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Lets's talk about democracy
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Tuesday, 25 October 2005
A landmark day in Iraq!
Topic: General News.

Reports out today say the Iraqi Constitution has been passed by the Iraqi people. Those rotten Sunnis almost spoiled the show by nearly defeating it by voting "no" in three provinces by a 2/3 vote. The Province of Nineveh turned out to be where the Iraqi Independent Electoral Commission investigated irregularities in the tallies but eventually found that only 55% of the vote went against the document and there was no fraud after all. This being Iraq, I take this news with a grain of salt, it's not like they ever get anything else right, but what are you going to do? Now, we move on the December elections for a new parliament where, presumably, the Sunnis will go and vote again but will still have no say in anything because they represent only 20% of the population. Of course, now that the Iraqi people have endorsed what the Shiites and the Kurds have been up to, they can go along and amend the constitution all over again and put in whatever crackpot religious laws they want in and outlaw the Sunnis, for starters. Naturally, in the "run-up" to the election we can expect an "upsurge in violence" that will settle down after the insurgents see they have been massively defeated by democracy and Pease will then reign; we'll bring our troops home and the Shiites will get to massacring the Sunnis without anymore interference from us.

By the way, didn't I hear something the other day about the various military offensives in Anbar province and along the Syrian border having succeeded in crippling the ability of insurgents to use car bombs? I was just wondering if I was dreaming because yesterday the Palestine hotel was almost launched into space by a coordinated, three car bomb attack that luckily failed in its apparent attempt to kill a lot of western journalists. Iraqi national security advisor Mouwafak al-Rubaie claimed the attacks had been a "very clear" effort to take foreign journalists hostage and I kept hearing this repeated all day on the NPR news reports, but if it was a hostage taking plot, why wasn't there any evidence of hostage takers being involved? This al-Rubaie fellow ought to look into getting a job as national security advisor in the Bush administration; I think they'd like the cut of his jib. Steven Hadley said he blew the "16 words" in the state of the union speech and he got promoted; Condi blew 9/11 and she got to be Secretary of State. This Iraqi might go far with his wild assertions based on nothing.

The AP reports also, "The U.S. military said two Marines were killed by a roadside bomb during fighting with insurgents on Friday near Amiriyah, a village in western Baghdad. That raised to 1,999 the number of members of the U.S. military who have died since the Iraq war started in March 2003." Scott McClellan said the news of the constitution passing was a, "Landmark day in the history of Iraq." Some might say hitting 2000 dead is a landmark in the histroy of Iraq, too.

Speaking of NPR: has anybody, besides me, ever noticed the stories they decide to go with on the weekends are a little odd? This past Saturday they ended one update with a story about a speech Gorbachev gave and the report went something like this: "In a speech today, former Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbechev said the US and Russia were both victorious at the end of world war 2." End of story, that was it! What was that all about, who decided this was worthy of the time it took to read?

Central Asia News:

In another lurch towards the good old days of Stalinism, Vladimir Putin has banished tycoon Mikhail Khordorkovsky to a prison in Chita, Siberia. (You really got to love the classics.) There he will serve out the rest of his 8 year sentence on tax evasion and fraud charges, which were basically trumped up because Putin viewed Khordorkovsky as a political threat. Khordorkovsky's business partner, Platon Lebedev, has also been sent to Siberia. This ridiculously heavy handed treatment should be an example to others in Russia who think there should be any other leader besides Czar Vladimir.

What does the great Soviet expert Condoleezza Rice have to say about this? I don't know, she's too busy making kissy faces with Kazakhstani autocrat Nursultan Nazarbayev, who she knows from his days in the Soviet Politburo and her days at Chevron making oil deals with him. Nazarbyev is busy getting ready for next year's elections where he will try to win the election by 100%, instead of the usual 96%. Since Kazakhstan is drowning in oil and the Chinese are very interested in all that oil and natural gas, I don't think Condi will be looking too closely at this particular cult of personality. Here's a good rundwon of what went on when Condi made Nazarbayev answer questiosn from the US press: Gateway Pundit.

Uzbekistan:

Uzbek dissident Elena Urlaeva has been delared insane by the Usbek government and is being forced to take forced psychiatric treatment, Human Rights Watch says. "The Uzbek government has shown its willingness to use Stalinist-era tactics in its campaign against human rights defenders," says Holly Cartner, Europe and Central Asia director at Human Rights Watch. Her great crime, according to the Uzbek police, was being caught with "four copies of the caricature in her possession, as well as 75 copies of a pamphlet describing the Ozod Dekhon ("Free Peasants") party, an unregistered independent political party of which she is a member. The government said she was also carrying 65 pages of printed text "critical of the policies of the president and government of Uzbekistan." [HRW]

"On May 14, the State Department certified that Uzbekistan made “substantial and continuing progress” in meeting its human rights and democracy commitments under the “Declaration on the Strategic Partnership and Cooperation Framework,” signed in March 2002," according to Muslim Uzbekistan, which gives a rundown of US whitewahing of that countries human rights "progress." No word that I can find, yet, on what the US is doing about the Elena Urlaeva case.

More Azerbaijan news:

Assistant Secretary of State, Daniel Fried, said there were "disturbing reports" of pre election abuses and excessive use of police force in the run-up to the Nov. 6 elections in the oil rich country. The US urged the Azeri government to run free and fair elections and noted signs of backsliding on its commitment to do so. Well, I'm sure Daniel Fried has just struck fear into the heart of Ilham Alyev and he'll get right on cleaning up his act.

Holy Toledo!

I, along with everybody else, probably said to themselves when they heard about the riots there last week: 'Whaaa?' All I heard was that Nazis had showed up to march in LaGrange, a black neighborhood in Toledo and there had been so much opposition to their presence that the police told them they couldn’t march and at some point rocks got thrown and teargas was released. According to Time, it turns out this story started a while back when, "Thomas Szych, who is white, complained that local African-American children were dealing drugs and made hundreds of calls of complaints to local police. In interviews with Toledo media, Szych described two African-American police officers as 'gorillas with guns.' But the police found little evidence of gangs in the neighborhood."

This obsession with one particular woman's pre-teen children, who he regularly video taped, eventually led to Szych getting some local press which wound up attracting the attention of this Nazi group who decided to get some press of their own by marching in support of this jackass. Times writes, "Many in LaGrange, including members of the police, now believe Szych may have had something to do with the Roanoke Nazis' deciding to visit Toledo. Szych denies any involvement. But soon after the police cordon began pushing back against the Saturday crowds, sending mobs of people through the neighborhood, one of the first buildings attacked was Szych's house, about three blocks away. Rocks and bricks were hurled through the windows and Szych appeared on his porch, firing warning shots into the air, according to news reports by the Toledo Blade."

Afterwards, Szych said if the Toledo police wouldn't do their job then more power to the Nazis, this after denying he had anything to do with them coming. [I heard that on CBS' Sunday Morning program but I can't find the link. Their web site sucks!]

Darfur, again.

With all the disasters going on in the world, including the latest hurricane, Wilma, that wrecked southern Florida, along with my parent's house, the world has been ignoring what's going on in Sudan, which has gone from bad to worse. Read about this at Eric Reeves web site www.sudanreeves.org, who says the crisis is about to get to biblical levels within the next few weeks.

Posted by bushmeister0 at 11:53 AM EDT
Updated: Tuesday, 25 October 2005 12:07 PM EDT
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