Monday, May 31, 2010

BP's Next Really Good Idea That Can Cause Oil To Leak 20% Faster

Paul Krugman

"More and more, conventional wisdom says that the responsible thing is to make the unemployed suffer. And while the benefits from inflicting pain are an illusion, the pain itself will be all too real." - Paul Krugman

I was just going to kick back today and not post anything, then I got angry after reading about the damned oil spill. If it seems like such a calamity from Colorado, I can only imagine the frustration, anger, and rage people must feel as they stand impotently aside, watching as each attempt by BP fails to stop the flow of oil into the Gulf of Mexico. To make matters worse, some dumbass spokesperson for the administration makes a speech to make it right, when they should just learn when to shut up: "The Obama administration scrambled to respond on Sunday after the failure of the latest effort to kill the gushing oil well in the Gulf of Mexico. But administration officials acknowledged the possibility that tens of thousands of gallons of oil might continue pouring out until August, when two relief wells are scheduled to be completed.

“We are prepared for the worst,” said Carol M. Browner" Actually, Carol, you are not prepared, not by a long shot. What are you going to be putting down the well to keep the oil from flowing, or are you going to sit idly by while thousands of gallons flow into the Gulf until August? Hint - the answer is seawater. What have you done to start sucking the oil out of the water, what attempts have you made to get rid of the giant underwater plumes of oil?

"The White House said that Interior Secretary Ken Salazar would make his eighth trip to the region and that the number of government and contract employees sent to work in areas affected by the spill would be tripled." Now, what exactly are these bureaucrats going to do? If we see more than one of them standing along the shoreline doing absolutely nothing, can we shoot them? Even though Ken is from Colorado and I feel proud that he has the job, he has dropped the ball on this mess. Can I be allowed to take him by the hand and lead him through what has to be done? If left alone he will surely step in a few tarbabies and track the whole mess through Washington. I'm beginning to think maybe he should retire to his ranch in the San Luis Valley, be happy with the alien visitors and cattle mutilations - they are a piece of cake next to the Minerals and Mining Management department.

And then there was Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal, complaining in a state of near panic that the federal government's response has been too slow, and whining and complaining that it was their fault he and his state government haven't done diddly-squat to prevent oil from coming ashore. Oh, sure, there were lots of things he could have done, if he only took some iniative: “We need our federal government exactly for this kind of crisis. I think there could have been a greater sense of urgency.” Another Republican hypocrite who freezes like a deer in the headlights. Maybe we need to pass out the manual on what to do in a crisis to all new governors, too...

Here's a diagram of what BP proposes to try next Tuesday. Because they are going to cut the pipe, if it doesn't work, oil will flow at a 20% faster rate than before... click on the graphic to have it blown up to full size.

Sunday, May 30, 2010

Overhaul FEMA before 1st Hurricane, Israel Deploys 3 Nuclear Subs Off Coast Of Iran

Frank Rich
David Ignatius
Jessica Valenti

"Obama is stuck between a rock and a Tea Party. His credibility as a champion of reformed, competent government is held hostage by video from the gulf. And this in an election year..." - Frank Rich
"Palin's sisterly speechifying is part of a larger conservative move to woo women by appropriating feminist language. Just as consumer culture tries to sell "Girls Gone Wild"-style sexism as "empowerment," conservatives are trying to sell anti-women policies shrouded in pro-women rhetoric." - Jessica Valenti

BP's effort to plug the oil leak by using a top kill method has officially failed, and they are announcing that it won't be until August that their drilling of a relief well that can burrow into the pipeline will be finished. In the meantime, good luck in cleaning all that muck up, Bobby Jindal... This Summer has been predicted to be very bad, with as many as 23 storms a'brewing, 12 - 14 which may turn into hurricanes that will make landfall somewhere along our coast. Since we blew it big time and had to wait until after meltdowns within the financial system and big oil regulation, let's not wait until after a few hurricanes hit to see how FEMA hasn't changed since Katrina. Overhaul it now, so that it might be effective this Summer. Obama needs to suck it up and start having weekly press conferences, he needs to engage more  on the domestic level.

It now looks like the best temporary strategy is to park a submarine on top of the collapsed pipeline, let the crew play cards for a month or two, anything to stop the further pollution of the Gulf...

rejecting a nuclear weapons free middle east...
189 0f the 200 nations that signed on to the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty want to meet in New York for a conference on creating a Middle East free of nuclear weapons. Everyone but Israel: "... which has not signed the NPT, dismissed the document as "deeply flawed" and "hypocritical".

"It ignores the realities of the Middle East and the real threats facing the region and the entire world. We strongly oppose efforts to single out Israel, and will oppose actions that jeopardise Israel's national security. Given the distorted nature of this resolution, Israel will not be able to take part in its implementation." One of the reasons that Israel refuses to join is that it may have to use nukes against Iran, and it seems more likely that worst-case scenario may happen this Summer...

I say this because some small ships hope to sail past the armada blockading the sea in front of the Gaza strip, and in a symbolic gesture, deliver a few tons of medical and food supplies. This has failed in the past two years, and probably will again, even though there are some foreign dignitaries from other countries on the small ships. It is all smoke and mirrors used to divert the public's attention to what Israel is really doing that is controversial - deploying three nuclear submarines into the Persian Gulf, to
be deployed off the coast of Iran: "... this new deployment is meant to ensure a permanent naval presence near the Iranian coastline.

A flotilla officer told the Times that the deployed submarines were meant to act as a deterrent, gather intelligence and potentially to land Mossad agents."We're a solid base for collecting sensitive information, as we can stay for a long time in one place," the officer said.

The flotilla's commander, identified only as "Colonel O," was quoted by the Times as saying that the submarine force was "an underwater assault force. We’re operating deep and far, very far from our borders." I loved the sound of rattling sabers in the Springtime, and with Israel's nuclear missiles having the range to reach anywhere in Iran from the Gulf, we may see the beginning of WW111... It used to be, that something of this magnitude could only happen with the blessings from the Pentagon, but this could now be a "screw you" from Netanyahu to Obama. Negotiations? I got your negotiations right here, oowww!

freeing gilad...
While I'm on the subject of Israel, the father of Gilad Shalit, the IDF soldier who was captured by Hamas in 2006 and has been held by them ever since, has gotten fed up at the stoppage of any negotiations to get his son back: "A country that rescued thousands [of earthquake victims] in Haiti should know how to save one of its soldiers," Noam Shalit told a lawyers' conference in the southern city of Eilat. Israel was capable of sending rescue teams thousands of miles to the Caribbean, but had failed to retrieve a soldier in imprisoned just a few miles from its borders, Shalit said."

The government has asked Noam to keep a low profile and not to make public statements about his son, but it's not working too well: "We will not accept the cliché that our actions are upsetting negotiations to free Gilad and we will not accept this wheeler-dealing over the life of our son. Gilad is crying loudly for us to return him to freedom," Shalit said on Sunday. "He has paid in full the price that the state demanded of him." Why yes, both the Israeli government and Hamas are using Gilad as a pawn, neither see him as human, which is why his father is taking it to the streets trying to get someone to give a damn...

new gay advocate...
Remember the California Assemblyman who was a loud, conservative, "family values" kind of Republican, and was arrested for drunken driving after coming out of a gay bar in Sacramento? He had even spoken out in favor of repealing the Don't Ask Don't Tell law.

 Well, during the past three months he has acknowledged that he is gay and supports gay rights: "Roy Ashburn, the California legislator who came out in March after years of operating as a "family values" Republican, is now speaking out in favor of gay rights. Ashburn spoke on the state senate floor yesterday about a bill that could affect gay marriage, should it become legal in the state again.

"On a personal note, before I speak to the bill, I would not have been speaking on a measure dealing with sexual orientation ever, prior to the events that have transpired in my life over the last three months. However, I am no longer willing or able to remain silent on issues that affect sexual orientation, the rights of individuals and so I'm doing something that is quite different and foreign to me."
"I'm finding my way,"

Saturday, May 29, 2010

Lahore Bombings, The LSD Foreign Policy...

Ted Nugent
Dilip Hiro
Ban Ki-moon

"Irrespective of their politics, flawed leaders share a common trait. They generally remain remarkably oblivious to the harm they do to the nation they lead. George W Bush is a salient recent example, as is former British prime minister Tony Blair. When it comes to foreign policy, we are now witnessing a similar phenomenon at the Barack Obama White House." - Dilip Hiro
"Here is the Obama pattern. Choose a foreign leader to pressure. Threaten him with dire consequences if he does not bend to Washington's will. When he refuses to submit and instead responds vigorously, back off quickly and overcompensate for failure by switching into a placatory mode." - Dilip Hiro

I have the most diverse set of opinions in the links above. Who could resist to link to an article written by Mr Cat-Scratch Fever himself? Ted Nugent, being a rock star of limited talent, has also proved to be an extreme right wing wacko of limited mental agility. He writes that the media has all but forgotten the soldiers who have gone to war, and that we should keep them in our hearts every day. Good sentiment, but its clear that the Tedster doesn't read any newspapers, magazines, watches news programs on television, or go to any news web sites, because there are stories from both Afghanistan, Pakistan, and Iraq almost daily. I guess he'd rather go hunting with his bow and live in his imaginary world, not a bad place to be if you have a feral personality... One of the things that I force myself to do every day, is to read the names of the soldiers who died, spend a minute pondering their biographies, and wishing God's mercy on their souls... What would be more surprising this Memorial Day, is finding someone who doesn't have a veteran to remember and say a prayer for. Living next to both an Army and an Air Force base, as well as the Air Force Training Academy, it does make holidays like this one a lot more personal and heartfelt.

Dilip Haro explains the passive-agressive nature of Barack Obama and how he conducts foreign policy. A pattern emerges, one that shows how new to all of this Obama really is, and suggests that he's still on a learning curve on how to be in charge. domestically, we knew that, having witnessed the health insurance bill and the recent handling of the BP oil spill. I'll bet that Obama often wishes that he could go back to the beginning of his Presidency and start all over, correcting the mistakes he made. Isn't that how we all live our lives, in a constant replay of shoulda, woulda, coulda?

"We are Pakistanis and this is what they do to us,"
Pakistan is such a melting pot of religious minorities and ethnic tribes, fueled by the inherent racism and paranoia that is Islam. For a religion that professes to be peaceful, it certainly produces an abnormal amount of aggression and violence. You would have to be pretty far down on the suicide bomber's list to volunteer to blow yourself to smithereens along with fellow Muslims, but there seems to be no lack of candidates. The latest attack, blamed on some amorphous Taliban group, is the bombing of two Ahmadi mosques in Lahore: "More than 80 worshipers of a minority Muslim sect, the Ahmadis, were killed and more than 110 wounded Friday in a coordinated assault by seven well-trained attackers on two mosques in Lahore, Pakistan’s second largest city, the authorities said.

At the mosque known as Dar-ul-Zakir, near the train station, two attackers blew themselves up inside the prayer hall after spraying the congregation with bullets, police officers said. The target was the Ahmadis, a group of about two million Muslims in Pakistan who are considered heretical by many mainstream Muslims because the Ahmadis believe that Mirza Ghulam Ahmad, who founded their movement in 1889, was the messiah foretold by Muhammad, the prophet of Islam." The Sunni intolerance for minorities like the Ahmadis is similar to the Shia intolerance for Bahais in Iran, and they all project intolerance for Sufis...

The main difference on how we treat our cults in America, is that we let our government blow up their compounds in Waco and harass their leaders. We also have far too many cults whose leaders claim that they are a prophet, or Jesus, or the second cousin of Jesus, or had a vision of Jesus, or Jesus whispers in their ear in the middle of the night. My personal favorites are the ones who have had visions of Mary, because she is gentler and far less dramatic than the butch male visions from scrawny illiterate bible thumpers...

As I get older and less patient with these forms of madness, I think the best possible thing that we could do is to start acid diplomacy. Yes, bring back LSD in legal form and use it to bridge the religious and political gaps. Can you see Netanyahu, Abbas, Hillary Clinton, and some representative from Hamas all kicking back and tripping together in Cairo? The only problem I could see is if Hillary gave Florida away as the new home for the Jews... We could set up a Department of Tripmaster as part of the State Department, have some serious diplomatic acid trips to resolve international crisis, and the heads of state who were fundamentally unbalanced would veer all the way over into la-la-land, their own fear and paranoia rendering them incapable of causing any future situations... If we're going to create a Brave New World, let's open the Doors of Perception first, use a substance that melts the viewer's individual barriers and shows them the common spiritual thread that binds us all instead of the cocktail of methamphetamines that countries like China gives its soldiers to crank them up worse than a beserking Viking...

old technology...
The most depressing news about the BP oil spill stoppage and cleanup attempts, is that they are using the exact same technology that was used on similar spills thirty years ago. The stuff that works on land doesn't work in the water, and nothing new has been developed despite BP bragging that they have spent $1.5 billion in research and development with third party companies... Just off the top of my head I can come up some ideas in two minutes, why can't an entire industry have better ideas and technology in thirty years? Again, look at the caliber of people involved in the oil industry, people like Dick Cheney and George W Bush, and you can see how cronyism developed at the cost of innovation. We really should force George and Dick out onto the oil slick in a dinghy with a butterfly net, and film them... The ex-CEO of Shell Oil, who wrote a book on why people hate the oil companies, said that there are a lot of supertankers that can start sucking the oil out of the ocean, all we have to do is get all of the other oil companies to help out. A biologist said that we could be pumping seawater continuously into the collapsed pipe, it would keep the oil from flowing out, until the "bottom kill" relief well has been drilled. It will take about three weeks, and all of the engineers agree that the "bottom kill" method is sure to plug the damned thing... At least the entire oil industry and how they work to drill for oil will be scrutinized. But there is a frightening similarity between how companies like BP work, and mining companies that have caused disasters and loss of life in West Virginia. Add to the mix the crappy way we deal with emergencies such as Katrina, and we can see how our whole infrastructure for emergency relief and industrial safety needs to be rebuilt from the ground up, no exception to the rule...

time for some cheering up with late night political jokes:

"Well, folks, here's the latest update. I guess this is good news. BP officials say the 'top kill' plan is working. The bad news — BP officials are a bunch of lying weasels." –Jay Leno

"British Petroleum is still trying to minimize the PR damage. You know what they said today? They said all the oil that spilled this month is on the house. No charge." –Jay Leno

"Obama looked pretty mad, if you watched his press conference today. President Obama said the head the Federal agency in charge of regulating the oil company is no longer there, but he didn't know if she resigned or if she was fired. Didn't know if she resigned or was fired. I got a better idea. How about arrested? Let's try that." –Jay Leno

"And a new study shows that fathers can suffer a form of postpartum depression after their child is born, especially if they're John Edwards." –Jay Leno

"A new poll found that 43 percent of Americans think President Obama is doing a good job at handling the BP oil spill. Of course, the same poll found that 43 percent of Americans hate pelicans." –Jimmy Fallon

"And today at a press conference, Obama said that the government does not have better technology than BP. That's a nice thing to announce to the world, that our government has fewer resources than a company that tried to plug a hole with a 'top hat.'" –Jimmy Fallon

"In fact, President Obama fired the head of the Mineral Management Services, because of lack of oversight of offshore oil rigs. It's got to be tough finding another job after that. It's like, 'I see you were head of the department in charge of preventing oil spills? And this was during the huge oil spill?' 'Yeah, that's right.' 'You may not be Wendy's material.'" –Jimmy Fallon

Friday, May 28, 2010

Top Kill Is A Mudder, Security Strategy Potential, In Uma We Trust

Dana Milbank
Mitchell Bard
Leslie Gelb
Marwan Bishara
"Did you plug the hole yet, Daddy?" - Malia Obama
"It just looks like he's not involved in this. Man, you got to get down here and take control of this." - James Carville

"One of the big gambling Web sites published odds on what species would be the first to become extinct from the oil spill. Unbelievable. You know the odds-on favorite? Democrat." – Jay Leno

"Sarah Palin has now weighed in on the gulf oil spill. Finally, the voice of reason. She said that President Obama should grasp the complexity of the situation. Sarah Palin giving advice on complexity. What, was Snooki from 'Jersey Shore' unavailable?" – Jay Leno

"Oh man, and the stock market. Another bad day. The market is so bad, BP had to lay off 15 senators." – Jay Leno

Yesterday the Internet was so slow in my area that it often took 20 minutes to load my blog page. Thank you Comcast, for the job you are doing in upgrading my service...

i'm sooooo sorry...
President Obama has been getting slammed for making some apologies during his press conference about the oil spill. Dana Milbank makes comment on this, though I think we are falling into the John Wayne Syndrome, expecting our President to always act tough, as if he is a fictional character instead of a human being. For those who never have had therapy or spiritual development, one of the first things that you must do is to acknowledge your mistakes and identify your weakness. Then, you can take responsibility for the consequences of your mistakes, and then learn to forgive. As a nation, we are still stuck in a shark-like predator mode, where we can only move forward and devour our enemies... And Obama has to learn from his mistakes in handling the BP oil spill, it is proving to be quite a teaching moment. Too bad they never have college classes in how to be a leader through a national disaster, or even have a manual given to you once you win a seat in Congress...
"In case you were wondering who's responsible, I take responsibility." - Barack Obama
An editorial in the Christian Science Monitor makes the point that in order: "to prevent unexpected, human-caused natural calamities in the future will take something more: a demand for higher qualities of thought, such as a greater sense of obligation to others, a respect for one another’s views, and a longer-range regard for the collective good and the environment.

Those lessons aren’t new but they must be in greater demand as the pace of environmental problems requires more vigilance over virtues needed to run the complex worlds of oil rigs, chemical factories, nuclear reactors, and resource mines. It is not enough for one nation like the United States to simply tighten its own regulations after each disaster only to then import products from countries that don’t have such regulations. Oil spills in places like Nigeria might only increase if the US now ends offshore drilling without also cutting its oil use. Saving forests in the US without also helping other nations save theirs is only environmental NIMBYism – not real environmentalism.

Stewardship of the earth isn’t just an aesthetic imperative or a self-serving desire for sustainable use of natural resources. It is also a spiritual exercise in how people get along and define progress for their society. After the plugging of the Deepwater Horizon oil gusher – and after all the anger, blame, and fear over the Gulf oil spill – the deeper lessons of this disaster must be learned." We are still in the anger and blame stage, may not get past it until we see the extent that BP, Transocean, and Halliburton pony up and take fiscal responsibility. Our fear is that they will actually be able to weasel their way out of it because of the weak and corrupt government officials that were placed there by the Bush administration... The head of the MMM resigned, time for the domino effect to get going...

The criticisms of Obam's national security strategy has begun, with the ink barely dry on the page. Leslie Gelb rates it as if it were a college term paper, points out a few things it lacks in way of structure. Marwan Bishara writes about what the possibilities may mean for the Middle East. Make no mistake about it, Bush and Cheney and their ilk were stooges, and their policies did more to piss off potential allies than to make friends and build cooperation. So, we are paying with two stupid wars that never should have been started and that has pushed our national debt into the trillions. Dear free market promoters, its those damned wars and not Obama's spending that has gotten us where we are, suck it up and acknowledge that your ideas don't work in the real world...

God help us if more right wing wackos get elected to Congress, they will try their hardest to put us on the wrong tracks to derail our economy and foreign policy again, all in the name of some antiquated ideals not worth the paper they are printed on. Let's hope that all of the tea party candidates are like Scott Brown, who has voted all over the place. He's turning out to be more moderate than the candidate he defeated, even if he's a pretty-boy-dumber-than-a-stump type. At least he's learning how to use his brain, unlike our dear Sarah Palin, who must have a reading disorder, or that not-so-rare foot-in-mouth disease...

in uma we trust...
In case you think you saw Wesley Snipes delivering your morning paper, or that it was Sylvester Stallone cleaning out the Slurpy machine, you might have been right. An investment manager who catered to the vain and naive Hollywood crowd was arrested this morning for scamming with a ponzi scheme, and was found hiding in a closet after agents noticed his shoes poking out from underneath the closet door: "Much like Bernard L. Madoff, who is serving a 150-year sentence for bilking tens of billions of dollars from his closely knit network of clients, prosecutors say, Kenneth I. Starr of Manhattan cultivated business at charity events and lavish parties, bridging the worlds of New York and Hollywood to build a star-studded client list of socialites, financiers, philanthropists, A-list actors and Hall of Fame athletes.

“Starr had an M.O. that has become unfortunately familiar in recent times,” Preet Bharara, the United States attorney in Manhattan, said at a news conference on Thursday. “He used his access to famous and powerful clients to burnish an image of trustworthiness, inducing them to entrust him with management and control of their financial affairs.” It seems that Uma Thurman was one of the first to find out that something fishy was going on, her and the efforts of two others are listed in the arresting report. After getting a financial statement that said she lost a lot of money, she confronted Starr in his office and demanded over a million dollars be restored to her account. She was told it was in someone else's account, so she called that person. Her money was restored, but it came out of yet another person's account, so these three people went to the DA's office with the story and the ponzi scheme was unveiled. Mr Starr used their money to buy himself a lavish lifestyle to rival anything that can be seen in the HGTV show Selling New York...

Now that the top kill attempt has been suspended for a second time, perhaps BP is waiting for Mother Nature to sweep in and help disperse the oil...

Thursday, May 27, 2010

Obama Doctrine,

Sen Amy Klobuchar
Dana Milbank
Rick Outzen

"This is a story about the Three Little Pigs. A lot of dead oil workers. And British Petroleum." - Rick Outzen
"Sounds as if it may be time for a top kill at the Interior Department." - Dana Milbank
"We listened to the leaders of BP, Transocean and Halliburton explain how each of their companies may not have been at fault for the disaster. Their evasive testimony reminded me of kids who knock a baseball through the neighbor's window and won't own up to their actions." - Sen Klobuchar

While we celebrate the apparent success of the top kill method stopping the oil flowing out of a collapsed pipe by BP, President Obama gave a press conference today outlining the mess his administration has to clean up from Bush's collapsed policy failures. I knew it was bad, but recent investigations have revealed just how bad it really has become - beyond dysfunctional. What we need to do is stop and rebuild our bureaucracies from the ground up so that each department is leaner, meaner, and can respond to a crisis situation without loads of paperwork and signing off by hundreds of supervisors (this kind of bureaucracy is miring down our military responses in Afghanistan, so the Pentagon has to be included). Get rid of infighting, share relevant information, and put in some kind of ombudsman who can identify internal problems and who has the clout to fix them. The nature of bureaucracies is that they become top heavy after time, and each person will rise to their highest level of incompetence, known as the Peter Principle.

President Obama will also reveal his national security strategy, or what will become known as the Obama Doctrine: "The document, updated every four years, sets priorities for America's military, law enforcement and foreign policy agencies. It drops some of the most controversial language from the Bush administration, like the phrase "global war on terror" and references to "Islamic extremism". "The United States is waging a global campaign against al-Qaeda and its terrorist affiliates," the 52-page strategy document says. "Yet this is not a global war against a tactic - terrorism, or a religion - Islam. We are at war with a specific network, al-Qaeda, and its terrorist affiliates." The strategy also calls for US engagement with "hostile nations," closer relations with China and India, and a focus on strengthening the US economy." Ohh yeah, there will be a lot of debate over this, especially on the Sunday morning wonk shows, can you feel the hawks ruffling their wings from here? Other than initial gestures made towards North Korea, Burma, Syria, and Iran, no constructive follow-ups have been made, leaving whatever good feelings we created to dangle on the vine and rot. Other than getting Israel and the Palestinians to agree to meet with the US proxy again, nothing else has been scheduled or accomplished... We friggin' wasted Bill Clinton, by sending him as an envoy to Haiti, where hea has done absolutely nothing constructive, when he would be better off charming the Burmese Generals or Little Kim...

John Brennan, the National Security advisor, has said that it is a departure from George Bush's doctrine of unilateral engagement against Islamic extremism, in an effort to watch John McCain's face turn purple: "Obama's strategy calls for the US to work within international institutions, like the United Nations and Nato, though it calls for significant reforms to those world bodies. "An international architecture that was largely forged in the wake of World War II is buckling under the weight of new threats," the document says.

In a speech previewing the strategy on Wednesday, John Brennan, Obama's counterterrorism adviser, said the strategy reflected a shift in al-Qaeda's tactics. He pointed to several recent failed attacks against the US - the Times Square bombing attempt, and the failed Christmas Day airplane bombing - as examples of al-Qaeda's "less sophisticated" tactics. "As our enemy adapts and evolves their tactics, so must we constantly adapt and evolve ours, not in a mad rush driven by fear, but in a thoughtful and reasoned way," Brennan said."

And yet, we still have Guantanamo and other prisons like it, we still keep people without charging them of anything, we keep using military commissions to try individuals so they have less rights, we illegally wiretap and surveil individuals, we illegally use predator drones all over the world, we have an established assassination list, and yet we give mouth to such concepts as keeping our American values and respect for the rule of law. Excuse me, my milk just came out through my nose, I was laughing so hard... As long as we keep waging brutal wars while pretending to adhere to a set of ideals, we will lose in the eyes of the world, and in the eyes of our children... Given, we are expecting the worst things to happen once we pull out of Iraq, that Iran will waltz on in, thanking us for priming their next Shiite state, and that the Taliban will take back Afghanistan and create a far stricter, worse society than if we had just left them alone, especially after General McChrystal is trying to accomplish the impossible withinn the next few months, when he needs at least two generations to accomplish his goals of building a free, secure, and stabile society that is self-governed without too much obvious corruption.  We never want to think that by sending our children into battle, with some losing their lives, some losing their limbs, and some losing their minds, that it was all done for nothing. That is our greatest fear, and our greatest sense of guilt that the Armed Forces always tries to deny...

rip iraqi airways...
At first glance, the announcement that Iraqi Airways is going bankrupt and all flights are immediately canceled, you might assume that it's because nobody wants to fly into a city where so many suicide bombings are still taking place. Wrong assumption. According to the BBC: " Iraq's transportation ministry told reporters the airline would be closed following a damaging dispute with Kuwait over war reparations. The ministry blamed "harassment" from Kuwait for the airline's failure... Kuwait Airways says the Iraqi flag carrier owes it about $1.2bn for aircraft and plane parts taken during the Iraqi invasion of Kuwait in 1990." See, it's still all Saddam's fault! Sock it to me, dead-man... The two airlines rated as having the best service in the world are Qatar Airlines and Singapore Airlines. No US firm made the list...

Problems with the Internet this afternoon. I will publish what I have so far and put something else in later on tonight...

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Healing Thailand, Hezbollah Proves Irrelevant, Gay Nazis

Ruth Marcus
Dana Milbank
Michelle Bachmann
Kofi Annan

"For the last few weeks we’ve heard that the Obama Administration is going to focus its attention once again on jobs. Great, because we’ve seen how well that’s worked in the past, spending hundreds of billions of dollars to see our unemployment rate skyrocket to 10%" - Michelle Bachmann
"Republicans want to take over the House in the fall, but there's a problem: They don't have an agenda." - Dana Milbank"
"Three unattractive Palin traits have, if anything, been amplified since the election: her unwillingness to buckle down and do the necessary preparation; her tendency to adopt what McCain adviser Steve Schmidt described as a "down is up and up is down" version of reality; and her enhanced sense of injury at the hands of what she oh so cleverly refers to as the "lamestream media."

That would include me." - Ruth Marcus

A lot of fun in the links above, and one most serious on the politics of poverty in Africa. Dana Milbank provides some of the funnier comments that people have given the House Republicans on their website, America Speaking Out. If you would like to contribute an idea or two for their political platform, by all means click on the link here. It was a bit disconcerting reading Michelle Bachmann's piece in Red State, and her making a similar case to what I have been posting about the Obama administration and jobs. Some of my viewpoints are liberal, evidently some are like the tea party, and some are libertarian; pretty much the same mix as most people who are engaged with the world. This makes me wonder if I could sit down with Michelle and have a rational conversation and finding out that there are more similarities underneath all of the crazy talk...

healing the heart of Bangkok...
One of the reasons that I love Thailand so much, is that now the protesting and rioting is over, people have gotten together to change the atmosphere of the neighborhood by praying: "Buddhists, Muslims, Christians and Hindus gathered in the upscale Rajaprasong district where the so-called red shirt protesters had camped out for weeks, for the event. The chants of 1,000 Buddhist monks mingled with the prayers of Muslim imams, Christian priests and the Hindu faithful in 10 areas, including the charred remains of Central World, one of Asia's largest shopping malls, on Wednesday."
"Things are quiet now but there is fear still within us because none of us know what can happen in the future."
"It is very important for all of us in Bangkok to forgive and move ahead,"
It is important to be able to move on. The protests didn't accomplish anything and created a lot of resentment in rural areas that may never heal. I don't know what Thaksin Shinawatra was thinking when he approved and supported the Red Shirts, but now that the leaders are all in jail and there is another warrant out for his arrest, he certainly is denying having any connections at all, the coward: “No, no, no,” he said. As evidence, he said that during the military crackdown last week when 15 people died, “I was in Paris — they sent my picture — shopping at Louis Vuitton with my daughter.” After that, as red-shirt leaders were being rounded up and arrested in Thailand, he said, he went to the Cannes film festival." Of course, if the Red Shirts had been successful, Mr Thaksin would be parading about Thailand, basking in his ego and glory instead of being on the lam... Some of the Red Shirt leaders said that they took orders directly from Thaksin, that they do feel manipulated just so he could flip off the Thai government, which has been fixated on punishing him on corruption charges ever since he left office...

return of mighty hezbollah...
It looks like Hezbollah has been feeling neglected lately, they have been out of the spotlight for the past few years, and with this week's Israeli disaster drills, it saw an opening to appear fierce and uncompromising to the rest of the Middle East. While the Prime Minister is in Washington, Hezbollah decided to suit up and march along its southern border with Israel and making loud warnings in public: "The Lebanese resistance movement will win any new war and forever change the region, Hezbollah leader Hassan Nasrallah said... He warned Israel that if its military approached Lebanese shores "in any coming war," it would come under the fire from Hezbollah members "across the Mediterranean." "We shall confront the next war, we shall win and we shall change the face of this region," he concluded. No wonder there is such a hard time getting any negotiations done with idiots like this in charge. And Israel, bless their hearts, responded by making a night raid into helpless Gaza and blowing up a couple more smuggling tunnels... As for mighty Hezbollah, it must be frustrating trying to compete for funds from the rich sheiks and proving to them that you are still relevant, that history hasn't passed you by, bye, bye...

hitler's gay stormtroopers...
I can always count on TPM for a weird story concerning the fringe element. Today, it's a missive from Bryan Fischer and the American Family Association explaining that historically, gays have been much more brutal than straight soldiers, so that is why we should exclude them from military service. Evidently, Brian has been upping his meds against doctor's orders lately: "So Hitler himself was an active homosexual. And some people wonder, didn't the Germans, didn't the Nazis, persecute homosexuals? And it is true they did; they persecuted effeminate homosexuals. But Hitler recruited around him homosexuals to make up his Stormtroopers, they were his enforcers, they were his thugs. And Hitler discovered that he could not get straight soldiers to be savage and brutal and vicious enough to carry out his orders, but that homosexual solders basically had no limits and the savagery and brutality they were willing to inflict on whomever Hitler sent them after. So he surrounded himself, virtually all of the Stormtroopers, the Brownshirts, were male homosexuals."

I love these alternate interpretations of history. The Brownshirts were not gay, and Bryan is looking to find a way to round 'em up and send them to the camps because of his fascination with his German heritage. The group he represents has been around for awhile: "The American Family Association, founded in 1978, is a fixture in the social conservative community. And Fischer isn't a nobody. He's currently scheduled to speak at "Values Voter" summit in September, along with Reps. Michele Bachmann (R-MN) and Mike Pence (R-IN) and Mike Huckabee."

But, in a way, I can see it. After all, every military outfit makes you look like a Bondage and Sado-Masochism acolyte, someone with abnormal sexual tastes, if not downright silly...

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Agent OOObama, Louisiana Top Kill

Eugene Robinson
Meghan McCain
Steve Inskeep
Tenzin Gyatso

"These days we need to highlight what unifies us." - Tenzin Gyatso

One of the side benefits of having the US help build your government, besides the insane amount of money being used to bribe everyone, is getting to have your own spy service, courtesy of Agent OOObama...  Today the Afghani spy service blamed the Pakistani spy service for supporting a recent suicide bombing of a US convoy of SUV's that killed four colonels and 12 Afghan civilians: "The remarks came in a news conference announcing the arrest of seven people suspected of organizing the attack last Tuesday, in which a suicide bomber drove a minivan full of explosives into a convoy of armored S.U.V.’s... The seven were also charged with involvement in other suicide attacks in Kabul that killed another 25 people.

“All the explosions and terrorist attacks by these people were plotted from the other side of the border and most of the explosives and materials used for the attacks were brought from the other side to Afghanistan. Of course, when we say that those attacks were plotted from the other side of the border, the intelligence service of our neighboring country has definitely had its role in equipping and training of this group.” 

We know how much everyone loves to use spies, especially the American military, whose budget for black operations in 2011 will be $59 billion. General David Petraeus has signed an order to spend a lot of that money building secret intelligence networks in the Middle East and Africa: "The secret directive, signed in September by Gen. David H. Petraeus, authorizes the sending of American Special Operations troops to both friendly and hostile nations in the Middle East, Central Asia and the Horn of Africa to gather intelligence and build ties with local forces. Officials said the order also permits reconnaissance that could pave the way for possible military strikes in Iran if tensions over its nuclear ambitions escalate.

While the Bush administration had approved some clandestine military activities far from designated war zones, the new order is intended to make such efforts more systematic and long term, officials said. Its goals are to build networks that could “penetrate, disrupt, defeat or destroy” Al Qaeda and other militant groups, as well as to “prepare the environment” for future attacks by American or local military forces, the document said. The order, however, does not appear to authorize offensive strikes in any specific countries." For some reason, Graham Greene's, Our Man in Havana, springs to mind. I wonder if I can convince them that we need to watch the watchers here where I live, then I could become Our Man in Colorado Springs. Doesn't have the same flair or ring to it, I know.  I would love to get a piece of that pie, many of our homegrown terrorists have had ties to Colorado. And like most of our private contractors, I wouldn't have to do very much to get extremely well paid...

The military is tired of the expanded role of the CIA trooping around in Afghanistan and Pakistan, and want to depend on them less in the future: "In broadening its secret activities, the United States military has also sought in recent years to break its dependence on the Central Intelligence Agency and other spy agencies for information in countries without a significant American troop presence." We have Donald Rumsfeld to thank for the fascination and expansive use of private contractors, or mercenaries, in war zones. After he left, the CIA flexed its muscles, after it had almost been ready to disband after several major failures of intelligence. They hired a bunch of new hotshots and let the clandestine branch run the rest of the service, running their own mercenaries and the drone program. Obama helped the CIA further by naming Leon Panetta as the new director, and he has organized it into a lean, mean fighting organization that can topple the heads of any other intelligence service, say goodbye Dennis Blair... The downside of all of this spy networking was also pointed out in another Graham Greene book, The Ugly American... It takes months for the NSA to look at and decipher all of the communications it intercepts, and we have serious problems with different organizations not sharing information, all we need are a few more cooks tossing in ingredients to the stew. No wonder we have so many think tanks and policy centers, all coming up with neither insights or answers to today's global problems.

North Korea has severed all ties with South Korea over being blamed for the torpedoing of a South Korean Navy ship. Time for another war? Why not, let's drag what's left of the Asian econmy down the drain, too. I think what we will need when Jesus is Resurrected, is to hope that his accounting skills are up to the task...

louisiana top kill...
Today BP is going to try stopping the oil leak through a collapsed pipe by using a method known as top kill, with a Pat Campbell in charge.. Basically, they are going to put drilling mud into the lines, hoping that the weight will stop the flow of oil, then they can further plug the hole and create a cement cap. This is a tried and true method that worked well in stopping 900 bombed oil wells in Kuwait, and Mr Campbell has had over 40 years experience doing this all around the world, but it has never been done at a mile below the ocean's surface. The problem rests in the work all being done by remote controlled robots, with their handlers controlling them from Houston. Good luck.
I’ve got a degree in being a grandpa, that’s all,” - Pat Campbell
Meanwhile, a federal investigation is underway on the regulators who were hired by the Bush administration and have not been regulating for the past several years. When it was revealed in the last year of George's administration that many of the hires and appointees were trying to burrow in at the departments where they worked, and did not plan on leaving during the transition as is normally done, several pundits warned that only bad things would come of it. The Republican reasoning was that if you couldn't limit or get rid of a department, then hire people to sabotage the way it worked, which was done for every department in the government. So it may be that indirectly we have Karl Rove to thank for all that the regulators didn't do before the spill, and many of the screw-ups that has happened afterwards. The rest we can blame on private industry, for doing their best to find a way around as many safety regulations that they could, making it an unregulated, free for all marketplace.

BP has set up a website, giving their latest news on the oil spill, you can link to it here, at

Hotlines have been established 24/7 for the following:

To report oil on the shoreline:   (866) 448 - 5816
To report impacted wildlife:      (866) 557 - 1401
To make spill-related claims:     (800) 440 - 0858

Monday, May 24, 2010

Rand Paul Crock Of The Wild Frontier, The Arabs Are Sleeping, And So Is BP

Dave Weigel
Paul Krugman
Mark McKinnon

"He's an ophthalmologist, he does a lot of lazek surgery, and he has a lot of interesting points of view. Like he thinks Obama, because he went to Copenhagen where they were talking about global warming, is apologizing for the industrial revolution. He's against the Americans With Disabilities Act. He says restaurants should be able to refuse service to black people. And today, he said Obama was un-American for getting on BP's case for the oil spill. I tell you, the shit doesn't fall far from the bat." –Bill Maher

"Every time this guy opens his mouth, it gets a little crazier. Today he angrily demanded that the liberal media stop quoting him in context." –Bill Maher

"I guess he's trying to get the press to get off the racism thing, so his big thing today was that the oil spill in the Gulf was the blame game. He said, 'Sometimes accidents happen.' Which is not really what you want to hear from the guy who's doing your lasik surgery." –Bill Maher

Today we continue to beat up on Rand Paul, who has gone into Silence of the Lamb mode, canceled all further press conferences including yesterday's Meet the Press on the advice of Karl Rove.. Dave Weigel's opinion piece gives a Liberal perspective, while Mark McKinnon's gives a moderate Conservative view.Rand said that although he did feel that the interview on Rachel Maddow's show was fair, the commentary on MSNBC during the days afterwards were overblown and attributed him meaning things that he did not say. Of course, the next time he makes a public appearance, he will get jumped on from all angles, as if he's bait for the Kentucky Headhunters - I hope he can carry a tune...

Up through the woods he's a marching along
Makin' up yarns and singin' a song
Itching for a fight and rightin' a wrong
Crazy as a bear and twice as strong
Randeyyyyy, Randeeyyy Paul Crock of the wild frontier

I have yet to see any Arab or Middle Eastern views on solving the Iranian nuclear standoff. Andrew Wander also comments on this for al Jazeera: "Many Arab countries have a deeply ambivalent view of the impasse. They see Iran as something of a double-edged sword; while they support its patronage of resistance groups across the region, they are uncomfortable with the power that this brings.

Likewise, they understand Tehran’s resentment at being spoken down to by the West over its drive to produce enriched nuclear material, but they are not sure they want to see a nuclear-armed, increasingly assertive Iran across the water.

And so, unable to formulate a common position on the standoff playing out in their backyard they don’t say anything."
“The Arabs are sleeping,” - Abdullah Shayji
Of course, no Arabian state want to trash talk about their Shia brothers in front of a Westerner. None of them want to see Iran rise in influence and power in the region because of its belligerence. And they all feel uneasy should Iran build a bomb, but they all have plans to build nuclear energy plants of their own. The only other country that could develop influence with Iran is Iraq, whose mullahs do not believe that religious teachers should take part in secular politics, and Iraq can't even form a government right now.

This actually happened to Mahmoud Ahmadinejad while he was giving a speech the other day, but it could easily happen to Barack Obama. Mahmoud was heckled by some young men in the audience, who kept yelling "We have no jobs!" All of this tough talk over a nuclear program may be a diversion to keep the populace from focusing on how bad the Iranian economy still is, and why they don't want anymore economic sanctions against them.

Jobs creation, or the lack of it, is also Obama's Achilles Heel, the source of most of the anger and discontent. If Obama had waited on health reform and financial reforms, then concentrated on the economy and finding a way for small and family businesses to make a comeback, his popularity would be at 80% and guaranteed re-election. It's nice that he is tackling big issues - they do need attention - but as long as people hare having a hard time putting food on the table, you might as well be pissing in the wind... or getting ready to have some losses in the mid-term election.

Bureaucratic response is always slow and sluggish, as can be seen in the Gulf of Mexico. Ken Salazar only did cosmetic surgery on the Minerals Management staff, getting them to stop snorting cocaine off of desktops and having sex with oil lobbyists, but he didn't press them to go out and do their jobs. We didn't insist that any rig working in US waters be subject to US inspection and equipment be kept up to our standards. So, while the MM staff continued to watch porn on their computers, the Deepwater Horizon, with all of the myriad things wrong with its equipment, was allowed to drill over a mile beneath the surface. Ken hasn't halted any more deep water exploration rigs, I believe there are 16 other permits pending...

The state of Louisiana has been sitting around, twiddling its thumbs, while the oil spill is seeping onshore, twelve miles deep in some places. Governor Jindahl is trying to lash out at the Obama administration for not supplying and putting up enough sand booms. So much for state's rights, eh Bobby? The Coast Guard guy in charge of the cleanup seems like an old, tired, good-old boy who has accepted his position as the whipping boy. This tidbit, provided by my neighbor Michelle Malkin: "Capt. Edwin Stanton, who heads up the Coast Guard’s response, is taking blame.

Stanton: “It’s my job to direct this response in Louisiana.”
Reporter: “Why didn’t you do it?”
Stanton: “Well, the why — is that really important?”
Reporter: “Yes sir, we live here.”
Stanton: “Well, I guess I’m just slow and dumb.”

Couldn't we replace two younger and smarter guys in his place for the same amount of money we are paying him? It comes out of your tax money.... And now, Sarah Palin is taking a different tactic, by saying that Obama is cozy with the oil companies. She, who was bragging about her alaskan pipeline that would go all the way to Canada, and the drill, baby, drill rhetoric? She's evidently getting her lines from Karl Rove, who believes that if you say a lie enough times, it will become a political truth...

For its part, BP has announced that it will be studying the effects the oil spill has on the area, sending out its own scientists to watch things die: "British oil producer BP said Monday it would commit up to $500 million to study the impact of the Deepwater Horizon catastrophe in the Gulf of Mexico. BP said on its Web site the money would be spent on research into the oil spill's impact on the gulf's marine and shoreline environment over the next 10 years.

"BP has made a commitment to doing everything we can to lessen the impact of this tragic incident on the people and environment of the Gulf Coast," BP Chief Executive Officer Tony Hayward said. 'We must make every effort to understand that impact. This will be a key part of the process of restoration, and for improving the industry response capability for the future."

BP said the research will include determining where the crude oil, the dispersed oil and the dispersants are being carried by underwater currents, and their impact on the ecology."

I don't know, British petroleum engineers aren't very reliable. They are the ones who said that there wasn't any oil underneath the sands of Saudi Arabia...

ahhhh, those late night BP oil jokes:

"Everybody has a different solution for the Gulf oil spill. Why don't they just try jiggling the handle? I went to lunch and had crab cakes. The waiter came over and asked if I wanted leaded or unleaded. The tartar sauce was 80 percent tar." –David Letterman

"BP is saying that the oil leak is bigger than they estimated. In a related story, the executives at BP are far bigger idiots than we estimated." –Jay Leno

"Good news in the oil situation. BP said they found a way to start breaking up their oil slick. The bad news is it involves a toxic chemical called Corexit 9527A. Apparently this is moving us further from a solution and closer to Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles." –Bill Maher

"Sunday, listen to this, they’re going to try something new. They're going to try what they call a 'top kill.' That's where they shove a fluid that looks a lot like mud down into the well. I hope this works because the next idea involves Bruce Willis and an asteroid." –Bill Maher

Sunday, May 23, 2010

Guinness Is A Health Drink, Elizabeth Smart's Kidnapper Sentenced

Bill Maher

"The Republican leadership in America must produce their birth certificates! Not because I doubt they're Americans, I just want to make sure they're not eight-years-old." - Bill Maher
"Conservatives are the ones who tend to believe in magical ideas, like: America is never wrong; you can defeat terrorism militarily; and lower taxes will somehow fix the deficit." - Bill Maher
"Rush Limbaugh is a child, a primal scream of a man, but he gets his way because he's the fat bully on the playground; and Glenn Beck is the weepy kid who's always crying because he's insane and you don't know what he's going to do and who he's going to take with him." - Bill Maher

It's time for my yearly visit to the opthamologist for my diabetic check-up. I wonder if Rand Paul is accepting new patients? Bill Maher described Rand this way: "It's as if Sarah Palin somehow made it through medical school." If you have never hung out with a group of Libertarians, you are missing a treat. Usually, they make Rand look school-teacherish and frumpy. I have had some wild discussions in the past, and none of them were very logical. The Libertarian Party was born here in Colorado Springs, and the characters show up in full costume during a convention. From my childhood, I always associated them with Amway salespeople...

The most important story this weekend is health related. Its official now, that drinking Guinness is good for you. "A pint of the black stuff a day may work as well as a low dose aspirin to prevent heart clots that raise the risk of heart attacks. Drinking lager does not yield the same benefits, experts from University of Wisconsin told a conference in the US." OK, they did a study on dogs, not people, to determine that drinking 24 ounces of the brown stuff per day was equivalent to taking an aspirin per day, by not allowing clots to form along arterial walls.

Cholesterol will stick to an artery wall and build itself up to form a clot, which can then cause a heart attack if it lodges in an artery feeding the heart. Aspirin works by causing ulcers on the arterial lining and breaking up any cholesterol that has attached. Researchers believe that: "antioxidant compounds" in the Guinness, similar to those found in certain fruits and vegetables, are responsible for the health benefits because they slow down the deposit of harmful cholesterol on the artery walls." Of course, they are guessing, just as the idea of anti-oxidant compounds is a theory. Still, it gives me great hope as I dodder into old age. Now I can include a pint of Guinness at meals as a health regimen, along with fresh-ground coffee in the morning and eight glasses of water per day. The cigar after dinner may be my only vice, and in a couple more years, I'm sure that the medical benefits will be studied and positively reported. Hey, if its good for Rover, its good enough for me...

The woman who, along with her crazy husband, kidnapped a fourteen year old Elizabeth Smart, was sentenced to 15 years in prison. She will be cooperating in the civil and federal cases against her husband, Brian David Mitchell.Wanda Barzee apologized to the Smart family at the sentencing: "I know the gravity of my crimes and how severe they have been, and I'm just so sorry, again, for all the pain and suffering I have caused upon the Smart family,"

Smart's mother, Lois, addressed Barzee at the hearing, calling her acts unconscionable and evil. "Wanda Barzee, what you did to our family and to our girl Elizabeth was wrong. It was wrong, and it was evil. You hurt our family in ways that you will never know. We had sleepless nights. We had endless days... Elizabeth is doing beautiful. She's brilliant. She's bright. She is thriving, but not because you helped her in any way at all." 

Smart's father, Ed, expressed mixed emotions over the sentence. "It is what it is. I'm grateful that she is going to be deemed a sex offender, she's going to have to register." When pressed by a reporter as to whether the sentence was appropriate, Ed Smart sighed heavily. "I think that Elizabeth felt that it wasn't strong enough, but to have it come to an end, it's been so many years." 

This is one story that I have always felt bad about, and guilty, because Elizabeth and her kidnappers walked right past me during lunch-time and I could have informed the police. This was during a time when I had stopped reading newspapers and watching television, and I didn't know who these people were. I had been volunteering at a friend's family run Internet Services Provider in Santa Cruz, California, and I went out to get lunch for myself and the co-owner. Santa Cruz is a refuge for young hippie wannabees, and as I was making my way along the pedestrian mall, I saw them standing around a lamp post, with benches for seating one one side.

 They were all dressed in white, Elizabeth was wearing a white cloth across her face like a veil. I had a few cynical thoughts along the lines of oh great, just what we need, some more cult figures in town! But there was a look in the silent girl's eyes, that in retrospect, must have said: please recognize me. But I walked on to get my smoothie and dan dan noodles; when I came back, they were gone.

It wasn't until months later when they were caught that I recognized their clothing and realized that the strange loitering people were Elizabeth and her kidnappers. To this day I wish that I had been more informed and had called the cops, her ordeal could have been cut by months. After that, I became obsessed with the news, and that incident may have played a role in my starting this blog.

Saturday, May 22, 2010

Rant On Sanctions and Hillary

Tony Karon

"The purpose of sanctions is to bring the Iranian side to the negotiating table," - Li Baodong
"Hillary Clinton said on Monday, May 17, that the new sanctions resolution was "as convincing an answer to the efforts undertaken in Tehran over the last few days as any we could provide."
"The Administration is hoping to present a united front of Security Council powers in order to hold off pressure from Capitol Hill to take tougher action. But if Iran takes serious steps toward implementing the Brazil-Turkey deal, pressure could grow on the U.S. from the likes of China and Russia to respond positively." - Tony Karon

A week can't go by without weird developments going on in the Middle East. Beginning tomorrow, Israel is having a week-long defense drill, having military and citizens practice what to do if it was attacked. Hezbollah is taking advantage of the situation by staging thousands of its soldiers along the Israeli - Lebanese border, in case Israel decides to invade.
"In the event of any new attack on Lebanon, the Israelis will not find anywhere in Palestine to hide"
These events precedes the Lebanese Prime Minister Saad al-Hariri coming to Washington for his first visit and talking to President Obama and administration officials: "White House spokesman Robert Gibbs said on Friday the two leaders would discuss a "broad range of mutual goals in support of Lebanon's sovereignty and independence, regional peace and security."

In recent months Israel has repeatedly accused Syria of arming Hezbollah with Scud missiles and other weaponry, and warned than in the event of a new conflict it will consider Lebanon, rather than just Hezbollah, as its enemy. The threats have sparked war jitters and prompted a flurry of diplomatic activity to ease tensions in the region." al-Hariri has previously met with the leaders of Egypt and Turkey, and wants a broad based international support to have Israel and Palestine sit down and negotiate face to face, if his country doesn't explode in violence while he's away.

Iran continues to play head games, in its continual chess match with the US. It is now saying that on Monday it will present a formal letter of the nuclear fuel deal it has made with Brazil and Turkey to the International Atomic Energy Agency. Here's where the doubletalk begins: "Earlier, Iran said it intended to go ahead with the deal despite a new sanctions resolution against Tehran pending at the UN, an Iranian parliamentarian said on Saturday. "Iran is committed to the vows that it made and wants to make them operational... The Americans' propaganda will not have any effect on Iran's decision ... We advise those countries who want to issue this resolution against Iran not to be manipulated by America."

Today, the head of Iran's nuclear program was forced by his government to say that unless the Western powers ok'ed the deal and did not proceed with sanctions, then the deal would be off. "The new, extended sanctions would target Iranian banks and call for inspection of vessels suspected of carrying cargo related to Iran's nuclear or missile programs. Iranian officials have dismissed the draft resolution as lacking legitimacy, and rejected international demands that it suspend enrichment." Both Brazil and turkey have informed the US that the nuclear fuels deal is a good window of opportunity for a diplomatic resolution to this mess, while Hillary only sniffs dismissively and sharpens her hawkish claws...

Hillary may be good at straight talk over human rights, but she's proving to be really old school in the delicate art of nuclear negotiations. Especially in light of the NY Times reporting that: "President Obama, speaking to graduating cadets at the United States Military Academy, repudiated his predecessor’s emphasis on unilateral American power and the right to wage pre-emptive war." In order to get Russia to agree to sanctions, Clinton negotiated that the US agreed to: "... lifting American sanctions against the Russian military complex and agreeing not to ban the sale of Russian anti-aircraft batteries to Tehran. The administration dropped sanctions on Friday against the Russian state arms export agency and three other Russian entities previously found to have transferred sensitive technology or weapons to Iran. The move came just three days after the United States and Russia agreed on a package of United Nations sanctions against Iran.

Russian and American officials also said Friday that while the United Nations resolution would ban many weapons sales to Iran, it would not prohibit Moscow from completing the sale of S-300 anti-aircraft missiles to Tehran, a contract that Russia has suspended but not canceled. The sophisticated defensive system could help Iran shoot down American or Israeli warplanes should either try to bomb its nuclear facilities."

To get China to go along, the US agreed not to hamper the sales of Chinese missile technology to Iran, because it is opening its own missile manufacturing plant to replace the S-300's that Russia has yet to deliver. So, in order to get her sanctions, Hillary agreed to Iran getting a bunch of missiles from Russia, and the knowledge of how to maintain them, along with the ability to make similar class of missiles from the Chinese. Some critics think that this is too great a giveaway, which means that the arrogant, bumbling Iranians have actually won the game.

Who knows? Maybe the Iranians really are only interested in a civilians nuclear energy program. I've often wondered why Iran stays a member of the IAEA, subject to facilities inspections, and also remains a signator of the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty. But the NPT says that any country that has signed on has the guaranteed right to develop a non-weapons nuclear program. And while we dicker over our paranoia and Iran's honesty of intentions, they continue merrily along enriching fuel...

Is the US adhering too much to the old style of making demands before negotiating with a perceived enemy? Isn't this what we are trying to get the Israelis and Palestinians not to do? Perhaps we should begin by leading by example... Sit down with both Tehran and the Taliban, establish embassies in Burma and North Korea, and start turning the squeaky axle of evil, get them out of their isolation and into the world community, able to turn over a new leaf...

Do you want a smaller federal government? Isn't it about time we fired everyone that was hired during the George W Bush administration?

The US can stop policing the world now.