Thursday, September 12, 2013

Putin in Prose (via Randi Rhodes)

Russian President Vladimir Putin has an op-ed in today’s New York Times. Be careful what you say in those, Vlad! Remember how “Let Detroit Go Bankrupt” came back to bite Mitt Romney in the ass! The piece is titled “A Plea for Caution from Russia.” Given the track record of Russia over the centuries, that reads more like “A Trick from the Leader of Russia.” But then the question isn’t whether Vladimir Putin’s intentions are good or not—it’s whether his intentions can be synchronized with our own intentions. If Putin uses us to get what he wants... and that’s also what we want, then go ahead and let him get what he wants.

Here’s the crux of the biscuit: Putin writes “militants from Western countries and even Russia, are an issue of our deep concern. Might they not return to our countries with experience acquired in Syria?” What happens in Syria, definitely will not stay in Syria. We don’t want any more 9/11’s, and Putin doesn’t want any kind of whatever 9/11 translates to in the Russian calendar.

Speaking of mistakes, Vlad chose to close with a swipe at the idea of American exceptionalism. American exceptionalism is an idea that is patently ridiculous and is practically begging to be mocked. And that’s all the more reason not to go near it. A lot of Americans are obsessed with the idea. And the rest of us are just embarrassed by it... so don’t bring it up, OK? This is like closing a plea to the British by saying “Oh, and what’s with the tea obsession? Have a cup of coffee like everybody else, losers.” Obama wouldn’t end a letter to the Russian people by saying “By the way, every time you people write the letter R, it’s backwards. Get it right, dummies!” Yes, American exceptionalism is a dumb concept. Everybody thinks that they’re exceptional. So in that sense, nobody is exceptional.

The White House reacted to Putin’s op-ed by saying “That’s all irrelevant.” If leaders around the world could manage to say that more often, we would all get along better. There is no better attitude to enter into negotiations with than “That’s all irrelevant.” The ability to realize what is irrelevant is perhaps more important than the ability to grasp what is relevant. The White House said “He put this proposal forward and he’s now invested in it.” Obama knows what’s important. And that’s why he’s so exceptional.

Meanwhile, the Medical Examiner who testified in the George Zimmerman trial has been fired. Well that came at least a few months too late. Dr. Shiping Bao says that the prosecution intentionally lost the case. Yes, and your testimony seemed to be a big part of that. Bao says that his autopsy proves that it was impossible for Trayvon Martin to have been on top of Zimmerman when he was shot. Well, if the autopsy proves that, your testimony sure never did. Now is a fine time to be saying this, Doctor! You should have said it when you were on the stand.

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Stephen Colbert attempts the impossible: finding a coherent argument from Rand Paul that has not been contradicted by Rand Paul...

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Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Imagine - Never Forgotten 9-11

Never forgotten 9-11

Imagine Nothing to kill or die for And no religion, too

Imagine there is no heaven
It's easy if you try
No hell below us
Above us only sky
Imagine all the people
Living for today
Imagine there's no countries
It isn't hard to do
Nothing to kill or die for
And no religion, too
Imagine all the people
Living life in peace
You, you may say I'm a dreamer
But I'm not the only one
I hope someday you will join us
And the world will be as one
Imagine no possessions
I wonder if you can
No need for greed or hunger
A brotherhood of man
Imagine all the people
Sharing all the world
You, you may say I'm a dreamer
But I'm not the only one
I hope someday you will join us
And the world will live as one
Lennon, John

Ronald Reagan gave Saddam Hussein chemical weapons to fight Iran

September 10, 2013
It is important to remember times in history when the United States supplied dictators with weapons that are condemned today.
The time is December 1983 near the middle of President Ronald Reagan's first term. Iran and Iraq are at war, and Iran is gaining the upper hand in the military struggle. In an effort to stave off Iranian Islamic dominance in the region President Reagan sent Donald Rumsfeld to broker a secret deal with Saddam Hussein. In the secret 90-minute meeting Rumsfeld arranged for Saddam Hussein to acquire sarin nerve gas, anthrax, bubonic plague, along with others. He also arranged for Iraq to receive billions of dollars in loans to pay for these weapons.
How would Rumsfeld be able to do this? From the years 1977 to 1985 Donald Rumsfeld was the CEO of a major pharmaceutical corporation known as Searle & Company which, coincidentally enough, was sold to Monsanto in 1985.
Records also show that then CIA Director William Casey personally involved himself in assisting funneling cluster bombs to Iraq through a foreign shell company.
Later in 1988 United States intelligence agencies alerted Iraq to Iranian troop movements, and Iraq responded with a barrage of chemical weapon attacks.
This information remained sealed as a state secret until it was released by the State Department due to a Freedom of Information Act request.

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Cool Down Now (Via Randi Rhodes)

Syria says they support a proposal to put their chemical weapons under international control as a way of averting a US military strike. I’m against a US military strike, but I’m all for anything good that can be accomplished as a way of averting a US military strike. The proposal seems to be moving forward. Barack Obama is either the smartest guy in the world, or the luckiest guy in the world. Either way, it’s a great attribute to have in a President! After all, the luckiest people tend to be the smartest people, and visa-versa.

Obama is proof that you make your own luck... just like Bush was proof that you make your own bad luck too. Roman philosopher Seneca said “Luck is what happens when preparation meets opportunity.” And the better the preparation, the more it looks like luck. There is such a thing as “dumb luck,” but if you want to count on your luck, you’re better off using the kind that results from preparation.

President Obama has indicated that he’s open to the idea. Heck, he might just be the origin of the idea. Either way, it’s a credit to Obama that people think it might have been his plan all along when things go right for him. I can’t imagine people thinking that George Bush had some intricate plan all along when things went right for him. But then nothing ever went right for Bush.

Everything in this entire situation is so different. We need something traditional to hold on to. And right on cue, Ann Coulter calls President Obama a monkey. Some things never change. Every word that John Kerry has been saying in this crisis may not have been carefully considered and intentionally used to create a specific effect—but you can be sure that Ann Coulter carefully plans her use of the word “monkey.”

And of course you’ve heard about George Zimmerman. His wife told the 911 dispatcher “I don’t know what he's capable of.” Actually, the problem is that you know exactly what he’s capable of. Everybody does. Just ask Trayvon Martin. Oops, too late!

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We know what the real Reagan did about Iraq using chemical weapons, but what would the ‘hypothetical, contemporary Super Reagan’ do about Syria?

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Monday, September 9, 2013

Expect Everything (Via Randi Rhodes)

Syrian President Bashar al Assad warned that, if the US strikes Syria, we should “expect everything.” A native English speaker would probably have said we should “expect anything,” but somehow “expect everything” comes off as a much more potent threat. He also said a strike against Syria would “support al Qaeda.” Unfortunately for him, to most Americans, “al Qaeda” is anybody who talks like he does. Assad says that attacking him will strengthen al Qaeda, President Obama says that not attacking him will strengthen Hezbollah. We’re not sure who has the poison gas, but at least we get to pick our poison.

Meanwhile, President Obama is pulling out all the stops on a push for an attack. It remains to be seen if he’s as effective at getting people to mistrust Bashar Assad as Bashar Assad is. Tonight, interviews with Obama will air on ABC, NBC, CBS, PBS, CNN, and Fox News. That’s every network with a credible news organization… AND Fox News! After all the network interviews air tonight, Obama will give a televised speech to the nation tomorrow night. Obama is going to be on TV constantly. What does he think he is... a Kardashian?

When pressed on CNN about the quality of the evidence, White House Chief of Staff Denis McDonough said that it passes “the common sense test.” Actually, common sense says not to go to war over something that is being sold as “common sense.” The common sense test says that a bumblebee can’t fly—I prefer more rigorous tests.

McDonough said “do we have a picture, or do we have irrefutable, beyond-reasonable-doubt evidence? This is not a court of law. Intelligence does not work that way.” “This is not a court of law”?! Shouldn’t the threshold for sending a nation to war be much higher than the threshold for sending a person to prison? I want a lot more evidence to send the sons and daughters of Americans into a war than I do to send any one of them to jail. Meanwhile, Secretary of State Kerry is saying “The evidence speaks for itself.” Then why does the White House have so many people out there speaking for it?

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John Kerry floats an offhand and seeming implausible way out for Assad if turns over all of his chemical weapons in one week; Russia and Syria pounce at the opening...

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