinda like skeet shooting, but with artillery shells. The excuse South Korea used was: "Our field manual states that we are supposed to target any incoming flying objects." They then predicted that the North would continue provocations like this for awhile.

Why would the South go to such an extreme to manufacture and incident like this? Economics. Their stock market had been on a downward slide, but after this news happened, their Kospi stock index rebounded because of their being such a macho nation: "The Kospi rebounded to as high as 1,639.78 points after a session low of 1,620.55, compared with Tuesday's close of 1,637.34." Makes you wonder about the US stock market, which also spiked upwards after the announcement of 30,000 more troops going to Afghanistan...

the audacity of hamas...

The Un had issued a report on the Israeli attack on Gaza, basically saying there were crimes committed by both sides, Israel and Hamas. Israel protested the conclusions. And today, Hamas decided to clear itself of any crimes.: "Hamas, which along with other armed groups has launched thousands of makeshift rockets into southern Israel in recent years, said a committee it appointed to follow up on the report found no intention to harm civilians.

"The committee worked around the clock to uncover the facts, despite the certainty that there were no violations of international humanitarian law or international human rights law that amount to war crimes," said the committee head, Hamas justice minister Mohammed Faraj al-Ghul. "(The armed groups) struck military targets and avoided civilian targets, and any accusations related to this concern errant fire." I'm sure many other groups will now absolve themselves from crimes they committed, including Germany towards the Jews, America towards the Indians, and the list goes on. Actually, this is a tactic taken from the Chinese, who never admit wrongdoing, no matter which ethnic group they try to wipe off the face of the earth, oh goody, here comes the dalai lama again...

presidents who stare at goats...
So, you are the President of a predominantly Muslim country that has been dragged into violence because you are seen s the weakest link. How do you start your morning? If you are Pakistan's Asif Ali Zardari, evidently you begin by sacrificing a black goat.

Ohh, a cut little goat, you say. Couldn't he eat cornflakes instead? Although he sacrifices the goats according to an old Islamic tribal tradition: "A spokesman for the president told the Dawn newspaper the goats were slaughtered as an act of Sadaqah -- meaning "voluntary charity" in Islam whereby one gives out money or the meat of a slaughtered animal to the poor to win Allah's blessing and stave off misfortune.

"It has been an old practice of Zardari to offer Sadaqah. He has been doing this for a long time," the spokesman, Farhatullah Babar, told the paper," his detractors are spreading the rumor that he is doing it to ward off black magic and the evil eye. His detractors have accused him of waging war on fellow Muslims, which is done whenever a Muslim stubs their toe, of conspiring to have his wife murdered, of running brothels, of being a US puppet, and the list goes on. If I was accused of such things, I might be sacrificing a goat a day, too, especially if it worked...

late night political jokes:

"John McCain's wife and her daughter, Meghan, have posed for pictures endorsing gay marriage here in California, although Senator McCain — well, he's still very traditional. He believes marriage should be between an older man and a really hot-looking younger woman." –Jay Leno

"Actually, I saw John McCain today. He and John Edwards were at the same store. They were both buying diapers, but for different reasons." –Jay Leno

"As I'm sure you know, John Edwards has finally admitted he's the father of Rielle Hunter's baby. There's a shock. Who saw that coming? Given how long it took him to admit it, the kid is now old enough not to vote for him." –Jay Leno

"Actually, John Edwards said today he's going to help raise the little girl. He said he's looking forward to teaching his daughter everything he knows about hair care products." –Jay Leno

"And learning more and more about the new Massachusetts senator, Scott Brown. Well, you probably know this. Back in 1982, he posed naked for Cosmo. Yeah, isn't that amazing? He's got it backwards. First you get elected to the Senate, then you get caught with your pants down. It's the other way. He seems to be very confused." –Jay Leno

"Well, this is kind of embarrassing. At a speech to school kids in an elementary school in Virginia, President Obama used the teleprompter. He had a teleprompter set up to talk to the kids. The topic of the speech: Never taking the easy way out by bringing a cheat sheet to school." –Jay Leno

"Congratulations to the Indianapolis Colts and the New Orleans Saints. They're going to the Super Bowl. The Saints beat the Vikings. Former President George Bush Sr., he was at the game. Now, his son George W. was invited. But you know him, when it comes to New Orleans, he's always, like, two weeks late." –Jay Leno

"The late night wars are finally over. I'm kind of amazed I'm still here, too. Jay Leno said he's going to go on the Oprah Winfrey show and tell his side of the story. I never thought I'd say this, but watch your back, Oprah." –Craig Ferguson

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