Monday, February 15, 2010

Samba Pre-Queen, Preemptive Israeli Striking

Paul Krugman
Eugene Robinson
Dick Cheney

"In the real world, the Obama administration inherited an unnecessary and ill-advised war in Iraq whose main geopolitical impact has been to strengthen neighboring Iran and its dangerous regime. But in Bizarro Cheney World, apparently, Obama somehow owes his predecessor "a healthy dose of 'thank you, George Bush.' " - Eugene Robinson
"There is no middle ground." - Dick Cheney
"John McCain knew that it was Sarah Palin's birthday, and he did something very nice for her. He bought her a Toyota." - David Letterman

julia lira...
... and the overwhelming response in Brazil was a shrug and acceptance.
Much controversy out of Brazil, though the actual samba competition is over, the leader of one of Rio's largest samba schools chose his seven year old daughter to lead the 3,200 member school of dancers, drummers, and incredible floats. The previous dance queen had asked out of her contract because she had gotten a role in a soap opera on Brazilian television.

The Carnival parades in Brazil run the gamut from wildly imagined costumes that the participants spend all year making, to skimpy, topless attire to parading in body paint. Samba is considered a national dance and kids learn it when very young, and will dance it for the rest of their lives. It's often considered a sensual, if not sexual dance, and this is where the controversy began, along with the notion that a little girl could direct such a large amount of people: "Rival samba groups scoffed, saying Julia was too young to provide the “sensual” inspiration that leads to winning performances. But child protection advocates took the case more seriously, accusing the samba troupe of child exploitation. Reportedly, it took a judge’s ruling to clear Julia’s path, putting a gap-toothed, pint-sized dancing queen at the head of her 3,200-strong samba school in the hotly disputed samba competition at Rio’s Sambodromo.

"Just before 1:30 a.m. Monday, Julia showed up, dressed in a feathery purple miniskirt, rhinestone belt, rhinestone halter top and rhinestone tiara. She had a “minor” ID tag hanging from her neck. She was surrounded by dozens of reporters and cameras. She broke down and cried, and was briefly held in the arms of a woman from her samba troupe and then by her father. She finally walked up the side, escorted by her parents, and began to dance..."

“We are in favor of children taking part in Carnaval,” said Carlos Nicodemos, the president of the Rio State’s Child and Adolescent Protection Council. “It is a part of the culture and tradition of Brazilians.” But, he added, “This type of participation does not fit with the principle of child development. Putting her in this role in Carnaval is effectively putting her in an eroticized position.”
"She is the embodiment of all the love in our school. Normally a famous person is the drum corps queen, but her father is our president and she is the center of our family," - Samba school drummer

preemptive strike on iran...
While Secretary of State Hillary Clinton was in Qatar, warning that Iran is on the four-lane highway towards military dictatorship, pundits in Israel are debating the wisdom and folly of striking at Iranian nuclear facilites: "The thinking within the Israeli military community is that when the chips are down, at the precise moment when Israel believes it has no choice but to attack Iran and no better operational window within which to do it, the US cannot stand in Israel’s way, cannot give Jerusalem a red light... America won’t want Israel to fly through its red light all the way to Natanz, Isfahan and other such sites, placing its troops in the region in danger of Iranian retaliation, and scuttling President Obama’s outreach to the Muslim world."

Clinton and Obama have been trying to repair the US relationship with Egypt and Saudi Arabia, forging new relationships with Syria and Turkey, and bolster its relationship with Bahrain, Qatar, and the UAE. But it remains to be seen how they would ultimately react to a preemptive strike on Iran. While Russia is currently supporting sanctions on Iran, it buys oil and has contracts with Iran. China is one of its largest trading partners, and gets over 15% of its oil from Iran.

"Russia won’t want Israel to fly through its red light to Bushehr, which it is currently building at an enormous profit. Israel won’t want Russia to cross a red light and deliver the fearsome S-300 anti-aircraft missile system to the Iranians. But if the Russians feel that they simply must cross that red light (the Iranians have already paid for the system, at enormous profit to Moscow) then they’ll cross it, and Israel will have to find a way around the S-300, which will be, at the end of the day, just another technical puzzle to solve, like so many others.

But what would happen to US-Israel ties if Israel flew through a US red light to attack Iran’s
nuclear facilities? Not much, according to one school of thought. While officials in the US administration would cry foul and may even impose some penalties, some experts argue that popular American opinion would be understanding of Israel, even sympathetic."

America is quickly trying to set up a containment perimeter around Iran, and probably at the first sign of underground nuclear testing, Israel will spring into action. There will either be passive name-calling like when Israel bomber a nuclear facility being built in Syria, or, WW111 may break out as Iran strikes out in all directions. This could be a very intense year... Joe Biden is scheduled to visit the Mideast in a couple of months, good luck Joe and Hillary... again, thank God Dick Cheney is no longer in charge, though he would attempt to waterboard Ahmadinejad...

I wanted to write about the Biden - Cheney wars on Sunday, but it has already been over-written, and I doubt I could add to the level of snark. I do have the link to the Cheney interview at the top of the page.
The only other cool tidbit is Joe the Plumber admitting to hating John McCain for popularizing him as Joe the Plumber. He said that McCain has ruined his life and that he no longer supports Sarah Palin because she will be stumping for McCain in Arizona. What with ol' Samuel having a moment of lucidity and Dick Cheney supporting the abolishment of Don't Ask Don't Tell in the military, the weekend has had some pleasant surprises...

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