Saturday, May 15, 2010

Brazilian Diplomacy, Climate Change In Iraq, Glenn Beck Bashing

Max Abelson
Charles Blow
Mark McKinnon

"Is “Left” becoming a four-letter word?

You’d think so lately with each day bringing more news of unconscionable conservative tilts in the electorate, while the drumbeat of the Democrats’ supposed death march to November gets ever louder." - Charles Blow

If you are interested in watching an interview of Brazil's President Lula de Silva with al Jazeera, the link is here. Basically, he is saying that the best way to conduct diplomacy is for world leaders to sit face to face. If Obama is so concerned with Iran's nuclear program, he should meet with Ahmadinejad in person, as it gives legitimacy to the talks, much like us trying to get Israel and the PA to sit down and talk. He has a valid point, and I wish that Hillary Clinton could become unstuck in her old-school style of conducting business, and Obama breaking more out of the mold his staff has poured him into. What is needed is thinking outside of the box and come up with something other than sanctions. Why punish the part of Iran who may be your allies? If you piss them off and radicalize them against us, we are pretty much screwed in that part of the world. All we are doing is reinforcing military control in Iraq, Iran, Pakistan, and Afghanistan, not to mention here in the US. Forget about having an honest civilian leadership that reflects its citizen's will instead of dictating to them. We have screwed up big time and may never recover any goodwill except where a soldier has done some act of kindness that's not forgotten... To paraphrase one Pakistani General, if you are pointing guns at a farmer, don't expect to get flowers in return. Wasn't that a lesson we were supposed to have learned during protests in the '60's?

To make matters worse, in Iraq the Tigris and Euphrates rivers are drying up, as part of the increasing drought throughout the Middle East and North Africa. There is an increase of pollution in areas that have potable drinking water: "Across the country, the shrinking of the rivers is having serious consequences on the functioning of water treatment plants. In underground aquifers, the salt content of the water is increasing. This water is often unfit for human consumption or even for agricultural use.

"Reliable access to enough water of sufficient quality remains a major challenge for large parts of the population," said Julien Le Sourd, the ICRC's water and habitat coordinator in Iraq... Only one in five families outside Baghdad has access to functioning sewage facilities. Only one-third of wastewater and sewage produced in Baghdad is treated, with much of the rest discharged as raw sewage directly into the Tigris and Euphrates rivers.

Large suburban residential areas have sometimes developed without adequate infrastructure, and certain sewage treatment plants are bypassed, wastewater is discharged untreated into rivers and lakes. Ditches and ponds filled with foul-smelling polluted water blight many neighborhoods, the ICRC report states.

The UN recently estimated that overall around 83 percent of Iraq's sewage is going into rivers and waterways. As a result, people are getting sick." Soon, we may see suicide diarrhea bombers, no need for dynamite... The Jordan River is now expected to dry up next year, and Egypt and Sudan are already wrangling over the waters in the Nile.

We may want to think ahead about our immigration policy. We have Haitians trying to sneak across our border from Canada, and in the future we may become inundated with the diaspora from the Middle East, as will Europe and South America. At first, there will be violent culture clashes, but in the long run, militant Islamic extremism will become watered down and won't take root as much outside of its historic home. We will see a bunch more well fed wannabees, removed from the hardships that birth extremist behavior, try to incompetently become jihadists like our naive American jihadists... On the other hand, we won't see people like James Cameron going to other places and playing out his own movie scripts, causing us embarrassment, and/or amusement, depending on how sensitive or cynical you are...

"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

Ok, that was a strained analogy, but I get credit for making the attempt. This is just a rough year for our planet, weather-wise. What with earthquakes in populated areas, the volcano still erupting in Iceland and playing havoc with air travel, mine collapses in China, West Virginia, Russia, another in China, and the oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico, maybe we will be greeting the upcoming hurricane season with a sense of relief. Finally, natural disasters that we know more about. Can't prevent them, you can't reason with the hurricane season, but it will divert our attention from the upcoming conservative backlash that may drive the next elections...

Which makes me wonder. So much of the criticism of so-called leftist ideas comes from the press. Would people be more moderate if they no longer read the websites and watched the news on TV? What if we had regular meetings or rallies like the tea partys on a monthly basis, so folks can mingle and share opinions, just like Israel and the PA is supposed to do. Bring back the ice cream socials, bring the kids, do face painting, brought to you by your local political groups working together. In time, the more radical ideas get to be heard, and their authors less angry as the crowds accept or reject them. Like Woody Allen, sometimes I see my whole life go by, then I realize that it's not my life...

Time for some Glenn Beck bashing:

One thing that bothers me about Glenn, is his twisting of history. He makes the claim that progressives supported Hitler, when the reality is just the opposite. Hitler was supported by those who liked the idea of imposing their will on the rest of the populace through military means. They tended to be extreme conservatives who were authoritarian by nature, or ex-military commanders, and CEO's of large corporations. George W Bush's grandfather, Prescott, was a Nazi sympathizer. He believed in our country being ruled by a cadre of well educated elites, an idea that is still an unwritten plank of the Republican Party. Many ex-Nazis came here from Germany after WW11 and joined the Republican Party because they were more comfortable with its polices than the unwashed Democrats...
"New Rule: Glenn Beck has to stop being so hard on himself. After his Eric Massa interview, Beck said, 'I think this is the first time I have wasted an hour of your time.' Oh Glenn, that's so not true. First of all, we never make it through the hour. But when we flip by your show and you're standing on your desk, dressed in lederhosen and holding back tears, etching something about Woodrow Wilson on your crazy board, believe me those two minutes aren't wasted. They're the funniest part of our day." –Bill Maher

Lewis Black, on Glenn Beck's complaints that critics of Arizona's immigration law have played the Nazi card: "Glenn Beck is offended! Glenn Beck thinks playing the Nazi card is going too far. Glenn Beck. this is a guy who uses more Swastika props and video of the Nuremberg rallies than the History Channel."

"It's 'Six Degrees of Kevin Bacon, except there's just one degree, and Kevin Bacon is Hitler. Can I play? Let's see. Mother Teresa had a mustache. Hitler had a mustache. Mother Teresa is Hitler!" –Lewis Black, on Glenn Beck's frequent use of Nazi analogies

"Glenn Beck has Nazi Tourette's."

"I get a lot of heat for bringing up fascism but the reason I bring up Hitler is because many of the things that he did had their roots here in America." - Glenn Back

"Yesterday on Fox News, commentator Glenn Beck said that he believes President Obama is a racist. Well, to be fair, every time you watch Glenn Beck, it does get a little easier to hate white people." --Conan O'Brien

"And as you know, Santa Claus is working very hard with his elves to make sure every child gets at least one toy this Christmas, or as Glenn Beck calls that, 'socialism.'" –Jay Leno

"Glenn Beck had an emergency appendectomy, but he'll be back on the air tomorrow. That's right. However, for his first day back, doctors are warning Glenn to take it easy and only compare Obama to Hitler three times an hour." –Conan O'Brien
Of course, Glenn is actually an entertainer, and doesn't really believe all of his ranting. He does it for the ratings, because it's effective. Too heavy-handed schtick for me, but many folks gobble it up. Either he is an extremely private man, or his conscience won't let him go to the 9-12 rallies that he organized and promoted, to meet the supporters of his fictional creations in person. I would like to see Glenn Beck and Stephen Colbert locked in a room together and then filmed...

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