Saturday, April 10, 2010

CIA - 1 Iran - 0, My Local Tea Party

Dana Milbank
Gail Collins
Zbigniew Brzezinski & Stephen Solarz

"It’s hard to overestimate how much oxygen Palin, and now Bachmann, take out of the political conversation... There’s a feeling abroad that politicians can only get attention by sounding a little nutty." - Gail Collins
“Something is way crazy out there,” - Michelle Bachmann
"Do you remember Obama saying after the health care bill was signed into law, 'Hey, the earth is not opening up, the birds are chirping, the sky's blue'? Well, I think the earth just opened up and swallowed Bart Stupak." - Rush Limbaugh

Why is this man not in jail?

China is becoming Iran's largest trading partner, and helping her to become more oppressive. The picture is of a high-tech vehicle made to disperse large crowds, as reported in Wired's Danger Room: "One Iranian opposition site reports that the vehicles “have a capacity of 10,000 liters to shoot cold and hot water, and three 100 liter tanks to shoot burning chemical liquids” at a distance of up to 70 meters. Manufactured by Dalian Eagle-Sky Co., the vehicles cost an estimated $650,000. The site also said that “a lot of extra burning liquid, paint, and tear gas was purchased” in addition to the vehicles. The riot stoppers are another example of how China is surpassing the European Union as Iran’s biggest trading partner.Iran is also using paint in more low-tech suppression tactics. Having successfully restricted the digital flow of information by cutting off access to GMail, the Iranian government is using spray paint and paintball guns to mark protesters in order to easily identify and arrest them later." Many of these vehicles were stationed around Tehran during the last attempted protest. Tea Partyers, Beware at your next gathering!

The recent flap over Iran's nuclear ambitions run the risk of being a farce if it didn't have such dire consequence. The US having a nuclear summit in Washington, and then Iran announces its own nuclear summit, with six countries attending so far... President Obama announcing a change our nuclear policy with the exemptions of Iran and North Korea, followed by Mahmoud Ahmadinejad calling him a doody-head whose sweat hasn't dried... To be fair, Obama has drifted away from offering to treat Iran with mutual respect to adopt a more Bushian philosophy, and the Iranians, for their part, stage temper tantrums in public.

Iran touted its intelligence network after two recent operations that involved Pakistan. One was capturing Abdulmalik Rigi, head of the US-backed Jundallah, an ethnic opposition leader who was based in Pakistan, and the second involved sending an intelligence team into Pakistan and freeing an Iranian diplomat. In a response designed to rub their noses in it, the CIA issued a report on Iran's nuclear program before the IAEC went to investigate, based on information obtained from an Iranian nuclear scientist who went missing a year ago when he was visiting Saudi Arabia. Tehran was pissed and angrily replied that: "They [US] had many months to work on their inmate and they probably used all their sophisticated tools for modifying his behavior. It is a familiar Cold War tactic. The [late] Imam [Ruhollah] Khomeini referred to it as sheitanat-e sheitan-e bozorg [devilishness of the Great Satan]." They then announce that the three American hikers in their prison would be put on trial for spying.

Unfortunately, as long as someone as childish as Mahmoud Ahmadinejad remains in power in Iran and backed by people who think having a dictatorship shows strong leadership skills, this situation will only get worse, especially after next week, when Tehran will again be publicly embarrassed by the turnout at it dog and pony nuclear summit. Everyone who attend gets a free ride on one of their new centrifuges...!

The two Republicans who didn't show up in New Orleans for the Palin/Gingrich lovefest maybe jockying for position as the next Republican presidential ticket in 2012, with Mit Romney running for president, and Tim Pawlenty for vice-president. Sarah Palin is emerging as head cheerleader/booster/kingmaker/pig wearing lipstick, and Newt Gingrich as the sad, old John McCain figure...

And the fun is just beginning if Barack Obama and Sarah start trading disdaining quips like the ones that TPM reports: "Palin had said on Sean Hannity's Fox News show on Wednesday night that Obama's new nuclear policy was "kinda like getting out there on the playground, a bunch of kids ready to fight, and one of the kids saying, 'Go ahead, punch me in the face and I'm not gonna retaliate.'"

Asked for a response, Obama said:

I really have no response to that. The last I checked, Sarah Palin's not much of an expert on nuclear issues." Life can only get better... and in a face to face, I think I know who thinks faster on their feet and has a better sense of humor...

I recently picked up and read my local Tea Party newspaper. Thankfully, it was free. Here is a link to their web site The Constitutionalist Today. I was pleasantly surprised at how low key it is, barely an over-the-top anger rant in there. In some way it reminds me of several New Age publications out there, where grandiose  claims are made that are not supported by the arguments, or, well, by scientific facts... But, it was nice to peruse, and I will probably show up at our local April 15th gathering at the park. I went to the last one and took some good pictures, and hope to do the same again. Ours was a well-dressed, mellow crowd, it will be interesting to see if the carpet-bagging agitators like the Tea Party Express or the 9/12 movement can stirs us old coots. Hint, if you buy us all double-lattes, it will help the cause...

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