Monday, October 26, 2009

A Night in Tunisia, Sweden's Use of Bunny Power, Tim Pawlenty

Paul Krugman
Louis Menand
Vali Nasr
Fareed Zakaria

"In American politics, it should be considered a good thing when, after you have won a Presidential election by more than nine million votes, your chief critics accuse you of filling your Administration with Nazis, Maoists, anarchists, and Marxist revolutionaries. That is the voice of the fringe, and the fringe is exactly where you want the opposition to set up permanent shop." - Louis Menand

The North African country of Tunisia had elections over the weekend: "Tunisian President Zine al-Abidine Ben Ali has won a fifth term in office by a massive margin, near-complete results from the North African country's presidential election showed on Monday.

Vote tallies from 20 of Tunisia's 26 regions showed that in two regions Ben Ali won 99 percent of the vote, and in the rest his support did not dip below 84 percent, according to figures from the Interior Ministry, which oversaw Sunday's election. Ben Ali has been in power for 22 years." Tunisia is considered a moderate Islamic country, friendly to tourists and Western ideals, if a bit lacking in personal freedoms. It probably wouldn't have made any headlines today if the president hadn't gone on television the night before and threatened to sue and put in jail anyone who declared the elections as fraudulent. Guess all of the Islamic states are a bit touchy on the subject lately.

So it comes as no surprise when Mr Ali won all five of his elections with a margin of 80-99% in his favor, each time claiming a massive voting turnout. Cynics believe this non-fraudulent election turnout was, in reality, much lower with most citizens staying in the cafes instead of wandering to the voting booths: "What is the point in taking part?" said one young man in a cafe in Tunis, who asked not to be identified. "Everything that is happening is just a show."

"The Obama administration has clung for so long to the Bush administration’s expansive claims of national security and executive power that it is in danger of turning President George W. Bush’s cover-up of abuses committed in the name of fighting terrorism into President Barack Obama’s cover-up." -- NY Times OP ED
to dream of 10,000 virgins...
Those damned Iraqis are blowing themselves up again, this time in one of the worst incidents since 2005,  two cars filled with explosives managed to get through the road-checks and blow up in front of some government buildings, injuring more than 400 people. How times have changed... Way back in 2003, the Iraqi insurgent groups refused to use suicide bombers because it was against the Koran to kill other Muslims. Notice how quickly they have found other justifications for this evil they do.

Most of your suicide bombers are recruited from the hordes of hungry young men, who have no education and little future. They are taken in, given shelter and food, and taught to memorize the Koran while rocking back and forth. Hours of this creates a state of hypnosis that we see in autistic children, and with the extreme right wing views they are also taught, it is easy to see why people volunteer as bombers. It's a technique straight from Alamut, taught by the Old Man of the Mountains, leader of the cult of the Assasins, modified for modern times.

"If the president were to quickly invade a country on the basis of half-baked intelligence, would that demonstrate his courage and decisiveness to Cheney? In fact, it's not a bad idea for Obama to take his time, examine all options and watch how the post-election landscape in Afghanistan evolves." - Fareed Zakaria

bunnies as biofuel... 
I'm still not sure if this story is a hoax or not, but Foreign Policy has this story that Sweden is using cute, cuddly bunnies as fuel for warmth: "Thousands of stray rabbits in Sweden are being shot, frozen and then burned for heat. Stockholm even hires rabbit hunters for the task, like Tommy Tuvuynger, a modern day Elmer Fudd. "We are shooting rabbits in Stockholm center, they are a very big problem," he said. "Once culled, the rabbits are frozen and when we have enough; a contractor comes and takes them away."

Hey, we could do that here in the US, it would be a good use to the millions of animals that are put to sleep each year in our animal shelters, and the road-kill scooped up off of our highways. It sure beats having them turn up as mystery meat in curries at your local Asian restaurant, and we could label it as "Cute Energy" ...

another attack bunny in the news...
In a blatant move to try and establish his credentials for the 2012 presidential race, Politico reports that the incredibly wimpy Minnesota Governor Tim Pawlenty has begun seriously dissing Barack Obama: "Pawlenty criticized President Barack Obama on Monday for “projecting potential weakness” on national security... History proves that it is weakness, not strength, that tempts our enemies,” Whoa, those are fighting words my friend, meet me outside in the back alleyway!

This is the same, worn-out GOP approach that they have used for over 40 years, to make themselves look like a manly Ronald Reagan or John Wayne while calling their opponent a pansy. It still hasn't registered that Ron and John were actors, and not very good ones at that. They had no range, and John especially was a coward who refused to go into service for his country and fight in WW11. He felt guilty about it for the rest of his life, and became an abusive alcoholic, beating up his Hispanic wives. Oh yeah, Tim Pawlenty reminds me of John Wayne...

Mr Tough Guy went on to label Obama a: “movement liberal,” whose policy prescriptions include the “federalization of policy, spending way beyond anything we’ve seen in terms of deficit or debt levels [and] spending the country into bankruptcy.” Oh man, it makes me want to curl up into a helpless ball and cry... The idea is to make up cliches to see what might resonate with the public. The "federalization of policy" is what all governments do, regardless of which Party is in charge. Its a term of definition, and he is trying to put a negative connotation on something that is neutral. It will get worse, I listened to Newt Gingrich on C-SPAN last night, and he couldn't speak a single sentence without putting in a trite phrase meant to pull an emotional trigger. To myself, it just makes him look like a has-been hack, and I think it's the opinion of many younger generations, too. It looks like these old school GOPers are too set in their ways to change, and we will be exposed to wave after wave of obnoxious commercials trying to bring fear into our lives. Even Lee Atwater apologized for the sick things he did before he died and I wonder if Tim and Newt will have enough self-consciousness to be able to do the same...


  1. One of my favorite quotes:

    I am sitting here in the smallest room of my house with your letter of criticism before me. Soon it'll be behind me. — H.L. Mencken

  2. We really don't have such clever writing anymore.

    I just picked up copies of The Portable Dorothy Parker, and Roughing It by Mark Twain.


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