Tuesday, May 29, 2012

I Got Those Memphis Blues Again...

Oh, Mama, can this really be the end?

Well, the first round of the Egyptian elections went as expected, with 46% of the voters deciding that they were too afraid to take more than baby-steps towards a democratic society. In the next run-off election, the choices will be the representative from the Muslim Brotherhood, and the ex-general, ex-prime minister who was hand picked by Mubarak... So, Egypt is poised to go autocratic either way, religious or secular. This has caused a lot of rioting and demonstrations, setting one political office on fire, and a lot of pissed off younger people who didn't bother to vote... The ex-general, who still likes to be called General, has promised to take a hard-line stance against future protesters and to restore law and order on the streets. This appeals to many citizens who feel that the criminal element has taken over their neighborhoods, now that the police have stopped doing their jobs after they were criticized over how they handled the democratic protesters. Car jackings, kidnapping, and home robberies have escalated this past year, and the outer neighborhoods of Cairo feel more like a war zone than suburban bliss... But, the current protests may be moot, if the country's Supreme Court rules June 11 on the law that was passed barring all former Mubarak officials from running for public office. If upheld, the ex-general will have to give up his candidacy, throwing the proposed elections further into confusion. Really, Cairo seems to be the most exciting place to be right now, with all of the passion and excitement of a public finally taking part in their own future, messy as it will be... The Muslim Brotherhood have become the religious moderates in this race, but since they control the parliament, the danger is that they will fully dictate policy and how the next constitution will be written...

Which is why I often wonder why America is so insistent on trying to convert everyone on earth to democracy. It lends itself to much arguing and flaring of tempers, promoting pettiness of spirit that eventually degrades the political parties. In the US, the Republican Party is in its last days, what you are witnessing in the media are the dying whines of old white men, who simply refuse to pass the baton to the younger generations or give up their political and social beliefs that make them anachronistic and embarrassed to be seen by their children. But we don't have another party waiting in the wings to replace the Repubs, nothing that would excite a majority of voters. Our current election is getting petty and ugly, with the old-school style of fear mongering sprinting ahead in the commercials, and every trick that Karl Rove has encountered will be used before November.

This swing to the far right by the Repubs has produced a lot of entertainment and late night-jokes, but I wonder how anyone could have ever taken seriously such obvious clowns as Newt Gingrich, Rick Santorum, Michele Bachmann, that Texas governor, and the Black guy, oh shucky ducky... Now, they will all have to rally around Mitt Romney, who is so desperate to win that he will say and do anything; his need is a sickness emanating off of him like a repellant pheromone, keeping all decent people away... While the lunatic fringe is amusing to watch, it becomes sad  and maddening when they succeed in passing legislation. In Florida, 180,000 people who were registered voters have 30 days to prove to the elections office that they are citizens, or they will not be allowed to vote. 500,000 people will not receive unemployment benefits after the end of this year. I can't find anything funny in these things, and yes, I get grumpy and bad tempered thinking about the results of these actions. We'll become a nation of alienated, disenfranchised people, listening to Rush every morning while we drink our crappy Duncan coffee. Crime and domestic violence will rise beyond the levels of our returning vets, and the only jobs that will be blossoming are those in the new prisons that will be built. Maybe I should ask for a prescription for Prozac and Cialis from my doctor next month. Then I can walk around happy with my dick in my hands... Politics? Sorry, I have something more interesting thing to do...

Congratulations to Bob Dylan, who received the Medal of Honor this morning. Funny how some of his old lyrics still have a lot of meaning. This seems to sum up our electorial season so far:

"Now the rainman gave me two cures
Then he said, "Jump right in"
The one was Texas medicine
The other was just railroad gin
And like a fool I mixed them
And it strangled up my mind
And now, people just get uglier
And I have no sense of time
Oh, Mama, can this really be the end
To be stuck inside of Mobile
With the Memphis blues again."

Friday, May 25, 2012

Who Let Anubis Out? Myanmar Drug Trade

"Over the past few months there's been an increasing buzz that Mitt Romney will pick a vice president who's safe, white, and duller than him. Which pretty much narrows it down to a piece of chalk." – Jay Leno
"Just two weeks after a felon in jail got 41 percent of the democratic vote in West Virginia, President Obama got embarrassed again in Arkansas yesterday when an unknown lawyer got 42 percent. See, that proves once and for all that there's only a 1 percent difference between a lawyer and a convicted felon." – Jay Leno
"According to a study released today, the average member of Congress can only speak at a tenth grade level. Which is worse than it sounds, because the average tenth grader speaks at a third grade level." – Jay Leno

"Remember Al Gore, the tubby vice president? He has a new girlfriend – that is unless the Supreme Court takes her away from him." – David Letterman

The most interesting place to be these past few weeks has been Egypt, watching the campaigning and voting for their first democratically elected president. The most inspiring was that everyone has gotten so interested in the campaigns, there were generational debates from coffee-houses to family dinners at night, people were pondering the strengths and weaknesses of each candidate. The five candidates provided enough of a spectrum of beliefs, from three types of conservative and two types of liberal, enough that you might overlook that they were selected by an elections committee, in a version of democracy-lite, it may be less filling...

One of my favorite stories comes from a conservative Islamic candidate, who was very anti-USA. It turned out that he almost didn't make it as a viable candidate, once it came out that his sister and mother lived in the US, in the People's Republic of Santa Monica. His mother had become a citizen of the US, and owned a California driver's license. Guessing why he was the only family member who was so uptight, it was theorized that he wasn't allowed to visit because of his views, or it might have been the care-baskets his mother sent him from Cantor's that pissed him off... The Egyptian legislature changed the law insisting that a candidate for president' parent had to be residents of Egypt, and that controversy went away, except for the occasional chuckle whenever he would go out and lecture...

Conspiracy theories were made up, trying in vain to tarnish each other. One theory even made it to Jay Leno, showing how fast these things carry in this day of the Internet. The proclamation by the Muslim Brotherhood that it was now allowed for a widower to have sex with his dead wife, for sixty days after her passing. Hey, I read about it in the NY Times, so it must be true, right??? One of my favorite hoaxes like this involves the story of the person who opened up a box of Colonel Sander's Kentucky Fried Chicken, only to find a fried rat along with his crispy chicken. This never happened, it was made up by the comedian Paul Krassner, yet every few years it would resurface and be reported in some newspaper needing filler space and wanted a weird story to fill it. The cool part about the Egyptian story, apart from it being rather gross and creepy, is that it might start a whole series of new urban myths that float throughout the Middle East...

Another group of stories and videos, that were widely shown but not reported at all in the US, are the travails of Ahmed Shafik, the former general and prime minister from the Mubarak government. Whenever he made personal appearances in order to give a speech, he was often met with a barrage of shoes thrown at him, and we all know what THAT means... It's as if people have been saving their old shoes for years, waiting for such an occasion... We should know who will have made the run-off vote by the end of this weekend. The next president will determine the tone of the next constitution, the amount of power he has versus the amount given the military, and many other decisions that will affect the region for many years to come. It would be a shame if someone was elected that turned the people's optimism into cynicism, which is the natural phase of emotions after any election. Just don't hurry the process along, like al Maliki did in Iraq... Oh, yeah, don't forget the normal accusations of vote tampering and corruption, those are always many and numerous, and ignored from Cairo to Tehran to Florida and Ohio...

One of the costs of freedom seems to be a rising and thriving illegal drug trade, if we can use Myanmar as an example. Since the military junta has relaxed its rule over the country, the exporting of opium and methamphetamines has skyrocketed. Last year the Thai police confiscated over 2 million pills, and this year it will eventually go over that mark.

There have been several theories as to why production has increased, all pointing fingers in different directions, depending on who you talk to. The Thais point out that now that they are semi-retired, military generals in Myanmar spend their time in the drug trade, beats sitting around and praying, I guess. Myanmar officials say that its the ethnic tribes like the Wa and Karin who have traditionally dealt in the drug trade in order to buy weapons to fight the military, so you should look to their areas for cultivation. On the world market, as the war in Afghanistan winds down, less heroin is being flown out by the CIA and private mercenaries, reopening the market to competition. The Chinese are currently more interested in making money from prescription drugs, both legally made and illegally, though the older, traditional ties from the Triads still hold.

As for the making of speed, most of the ingredients come from Thailand, shipped across the border to Burma, where the danger is involved in cooking the meth, then shipped back across the border into Thailand, for greater distribution. Every major hospital in Thailand has had ingredients stolen from them... Traditionally, its been the Thai military and police who have been in charge of the drug trade out of Thailand, with the tourist police making sure that all of Europe's favorite druggie past-times are available in the areas dominated by tourists. When I traveled in the north of Thailand, marijuana was often given freely, because they wanted to soften me up to buy opium or heroin. When I traveled in the south of Thailand, I could get marijuana from any bar girl or guest hotel, but the opium was usually sold by a Dutch or German tourist. Package tours trekking the highlands often included an evening visiting a local tribe, and letting the young men ingest opium for a few dollars extra. I never did that, as I had tried heroin before, as a younger man, and didn't enjoy the experience. I gained more brownie points when I practiced tai chi as a form of sharing and entertainment with the tribes we visited, and was able to talk to the elders while my fellow trekkers were off vomiting themselves into dreamland... Of course, I'm waiting for the CIA to send in advisors to help the Myanmar government eradicate the criminal trade, because they've done so well in Pakistan, Yemen, and Central America. Won't that be enough to justify their bloated budgets after we bring our troops home?

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

I Apologize

I apologize for not posting anything this past week. Our local Safeway closed down, and I used the pharmacy there for my monthly medications. The timing was that it closed at the same time that I needed to renew my prescriptions, so I have been without for a week, and suffering the problems of sudden withdrawals. I had lost any desire to write or even concentrate beyond reading the newspaper, spent a lot of time surfing music videos on youtube. Impressed by Jimmy Hall, Jonell Mosser, and Imelda May, as well as finding new videos by Van Morrison and Robert Gordon. Good stuff.

We finally got my prescriptions transferred to the local supermarket pharmacy, and everything should be settled by Friday. Hopefully, my sense of humor has returned, because there have been some funny things happening, if you think that drug smuggling and political intimidation is hilarious...

Friday, May 18, 2012

The Lovesong Of V Putin...

I understand that the reason Vladimir Putin didn't show up at the G-8 conference in Chicago, is because of the protests being staged by his opposition. He might be scared of a coup, if he were paranoid enough... The protests have recently taken on a dramatic tone, rehashing the lyrics from old Broadway shows (my apologies to Showboat):

Ol' man Putin,
Dat ol' man Putin
He mus'know sumpin'
But don't say nuthin',
He jes'keeps rollin'
He keeps on rollin' along.

He don' plant taters/tators,
He don't plant cotton,
An' dem dat plants'em
is soon forgotten,
But ol'man Putin,
He jes keeps rollin'along.

You an'me, we sweat an' strain,
Body all achin' an' racket wid pain,
Protest at dat park!
Send dat email!
Git a little drunk
An' you land in jail...

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Iran Practices For Pissing Match In Baghdad, Ron Paul RIP...

"Membership and recruiting of Al Qaeda is drying up. Far be it for me to tell terrorists about strategy but I think membership started to subside when they went to the suicide bomber exploding underpants." – David Letterman

"Let's just say you put on the exploding underpants and you detonate. When they bring in the 72 virgins, then what?" – David Letterman
"The White House admitted that Vice President Biden's endorsement of gay marriage forced him to come out in favor of it. So in a related story millions of Americans are trying to get Biden hooked on pot." – Conan O'Brien

Preliminary talks over Iran's nuclear program seemed to go well in Istanbul, enough to set the agenda for the upcoming pissing match to be held in Baghdad... there are two different Iranian strategies, represented by those close to the President, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, and those close to the religious Supreme Ayatollah Khamenei. The president's strategy is seen to disrupt proceedings and be in-your-face about things like national pride. The other side, which is currently in charge, takes a more patient posture, designed to keep buying as much time by saying yes to inspections then not letting them happen, along with the public insistence that their program is only for creating energy, not weapons. Crucial to their argument has been the fatwa issued by Ayatollah Khamenei that owning nuclear weapons is anti-Islamic and against the teachings of the Koran. The NY Times reported that: "Iran’s public posture fuels a sense that both sides are searching for a way to declare victory and defuse the crisis. For the West, officials have said that success, at least in the short term, would mean a deal that has Iran ship all its medium-enriched uranium out of the country, which would increase the amount of time needed to make bomb-grade material.
“Without violating any international laws or the nonproliferation treaty, we have managed to bypass the red lines the West created for us,” said Hamidreza Taraghi, an adviser to Iran’s supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, who is close to the negotiating team."
In Tehran, Mr. Taraghi was promoting a narrative that might pave the way for public, and political, acceptance of a compromise over a program that has broad public support, even among competing political factions. Enrichment is seen as a matter of national sovereignty and pride.

Mr. Taraghi ticked off Iran’s successes. First, he said, Western countries did not want Iran to have a nuclear power plant, but its Bushehr reactor was now connected to the national grid. Second, the West had opposed Iran having heavy-water facilities, he said, but it now has one in Arak.

Third, the West had said no to any enrichment.“But here we are, enriching as much as we need for our nuclear energy program,” Mr. Taraghi said with a smile, referring to the thousands of cascades of centrifuges spinning for years in the half-underground facility in Natanz. Since January, dozens more centrifuges have been online in the Fordo mountain bunker complex, near Qum, built to withstand a heavy attack."

We'll see if these arguments will be enough to get sanctioned lifted. The sanctions are hurting those government officials who have frozen accounts in foreign banks, and are forced to live on their salaries, seriously putting a crimp in the normal flow of graft and corruption. They also prevent the government and larger companies from doing international business that depend on foreign banks to help pay for goods and transportation. Oh, and the sanction on Iran's oil industry is indeed, killing them... European members who support sanctions have said that if the upcoming Baghdad talks are not productive, then more stringent sanctions may be instituted, though its hard to see what's left to punish with. If the US has overestimated its position, then it may have backed itself into a corner that leaves war as a result. Which is ironic, since Israel has just had an injection of moderate politicians added to its government, and may be changing their attitudes towards Iran. More important, really, than all of this nuclear theater, is the jockeying between Shia and Sunni for dominance in the Middle East. The difference between these groups is so silly, that to have an entire region erupt in a religious civil war just boggles the imagination.

To add to the mix, today Iran executed a man they said was a Mossad agent, who confessed to killing one of their nuclear scientists a couple of years ago. Was he really a spy and was he guilty? We'll never really know, because his trial was held privately, and because he was said to have confessed, not subject to appeal. Reminds me a bit of the military trials the US wants to have with prisoners in Guantanamo...

Well, its official, Ron Paul has conceded that Mit Romney has enough delegates to become the presidential nominee, and he is stopping campaigning nationally. Instead, his followers are sneaking into state conventions and trying to take as many delegates as they can, in case their is a brokered convention, ya never know... And, failing that, they are trying to get as many positions of leadership in the state parties as they can.

As the head of Mr Paul's campaign said in an interview: “We laid out a strategy that would have put us in a very good position at a brokered convention. Unfortunately other candidates were not able to maintain their strength and only Ron and Gov. Romney remain. We recognize that Gov. Romney has what is very likely to be an insurmountable delegate lead.”

Ron never had the resources to stage a major campaign, and is serious about his chances only in his dreams. Personally, I like Libertarians a lot. As a group, they are a lot crankier than I am. If you ever get a chance to attend a Libertarian convention, it has better entertainment value than any movie plot you could ever conceive... It has elements of old acid-heads, spouting out-there gibberish, mixed with every form of conservative conspiracy theory ever invented, and a few well thought out ideas that you wish would be made into policy immediately. It's inclusive to Occupy Wallstreet and End the Fed...

And quite a vocal crowd, as demonstrated by the catcalls and booing at Romney supporters in the last couple of Republican conventions. So unruly that it worries the Ron Paul campaign, who issued a call for civility and respect come this summer and the national convention in Tampa. Ha ha ha, like that'll work. Whether you believe in climate change or not, its going to be another long, hot Summer, with the heat and humidity making us old folks bitchy and mean. It'll get real feisty in Tampa, now that the Woodstock generation has spent the last few years whacked out on prescription neuroleptics, and show these tea partiers how its really done right...

Sunday, May 13, 2012

Iraqi Police Needs Support, Al Qaeda VS Tehran?

"Apparently Rick Santorum endorsed Mitt Romney last night very late via email. That just makes Santorum one of the 10 million guys ashamed of what he did late last night on his computer." – Conan O'Brien
"President Obama came out with approval of same-sex marriage. He said that over the years, he has been going through an evolution on the issue. That makes opponents on the far right doubly angry. They don't believe in gay marriage OR evolution." – Jimmy Kimmel
"Michele Bachamnn has announced she is now also a citizen of Switzerland. What better way to protest a president you think is socialist than become a citizen of a country with a socialist philosophy and a mandated health care plan." – Jay Leno

A program initiated by the State Department, to train Iraqi police officers may be on the chopping block. And it should have happened a long time ago. There are so many things wrong with the history of this program, that it illustrates everything that Americans do wrong in foreign countries. The current version of the program has cost us over $500 million since last October, all without an accounting of where the money was spent. It sure didn't go to the 100 retired US police officers contracted to do the training and end up sitting on their butts all day because its been deemed too dangerous for them to go outside and visit the police stations. Their role has been diminished to making Powerpoint presentations that the Iraqis see as pointless...

Back in 2003, a program was set up to train the Iraqi police, set up by the State Dept. This was seen as inadequate, and the program was shifted over to the Pentagon as soon as F Paul Bremer was kicked out of the country. It remained under military control until this last October, when it was handed back to the State Dept as our soldiers were leaving.

A couple problems developed since the program's inception: one, that nobody asked the Iraqi government if they wanted such a program, and two, it never addressed any real-world problems the Iraqi police dealt with. After all of this time, it's obvious that no-one from the US in charge in Iraq has bothered to learn anything of Iraqi customs and culture. One example given in the recent article on this subject in the NY Times: "A lesson given by an American police instructor to a class of Iraqi trainees neatly encapsulated the program’s failings. There are two clues that could indicate someone is planning a suicide attack, the instructor said: a large bank withdrawal and heavy drinking.

The problem with that advice, which was recounted by Ginger Cruz, the former deputy inspector general at the American Office of the Special Inspector General for Iraq Reconstruction, was that few Iraqis have bank accounts and an extremist Sunni Muslim bent on carrying out a suicide attack is likely to consider drinking a cardinal sin..." Advice that might be helpful in a European country or the US... Another problem is that the Iraqis no longer want any US presence in their country. Part of it is because they no longer want the US to watch over the increasing evolving of an authoritarian government, and another factor is Iraq is increasingly becoming a satellite of Iran, like it or not. Despite the easy access to millions of dollars stolen by Iraqis from the Americans...

After nine years of reconstruction, and over $353 million in projects that have been abandoned, our military and diplomats never even developed a curriculum to follow. The current complaint from the State Dept about the military has been that whatever had been developed only fit into counterinsurgency measures, and they haven't had time to show the Iraqis how to stop a car or getting a cat out of a tree... The end result is that the program will be scuttled, the contractors will be recalled by the end of the year, and the Embassy in Iraq will have to find something else to squander the money on, because there are still officers in the State Dept that feel it was a successful program, given more time. Heaven forbid they return the money to help pay down the national debt...

"According to documents recovered from Osama Bin Laden's compound before his death, the Al Qaeda leader was worried that morale in the terrorist organization was fading. Bin Laden was concerned that his men were so depressed they wouldn't commit suicide." – Seth Meyers
Another of the "revelations" that the US is spoon-feeding the press, that comes from the papers taken from Osama bin Laden's hideaway in Pakistan, is that their was an antagonistic relationship between al Qaeda and the government of Iran. This is opposite from the propaganda that the US Treasury has put out that the relationship was actually a cozy one. But wait, they're both right!!!

The answer is simple. For many years, Iran had held members of Osama bin Laden as hostages, under house arrest on the outskirts of Tehran. As long as al Qaeda didn't mount any attacks on Iran, his wives and children would be fine. And it worked, though bin Laden wasn't happy over it. As soon as the rest of the world learned that Iran had the children, efforts were made to have them released to Saudi Arabia. Then, al Qaeda could think of making attacks on Iran, if it desired. The death of Osama and the uprising in Syria has distracted them from putting any plans to work... It's highly ironic that now al Qaeda and the US have been on the same sides in conflicts in Libya and Syria. If we stopped killing them by drones, and if they stopped trying to blow up our airplanes with pairs of underwear, we might end up Best Friends Forever...

Thursday, May 10, 2012

Iran's Nuclear Waste, Genocidal Hate Class Embarrasses Pentagon

"In an effort to curtail health costs, the Food and Drug Administration is now considering allowing the purchase of drugs without a prescription. You know what that means? One day Americans could actually be able to buy marijuana without ever seeing a doctor." – Jay Leno
"Police in Fort Wayne, Indiana, arrested a man for allegedly driving three blocks with four young children strapped to the hood of his car. Good to see Mitt Romney spending some time with the family, huh?" – Jay Leno
"France has a new president. He is Socialist François Hollande. He defeated Conservative French President Sarkozy in a presidential run-off yesterday. Of course, Nicolas Sarkozy handed over power in the traditional French manner. He surrendered." – Jay Leno

Intelligence analysts are saying that a picture, taken by a satellite, shows water leaking from a building in the middle of the desert. The building is part of a nuclear development site that the Iranian government won't let the inspectors in to inspect. The water has been construed to mean that either they finally have gotten around to Spring cleaning, or that the building has been used for bomb testing, and the water was used to clean it up in order for future inspections by the inspectors... Whether you believe Iran's stated nuclear intentions or not, one glaring question looms: why does Iran play games and not allow full inspections? A lot of it is ego, Iran wants respect from the major players in the world, and wants to be treated equally. Fat chance of that happening with Mahmoud Ahmadinejad in charge, and his recent local political setbacks show that the rest of the government is beginning to see that, also. A lot of it is that the anti-Iranian policies are led by Saudi Arabia, which is a Sunni majority, and Israel. The Saudis see the rise of Iran as a religious uprising that could lead to civil war across all South Asia and the Middle East, and strive to keep them in their place.

 Following is the picture causing the controversy, find your own reason for the black stuff leaking out of the side of the building, which is water. Personally, I like that they are merely keeping their official cactus garden hydrated... The picture was printed sideways:

Dissing the military is always a difficult thing to do, for many young people its a decent career choice. The main problem is that we get men and women at the age of 18, when they are still in puberty and without any life experience. In a war situation, they are thrown into an unfamiliar country and live in danger during their entire time there, often having to kill another person or watch others being killed, an experience that haunts them the rest of their lives...

In the middle of preparing to go to Afghanistan, and earlier Iraq, many young officers got to take a class on how to eliminate all 1.4 billion Muslims as a last resort. It was taught, from 2004 up until last month by Army Lt. Col. Matthew A. Dooley, and this week the top Pentagon Generals were so publicly embarrassed that they were forced to shut down the class and put Mr Dooley under investigation for spreading hate crimes. Nudge, nudge, wink, wink... This from Wired's Danger Room, which broke the story and published some of the class presentations: "The chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff recently ordered the entire U.S. military to scour its training material to make sure it doesn’t contain similarly hateful material, a process that is still ongoing. But the officer who delivered the lectures, Army Lt. Col. Matthew A. Dooley, still maintains his position at the Norfolk, Virginia college, pending an investigation. The commanders, lieutenant colonels, captains and colonels who sat in Dooley’s classroom, listening to the inflammatory material week after week, have now moved into higher-level assignments throughout the U.S. military.

For the better part of the last decade, a small cabal of self-anointed counterterrorism experts has been working its way through the U.S. military, intelligence and law enforcement communities, trying to convince whoever it could that America’s real terrorist enemy wasn’t al-Qaida — but the Islamic faith itself. In his course, Dooley brought in these anti-Muslim demagogues as guest lecturers. And he took their argument to its final, ugly conclusion.

“We have now come to understand that there is no such thing as ‘moderate Islam,’” Dooley noted in a July 2011 presentation (.pdf), which concluded with a suggested manifesto to America’s enemies. “It is therefore time for the United States to make our true intentions clear. This barbaric ideology will no longer be tolerated. Islam must change or we will facilitate its self-destruction.”

Already, conservative Congressmen are moving to allow Mr Dooley's class to be reinstalled, and probably give him a promotion... I'm sure there are similar types of classes being taught on eliminating all Christians and non-believers in the Middle East, perhaps in Saudi Arabia by some Wahabi's or anywhere else from Afghanistan to Somalia by your nearest al Qaeda franchise...

Monday, May 7, 2012

France's Socialist Sweetheart, Them Putin Girls

Paul Krugman

"President Obama hosts an early Cinco de Mayo White House party today. I thought it was weird when he made all the guests climb over the fence to get in." – Jimmy Fallon
"President Obama has come up with a new campaign slogan — 'Forward' — that's the slogan. And believe me, if unemployment doesn't improve by November, it'll be 'Forward my mail.'" – Jay Leno
"German authorities report they have discovered digital files hidden in a porn movie that outline Al Qaeda's plans for more terrorist attacks. I believe this is the first time that a porn film has ever contained a plot." – Jay Leno

I had my most recent post already written, the photos added, all that left was to publish it to my blog, when I fell asleep last night with the laptop in my lap. everything was frozen this morning, and I had to take out the battery in order to reset the computer, losing everything I had written. I had hoped to watch the full Supermoon last night, but it ended up cloudy and raining here, so I ended up trolling for pictures on the Internet... and then I fell asleep...

Many of the policies that our conservatives favor have been put in practice in Europe, first. Including the favorite economic bugaboo that austerity measures are what is needed to make the economy grow, a major plank of the Paul Ryan budget, and what conservatives have been whining over since 2008. The European austerity program was put in place by Germany's Angela Merkel and France's Nicolas Sarkozy, and then rammed down the Greek's government as the only way to save them.

Over the weekend, Greece and France had elections. The two parties that had been in power for the last 40 years could,'t muster a majority, leaving the country in flux as to what will happen next. More people ended up voting for fringe parties, both to the Left and to the Right, one with the bizarre name of Golden Dawn and the propensity of bearing torches to meetings in the night... If some kind of coalition government can't be formed within the next three days, then the whole process will begin again...

Of course, by now we all have heard that Nicolas Sarkozy lost to a more moderate candidate, someone who has been branded as having more civility, patience, and genuinely seems to care about building a fairer government. Yes, they elected a Socialist... Francios Hollande is thought to be less of a fanatic and might bring a level head to the argument. He also vows to bring French soldiers back from Afghanistan by the end of the year, and pundits feel that he won't be following in the footsteps of the US and Israel in their policies towards Iran. Who knows, since France has the largest amount of nuclear reactors generating electricity in Europe, they might have a new business client in Iran, if they can only get the mafia to stop illegal dumping of nuclear wastes... Conservatives fear that this may spark a trend that would ultimately replace Merkel in Germany and what's his name in Britain...

Funny how conservatives in the US try to make the word Socialism into a bad word, as if Socialists and the godless Communists were interchangeable in thought and deed. It's the old Cold War mentality, having an us versus them, with no other way, and the loser is evil by default. It's how we have been taught at school for over 60 years and too many folks of my generation can't seem to break themselves of this archaic way of thinking. Hence, by labeling Barack Obama as a Socialist, he is a bad man, with evil thoughts and has to be vanquished. In Europe, Socialists have been part of an actual political movement that responds to events in the real world, and are more accepted. I hope that the world will give Mr Hollande a fair shake, at least until the first sex scandal is uncovered...

Speaking of the godless Communists, the next best thing, Vladimir Putin, was inaugurated. His spontaneous, celebratory crowd of 30,000 were bussed into Moscow to counter-react against the planned protest of 20,000 opposition members. If you're thinking that no good would come from this, you might be right. The two groups didn't clash with each other, their permits directed them to different places. Which left the police to free to attack and arrest over 400 at the opposition rally... Putin is getting more paranoid, and can be heard muttering to himself that it's all the fault of the US. Who knows, it could be true, the CIA could be after him. Next thing you know, he'll have nightmares of nocturnal visits from Seal Team 6, payback for all of the journalists he's had assassinated and political opponents rotting in some jail cell...

Of course, if Mr Putin wishes to appear in a kinder light, he is going to need the help of more than a few fake pictures of him in nature. Luckily, all he has to do is set up an interview with People magazine or a video with Entertainment Tonight with his two daughters. Or use stand-ins, since no-one really knows what they look like. He has erected an iron curtain over his family, the only photos for sure of his daughters were taken when they were little. I include one photo of them as teenagers here to the right, but, really, they could just be a couple of citizens, admiring the half-naked premier, for all we know... Anyway, Vlad could use some humanizing and his daughters could provide the stories. If done tastefully, they could tone down the constant complaining about how inhumane he is. After all, even Vlad the Impaler loved his children... OK, I made that up...

It's said that one of the reasons they have been kept out of the spotlight is because he and his wife have been estranged for years. It would explain the girlfriends he's been photo'd with. He pretty much ignores his wife whenever they have t be seen in public. One bad joke shows a picture of Putin and his wife, with the caption reading: "So, see you again in six more years?"

Friday, May 4, 2012

Osama's Anniversary, Babies On Drugs

"I was making jokes about the Secret Service while they were 10 feet away from me with machine guns in their hands. President Obama made jokes about them and he didn't get much of a reaction either. They're probably laughing on the inside." – Jimmy Kimmel

"Strange development in the Secret Service prostitution saga. They issued new rules of conduct on Friday, and on some trips they will send chaperones to make sure the rules are enforced. Am I nuts, or is this weird? We have to give the Secret Service chaperones to make sure they don't get drunk and have sex?" – Jimmy Kimmel

"We should make the agents travel with their moms. They would be highly trained themselves and will be ready to throw their bodies on any agent who is about to throw his body on a prostitute." – Jimmy Kimmel

Yesterday marked the one year anniversary that Seal Team 6 invaded Osama bin Laden's compound and killed him, then took the body away with them. Since then, Barack Obama has been pretty cocky, using it in an ad, as one of the reasons for his re-election. Of course, his opponents say that it is tacky and bad form to go around crowing, that type of behavior should be beneath the office of the president. To which The Daily Show's John Stewart replies: "So let me get this straight. Republicans, you're annoyed by the arrogance and braggadocio of a wartime President's political ad. You think he's divisively and unfairly belittling his opponents, I see. I have a question: ARE YOU ON CRACK??? Were you alive, lo, these past ten years? It seems unseemly for the President to spike the football. Bush landed on a fucking aircraft carrier with a football-stuffed codpiece; he spiked the football before the game had even started!"

And, for all of you al Qaeda enthusiasts, you can celebrate with more than the official memorial turban. Now you can also collect the letters that bin Laden had on him when he died, soon to be released in a special boxed set by the Combatting Terrorism Center at West Point. Proving that Wikileaks is really a good service, they released 175 pages of letters online, and there is much more information to follow, if they get enough subscriptions... Lovers of trivia and those who think that letters between writers are important will thrill to know the petty problems Osama had with his organization, from laundering money into Euros or dollars because they are the only stable currencies, to thinking of changing the al Qaeda franchise. I guess he didn't like my idea of making infomercials and selling off franchises as "jihads in a box..."

The country of Pakistan is adding to the celebration, by deporting the rest of Osama's family. They may stop by Iran and pick up another old wife and children, who had been living as guests of the state for the past six years or so. Now, the bin Laden family back in Saudi Arabia will have to take care of them, good thing they are all millionaires. Except for the one wife that will get sent back to Yemen, who's only goal in life was to marry a jihadi warrior... Oh, I can smell a few good memoirs coming out of this exodus... Of course, if they were all grown sons and brothers of bin Laden, Pakistan would have let them stay, or at least shipped them back to Afghanistan. Instead, his wives will be sentenced to the horrors of the mansion of Riyadh and the indoor ski slopes of Dubai, those poor, wretched creatures...

While I'm still on the subject of the Middle East, one sad fact caught my eye in this morning's NY Times: that in Palestine, just about every family has had someone who was incarcerated. Just think of how much energy and effort has gone into agitating for a separate Palestinian state, and the cost to each and every family. Israel could sit down and hammer out a solution in one weekend if it really wanted to. First, they need to change their government and get rid of Benjamin Netanyahu, who has said in a speech to the Knesset, that a peace will never be negotiated while he was in office...

Yesterday I posted about Pfizer losing its patent to Lipitor. The problems are much worse in the US. We have a rising number of babies being born addicted to drugs, both street drugs and prescription drugs. We also have a rising rate in children being born autistic, and they don't have a clue as to the reason why. Almost every water source that feeds our major cities are contaminated by traces of prescription drugs, and we have a rising rate of suicide among teenagers, returning veterans, and senior citizens.

We cannot legislate our way out of this problem, and it may take a radical way to rethink and practice health care, from the cradle to the grave. But the dialogue is being sidetracked over bs arguments about Obamacare. The more your attention is caught up in bogus attacks on contraception and what makes a person, you don't have time to get mad over the deformities that the drugs we are giving pregnant women are causing. Just give granny something that will put her to sleep at night, because you are too tired to care for her. Besides, its all some Liberal Socialist plot and has nothing to do with the greed for the billions of dollars that drugs like Lipitor and Plavix make for their makers, now that the money to be made will be by the generic manufacturers in China and Turkey...

Thursday, May 3, 2012

Rupert's Bad Acting, Pfizer Loses Lipitor Patent

"Mitt Romney gets a lot of criticism because he's kind of stiff, he's sort of cold, he's sort of aloof. And I thought, 'Well, wait a minute. Let's look at the bright side of this.' Mitt Romney is an inspiration to kids all over this country who sadly were born without a personality." – David Letterman
"Now allegations are coming out that the Secret Service were partying with strippers and hookers, not just in Colombia but in El Salvador, Buenos Aires, Moscow. You got to hand it to these guys. A lot of us look at the world and say, 'F**k it.' These people actually do it." – Bill Maher

"Newt Gingrich says he's going to make an announcement on Tuesday that he's suspending his presidential campaign. Yes, he's letting us down gently. And also because technicians are still working on Callista to install her sad face." – Bill Maher

The headline news this morning was that Rupert Murdoch's plan backfired on him, and it may end up costing him billions more and not be allowed to do business with the British government anymore. The report came out from the investigation and inquiry of parliament about Murdoch's role in the phone hacking of a young girl who had been kidnapped, and the further hacking of cell phones of celebrities and politicians to get leads for juicy stories for his newspapers.

Rupert's lame plan, when he had to appear before parliament for questioning, was to portray himself as a clueless old man, perhaps sinking into Alzheimer's, which let him claim to not remember very much and to blame lesser executives who sought to keep any knowledge of wrong-doing from coming to his attention. None of the unfortunate events was his fault! And to show how concerned he was, as soon as this sordid mess came to the public's attention, he shut down the News of the World, and canceled his $12 billion bid to purchase the rest of the television station BSkyB, and demoted his lying son, James, who has been forced to withdraw from working in Britain.

But Rupert's exercise in street theater has resulted in a report saying that he is not fit to lead a major corporation, which will give fuel for other investigations and lawsuits against him. If he loses his contracts with the TV station, it means a loss of billions of dollars in revenue, and possibly having his removal by his board of directors. Rupert has estranged friends and family, so its looking like this man will soon die, bitter and alone.

Speaking of losing billions of dollars, the patent is ending for Lipitor, the drug used for heart disease and stroke, and they haven't developed anything to replace it. Throughout the pharmaceutical industry, nineteen patents will end this year, resulting in a possible losses of $38 billion annually... Good news for the rest of us who use those drugs, for now they can be made as generics, and your monthly dose may be reduced from $150 down to $15. Unfortunately for me, the expensive non-generic drugs I take have about 15 more years left on their patents, so I still have to fork out the bucks each month, but millions of senior citizens may be able to afford to go out for breakfast an extra one or two times and enjoy that special quality of life that is popularized in myth and movies...

Our old police chief, who had been especially hired away from his old job in Michigan to live and work in beautiful Colorado Springs, only to be fired by our mayor, has been hired by the city of Sanford, Florida. He will be the interim chief of police until the Trayvon Martin case has been resolved, then the city will decide whether to keep him on, or let the guy who had to step down have his job back.

Mr Myers had had some problems with his officers, you know, the regular kind like police brutality, possessing child pornography, and attempting to meet kids through the Internet. The only thing that was missing was using a patrol car as a moving meth lab... When my nephew was working as a paramedic here in town, he told me that on several occasions he had to transport the sherif's wife to the methadone clinic. We wondered if one of the reasons that the sherif took the job here was to be closer to the drug-smuggling super-highway... Now that he;s moving to Sanford, he'll be even closer...