Saturday, March 27, 2010

al-Maliki the Hustler, End of Peace Talks, Colorado AG Also Tries to Revive Dead Possum

Charles Blow
Bob Herbert
Peter Lauria
“Let’s not beat around the bush, everybody here supporting John McCain, we are all part of that Tea Party movement.” - Sarah Palin
"McCain also said that there will be no cooperation from Republicans for the rest of the year. So that should be good for the country." – Jimmy Kimmel
"New Rule: You Can't Threaten "No Cooperation for the Rest of the Year" If There Was No Cooperation in the First Half of the Year" - Bill Maher

Ex-Prime Minister Nuri Kamal al Maliki is like some old time pinball hustler, leaning on the machine trying not to make it tilt yet come out in his favor, the way that he is manipulating the outcome of the election: "On Thursday, a day before the results were announced, he quietly persuaded the Iraqi supreme court to issue a ruling that potentially allows him to choose the new government instead of awarding that right to the winner of the election, the former interim prime minister Ayad Allawi.

On another front, officials in charge of purging the government of former members of Saddam Hussein’s Baath Party said Saturday that they still expected to disqualify more than 50 political candidates, many of them members of Mr. Allawi’s Iraqiya Party. That could strip Mr. Allawi of his plurality, 91 parliamentary seats compared with 89 for Mr. Maliki’s State of Law party.

And if all that does not work, the prime minister still is clamoring for a recount, and he said he planned to file a legal appeal even though the United Nations, the elections commission and international observers have declared the election valid. Ultimately, the same Supreme Federal Court, which is nominally independent but has proved friendly to Mr. Maliki in the past, will decide the recount issue."
“They’re still going to take advantage of all the means at their disposal to eke out a victory. They’re all politicians.” - Gary Grappo, US Embassy
Probably the best possible scenario will happen if Ayad Allawi is able to form a government. He is less favorably aligned with Iran, and less willing to take sides in a religious dispute, seen by the Sunnis as having a fair and balanced attitude instead of the puppet of the US. It will be about two weeks before the election commission investigates all complaints and issues a formal result. The purpose of negotiating with other parties who won seats is to come up with the majority of the 325 parliament seats. Allawi won't negotiate with Maliki's party, he is critical of Maliki's policies, so if Allawi forms a government it means that the current Prime Minister has to take an aisle seat.

One thing that was troubling to me was the threat from al Maliki that he must be the one to win if there was to be stability. It was a threat of civil war, but I wonder if his party hasn't been using bombings as a political tool, like the one that killed 41 people yesterday. The party that can be the kingmaker here is the religious party loyal to Moktada al Sadr, who is in Iran studying to become an ayatollah. He is vehemently against the US, and he may eventually try to run for Prime Minister so that he could rule in similar fashion to the Ayatollah Khamenei does in Iran, except he would also combine the role that Mahmoud Ahmadinejad plays as well, becoming a double-edged threat. If Ayad Allawi is successful, then Iraq may have its greatest chance at building a lasting tradition, with greater peace and stability among the warring factions. The US can bring its troops home with more confidence, and Iraq will be able to build lasting ties in the region, even influencing its neighbor Iran, ending those pesky suicide bomb attacks...

end of indirect peace talks...
Israel's extreme right wingers are doing their best to isolate Israel better than any Muslim country has been able to do. Not only have they embarrassed and pissed off the US, but now Great Brtain has expelled the top London Mossad agent over the flap that the Mossad used the forged passports of British citizens in an assassination in Dubai.

The cries of contempt from right of center media is predictable: "A right-wing Israeli Member of Parliament reached into strangely Maoist terminology, and called the British "dogs".
A commentator in a right-of-centre newspaper argued that "millions of Muslims live in Britain, and Gordon Brown needs their votes in the upcoming elections".
At the other end of Israel's brightly coloured political spectrum, a resident of one of the country's most stalwartly socialist kibbutzim, or rural collectives, e-mailed me to say that "if Israel was directly or indirectly involved in the Dubai incident then there's no limit, apparently, to the arrogance and stupidity of this regime/administration". Sounds a lot like the criticisms leveled at the Bush administration when they exhibited their right of center pig-headishness, sans lipstick.

With Netanyahu's declaration that East Jerusalem was never part of any bargain and they can do what they want and fuck you, USA, it has given the Palestinian Authority the opening it wanted to squeak out of even indirect peace talks, announcing today that it will wait until Israel stops building in contested areas before sitting down and talking to them. So we're back to square one, which is for the diplomats to make their rounds again, trying to soothe nerves and make bribes to get the process started again sometime in the future... Evidently, we are missing the main point in this, that: "... the rest of the world doesn't quite get it - that Israel is the only homeland the Jews have, that it's small and that it's trying to survive in a hostile neighborhood. It's that feeling which fuels the declamation "Jerusalem is not a settlement", repeated this week in Washington by Benjamin Netanyahu - and that the Israeli government will carry on building in the city wherever it chooses, even if that means the occupied territory of East Jerusalem, amid growing American displeasure." But, we get it, it's just that it's the same old bullshit excuse we've heard for over 30 years and it doesn't hold up well anymore. It's time to afford all people living in Israel the same rights and dignity, even to the ones of different faiths who were there before you. I was so hoping that this process would have gone forward and that the problem would have ended within the next few years. It would be nice to have a little peace and prosperity in this region instead of the mess that there is. Will we have to wait until Mr Netanyahu gets voted out and someone more moderate replaces him, then wait until the Palestinians replace Abbas in an election for someone less corrupt? It's a losing bet hoping that both will happen anytime soon...

playing opossum...
Here's my favorite silly news story today, courtesy from the state of Pennsylvania, courtesy of the Denver Post: "PUNXSUTAWNEY, Pa. — Police say they charged a Pennsylvania man with public drunkenness after he was seen trying to resuscitate a long-dead opossum along a highway. State Trooper Jamie Levier said several witnesses saw Donald Wolfe, 55, of Brookville near the animal Thursday along Route 36 in Oliver Township, about 65 miles north of Pittsburgh." Ahh, the images that are brought to mind...

It seems that the Republican Attorney General of Colorado has also drunkenly jumped on the band wagon along with 12 other AG's suing the federal government over the health care reform bill. This has prompted our Governor, Bill Ritter, to send a letter to the federal AG's office apologizing and saying that his office does not support such actions. What Bill should have done, was to let our AG join in but not with any money from the state of Colorado. If he wants to use his own salary to fund such a request as an individual, fine. Personally, I don't believe in attacking windmills or reviving dead possums...

late night political jokes:

"According to Men's Health magazine, 21 percent of men surveyed would rather have a sexier nurse than a more competent doctor when they're in the hospital. I say, why not have both? The government's paying for it now. Who cares?" –Jay Leno

"Sarah Palin spoke out this week against the health care reform bill, saying, 'Elections have consequences.' Well, of course, elections have consequences. That's why right now, instead of being vice president of the United States, she's trying to get a reality show on the Animal Planet." –Jay Leno

"They're now looking into whether cosmic rays from outer space could be responsible for causing Priuses to accelerate. What, is Toyota blaming Klingons now?" –Jay Leno

"Here's something amazing: A North Carolina jury, this week, awarded $9 million to a jilted wife, from the other woman. The other woman has to pay $9 million to the wife for breaking up her marriage. Wait, do you realize how historic this is? Guys, for the first time in history, women are agreeing it's not the guy's fault. It's her fault! This is what men have been saying for years. Poor John Edwards. He was tricked." –Jay Leno

"Well, today, President Obama signed the landmark health care reform bill into law, or as President Obama refers to it, 'The Rush Limbaugh Deportation Act.'" –Jay Leno

"President Obama, boy, he's feeling like a Toyota driver today. There's no stopping him." –Jay Leno

"I'll tell you how excited the president is. Today, he changed his slogan from 'Yes, we can,' to 'Yes, we finally did something.'" –Jay Leno

"Of course, the White House is now denying it made any side deals with members of Congress to pass this bill. See, I don't know if that's true. Did you see Mount Rushmore today? They're adding Dennis Kucinich's face to it." –Jay Leno

"Of course, this all couldn't have been done without the help of Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi. And today, the president thanked her for her unblinking support." –Jay Leno

"Actually, Nancy Pelosi used the Internet to help gain support for this. She reached out to people on her favorite social networking site," –Jay Leno

"And to help sell this plan to the American people, President Obama said it's the same plan Congress has. See, I think that's a mistake. I think that's why a lot of people opposed it. Have you seen members of Congress? Do they look healthy to you? Anybody here want to be as fat as Barney Frank? Huh? You want to be as orange as John Boehner? I don't think so." –Jay Leno

"And of course, a lot of right wingers are very upset about this because they believe this health care bill will cost a lot of money. You know what I think? Just pretend it's another unnecessary war. You'll feel better about it already." –Jay Leno

"And over the weekend, tens of thousands of illegal immigrants rallied across the country demanding a path to citizenship. Don't we have a path to citizenship? It's called the San Diego Freeway." –Jay Leno

"And the Pentagon is changing Army basic training for the first time in 30 years to deal with the fact that so many new recruits are so overweight. In fact, the Army's new slogan, 'Don't ask, no seconds.'" –Jay Leno

"Oh, hey, are you ready for the 2010 census? It's going to be complicated this year. So the government should have patience. Here's part of the problem: Most Americans count as two." –David Letterman

"Have you filled out a census form? Here's the deal: 10 questions in 10 minutes. That's what they're saying. Coincidentally, that is how John McCain chose his running mate." –David Letterman

"You got to count everybody in your household for the census. Right now, Angelina Jolie is going through the place with one of those clickers." –David Letterman

"Jersey Shore' is premiering in 30 different countries this week. It will be shown in France, except in France it's called 'Another Reason to Hate America.'" –Jimmy Fallon

"James Cameron, who directed 'Avatar,' is in a feud with Glenn Beck, because Cameron called him a mad man. The two are very different. One makes millions creating fictional stories, and the other is James Cameron." –Craig Ferguson

"The rising sea levels in the Indian Ocean have caused an island to vanish. Yesterday, Ben and Jerry were giving away free ice cream and today, global warming causes an island to disappear. It's a terrible rollercoaster week for Al Gore — so happy, but so alarmed." –Craig Ferguson

"Former Presidents Bill Clinton and George W. Bush traveled to Haiti this week to talk about the country's long-term recovery plan. It was a departure for President Bush. It's unusual for him to visit a disaster of this scope and magnitude that wasn't his fault." –Jimmy Kimmel

"An entire day has passed since the healthcare reform was enacted, and the country has not been destroyed. You really can't trust politicians." –Jimmy Kimmel

"I was reading today that the whole healthcare fight took a big toll on Nancy Pelosi's popularity. Her favorability rating is down to 11 percent, making her the most disliked woman in America with less than eight kids." ''' –Jimmy Fallon

"Porn star Devon 'Triple X' James says that Tiger Woods paid her to have sex back in 2006. Hopefully this situation will make parents think twice before raising their daughters with the middle name 'Triple X.''' –Jimmy Fallon

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