Headlines Answer Ya Questions

As the flotsam and jetsam of current events wash around in my head, it’s just funny how I keep coming up with issues of “I wonder” and then I find a headline that answers the question. Must just be something in the air.

I was thinking, for example, about the social media meme that goes around listing all of Impeached Preznit Carnage’s accomplishments. A really great blog entry would be to go through and debunk that list (3/4 of them are voice votes in Congress and so not actual “accomplishments.”)

It turns out that the Washington Post has already done this story: A Fact-Checked List of Trump Accomplishments

Then I start thinking, well, maybe it’s time to take a close look at that new “health care plan” that Impeached Preznit Carnage “unveiled” last week. Hey, look! the Washington Post did that already!

After years of promising his own health care plan, Trump settles for rebranding rather than repealing Obamacare

Thanks, folks!

So then I’m in the shower and wondering what the Biden administration might do differently on Middle East policy, specifically, how in the wide wide world of sports would we ever rejoin the Iran deal and try to stem the development of a nuclear program in that rogue nation?

A little upstart publication called al-Monitor has a succinct analysis of this: Why rejoining the Iran nuclear deal isn’t so easy, even if Biden wins

Did you know that Iran is a little pissed at us due to the US sanctions, and that they for some reason or another have not been excited about complying regimen via the JCPOA? Shocker. Re-entering the previous deal or creating a new one has been severely complicated by Trump’s abrupt withdrawal from the previous framework.

She Said 'Bushism'

There for a minute, I thought Helen Thomas told the President of these Untied States not to give her any bullshit. Thank goodness the New York Times liveblogged the press conference.

From Jeff Zeleny: President Obama – perhaps looking to change the subject? – called on Helen Thomas, the longest-serving member of the White House press corps. He hasn’t called on her since his first press conference more than a year ago, but turned to her today, after several questions about the oil spill.

The topic? Afghanistan.

Before he answered, she warned him: “Don’t give us this Bushism” that the terrorists will come to the United States if we don’t fight them in Afghanistan.

The president delivered a standard answer, saying the U.S. military was making progress in its mission, but he acknowledged that major challenges loomed.

Anotherwerds, she got the Bushism she warned him not to give her.

I’m always a bit surprised by progressive folks who bristle at Mr. Obama. He campaigned on an Afghan war. I suspect myself that he did so because, politically, he had to; because the worst thing you can be in this world if you want to win in politics for some reason is a liberal peacenik. The point being, that Obama never said he was going to end our role in war. He said he’d end the stupid one in Iraq, but only to build up the stupid one in Afghanistan. That is what he said he’d do.

Not that Helen Thomas is wrong to accost the President on this. The war is still stupid, and Obama’s boilerplate answer is not helpful. “Fighting them over there so we don’t have to fight them here” sounds just as stupid coming out of his mouth as it did from his predecessor’s. Believe me, UBL has glazed his cave ceiling thousands of times by now regarding our presence in Afghanistan; it is his wet dream come true.

Anyways. Back to point #1: Barack Obama ain’t a liberal, kids. He never was. He’s not ending the war; he’s not sticking his neck out for true universal health care; he’s meandering toward ending DADT. Part of political activism is accepting that party politics may not always move for you as quickly or as effectively as, say, movement politics might. Abbie Hoffman never ran for office. Hell, Abbie formed his own party.

For certain, though, is that we’re better off than we’d have been with a President McWeirdsmile and his vapid sidekick. Then we’d likely be balls deep in Iraq instead of getting out and we’d have marched to Tehran by now.

By the way, my father’s excellent research in sunny Kansas (“Nothing new under the sun”) got a nice mention on an excellent blog that is apparently named after a neatly stocked Scrabble rack. Thanks!

Why Is This Man Smiling?

Okay. Maybe he isn’t smiling. Maybe he’s at the top half of a tennis serve. Maybe he’s passing a kidney stone. Maybe he’s just been linked to a big expensive prostitution ring and he is sad and humble. Yes, Spitzer sounded sad and humble, didn’t he?

I’ve read and heard the big rumble from Hillary voters and other pundits that people will run with this as a way to dredge up Monigate ghosts. Of course, they will, even though this is a radically different situation from Bill’s. Bill didn’t pay for it, he just let an intern flap her thong strings at him. Any Impeachmantango worth his salt at the time would tell you in all seriousness that the Starr investigation wasn’t even about sex. But, look. Spitzer or no Spitzer, Monigate would still surely become a spectre in the case of a Clinton nomination. The big elephant in the middle of the room would eventually come to wear a splotched blue dress, whether spurred by Spitzer or by the little red demons standing on each of John Weirdsmile’s hunched shoulders.

I think my favorite part about the Spitzer story, besides the aforementioned photograph, is that he paid ahead for it. That’s right. Elliot Spitzer, Governor of New York, put ass on layaway. It does not get any stankier than that.

Meanwhile, filed under “we begin bombing in five minutes”: Adm. William J. Fallon has resigned.

Iran announces new gas field in Gulf

TEHRAN (AFP) – A gas field with an estimated 11 trillion cubic feet in reserves has been discovered in the Gulf off the coast of Iran, Oil Minister Gholam Hossein Nozari said on Saturday.

“A gas field with an estimated reserve of 11 trillion cubic feet (311 billion cubic metres) was found by an Indian company in the Persian Gulf,” Nozari told a news conference.

Nozari declined to reveal the name of the company but said “there will be talks with the discovering company for (the field’s) development if they are interested.”

Iran has the world’s second-largest proven gas reserves after Russia and has ambitions to export gas to a host of countries including Armenia, Pakistan, Syria.

Despite vast gas reserves, the country has not grown to be a major international exporter due to slow progress in exploiting its fields combined with a lack of foreign investment.

Despite its export plans, Iran has recently been forced to import gas from neighbouring Turkmenistan to cover high domestic consumption.

The imports were stopped at the end of December due to what Turkmenistan called technical hitches. They have yet to be resumed.

Iran noramlly imports 20 to 23 million cubic metres (700 million to 810 million cubic feet) of gas daily from Turkmenistan — amounting to around five percent of its total consumption.

Iran’s only gas exports are to Turkey which usually receives around 20 million cubic metres (700 million cubic feet) each day.

Iran had to cut the exports to Turkey for three weeks earlier this year due to the combination of the lack of Turkmenistan gas and severe cold weather.

Red Rover, Red Rover, Let Turkey Come Over

Rice flies to Iraq as Turkish troops cross border
By Arshad Mohammed and Shamal Aqrawi
Tue Dec 18, 9:07 AM ET

KIRKUK, Iraq (Reuters) – U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice urged Iraqi leaders on Tuesday to speed up national reconciliation on a trip overshadowed by an incursion by several hundred Turkish troops into northern Iraq.

About 300 Turkish soldiers, carrying only light weapons, entered an area of the mountainous northern Kurdish province of Dahuk, about 200 km (120 miles) from the Iraqi city of Kirkuk, where Rice’s plane first touched down.

The soldiers clashed with Kurdish separatist guerrillas, a Turkish military official said. Turkey says it has the right to use military force to combat Kurdish rebels who shelter in the semi-autonomous Kurdish region of northern Iraq.

The incursion was a sharp reminder that while violence in Iraq has dropped by 60 percent since June, security is fragile and Iraq still faces threats both from within and without. The Kurdish Regional Government condemned the incursion.

The Bombing Begins in Five Minutes

Bush demands Iran explain nuke program

By BEN FELLER, Associated Press Writer

WASHINGTON – President Bush on Tuesday called on Iran to explain why it had a secretive nuclear weapons program, and warned that any such efforts must not be allowed to flourish “for the sake of world peace.”

“Iran is dangerous,” Bush said after an Oval Office meeting with Italian President Giorgio Napolitano. “We believe Iran had a secret military weapons program, and Iran must explain to the world why they had a program.”