Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Fake Vietnam Vet Runs For Senate, Public Statues Stolen in Tehran

Joel Wit
Dana Milbank
Kirk Johnson

"When was it, exactly, that the Republican revolution merged with the sexual revolution?" - Dana Milbank
"President Obama said he's angry and frustrated with the oil spill in the Gulf and the oil companies behind it. He said he's tired of all the finger-pointing — then he blamed the Bush administration for everything." – Jay Leno

What is it about the Vietnam War that makes guys lie about themselves. I understand embellishing a story to make yourself look better, but I have met several men who said that they fought in the war when they hadn't. Shall I tell about the times that my father went to pick up my youngest brother at a bar, where he had been telling folks of his exploits as an Army Ranger, when he was medically discharged during basic training? The latest to fall prey to this strange vanity is Connecticut's Attorney General, Richard Blumenthal, who got in trouble: "... for saying he had served in Vietnam when he actually had received five military deferments before enlisting in the Marine Reserve, enabling him to avoid combat overseas." Today he apologized, sorta. Get ready to start shoveling: “On a few occasions I have misspoken about my service, and I regret that and I take full responsibility. But I will not allow anyone to take a few misplaced words and impugn my record of service to our country.”

Richard was working for the Nixon White House at the time that his five deferments were used up. Since he couldn't get any more, he decided to join the Marine Corps Reserve. He says that there weren't any favoritism involved, a similar tale we heard from George W Bush, but somehow he landed a gig in a unit stationed in Washington DC, perhaps the only unit never to have gone overseas. His greatest service to his country was helping organize a Toys for Tots campaign. Impugn away, Ricky, you hypocritical jerk... To be fair, he's running for the Senate and needs to turn a negative event into a positive one, and the political handbook says that the best way is to go on the offense about it. But Richard has been perpetuating this fantasy for over 10 years in public.

Of course, George W Bush's lies about his time in the Texas Air National guard was compounded by the coverup by officers and record keepers involved.  The fantasy that he created for himself was that he was a hot shot jet fighter pilot even though: "... Bush was favorably treated due to his father's political standing, citing his selection as a pilot despite his low pilot aptitude test scores and his irregular attendance", one that never had to be put to the test, and his family's money and influence helped keep it going. Probably the worst case of using family influence was John McCain's becoming a fighter pilot during the Vietnam War. He was allowed to become a pilot despite the fact that he was horrible at flying: "... McCain began as a sub-par flier who was at times careless and reckless; during the early-to-mid 1960s, the planes he was flying crashed twice and once collided with power lines, but he received no major injuries.[18] His aviation skills improved over time, and he was seen as a good pilot, albeit one who tended to "push the envelope" in his flying." The ultimate folly of his pushing the envelope was when he was shot down over Vietnam and his actions under duress got the other two members of his flight team killed, and he ended up spending a grueling, horrible time in a North Vietnamese jail as a prisoner of war. There's no doubt that John was a war hero, but he has some demons that he has never confronted...

Which brings us back to politics. Why elect someone you know has a habit of lying to you? One way of telling if someone is a hypocrite, is if they make a point of stressing things like heterosexual marriage conservative family values and are intolerant of other forms of opinions, right Rand? The latest example is the confession of Indiana's Republican House Representative Mark Souder, who was noted for preaching sexual abstinence but: "acknowledged carrying on an affair with a staff member and said he would resign his seat in Congress as of Friday."
“I sinned against God, my wife and my family by having a mutual relationship with a part-time member of my staff,
. Mark then went on trying to shirk the blame because of the poisonous atmosphere in Washington DC... I don't know why, but an image of Newt Gingrich just came to mind and the time he confessed to having an affair while his wife was on her deathbed, dying of cancer, of John Ensign having his mommy and daddy pay off his indiscretions while breaking Senate ethic rules, and, of course, ol' Mark Sandford out hiking the appalachian Trail all the way to Argentina...

the big heist...
Who has the biggest mojo and daring when it comes to capers in Asia and the Middle East? The Mujahideen? The Taliban? The British RAF or the Marines? Oh hell no, it's whomever is behind all of the art thefts in Iraq and Iran. During our invasion of Iraq, someone coordinated and carried out breaking into Iraq's national museum and pilfering priceless scrolls and statues, some which weighed a few tons. This is stuff you won't find on ebay... Now, recently, someone is stealing the public statues in Tehran, making fools of the police (the report in Asia times was written by an Iranian journalist who didn't use his real name for fear of being put in jail): "In the febrile political atmosphere of Tehran, the disappearance of at least 10 large bronze statues is being blamed on religious radicals, the Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC), even British art dealers, depending on which rumor you listen to.

The disappearances began in March and were regarded by city officials as petty theft. But the thieves would have needed cranes and heavy equipment to dislodge and remove the statues and yet no one saw anything, even though they were in streets and parks and mostly on open view." Tongues are wagging, conspiracy theories abound. Ahmadinejad hasn't linked it to the US and the nuclear program yet, but he might now that he has some free time on his hands. The Ayatollah's office has denied getting rid of the revolutionary bronze figures. My favorite analysis comes from an academic source, who puts the thefts in broader terms: "It appears that the theft of the statues is part of a psychological warfare campaign to test the endurance of society," said one political analyst, who preferred not to be named. "This creates fear and terror to some extent. It shows that even statues lack security. The interesting part is that the police, with their silence, have made matters more complicated." So, where did they go and who has them? More important, how are they being smuggled out of Iran? Personally, I'll bet they now belong to the personal collection of Ahmed Chalabi, who's latest exploit was trying to disqualify 500 candidates from the recent Iraqi elections... Really, the ones who are responsible for stealing two ton statues in plain sight in the middle ofpublic squares and parks are the same ones who create crop circles, perform cattle mutilations, and abduct old people from their trailers at night - that's right, it's the ALIENS!

In the meantime, the head of Iran's nuclear agency was prompted by his government to say that: "They [Western countries] invalidate themselves in the view of public opinion by issuing sanctions. There are some wise people among them to avoid doing such irrational actions. They feel that for the first time in the world, developing countries are able to defend their rights in the world arena without resorting to the major powers and that is very hard for them." I don't know about validation or not, but the last 3 sets of sanctions imposed by the Bush administration haven't worked. Maybe the 4th time is the charm, but Hillary has to stop acting old school and start thinking outside of the box: "But Clinton said it was not an "accident that Iran agreed" to the fuel swap as the US was preparing to move forward with sanctions." Well, duh...

Though the President of Mexico has also denounced the Arizona anti-immigration bills, do you think that John McCin will go to the State Dinner tonight? Moving into the gulf, here are some more jokes about British Petroleum:

"Prison inmates in Louisiana are now pitching in to clean up the Gulf Coast oil spill. At this point, the solutions have been dump chemicals in the ocean, shoot a bunch of garbage under water and release prisoners. If none of that works, they're going to have Al Qaeda come take a look at it." –Jimmy Fallon

"According to the top people in the petroleum industry, the oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico will not affect gas prices. They said, 'They were going up anyway.'" –Jay Leno

"According to a recent survey, one in eight people say they will not buy gas from BP anymore. Unless, of course, it's cheaper than the station across the street." –Jay Leno

"Tar balls have started washing ashore in Louisiana. Meanwhile, the slime balls that started the whole thing are still in Washington." –Jay Leno

"The oil company said it was the rig company's fault. The rig company said it was Halliburton. And somehow, each time they passed the blame, Goldman Sachs made a hundred million dollars." –Bill Maher

David Letterman's "Top Ten Ways BP Can Improve Its Image"

10. Change 'BP' from 'British Petroleum' to 'Bunnies and Puppies'
9. Scrap the snotty British accents
8. Cry on 'Oprah'
7. Take a page from AFLAC. New mascot: wise-cracking oil-soaked duck
6. Find bin Laden
5. Start making cookies. Who doesn't love cookies?
4. What's wrong with our image?
3. Switch from 'Drill Baby Drill' to 'Help Daddy Help'
2. Instead of their image, maybe they can focus on fixing the damn leak!
1. For goodness sakes, get Iron Man to do something!

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