Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Tuesday Rant, From Iran to Wisconsin, Scott Walker's Deal At The Crossroads

Dana Milbank

"Moammar Gadhafi said that Libyan protesters were all on drugs, and then he blamed it on Al Qaeda. Now, he's saying it's the fault of the teachers unions." –Jay Leno

"On a rambling call to a TV station, Gadhafi ranted about his enemies and blamed others for his problems. He said he feels fine and is ready to go back to work. He's now the Charlie Sheen of Libya." –Jay Leno

"The latest rumor is that Moammar Gadhafi is calling other countries to find a place to live in exile. So far, only Chile has offered to rent out an empty mine." –Jay Leno

"Sarah Palin is going to India to make a speech. She’s hoping to visit some of those Indian casinos she’s heard so much about." –Jay Leno

"Gas is so expensive now that BP actually started inspecting their oil rigs." –Jay Leno

When I was in elementary school, I remember that one of the big political debates was whether we should be giving money to other countries as foreign aid. Now, forty-some years later, it might be a good idea to look again at that policy. Now might also be a good time to revise our foreign policy regarding countries that have dictators in charge. Our policies have never had a moral basis, we have tried to keep it strictly business, what's good for our businesses that trade or manufacture in those countries.

But what happens if Qaddafi beats back the opposition and remains in charge in Libya? Do we continue to shun him when we had tried for 20 years to make him friendly to us? Do we apologize and send him some hallucenogenics for his water supply? MMmmm good, tastes just like Denver's water... Lord knows the man will be very cranky, deprived as he is from his Ukrainian Nurse. Here's hoping that wherever he ends up, he can share with Hosni Mubarak...

Not much in the papers today, mostly rehash from the weekend. It's like everyone took an Oscar break to dish about who was wearing what on the red carpet before getting back to mistreating their citizens, because corruption never sleeps.  A few weeks ago the Iranian parliament broke out with cries to execute the opposition leaders, who kept on staging protest rallies, which angered the conservative religious folk who ran the government. Now, it looks like it may happen, as vans pulled up at the houses of Mir Hossein Mousavi and Mahdi Karroubi around midnight and spirited them away along with their wives. They are being held where the sun don't shine, awaiting some kind of judgement without trial. Officially, the Iranian government supports the democratic uprisings, especially in Bahrain, and they see themselves as the inspiration and model for the uprisings, being too blind and mistaking shadows for reality from where they live in their caves...

My sister saw on the news a Libyan protester with a sign saying "We're with you Wisconsin."

I wonder who really planned to have the podunk Governor of Wisconsin take the lead on the war against the unions, as it seems to be backfiring. The governor's obstinacy seems to be the only glue holding things together. When I moved to Colorado from California, I was surprised at how shrill the voices were against unions, gays, and basic human rights. It was like I left the coast for a land of pod people, who took the talking points from the GOP as gospel truth, and not as a beginning place for rational debate. Now I find myself a Liberal Republican who was once a Union Goon, and proud of it. Yes, the unions on the national level are just as corrupt, and desperately need reforming so those fat cats at the top stop living off of our dues, but a union is only good if there are good guys running it at the local level.

Just as an aside, our local agreements with the transit district where I worked were all written in the  feminine gender, which I believe made labor history. And it's been my experience that when people go on strike, wages are the least important issue, and they mostly want to change a condescending or abusive attitude in the way they are treated by their management. Just like in the Middle East, basic human rights carry a powerful emotion. It's interesting that there is a coordinated, planned campaign to limit some of those rights in America at the same time that the rest of the world is becoming crucially aware and desirous of those same rights... I wonder which set of crossroads Scott Walker went to and made his deal...

Jane Russell RIP, the end of an era...

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