Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Sarah Is Turned Around, Peace Talks, Bill Gates, Newt Again...

Eugene Robinson
EJ Dionne Jr
Bob Herbert
"I have as much authority as the Pope, I just don't have as many people who believe it." - George Carlin
"By and large, language is a tool for concealing the truth." - George Carlin
"Don't sweat the petty things and don't pet the sweaty things." - George Carlin

The American woman hiker who has been held in an Iranian jail for over a year was finally released. The $500,000 ransom was paid at an Iranian bank in Oman, where Sarah Shourd's mother has been waiting for her. It was confirmed by the Swiss embassy that Sarah was put on a plane to Oman, so they are probably reunited as you read this. The Iranian judicial decided to extend the time in jail of Sarah's two male companions by at least two months. They may be used as pawns in a trade-off if Iran seeks the return of the three diplomats who have defected within the last few months... The three hikers had been in Damascus, then went through Turkey into the Kurdish controlled area of Iraq for a holiday. I know, it sounds dumb, unless they really were spies. But Kurdistan had been advertising itself as a safe place for Westerners to come and hike, fish, and kayak down its rivers. There were originally four friends, but one stayed behind on that fateful day, when the three went hiking along a popular trail near the border. they ignored the warning signs as they went seeking the headwaters of a waterfall, strayed into Iran, and were arrested by soldiers who had been hiding in wait for them.

The spying charges came after they had been held for a few months, and it became clear that they were being used as political footballs between Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, who wanted to let them go, and even more conservative forces who wanted to hang them or stone them or parade them form village to village to be reviled by those who are easily manipulated. And, as al-Jazeera reported: "Sarah was being held in solitary confinement despite suffering from a pre-cancerous cervical condition, a lump in her breast and depression." Sarah should be checked out to see if she has been exposed to radiation while she was incarcerated, the signs of cancer that she developed seems suspicious, or maybe her Iranian jailers took to irradiating her vegetables instead of washing them... If her companions, Shane and Josh, also develop tumors, then they may have taken part in Iran's nuclear development program without knowing it...
Shafaii, Shourd's lawyer, said: "Sarah is extremely happy about her release but she urged me to help her two co-accused who are still in Evin prison."
The head of NATO went to the American military, complaining that Iran now has the rocket capacity to reach parts of Europe, and came away with millions of dollars and the promise that the American military will continue to set up a missile defense shield around Europe... I wonder how much I can get if I tell them that Tom Tancredo can see my house from his front porch...?

More face to face peace talks between Israel and the Palestinian Authority happened today and will continue tomorrow. That means that Hamas has tried to disrupt things with more violent incidents in the West Bank and in East Jerusalem. Iran is supposedly trying to convince the easily excitable Hizbollah to attack Israel from Lebanon and Syria, figuring that a war will surely end the talks for all time, and then every Arab will be grateful for the Persians using them as cannon fodder. So far, cooler heads have prevailed. Not many actual Palestinians want to partake in the hostilities, because the Palestinian economy of the West Bank rose 9% last year. The Gaza economy also progressed , but only by 1%, so they are hoping to continuing to develop profits once they have a state of their own... We'll see if this tenuous peace can hold for the next few weeks. Its predicted that the details can be hammered out within a year...

Microsoft did an about face today, after the NY Times publicized their involvement with the Russian government's harassing of environmental groups, human rights groups, and opposition politicians, by agreeing to prosecute them for having pirated computer software, even if was proved that they owned licensed copies. Microsoft announced that they will no longer seek to prosecute the groups, and will issue blanket licenses to them for free. The dastardly lawyers they had hired may no longer have a job, or at least they can go back to working publicly for Mr Putin and his minions. This puts to rest the rumors that Melinda has been wandering the halls in period dress, saying "Anastasia! My name is Anastasia!" It does add to the rumors that I'm making up that Bill still runs around those same halls, wearing his red cape, and shouting: "For truth, justice, and the American way... Look up in the sky, it's a bird, it's a plane, no... it's Bill Gates!"

I knew that Newt Gingrich has become disassociated from reality as we know it, and is living in his own Bizarro universe, which is why I wrote about him yesterday. Then, I saw on the news last night the comments that he made about Barack Obama. This excerpt is taken from eugene Robinson's column, linked above:

"The latest example comes in an interview with the conservative Web site National Review Online. Unsurprisingly, he was criticizing President Obama. Bizarrely, according to the Web site, he said the following: "What if [Obama] is so outside our comprehension, that only if you understand Kenyan, anti-colonial behavior, can you begin to piece together [his actions]?" According to Newt, this is "the most accurate, predictive model" for the president's actions, or policies or something.

What in the world is "Kenyan, anti-colonial behavior" supposed to mean? That Obama is waging a secret campaign to free us from the yoke of British oppression?

In fairness to Gingrich, he wasn't being original. He was speaking in praise of a big gob of gibberish in Forbes by conservative "intellectual" Dinesh D'Souza. In the piece -- much of it strikingly lazy -- D'Souza argues that Obama somehow absorbed a fully elaborated, frozen-in-time, anti-colonial worldview from his Kenyan father. Who left the family when the future president was 2."

Couple this stuff with some of the other crap he has been saying, it's clear that he has given up rational discourse and elected to stick with what he knows best - Southern racism. Newt, and what sane woman would name a child Newt, is supposed to have been a college professor of history, became speaker of the house, written a few books of fiction, and came up with that ridiculous contract with America. So, he sees himself as an intellectual, a man of letters, and a light to the conservative movement. Then, he does this weird Kenyan thing along with equating the Muslims who want to build a mosque near ground zero as Nazis, and it makes me wonder if he is now under the care of Elvis's or Michael Jackson's doctor, because I want to know what spectrum of pills he's abusing...

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