Thursday, September 30, 2010

Hire Stanley McChrystal as Postmaster General, Iran Asks For Help, Christine Is The Zelig Of Delaware

Joe Conason
Henry Olson
Kevin Drum
"At the UN, President Obama called on other countries to help us track down and eliminate radicals and extremists. But they told Obama, 'Hey, the tea party is your problem, buddy.'" – Jay Leno

"These Tea Party groups are very conservative. In fact, 58 percent of Tea Party members now believe Joe Biden is a Muslim." – Jay Leno
"On the 'Today' show, President Obama said he supports having a longer school year. In response, Sasha and Malia announced they support Sarah Palin." – Jimmy Fallon

The cyber attack on the Iranian nuclear system's computers may turn out to be the largest attack of this nature. Iranian experts tried to get rid of it and made matters worse, causing it to spread to other systems. Today the government is asking experts in the West and East for their help. they're not getting much response because they won't allow anyone into the physical buildings of sensitive areas, which hampers the effectiveness of anyone wanting to help. their best bet would be the German security expert that first identified the Sstuxnet worm and seems to understand it better than anyone else. He also identified an obscure line of code that might imply that the worm was created by Israeli hackers.

Of course, we will now get articles telling us how vulnerable the US is to cyber attacks, that we are the global weakest link, but it will be tied to some new policy that wants to limit your access on the Internet. If John McCain introduces legislation on it, run the other way. In reality, we have some of the most secure systems in the world, mainly because some of them have weathered thousands of attempts to get past their security firewalls every year. Countries like China and Iran have groups whose sole job is to try and breach other countries systems, including private businesses and banks, so it's ironic and with a twisted sense of justice that Iran is having so much trouble with a computer virus. Who knows, maybe this issue will make them more hospitable to the West, especially if we end up helping them get rid of their virus...

Well, here's some good news, and I think this might be the first time this has ever happened. The PRC denied the recent request by the Post Office to raise their rates. They had filed the request as an emergency: "A 2006 law allows USPS to file an exigent -- urgently necessary -- case to raise prices beyond the rate of inflation if it can prove that "exceptional or extraordinary circumstances" warranted the increase."

Just about everyone in America feels that they could do a better job running the postal service than the people that are now in charge. Now that I think of it, the Post Office is probably the first government institution to piss people off. The Post Office and the FBI are the two groups that may have started the tea party, those arrogant bastards... Anyway, in the Postal Regulatory Committee's historic ruling, they said: "Though the recession and recent mail volume declines qualify as "exceptional or extraordinary circumstances" that could justify a price hike, the Postal Service's long-term structural problems are causing recent budget shortfalls." In other words, it's your own damned fault, you arrogant bastards. Maybe here is where Obama could use a man like General Stanley McChrystal, lets make him Postmaster General and create an counterinsurgent strategy for redesigning the institution and getting the citizens to trust it again, and he can take all the time he wants to make it work...

Christine With Ozzy, Feeling Witchy...
Wow, the most interesting Senate race is definitely taking place in Delaware, where the tea party candidate christine O'Donnell is proving to be the Zelig of politics. She has only this week rented space for a campaign office, preferring to run things out of her townhouse so that she could justify using her campaign donation to pay her mortgage payments. Her pro-abstinence, Christian non-profit organization is listed by the IRS as a deadbeat organization that hasn't filed any tax returns in over three years. She has lied on several of her resumes and web sites as having attended Oxford college and receiving a certificate from them. In reality, she attended a class provided by Phoenix University, a for-profit college that advertises heavily on the Internet, and it was held for a few days on the Oxford campus. Almost all of her campaign contributions are coming from outside of Delaware, and she hasn't been doing any campaigning inside of the state, preferring to hit up all of the Fox shows on television. I wonder what the citizens of Delaware will think of someone who constantly lies and won't meet with them in person?

No doubt that she is under the influence as the same people who are handling Sharron Angle's campaign in Nevada. Too bad they have forsaken Dan Maes here in Colorado, because he is one candidate who needs a makeover, poor guy. But whenever I start to feel sorry for him, I remember that he is a candidate for Governor, and that position is so out of his league of competence. The next step in a typical GOP slander campaign, is to create ads that demonize the Democratic candidate. Supporting anything that Barack Obama has done, is the worst decision he ever made, and that is bad for the state. You have been operantly trained over the last two years that anything associated with Barack Hussain Obama is inherently evil and will destroy the fabric of this nation, and voting for any Democratic candidate will only lead us further down the ungodly path to Hell... Have a nice day.

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Cleric To Impeach Ahmadinejad? Al-Qaeda Plans "Leaked" To Scare Europe,

Reza Aslan
Sunny Lee

"The repeated refusal of Iranian offers of dialogue by successive United States administrations suggests that US foreign policy in the Middle East has been driven not by national interest but by the military-industrial complex's need for a constant, external threat to justify its huge share of the treasury." - Ismael Hossein-zadeh

Reza Aslan explains the dubious welcome that awaits Mahmoud Ahmadinejad as he returns home from the US. Obama serenades his journey by naming the eight Iranian officials that many of the new sanctions are against, and names the human rights abuses they are responsible for. The timetable for the nuclear power plant to come online has been pushed back several months, thanks to the computer virus written to affect Siemens hardware and proprietary software. Iran may have to try and buy some fuel for the plant, as there has been a lot of other sabotage of the centrifuges at the Natanz enrichment plant... Some of Ahmadinejad's problems are his own fault, the angry, ultra-conservative clerics that he sought to back him up after his election have now turned on him and are out to impeach him. We may see some kind of power showdown between the clerics and the Revolutionary Guard. Unfortunately, the Green Movement's leaders will find themselves caught between the two factions, and they will both try to jail or kill off those pesky unarmed college students... Which makes me wonder who America's ultra-conservative, religious people will turn against once they get elected - will Sarah Palin become a sacrificial lamb?

Intelligence sources have "leaked" to every newspaper in Europe that al-Qaeda in Pakistan has been planning Mumbai-style raids in France, Germany, and Great Britain: "The would-be attackers reportedly planned to operate in small teams of heavily armed gunmen who would capture and execute Western hostages in Europe, similar to the attacks carried out in Mumbai in 2008 where 10 gunmen killed 166 people and injured more than 300 more." Supposedly, this is the reason for the recent drone strikes into Pakistan over the last couple of weeks... I don't know, doesn't it sound like too cozy of an excuse, after the fact? Instead, let's ramp up the paranoia level in Europe to get back at our allies who have been taking their troops out of Afghanistan... Sounds like someone in the CIA has been smoking too much hashish... thankfully, it's a lot harder trying to smuggle a large amount of guns and ammunition from Pakistan to Germany than it is to motor across a small body of water, not to mention getting those rubber boats across the borders... Germany announced this morning that this was old news, they have known al-Qaeda's long term plans for awhile, so what's the big stink all about?

First, science mapped the human genome, now a five year study of all life sustainable plants on earth says that 22% of them are endangered, meaning thatour future isn't in very good shape.: "Scientists from Britain's Botanic Gardens at Kew, London's Natural History Museum and the International Union for the Conservation of Nature, or IUCN, found that more than 22 per cent of the world's 380,000 plant species were endangered, critically endangered or vulnerable, the study released on Wednesday said. "The diversity of plants underpins all life on earth, so it is sobering that our own species is threatening the survival of many thousands of plant species," Neil Brummitt, a botanical diversity researcher at the Natural History Museum, said.

Governments will gather next month to set new targets for conservation at a UN summit in Nagoya, Japan. "We cannot sit back and watch plant species disappear - plants are the basis of all life on Earth, providing clean air, water, food and fuel. All animal and bird life depends on them, and so do we," Hopper, director of the Royal Botanic Gardens in Kew, London, said." So, kiss global diversity good-bye as you eat your genetically modified breakfast food, shipped to you instead of going to the dying people of Haiti, Russia,  and Pakistan...

The next few weeks is going to be hell watching television because of the new political ads that will be airing. They will be more vicious, trying to find an emotional trigger that will make you distrust a certain candidate. It's already escalating here in Colorado, the tv stations are running them in clumps, usually ending with the meanest ad from Tom Tancredo, who approves this nonsense. I think I will go to the library and stock up on some books and concentrate on improving my mind until after the elections. Most of the new Fall shows suck eggs anyway, the shows that aired over the Summer consistently had better writing and acting...

I'd love to see Obama replace Larry Summers with Paul Krugman, but I doubt he would be bold enough to do that. I would also like to see him hire Arnold Schwartzenegger as his his new Chief of Staff, and hire General Stanley McChrystal as a military advisor. OK, what the hell, let's have Lady Gaga as a special envoy to end don't Ask Don't Tell...

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Conflict Inside Iran, Calif Takes Hostage To Solve Budget, Senate Races That Buck And Bennet

John Farmer
Dana Milbank
Jamsheed Choksy

Rolling Stone Interview With Barack Obama:
Jan Wenner
"The Republicans released their 'Pledge to America.' It's 21 pages of phony charts and bad ideas. Sarah Palin got a copy, and she said, 'How am I supposed to fit all this crap on my hand?'" — Bill Maher

"The Democrats, these pussies, are unbelievable. They are giving up on their tax cut for the middle class until after the election. They have the worst salesmen in the world. They could not talk Lindsay Lohan into a rum and coke." — Bill Maher

"President Obama's approval rating dropped again. Things are so bad, Muslims are accusing him of being Christian." – Jay Leno

"Sarah Palin was considering running for president, until she heard it was a four-year deal." –David Letterman

Some very interesting pundit pieces linked above, all on different subjects. John Farmer's (this has to be the most obvious fake name ever...) piece on the conclusions of the recent Homeland Security committee meeting, and the resulting project set up by the Justice Department: "Nationwide Suspicious Activity Reporting Initiative. Federal, state and local law enforcement officials have set up “fusion centers” for the program in about a dozen cities, including Boston, Chicago and Houston, where reports of suspicious activities made by citizens and the local police are collected and analyzed for disturbing patterns." Proving that now we are all Arizonians... The best article I have read explaining what is going on with Mahmoud Ahmadinejad is Jamsheed Choksy's piece in World Politics Review. You can make up your own mind if Iran would be better off without its clerics ruling over the political scene, or if getting rid of them will lead to a military dictatorship, spearheaded by Ahmadinejad and the Revolutionary Guard, or if the RG will get rid of Ahmadinejad after he has served his purpose...

Inside Iran, it is pretty chaotic. Students returning to the universities were welcomed by invading members of the basij, who refused to let girls enter if their faces weren't properly covered or if boys wore short-sleeved shirts. If students protested, they were beaten up. I wonder if the schools advertised the beatings as part of their new, state approved curriculum... Also, two newspapers that were seen to be too supportive of the reform mindset, were made to go out of business. The courts claimed that they were guilty of: "insulting the country's officials and some which are contrary to public morals." The Revolutionary Guards would like to take the public morals clauses out of the courts and just be able to beat the shit out of people and jail them on their whims...

One reason you don't hear much about Afghan heroin production is that it has taken back seat to furnishing American troops with hashish. Karzai's brother can make more money selling hashish to the CIA, its mercenary troops, and the American military, all who use it to de-stress in a dangerous 24/7 situation. And, if LBJ will forgive me, they maybe corrupt sons'obitches, but they are our corrupt sons'obitches...(brownie points if you know which leader and country LBJ was originally referring).

It seems the state of California, with its rampant budget deficit and 13% unemployment rate, may have found a way out. Come November they might legalize marijuana, bringing in even larger amounts of tax money. If they get a head start (sic), they may even end up legally producing for the rest of the country, along with Colorado. Another sure form of income will be from the extortion money it gets sending Hollywood actors to jail. Linsey Lohan was sentenced to another 30 days in jail, then let out on a $300,000 bail. Soon, they will not even bother with arresting them for a crime, just go down the list alphabetically and escort them to the pokey... I think the court was inspired by Iran releasing their hostage for $500,000 bail. It worked out so well for them that now Iran will release the two male hikers for another $500,000 each, and they may start kidnapping more Americans from other Gulf states to be held for ransom... Besides, its easier for the LA cops to pick up some Hollywood actor, to be held for hostage, than Iranian intelligence scouring the hotels in Dubai...

Politico counts Colorado's Senate race as one of the five most important to watch. Of course, #1 is Nevada, with Harry Reid being challenged by Fruit Loop Sharron Angle... I watched the first debate between Ken buck and Michael Bennet, and felt that Bennet won the overall debate, asking several questions of Ken that Ken chose to ignore. If you get a chance to see the other televised debates, they promise to be pretty good ones, if you like your debates civil and without histrionics.

All bets are off though, during the debates between candidate for governor. Why Tom Tancredo is waging war against Dan Maes and not against the front-runner John Hickenlooper defies all rational thought. Then, Tom is out there in his own universe, much like Mahmoud Ahmadinejad is. Both people make statements meant to inflame and not jibing with reality. Tancredo's supporters are also some of the meanest and aggressive people we have in Colorado. I wonder if he shipped them in from other states, sucking them up like bottom-feeders from the muck...

Back on topic, here's what Politico has to say about the Senate race:  Remember when Democrats were giddy at the prospect of running against tea party candidate Ken Buck?

At first, they had good reason. The county district attorney has called Social Security “horrible, bad policy,” advocated eliminating the Department of Education and, most recently, said homosexuality was a “lifestyle choice,” views that might seem at odds with the electorate in a state that delivered Obama a 9-point victory in 2008. Yet Buck has proved to be a formidable opponent in a year when concerns are more focused on pocketbook issues and is not easily pigeonholed as an extremist.

Appointed Democratic Sen. Michael Bennet is a White House favorite for his measured approach to issues, but that backing hasn’t been an enormous asset for a political newcomer largely defined by his votes with an unpopular administration. While Bennet wants to drag Buck into a debate about social issues and sharp-edged ideology, Buck is one tea partier who has been able to steer a message and, as a result, maintain a small polling advantage.

“Bennet’s insistence on pushing social issues says a great deal about how his team gauges the issue environment. They know if this election is about jobs, the economy and government spending, Buck wins,” said Rob Witwer, a former GOP state representative and author of “The Blueprint: How the Democrats Won Colorado.”

Latest poll: Buck, 49 percent; Bennet, 44 percent. CNN/Time, Sept. 17-21.

Why it’s still close: Buck’s ability to drive an economic message since his upset primary victory, coupled with general unfamiliarity with Bennet, has made this trending-blue state a battleground this year.

What to watch: Outside of primary voters and party activists, both Bennet and Buck are relatively new quantities. As the incumbent, Bennet needs to give voters a stark reason to swim against the tide.

Monday, September 27, 2010

Death Of Negotiations, Virus In Iranian Nuclear Facilities Spread To The World, US To Monitor All Internet Servers

Jackson Diehl
Tony Karon
Paul Krugman

Totally scary news coming out of the Middle East, thanks to Israel refusing to continue a construction freeze in the West Bank while there were direct negotiations going on. The freeze ended Sunday, and it backed the Palestinian negotiator, Mahmoud Abbas, into a corner. Hillary Clinton tried to convince him to come back to the table, but he went and met with Hamas and Hizbollah officials instead. The bluster factor is rising, Hizbollah is threatening to start a coup in Lebanon unless the tribunal seeking the truth on who killed the former President is disbanded. So far, all of the evidence points to members of Hizbollah as the murderers. The coup would be backed by Syria, Iran, and Fatah. The bluster rating is past hysterical, as it would severely damage Hizbollah's street cred once everyone learned that they plotted to kill a popular Muslim political leader, instead of the rumors that are currently spreading against them.

Hamas has been constantly sending rockets into Israel from Gaza during the negotiations, as well as starting a lot of street violence in Jerusalem. They are now regrouping and making plans to strike next in the West Bank, hoping to provoke a heavy Israeli response. Hamas figures that it might have world opinion on their side if Israel launches a massive attack against them, and they will have the innocent civilians in Gaza to act as pawns and cannon fodder.

A lot will depend on how Israel treats the latest boat that set sail from Cypress to try and run the naval blockade of Gaza. This boat is a catamaran with a few symbolic humanitarian aid trinkets, and has peace activists from Britain, the US, and Israel on it. In the past, Israel has actually let small boats through the blockade over the past few years, up until this last summer. If they do something stupid to cause harm to this crew, they won't receive any sympathy and it will further isolate them in the world community. The smart move is to let the boat through the blockade, let them make whatever publicity statements they want, and let the incident pass. The boat should arrive tomorrow.

One of the reasons that Iran no longer welcomes members from the IAEA to inspect its nuclear facilities, is that one of them is suspected of bringing in a USB thumbdrive and downloading a virus into the facilities computers. It evidently was designed by some country's intelligence service, aimed at components that were made by Siemens, and make them fail, among other things in the programming. tThe other theory is that the Stuxnet worm was made by a thirteen-year-old hacker, because of some sloppy aspects of its programming, that it also spread itself outside of iran and out into the world, infecting several other industrial servers: "If Stuxnet is the latest example of what a government organization can do, it contains some glaring shortcomings. The program was splattered on thousands of computer systems around the world, and much of its impact has been on those systems, rather than on what appears to have been its intended target, Iranian equipment. Computer security specialists are also puzzled by why it was created to spread so widely.

Global alarm over the deadly computer worm has come many months after the program was suspected of stealthily entering an Iranian nuclear enrichment plant, perhaps carried on a U.S.B. memory drive containing the malware.

Computer security specialists have speculated that once inside the factory and within the software that controls equipment, the worm reprogrammed centrifuges made by a specific company, Siemens, to make them fail in a way that would be virtually undetectable. Whether the program achieved its goal is not known."

Of course, the sloppiness could be on purpose, hopefully infecting any other computers that run nuclear centrifuges. It would take the heat off of such groups like the NSA or the CIA, placing blame on Asia or Europe, who couldn't possibly be as sophisticated as the US...

There are hundreds of attempts of hacking into security systems every day, more during the Summer, when teenage boys are out of school. Most industrial grade security systems upgrade their virus definitions every few hours, versus the once per month upgrade that most home-users get. The US Justice Dept, besides wanting to make it legal to keep an assassination list, and let the government listen in on your phone conversations without a warrant, now want to do the same for the Internet. Conspiracy theorists who are afraid of Big Brother and the march towards a one-world repressive government, take note: "Essentially, officials want Congress to require all services that enable communications — including encrypted e-mail transmitters like BlackBerry, social networking Web sites like Facebook and software that allows direct “peer to peer” messaging like Skype — to be technically capable of complying if served with a wiretap order. The mandate would include being able to intercept and unscramble encrypted messages.

The bill, which the Obama administration plans to submit to lawmakers next year, raises fresh questions about how to balance security needs with protecting privacy and fostering innovation. And because security services around the world face the same problem, it could set an example that is copied globally." Not only do they want to be able to monitor every computer and server in the US, but they also want to be able to do it to servers anywhere in the world, all in the name of fighting "terror." This terrorism thing has proven to be a pretty good button to push, along with the age old excuse of "national security." It has turned the AG Eric Holder into a pod person, so that he goes along with every idea to take away our freedom and liberty, as if there were no changing of the guard after the last election. Oh my God, it goes beyond the Bush years and having his people mole into the Justice Department, this sort of fascism has been planned over many, many years and it doesn't matter who is in the White House, they eventually all go over to the Dark Side... Is this the Event?

Every rally must have their signs, and the upcoming ones sponsored by John Stewart and Stephen Colbert should be no exceptions. Here are some suggestions that were culled from the Daily Kos and Huffington Post that you can make:

"We're Taking Our Teabagging Back"
"I Spell-Check My Political Rage"
"Sanity, Not Hannity"
"I Support Reasonable Conclusions Based On Supported Facts!"
"I Masturbate and I Vote!"
"O'Donnell Doesn't Like Happy Endings"
"Levi Is Not My Daddy" (suggested sign for kids)
"Left My White Sheet On The Bed Where It Belongs!"
"Forget Mama Grizzly! Where Are The Cougars?"
"Paved Roads Are Socialism"
"My Wife Thinks I Am Hiking The Appalachian Trail"
"If You Can Read This, You're Obviously Not Home-Schooled"
"Yes We Did - And It Drove You Batsh*t Crazy!"
"Protest Signs Are An Ineffectual Means Of Communicating My Nuanced Views On A Variety Of Issues That Cannot Be Reduced To A Simple Pithy Slogan"

Saturday, September 25, 2010

Mercenary 'Roid Rage, Giving To The Children Of Iraq And Afghanistan

Hooman Majd
Dan Balz
Dana Milbank
"Boy, you got to like the Republicans. First they claim that Obama is not an American. 'Where is the birth certificate?' They claim he's not an American, that's the Republicans. Then they run a witch." – David Letterman
"As you know, Tea Party candidate Christine O'Donnell has come out against masturbation. Well, she is already paying a heavy price for taking this stance. In fact, today, the powerful hand lotion lobby has endorsed her opponent." – Jay Leno
"Larry Summers, President Obama's top economic adviser, is stepping down. So finally some good economic news, I'll tell ya, Summers didn't want to leave, but apparently he was out of bad ideas." – Jay Leno

I hadn't thought about it before, how steroid rage has helped form our foreign policy and tainted the impressions that Iraqis, Afghans, and Pakistanis have of Americans. If it all seems to be spiraling out of control, blame it on the vast amounts of steroids injected by our hired mercenaries, along with quarts of alcohol, hashish, and prescription drugs. Why, instead of guarding Paul Bremer back in 2003, Blackwater guards stripped themselves naked, picked up AK-47's and fired them towards suburban neighborhoods in Baghdad. And this is just the tip of the iceberg, stuff that disgruntled ex-employees have admitted to doing. God knows what sort of twisted fantasies are concocted in the wilds of Afghanistan and the jungles of Pakistan... I used to work out lifting weights in the gym for 15-20 years, and I have seen first hand how the abuse of steroids turns the mind to a tangle of conflicted emotions, turning any surge of adrenalin into anger and aggression. You can't stop once you attack the iron, you keep on attacking everything else in your life. And for a mercenary, who welcomes that surge of aggression, uses it in hunting down an enemy only to kill them? It's worse than the speedball coacktails that many asian armies give out to their troops before going into a battle situation, to chemically remove our moral hesitancy to shoot to kill...

President Obama said that he isn't trying to nation-build in Afghanistan, and, looking at the results from this recent parliamentary elections, we couldn't create a democracy there, no matter how hard we tried: "Evidence is mounting that fraud in last weekend’s parliamentary election was so widespread that it could affect the results in a third of provinces, calling into question the credibility of a vote that was an important test of the American and Afghan effort to build a stable and legitimate government. The complaints to provincial election commissions have so far included video clips showing ballot stuffing; the strong-arming of election officials by candidates’ agents; and even the handcuffing and detention of election workers." Well, that's one way to influence the vote. Our next American solution is to give them all electronic Diebold machines so they can pre-program the results instead of resorting to all of this thug-like behavior done in public. Of course, they may reject the machines in favor of the old, traditional ways, that strangely seem to resemble the tactics used by our mercenaries on steroids and hashish... Hamid's brother Walid even produced a list of the winners several days before the election in his district, no need to bother about any strong-arm tactics that got him in trouble last election.
“From an overall democracy-building perspective it does not look rosy.”

Then, there's the difference in approach when trying to gain respect for the newly trained police in Afghanistan. The US spent $35 million (your tax dollars at work) to create 1000 kites that had slogans to support the rule of law and the rights of Afghan women. It made copies of the Afghan constitution and comic books to give away, and then invited the children of Kabul to come out and attend the event. Nice and wholesome, even if it does remind one more of Chinese Communist propaganda than something some idiot in our State Department would come up with.

A tent was set up to give the kites away, and the kids got a bit unruly instead of the nice, polite lines that were hoped for. Then: "Afghan policemen hijacked the event, stealing dozens of kites for themselves and beating children with sticks when they crowded too close to the kite distribution tent. Sometimes the officers just threatened them with sticks, and other times slapped them in the face or whacked them with water bottles." Along with the police beating the kids and stealing their kites and comic books, there was the cultural tradition that girls were not treated as equal by their parents, so the boys got the kites, with fathers taking them away from their daughters and giving them to the boys. Guess this indoctrinating them while they're young will take some more effort...

Despite descending into chaos and thievery, the organizer of the event felt that it was a success: "Mike Sheppard, the DPK project head, pronounced the event a success. “We just gave out a thousand kites in 20 minutes,” he said.

But another DPK staff member, Abdul Manem Danish, stood watching the kite thievery and casual police brutality with disdain. His job was to administer a “kite event effectiveness survey” at the end to see if the festival had affected anyone’s attitudes about justice. “That’s not a very good example of rule of law,” he said. “Maybe it is the nature of these people that needs to be changed.”

But at least those Afghani kids had a chance at getting their goodies, unlike what happens in Iraq. As a parting gift, the american military bought some laptop computers for schoolchildren in Babel, and had them sent to the nearest port: "The computers — 8,080 in all, worth $1.8 million — were bought for schoolchildren in Babil, modern-day Babylon, a gift of the American taxpayers. Only they became mired for months in customs at the port, Umm Qasr, stalled by bureaucracy or venality, or some combination of the two. And then they were gone."

Before I go on, I want to point out that 41.8 million buys over 8,000 laptops computer, while $35 million buys 1000 kites and comic books in Afghanistan. Hmmm, where is the bigger rip off?... OK, the US military commander was pissed that the computers were stolen, he issued a public complaint and made our ineffective embassy to lodge the complaint and force the Maliki government to investigate. This only happened because the newspapers published the story, and like progress in any country, it doesn't happen until the people in charge get publicly embarressed.

Oh graft, Oh corruption, Iraq be thy name. It was discovered that the customs officials had : "... in August, auctioned off 4,200 of the computers — for $45,700. The whereabouts of the rest are unknown... And officials in Baghdad, Basra and Umm Qasr, when asked about the auction, continued to deny wrongdoing, saying the computers were sold according to established rules governing imports left unclaimed after 90 days." They were sold to a businessman, who had disappeared, but those computers were recovered. The other half will never be recovered because they were stolen by a higher ranking official who has enough clout to cover his tracks. "Still, seven months after the computers arrived, no child has used one. The recovered computers are now in the possession of the Americans, awaiting the resolution of the mystery over the missing ones."

Yet, some Iraqis see some progress in the fact that the investigation is still going on and not entirely swept under the rug, and that the Iraqi press had the freedom to publish and follow the whole affair, even if not one single kid received a laptop. Maybe they should attach them to the leftover Afghani kites and let the kids try to get them like pinatas... The press did get the officials at the port to admit that:
“We here at the port of Umm Qasr have problems with port management,”
Ten low level custom officials have been indicted, and the US embassy has issued some milktoast bs praising the Iraqi government for even having a commission to investigate crimes like these in the first place. Oh, well, the kids would just learn how to hack and spend the rest of their days tring to infiltrate the Pentagon's computer system, if not Google's security...

We should leave our tale of generosity without attempting to moralize, let it rest in the desert sands like the cave of Ali Baba's Forty Thieves, for in today's Iraq and Afghanistan, the thieves are too many to count, and we would spend many future lifetimes wandering these sands looking in vain for an honest man...

Friday, September 24, 2010

Pioneer 10 Anomaly, Mahmoud's 9/11 Inquiry, David Brooks

EJ Dionne Jr
David Axelrod
Stephen Kinzer
Ron Chernow
"Is the Tea Party one of the most successful scams in American political history?" - EJ Dionne Jr
"Any movement that regularly summons the ghosts of the founders as a like-minded group of theorists ends up promoting an uncomfortably one-sided reading of history." - Ron Chernow
"Anger is never without a reason, but seldom with a good one." - Benjamin Franklin

Most of my family have stopped reading my blog a long time ago. When I related to my sister what I had posted about the Vatican, she said that when the men in black come for me, she hopes that they take one clear shot to the head, and leave the rest of them alone. I don't think that I am very harsh in my judgments, but maybe I have pissed off a lot of people all over the world. So far I haven't received any death threats, just a couple generic rants that all of "you people" should be blown off the face of the earth, but that came from my younger brother, who is a sociopath... I actually get very little comments, though my writing style doesn't lend much room for debate.

I was reading al-Arabiya, looking at news of the Middle East, when I came across this article on the Poineer 10 Anomaly. I confess that I hadn't heard of this before, but I haven't been reading much science since 2005. The anomaly found that the Poineer 10 and 11 spacecraft have been slowing down once they got to the edges of our solar system, but there is nothing out there to suggest any gravitational deviations. This strange force that essentially wants the spacecraft to go backwards suggests that we may have gotten our data wrong from them in the form of a transmission error, or what we know as physics of the universe is all wrong. From the Planetary Society's website: "Something strange is happening in the outer reaches of our solar system. The Pioneer 10 and 11 spacecraft are not where they are supposed to be. These missions, launched in 1972 and 1973, have covered hundreds of millions of kilometers, heading toward the edge of our solar system. But something is holding them back. Each year, they fall behind in their projected travel by about 5,000 kilometers (3,000 miles).

Jet Propulsion Laboratory scientist John Anderson and his colleagues have been searching for an explanation since 1980. But as of yet, they have found nothing conclusive; no spacecraft behavior or previously unknown property of the outer solar system can explain the deceleration of the Pioneer spacecraft. Scientists are being forced to consider the unthinkable: something may be wrong with our understanding of the laws of physics. An important line of inquiry will be to study mounds of Doppler (velocity) data and spacecraft status data (like temperatures) that have been unavailable to researchers—but that is about to change" With the funding of NASA and all future projects possibly down the drain, we may never figure out the answer to this question. The cool thing is that you can participate in finding the solution, if you are interested click on this link to the Planetary Society. It won't make up for such cool projects as going to the dark side of the moon and looking for what is believed to be alien artifacts, as seen in old photos of the moon landing, or sending a manned flight to Mars now that we have found signs of previous life-forms, or even sending another spacecraft beyond our solar system to the final frontier.

One question about this force, is it a natural force of unknown physics sending spacecraft backwards into our solar system, or is it an intelligently designed force meant to keep us from leaving our solar system? A common consensus among those individuals who practice "astral traveling" is that whenever they reach the edges of the solar system, beings appear to escort them back. One remote viewer maintains that there is something similar to the monolith in Kubrick's A Space Oddeysey that is generating this field. But, unless we still have a space program and make plans to further investigate anomalies like this, their answers will remain speculation and prey to our fantasies.

Conspiracy theorists rejoice! In his speech before the UN, Iran's President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad suggested that there was a US conspiracy behind 9/11, and that the UN should set up an inquiry to look into it.
"I did not pass judgement, but don't you feel that the time has come to have a fact finding committee?"
Of course, every American on the East Coast got riled up and took offense. President Barack Obama said this morning that the comments were offensive and hateful: "And particularly for him to make the statement here in Manhattan, just a little north of Ground Zero, where families lost their loved ones, people of all faiths, all ethnicities who see this as the seminal tragedy of this generation, for him to make a statement like that was inexcusable," he said in an interview with the BBC Persian news service."
Our government and media have refused to consider that there may have been elements working within our different government agencies that were complicit in the planning of 9/11, but it is a bunch of theories that have spread all over the world. You can click on this link to the David Icke archives, which contain over 10 pages of article headlines, and read away... I've read most of the conspiracy theories, read the 9/11 report and the subsequent crticisms of the report, and even watched the documentaries made by the History Channel, which were badly made.

On the surface, both Obama and Ahmadinejad act repelled by each other, and no talks were scheduled between them for this week. The schizophrenic nature of the Obama administration exhibited itself with Obama cursing Mahmoud in one breath, then saying how much he hoped that our countries could get together and talk. The state department issued a statement that they had no planned talks, so they passed up a golden opportunity to have our guys talk with their guys, even if its in the backroom somewhere. Actually, I'm sure there have been talks, kept hush hush, but I expected more graciousness from Obama, to at least spend an hour with Ahmadinejad would reduce hostilities elevenfold. We can't leave the task of charming the world's dictators to Jimmy Carter and Bill Clinton, this generation is going to have to grow up and step up to the plate and dispense some diplomacy. Perhaps its true, those rumors that Hillary Clinton is letting the Pentagon dictate foreign policy. It explains why we are letting statesmanship die and making statements that sound like they came from a belligerent five-year-old...

David Brooks

If you still feel like reading, click on the link to David Brooks's opinion piece in the New York Times. I have been saying the same thing for over a year now, but he says it much more eloquently, that our anger comes from failure, each failure in government comes from a lack of responsibility, and that we need to restore that sense of responsibility to make government work again. I call it my trickle up pundit theory: "Because when you listen carefully, you notice the public anger doesn’t quite match the political class anger. The political class is angry about ideological things: bloated government or the predatory rich. The public seems to be angry about values.

The heart of any moral system is the connection between action and consequences. Today’s public anger rises from the belief that this connection has been severed in one realm after another.

Financiers send the world into recession and don’t seem to suffer. Neighbors take on huge mortgages and then just walk away when they go underwater. Washington politicians avoid living within their means. Federal agencies fail and get rewarded with more responsibilities.

What the country is really looking for is a restoration of responsibility. If some smart leader is going to help us get out of ideological gridlock, that leader will reframe politics around this end."

Yet the Republican Party failed to act responsibly when they unveiled their new campaign promises, what they want to do if they controlled Congress after the elections in November. Except that they were like every other plan that they have made public in the last two years - full of talking points and lacking any substance, nothing specific was mentioned beyond keeping all of the Bush tax cuts. Even the conservative blogs like redstate slammed them... Guys, the first thing you need to do is get rid of Mitch McConnell and John Boehner, the tweedledum and tweedledee of political strategists... Anyway, thanks for joining the grumpy old man camp, David...

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Crazy Right Women, John McCain Homophobe, Vatican Money Laundering

Michelle Goldberg
Stephen Walt
Rami Khouri
"Although the United States is still an attractive society in many respects, one doesn't get the sense that others are dazzled by how competent we are." - Stephen Walt
"Folks, it seems that Al Qaeda's number two man has released yet another tape where he criticizes the entire Pakistan government, calls them incompetent and corrupt, and demands they be thrown out of office. So, it sounds like we have a Tea Party over there, too." – Jay Leno
"Sarah Palin tweeted a warning to Christine O'Donnell that the national media is seeking her destruction. That is ridiculous. If the media wanted to destroy her, they would just douse her with water." – Craig Ferguson

"I like Christine O'Donnell. She's good-looking and she's hilarious. I haven't had this much fun since Cheney was in office." – Craig Ferguson

Michelle Goldberg fleshes out the argument that women have always dominated in right wing politics. She also points out the contradiction of women, who accept the subservient role women have in a conservative traditional family values paradigm, yet use their involvement in politics as a feminist empowerment to break free of that traditional role. Sarah Palin extolls traditional family values, yet her family is anything but traditional. And in the case of the latest tea party darling, Christine O'Donnell: "What’s interesting about O’Donnell is that she heightens the contradictions inherent in right-wing women’s activism to an almost absurd degree. It’s not just that she’s an anti-gay activist with a lesbian sister. She’s also a family-values champion who is single, childless, and sharing a house with a man, Christian rock singer David Hust. She cut her teeth working for an organization that railed against government attempts to foster gender equality, and argued that wives should “graciously submit” to their husbands. Then she took a job at the Intercollegiate Studies Institute, and, feeling herself trapped in a culture that mandated female submission, sued under Title XII of the Civil Rights Act for $6.9 million." You go, girl...

One of the strangest women to enter the political fray is Ariana Huffington. She began her career plagerising someone else's doctoral dissertation and turning it into a book on Pablo Picasso. Then, she entered into a loveless marriage of convenience with Michael Huffington, who was gay. They looked around the nation for a vulnerable GOP Congressional seat, determined that it was in Santa Barbara, then moved there so that Michael could enter the race for that seat. His attempt at carpet-bagging failed, he then came out of the closet and complained about how hard it was cruising at Republican conventions. They divorced, Ariana got lots of money that she never could have made on her own, and she then declared that she was really a liberal and founded the Huffington Post, where she can pontificate to her hearts content, and use it to get invited on the political talk shows. Also, none of her editors or employees will answer my emails when I ask them to include my blog on their Denver area news page, even though I am listed on the Denver Post blogs page where they obtained all of their links in the first place. But I'm not bitter about it...

I'm wondering where we are going as a society. Social fights are breaking out over subjects I thought we had taken care of years ago. Evidently, I was mistaken. Last night, the GOP filibustered bringing the defense appropriations bill onto the floor of the senate because a bunch of old men are homophobic.
They are of a generation of men that were against too much education, having coloreds as friends, and afraid to have their c**ks sucked by queers. I saw the incredibly closeted Jeff Sessions running around in front of his seat, all worked up at the thought of admitting we have gays who are patriotic and want to serve their country. Which is weird and hypocritical, because I've heard many of Jeff's colleagues say what a little c**ks**ker he is...

Afterwards, I watched John McCain throw a tantrum in front of two reporters as if he were a five year old. Here is the transcript of his outburst, taken from Think Progress Wonk Room:

MCCAIN: We do not go out and seek. Regulations are, we do not go out and seek to find out if someone’s sexual orientation. We do not!

ELEVELD: But senator, that’s not...

MCCAIN: That is the fact! That is the fact. Now ma’am, I know the military very well, and I know what’s being done. And what is being done is that they are not seeking out people who are gay. And I don’t care what you say, I know it’s a fact.

ELEVELD: It’s not what I say.

MCCAIN: I dont’ care what you say! And I don’t care what others say. I’ve seen it in action. I’ve seen it in action. I have sons in the military, I know the military very well. So they’re not telling you the truth.

ELEVELD: Senator, just to make sure...

MCCAIN: Just to make sure. We do not go out and seek out and find out....

ELEVELD: Private emails are not being searched? Private emails are not being searched?

MCCAIN: ...See if someone is gay or not. We do not go out and see whether someone is gay or not.

ELEVELD: There are documented cases...

MCCAIN: They do not, they do not, they do not. You can say that they are, you can say [inaudible] it’s not true!... Yea, I’d like to see...

GEIDNER: It is the case of Mike Almy, Senators.

MCCAIN: Bring them to our office. It is not the policy, it is not the policy, it is not the policy.

GEIDNER: But it is the case that it’s happening, Senator.

MCCAIN: It is not the policy, it is not the policy, it is not the policy You can say that it is the policy, sir if you choose to. It is not the policy. I would be glad to get that to you in writing.

Well, if Arizonians are going to elect Jan Brewer, they might as well re-elect John McCain, but only if we make them give all of their press conferences together. Then, we'd never be able to figure out what they are saying, it would be like a Monty Python skit! But seriously folks, what kind of twisted national debate will we have once all of these tea party folks get elected? Can you imagine Michele Bachmann, Sarah Palin, Sharron Angle, and Christine O"Donnell all in front of the cameras, and you ask them a serious question... Put their answers together, and you'll swear that you might have been dosed with LSD; what a long, strange trip its going to be... I remember saying twenty years ago how much better of we would be if women ran our institutions. Now, I take it all back.

A total embarrassment and meltdown in international relations is starting for India, who is supposed to host the next Commonwealth Games, starting next week. Athletes were supposed to arrive on Thursday, but that may not happen, and the games may be canceled, because construction of the facilities has not finished, and what has been finished is of shoddy construction. This morning a pedestrian bridge leading to the main sports arena fell apart into three pieces, injuring over 44 workers: "India’s failure to complete the work for the games, which are to begin Oct. 3 and last for two weeks, has become a major embarrassment for the country instead of a showcase for its rising economic might. The unspoken comparison to India’s rival China, which won widespread acclaim from its preparations for the 2008 Summer Olympics, are a further source of humiliation."

Work was supposed to have been finished a couple of years ago, and the athletes facilities have been rushed, with shortcuts being taken. Most of the toilets don't work, and the head of the games organization may cancel them once he has seen them later this afternoon, stay tuned. Who knows why things got out of hand? Lack of funds? Funds siphoned of to officials? They spent the money on nuclear technology instead of toilets that worked? Chinese construction workers were used and they can only build subpar construction? Your conspiracy theory is as good as mine... Plus, after Sunday's drive-by shooting at a Taiwan tourist bus that killed two, there are doubts that the Indian security force can keep everyone safe, and an incident worse than Mumbai could happen... Things could only get worse if our Army Core of Engineers went to work on it, then it would be guaranteed to fail like the levees in New Orleans...

Italy has frozen $30 million in bank transactions by the Vatican Bank, for possible fraud or money laundering. Boy, it must suck to be a Catholic right now. It's part of stricter policies enforced by the Bank of Italy, that a client bank must tell them what each large transaction is for, and the Vatican either refused or forgot to provide the information, which has launched an investigation. A former Italian bank went down in flames a few years ago after it was connected to a criminal syndicate.

Over a third of the world's economy is fueled by the selling of illegal drugs, counterfeit legal drugs, and the laundering of money through the financial system. The major banks make a lot of money charging to pass large amounts of money through their banks to smaller accounts. Yes, that includes all of Wall Street and every major, respected bank in the world. Criminal gangs no longer need to use seedy CIA fronts and similarly suspicious companies to move millions of dollars around the world, now that the big boys are more than glad to take their place. Business as usual, even for the Pope. So, in our times, abuse of children and money laundering have become spiritual pursuits... I didn't realize that when members of the Vatican referred to a higher power, they meant the head of the Mexican drug cartels...

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Bash Newt Gingrich Day, Ahmadinejad Off-Topic At UN, No Crazy People At My Tea Party

Eugene Robinson
Richard Cohen
Robert Reich
"Boy, I really hate it when American judges try to impose harsh Islamic sharia law. You know, with all those grisly lashings, stonings and beheadings. What's that you say? No such thing is happening, and you wonder where I got such a crazy idea? Why, Newt Gingrich told me." - Eugene Robinson
"Only a spell also can explain how Newt Gingrich, possibly a presidential candidate, can attribute the politics of Barack Obama to "Kenyan, anti-colonial behavior." Obama allegedly picked up this behavior from his father, whom he knew only fleetingly, which is to say almost not at all, and has long been dead. This, as Gingrich and others under the spell can tell you, is proof of the demonic power that can come out of the grave, enter the White House (look, the gate-crashing Salahis did it) and pervade the very body and mind of the commander in chief. It's enough to give you the willies." - Richard Cohen
"The notion that somehow me saying maybe you should be taxed more like your secretary when you're pulling home a billion dollars...a year I don't think is me being extremist or anti-business." - Barack Obama

Today is National Alzheimer's Awareness Day, obviously an oxymoron, and should be renamed Bash Newt Gingrich Day, who is displaying to us, in public, what happens to a person coming down with the disease... With John McCain leading the filibuster in the Senate against bringing up the Don't Ask Don't Tell policy for a vote, once again I'm sooooo glad that he did not get elected President. Do you find it ironic that a sexually ambiguous, twenty-three year old pop star exhibits more bravery than your elected GOP Congressman? It's enough to make you gaga... With all of the public weirdness going on in politics this year, it only reinforces my belief that all public figures should tell us what drugs they have been prescribed. It would explain so much...

Mahmoud Ahmadinejad is in town, well, really he's in New York, where he addressed the UN General Assembly. Basically, he wanted more recognition from world leaders that Itan is now a major player in world affairs. It was off topic from what everyone else were discussing, which was the eradication of world hunger. Of course, there was some controversy with his appearance, but it wasn't over what he said, but the "technical" problems that developed while he was speaking, as reported in al-Jazeera: "Right from the start, his speech was overshadowed by technical problems, as the president was heard saying: "there's no translation." And these problems continued to cause confusion two minutes into his speech. All this was followed by an ominous announcement: "The interpreters would like to state that they are reading from a written text translated into English." With that, the translation stopped altogether. Despite all the technical issues, Ahmadinejad managed to communicate his message that there is a need for an overhaul of what he called "undemocratic and unjust" global decision-making bodies..."

On topic, it was reported that progress had been made by: "Ten African countries, including Ethiopia, Egypt, and post-conflict Angola, have halved their absolute poverty levels, Benin ranked in the top 10 in education improvements, and Angola and Niger significantly reduced child deaths.

On the minus side, Amnesty International said efforts in many countries fail to address the widespread discrimination women face in accessing food, water, sanitation and housing - especially in slums. It accused Kenya of ignoring the needs of women living in slums and Nigeria of evicting slum dwellers and driving them deeper into poverty.

The UN's Millennium Goals are:
1: Eradicate extreme poverty and hunger
2: Achieve universal primary education
3: Promote gender equality and empower women
4: Reduce child mortality
5: Improve maternal health
6: Combat HIV/AIDS, malaria and other diseases
7: Ensure environmental sustainability
8: Develop a Global Partnership for Development

To add to the world's misery, monsoon flooding in Northern India has just left another two million people homeless, as the Ganges river overflowed its banks. This has been a horrible year for natural disasters, and the next two years are predicted to be more of the same for Asia. The upcoming party in North Korea will continue as planned, now that South Korea has sent some aid. And as the dynastic hat gets passed to the third generation, it begins to feel more and more like an old Greek tragedy, thankfully without the soliloquies by Kim Jung-Ill...

The biggest thorn remaining in the region, is the torpedoing and sinking of the South Korean corvette Cheonan, which the South and US have blamed on the North. The North has denied any wrongdoing, raising the spectre of an independent aggression by the North's military. Besides pissing off some old Navy Admiral, the most likely explanation is that it was a decision made by Kim's son, in a practice session of what would he do once he is in charge... Also, the decision to send artillery shells into an empty sea in protest of the joint military exercises by the South and US. Evidently, those actions were deemed enough to pass the test, as will be demonstrated on Sept 28, and maybe next year he will ascend the throne and try to out-talk Mahmoud at the UN...

The National Journal and Pew Research conducted a poll showing that: "Nearly half of America -- including nearly two-thirds of Republicans and 53 percent of independents -- admires political leaders who refuse to compromise. This is further evidence that the current political atmosphere is not merely contentious, but hostile to any hope of negotiated settlements to the many political and policy differences that define the current landscape. In essence, the Society for Human Resource Management/National Journal Congressional Connection Poll, conducted with the Pew Research Center, suggests a confrontational mood in the country that may mirror the partisan wrangling in Washington and might even give trumped-up cable TV's political spout-fests some rationale for their vein-popping intensity."

I thought this news cycles back to Alzheimer's awareness and the abuse of prescription drugs, now in your local water supply. Here in Colorado, we have the added bonus of having radiation from old uranium mines entering into the water table, which explains both Balloon Boy and Tom Tancredo. Tom had an accident while riding his motorcycle this last weekend, and hit his noggin, almost making him the first headless body found by Jan Brewer. No serious injuries, because nothing there was there... Now he will redouble his efforts into making immigration the #1 problem facing our state because he has no answers for anything beyond his obsessions. But don't forget to vote for him because he is a conservative... Candidates like Tom and the whole other bunch of so-called conservatives who spout wacko ideas on and off camera, only support my other contention that extreme conservatism is really masquerading as mental illness. Cynically, I enjoy watching these people vent, because it distracts me from my own problems with diabetes, degenerating disc disease, and a mild form of dementia...

Monday, September 20, 2010

Time To Write Laws In Plain English And Have Expiration Dates, OutLaw Lobbyist Fees To Congressmen, Tea Partys Cannot Afford Fake Conventions

Paul Krugman
Mark LeVine
David Ignatius

"Anger is sweeping America. True, this white-hot rage is a minority phenomenon, not something that characterizes most of our fellow citizens. But the angry minority is angry indeed, consisting of people who feel that things to which they are entitled are being taken away. And they’re out for revenge. No, I’m not talking about the Tea Partiers. I’m talking about the rich." - Paul Krugman
"Democracy is having a difference of opinion with those in power without getting whacked." - Vincent Calvino
"Indeed, can one consider spending upwards of a trillion dollars a year on defence - enough money to cure most of America's economic and social woes, not to mention much of the world as well - anything less than insane" - Mark LeVine

I took two days off in a row from posting to this blog, it was nice to kick back and read a couple of fiction books, for a change. The middle quote above is from one of those characters I read, brownie points if you know the author and where the book is set... Here is a cool application for those who have an iphone or ipad: has a map that shows all of the settler activity in Israel's West Bank. You can either download it onto your phone or go to the website and look at it there. They will soon have this app ported for other makes of cell phones.

Mark Levine's pundit piece begins with an interesting confession from Bill Clinton: "In possibly the most dramatic mea culpa in Presidential history, Bill Clinton, newly appointed as UN Special Envoy for Haiti, admitted to the Senate Foreign Relations Committee that the US policy of compelling poor developing countries to buy US agricultural products at subsidised prices, which destroyed local agricultural sectors, was a disaster.

“I did that. I have to live every day with the consequences of the lost capacity to produce a rice crop in Haiti to feed those people, because of what I did. Nobody else."

For where Clinton helped lay the groundwork for the re-militarisation of America's political and economic systems through his uncritical embrace of neoliberalism (which, despite the "liberal" in the label, inevitably leads to neoconservatism and war), Obama, with the greatest of care and deliberation, is heading to the 'dark side' that the millions of Americans who voted for him did so with the justified expectation that he'd avoid." Mark goes on to talk about how Obama became enamored with the dark flame, enough to keep on hiring mercenaries to do the wetwork, and keep the radition of maintaining an assassination list on his desk. The Secretary of Defense, Robert Gates, a Republican, has shown to have a bigger pair by making the first cuts in the defense budget.

If Democrats are smart, instead of trying to demonize the tea party, which can only backfire and make them more popular, they will introduce legislation designed to change the way that Congress works, get rid of the dead wood. For example, if all laws were to be written in plain English, the same sixth grade level that is required in newspapers, and state what the intent of the law is, and have an expiration date of twenty years. This way, we get rid of the grey areas, make it easier for our law enforcement and judicial system, and we also have the opportunity to let it end if it turns out to be a bad law, or renew it if it was good... Another simple thing is to end the bribing of our congressmen by lobbyists, they can no longer use donations from lobbyists for their personal campaigns. I would like to see the end to earmarks and all lobbying fees, but american greed may not let it be easily changed. So, take away the personal profit and make the Congressman turn over all fees from lobbyists to the general funds, make that money go directly into paying off the national debt.

If the tea partys are smart, instead of creating a campaign based on anger, if they would start making lists like this to change and improve the function of our government, a national debate could happen instead of saying that you are for limiting government. There would be specific suggestions instead of hazy generalities. The tea party candidates would then come across being more pragmatic than wingnuts, but somehow I doubt that my advice will be read.

The rise of right wing extremism is happening all over the world, like some kind of evil psychic wave. We expect it in areas where there is little education and the populations are used to having strong, one-man gangster type rulers, like in Asia and the Middle East. In Europe, it has graduated past skinheads bashing the coloreds at soccer games and running the Gypsies out on their ears. Intolerance has even taken hold in that bastion of liberal, socialistic of countries, with the Sweden Democrats winning their first seats in parliament. (note how many European fascist groups call themselves social democrats, and in America they have the words freedom or liberty somewhere in their title): "A far-right party in Sweden has won seats in parliament for the first time, denying the governing centre-right coalition an overall majority. The anti-immigration Sweden Democrats have won 20 of the 349 seats in the country's single assembly, following Sunday's general election."

The majority leader did not win enough votes to form a government outright, so a coalition will have to be made. The majority is considered to be center-right, and the prime minister has said that he will not work with the Swedish Democrats, who want to deport all Muslims and other immigrants. So, those of us who are concerned with the domestic rise of Tancredoism might want to keep an eye on how Sweden handles this political complication.

Although the idea of having tea party candidates set off a love fest in the national media, organizers who hope to cash in on the fad are finding tougher times. TPM reports that the second tea party convention has been canceled: "According to the Las Vegas hotel that was supposed to play host to the second national tea party convention, the much-hyped event has been canceled. Organizers of the convention haven't returned my calls, but grassroots tea party leaders I talked to today said that they haven't heard a word about the convention in awhile -- and Nevada leaders told me that if the event is canceled, good riddance.

If the convention really is off, the loss of the event will stand as the third high-profile tea party organizing fail in a month. With the election rapidly approaching, the failure of the LibertyXPO in DC this month, the second DC 9/12 rally and now the second convention suggest those that hope to leverage the movement for big, nationally-covered productions may have tapped out the tea party grassroots." Maybe they couldn't afford the speaker fees for Glenn Beck and Sarah Palin this year, especially after Sharron Angle pulled out of her commitment. Maybe they could hold their conventions at Meg Whitman's or Linda McMahon's houses this year, at least they are rich enough to provide snacks for everyone...

Friday, September 17, 2010

Tom Tancredo Creates Sanctuary City, Sally Morris Disappears

David Brooks
Paul Krugman
Kirsten Powers
Bob Shrum
"Many of my liberal friends are convinced that the Republican Party has a death wish. It is sprinting to the right-most fever swamps of American life. It will end up alienating the moderate voters it needs to win elections.There’s only one problem with this theory. There is no evidence to support it." - David Brooks
"How did we get to this point? The proximate answer lies in the tactics the Bush administration used to push through tax cuts. The deeper answer lies in the radicalization of the Republican Party, its transformation into a movement willing to put the economy and the nation at risk for the sake of partisan victory." - Paul Krugman
"Every Tea Party candidate has been variously described as crazy, stupid, and on track to destroy America, if elected. Funny, that’s pretty much what was said about Barry Goldwater and his followers by the establishment. And yet, that didn’t stop him from reshaping the Republican Party and laying the groundwork for the Reagan Revolution." - Kirsten Powers
"The people who most revile President Obama — and the Republican leaders who enlisted them only to see their party hijacked by them — may assure an Obama re-election." - Bob Shrum

I like selecting quotes from the pundits I link to, as if they were having a conversation among themselves. Today we are talking about the results of the recent primaries, where tea party sympathetic candidates have won eight elections. That these people are seen as idiosyncratic characters espousing ideas that are farther to the right than Attila the Hun, provides the much needed and often under-rated entertainment value to the midterm elections. Unfortunately, for candidates like Sharron Angle, handlers came in and gave her a makeover, telling her what to say and where to say it, what to wear, even re-doing her website to make it more bland and less feisty.

Here in Colorado, conservative wonks are trying to use Dan Maes as a pawn, using his loner instincts and amateurish campaign to make him look ridiculous. He doesn't need their help; after lying about his past to make his resume look sexier, and then posting that lie on his web site, the GOP bigwigs are telling the voters that it is OK to vote outside of the Republican Party, because at least Tom Tancredo is a real conservative.

But Tom is really a self-serving opportunist who was too cowardly to battle against McInnis in the GOP primary, and he immediately jumped ship when he found that he could manipulate the spineless Constitution Party to make him their candidate. And no matter how often Tancredo whines that Denver is a "sanctuary city" for illegal immigrants in the best Karl Rovian manner, he fails to see that the word immigration no longer has such a fear factor among the electorate. Headless bodies are not showing up on the streets of Denver or in the fields of Colorado.

Local radio pundit and columnist for the Denver Post. Mike Rosen, published an embarrassing Politics For Dummies screed in yesterday paper. In it he describes the two major parties as containing these coalitions in the most cliche-ridden, lame-assed way: "The Republican coalition is an alliance of conservatives, middle- and upper-income taxpayers (but not leftist Hollywood millionaires and George Soros), individualists who prefer limited government, those who are pro-market and pro-business, believers in American exceptionalism and a strong national defense, social-issues conservatives and supporters of traditional American values.

The Democratic coalition includes guilt-ridden liberals, collectivists, labor unions, government workers, leftist academics, plaintiffs-lawyers, lower- and middle-income net tax-receivers, identity-politics minorities, feminists, gays, enviros, nannyists, and activists for assorted anti-gun, anti-capitalist, anti-business, anti-military and world-government causes." Its definitions like these that drive people like myself batty enough to leave the Repubs in disgust and become Independents, Mike. Unfortunately, Mr one-trick pony Tancredo has picked up more support after this was published.

For myself, character does matter. I want to elect someone who is a bit naive and idealistic, not such a professional cynic, who will fight more for an ideal than to go along and take marching orders from above, and it doesn't matter if they are Republican, Democratic, or Independent. Although I get a kick out of Rand Paul (Hey, what kind of father names his kid after a conservative think tank? Guess if there were another brother, he would be named Cato?), I don't want someone as far out in the ozone to represent me. Since the tea partyers are first turning their anger on their fellow conservatives, maybe it would be wise to let them get elected to Congress and play their hand out. Two years won't hurt us much, it will only prolong the recession and joblessness, but once people realize that the wacko ideas don't work once exposed to real life problems, we will have gotten that particular catharsis out of our system and get back to finding pragmatic, moderate solutions... The attitudes of the so-called tea party reminds me of a joke, that they could be construed as the meter maids of politics, because as we all know, meter maids eat their young...

What a strange world we live in, all of this hateful banter back and forth with the Muslim world. I know that many people are scared of clowns, but it also appears that many Muslims are afraid of cartoonists. First, we had death threats against a Dutch cartoonist, ending with a couple of American women who were arrested while plotting to kill the cartoonist to prove how devout their conversion to Islam was. Now, we have a Seattle cartoonist who had to move, and change her name because of death threats from Islamic extremists: "A U.S. cartoonist who proposed an “Everybody Draw Mohammed Day” last spring went into a hiding after receiving threats from Islamic extremists, U.S. media reported. Molly Norris, from Seatle, went into hiding and changed her name and her identity with the help of the U.S. Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI). Ms Norris was "moving, changing her name, and essentially wiping away her identity," the Seattle Weekly reported. "She is, in effect, being put into a witness-protection program," it said."

Is this any different from the death threats that Barack Obama receives daily, or from the threats that almost every public figure gets from time to time? I'd like to say that education is the solution, but we have as many angry people who are college graduates in the US, and who knows if the Muslim death threats are not coming from the middle class of Saudi Arabia, or Nigeria, or Egypt? I would be so bold as to put forth that the practice of meditation in a religious belief produces tolerance, clarity of thought, and a cooler heart. If more Christian churches and Muslim communities practiced meditation regularly, then we would have more respect for each other's religions, and there would be no burning of holy books or disparaging of prophets.

On the other hand, the Western tradition of poking fun at our beliefs has never caught on in Asia, Africa, or the Middle East. There has never been a Pakistani Lenny Bruce or an Iraqi version of the Daily Show. There are jokes, and one of the cleverest and funny people I have ever met is Iranian, and there is the tradition of Mullah Nasrudin stories that pokes holes in the fabric of organized Islam. With their traditions of strong, autocratic leaders, to make fun of them is to be put in jail or forfeit your life, and that attitude translates to the prophet Mohammed, who never allowed images of himself to be propagated for idolatry.



"The lady contributed to Mulla Nasrudin on crutches, but could not resist the temptation to preach to him. "It must be terrible to be lame," she said, "but think how much worse it is to be blind."