Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Darfur Peace Treaty, Old Mid Eastern Paradigms, MS the Party Animal

Dana Milbank
Jackson Diehl
Reza Aslan

"The common and continual mischiefs of the spirit of Party are sufficient to make it the interest and the duty of a wise People to discourage and restrain it, it serves always to distract the Public Councils and enfeeble the Public Administration. It agitates the Community with ill founded Jealousies and false alarms, kindles the animosity of one part against another." - George Washington
"How odd, then, that Iraq -- where the United States has invested $700 billion and the lives of more than 4,300 soldiers over the past seven years -- is no longer a top priority for the White House, the State Department or nearly anyone in Congress." - Jackson Diehl

The most important thing that occurred today is Sudan's Prsident, Omar al-Bashir, arrived in Qatar to sign a peace treaty with the major rebel group JEM. The treaty is a framework for peace in Darfur, and letting JEM join in the political process, offering them some government positions and letting them participate in the next elections: "The conflict in Darfur, which has pitched ethnic African tribesmen against the Arab-dominated Khartoum government, has raged far the last seven years.

While numerous ceasefires agreements in the past have been short-lived, analysts say that the forthcoming elections in Sudan and increased international pressure could give this initiative a better chance of survival." There is another armed group that has refused to be a part of this treaty, and their actions in the future may determine success or failure. Here's hoping that the details get worked out and it is a success. Then, we can ask the negotiators who engineered this deal to help work out the conflicts in other countries, ok, just about every other country on the African continent...

It seems as if every time there is a glimmer of hope for a negotiated settlement of the Palestinian - Israeli problem, one side shoots itself in the foot by doing something detrimental that the whole process gets postponed. It's been going on like this for at least 30 years, and is so predictable that it becomes clear that neither side wants to finish, that the status quo is lining the pockets of all parties involved. The US keeps things burning by pouring money onto the fire, enough so that no matter what naive variation of the carrot and stick game we try, we always will fail.

Martyn Indyk, in his memoir Innocent Abroad, sums up the American foreign policy and the Arabian reaction to it this way: "US foreign policy, when it seeks to intervene in the affairs of other states and regions, is often inspired by an idealism that leads Americans to want to extend the bounteous beneficence  they have experienced in their own lives to other people."... George W, are you listening?... But  in the Middle East this do-good impulse is greeted with a cynicism that is the product of the Arab experience in competing for scarce resources in societies where opportunity is determined by tribal or family connections rather than on merit.

American good fortune has also bred a "can-do." problem-solving attitude to complex challenges. The prevailing assumption among Americans is that every problem has a solution. among Arabs - and increasingly among Israelis, too - the prevailing assumption is that most Middle Eastern problems are too complex to lend themselves to ready, man-made solutions. And since authortarian leaders who are detached from their people have always made the decisions, the average citizen tends to accept his or her fate rather than trying to change it" ... right ladies? If you want to make positive changes, you will have to change the accepted paradigm, first. If the US decided to take the financial incentive away because we no longer could afford to send foreign aid, oh maybe because we need to balance out budget this year, it might prove an incentive... Every day I read Jewish and Arabian news sites, and even though a lot of the writing is learned and well-written, it ends up as the same old, same old bullshit. Maybe I need a vacation, or at least a medical marijuana card so I can mellow out for awhile, listen to the latest Delbert McClinton album, or Allen Toussaint... Instead I have been getting jacked up watching reruns of the tv show Criminal Minds, having bad dreams about serial killers, then waking up and reading the newspapers in the morning. Man, talking about having a mean and cynical view of the world...

When I go to the news sites I am a lurker, even though I enjoy reading comments on a news story, I seldom will add one myself. Sometimes I can't but add to the silliness. For example, there is this story in Al Arabiya over Iran threatening the other Gulf states to list the name of the gulf on their domestic airline bulletin boards as the Persian Gulf, not the Arabian Gulf, as they currently have been doing. Otherwise, Iran will ground their domestic planes at its airports...

A mild debate began over the merits of either name, people taking sides passionately and calling each other names. I decided to offer an alternative, which probably won't make it past the censor and get posted, but why debate over two forms of an older, imperialistic naming? Why not come up with a new name? A couple example could be the Great Oil Slick, or the Qatar Play Pond...

Aww, jeez, you just can't make this stuff up, a headline from the LA Times:

  Woman pleads guilty to selling 2 children to Louisiana couple for a cockatoo and $175 cash

party animals...
I received in the mail a fundraising request from the RNC, poorly disguised as an opinion poll. They even asked mr to furnish my own postage stamp on the reply envelope to save them money. But today I find out that RNC Chairman Michael Steele has been spending money like he believes that the GOP is the party of privilege: "When Steele took over the chairmanship last winter, he inherited a $23 million surplus. Since then, the former Maryland lieutenant governor has raised $10 million less than the party collected in 2005 and has spent $10 million more. By the end of 2009, the committee’s surplus had shrunk to $8.4 million, according to campaign finance reports.

Just last week, RNC officials touted a January fundraising haul of more than $10 million. But after hosting the sun-filled winter meeting in Hawaii, paying for the holiday party and taking care of other bills, the committee spent almost all of it. Consequently, the RNC added only $1 million to the committee’s $8.4 million in cash, the reports show."
“Michael Steele is an imperial chairman. He flies in private aircraft. He drives in private cars. He has private consultants that are paid ridiculous retainers. He fancies himself a presidential candidate and wants all of the trappings and gets them by using other people’s money.”
"Donors grumbled when Steele hired renowned chef Wolfgang Puck's local crew to cater the RNC's Christmas party inside the trendy Newseum on Pennsylvania Avenue, and then moved its annual winter meeting from Washington to Hawaii.

For some major GOP donors, both decisions were symbolic of the kind of wasteful spending habits they claim has become endemic to his tenure at the RNC. When Ken Mehlman served as the committee chairman during the critical 2006 midterm elections, the holiday party was held in a headquarters conference room and Chic-fil-A was the caterer."

Think I'll put a stamp on it... I gotta get on the RNC payroll, Michael Steele is living large! PARTY IN HAWAII, BABY!

No comments:

Post a Comment

Hi! Thanks for commenting. I always try to respond...