State of the World Thread

( – promoted by Colorado Pols)

It is that time again.  

It is the 4th of July weekend; everyone’s feeling patriotic and that’s good.

Yet, while election rhetoric rages and partisans pontificate, it is hard to get straight answers from anyone.  In the midst of domestic and political turmoil we here on ColoradPols remember that no man is an island and in today’s day and age what happens in other countries affects us here, more so today than ever before.

So let us discourse on the state of the world while celebrating our own.

72 Community Comments, Facebook Comments

  1. Car 31 says:

    Mexico’s drug cartels are waging war against Mexico’s army and local law enforcement.  

    55% of Mexicans surveyed in a recent poll said the cartels are winning the fight.  The US GAO estimates that 275 metric tons of coke is shipped into the US each year, while drug enforcement agencies are able only to confiscate 36 metric tons.

    http://www.csmonitor.com/2008/

    Maybe we should recruit England’s finest in our hour of need.

    http://abcnews.go.com/Internat

    Meanwhile Colombian FARC rebels seem to be confused and possibly enjoying too much of their own product.  Rebels were tricked into giving up 15 hostages, some high profile, in a covert operation run by the Columbian government.  

    Is this the beginning of the end for FARC? Will there be peace in Columbia between two parties whom have fought a civil war since the 1970s?

    http://www.guardian.co.uk/worl

    • parsingreality says:

      The border sheriffs are pissed off.  We give millions to Mexico for the Merida anti-drug project and don’t help the US side of the border: U.S. funds for Mexico drug war frustrate Texas sheriffs http://www.chron.com/disp/stor

    • Canines says:

      What does it say for Mexico’s anti-drug fight when one of its major criminal gangs, which serves traffickers, consists of ex-military who brazenly recruit current soldiers to cross over?

      Los Angeles Times:

      http://www.latimes.com/la-fg-m

      In the border cities of Nuevo Laredo and Reynosa, in the state of Tamaulipas, neatly painted banners appeared this spring advertising jobs in the Zetas, one of the country’s most fearsome crime groups.

      The banners, addressed to “soldiers or ex-soldiers,” offered “good wages, food and help for your family.”

      Washington Post:

      http://www.washingtonpost.com/

      The cartels’ appeals — which authorities generally believe to be authentic recruitment efforts — seem designed in part to taunt a military plagued by at least 100,000 desertions in the past eight years.

      Even though the drug war has traumatized Mexicans, cartels still use bravado and a dash of humor to gain supporters. The Nuevo Laredo banner, for instance, promised that the cartels would not feed new recruits instant noodle soup, an allusion to the cheap and frequently mocked meals that many poor soldiers are forced to eat and that the government often provides to stranded migrants.

      • Car 31 says:

        Travelling through Mexico years ago, the police corruption was widespread.  Back then they didn’t get paid enough to support a family, so they supplemented with little bites from citizens.

        Now we are facing drug cartels that behead targetted victims and boast about it to the world.

        Do you think they’ll burn themselves out, restore a pecking order and get on with business?  Or is this new generation of drug cartels trying to institutionalize drug trafficing in northern Mexico?

        • Canines says:

          But I can wager guesses like anyone else.

          Do you think they’ll burn themselves out, restore a pecking order and get on with business?  

          Well the cartels will establish a pecking order for a certain amount of time, before there’ll be a split or organizational shakeup. Then it will all be up for grabs again.

          Or is this new generation of drug cartels trying to institutionalize drug trafficing in northern Mexico?

          I suspect that drug trafficking has already been institutionalized for quite some time in northern Mexico, effecting all sectors of society.

  2. Car 31 says:

    What the heck is going on in North Korea?  Actual diplomatic breakthroughs leading to North Korean President Kim Jong Il blowing up a nuclear reactor tower in a symbolic gesture to end international pressures against his country.  

    Then President Bush removes North Korea from the US terrorist blacklist and lifts key trade sanctions in place against the country.

    http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/25

    http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/25

    What happened to mean ol’ Kim Jong Il? Maybe he just got to ronley…

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v

  3. Car 31 says:

    Iran stays in the forefront of international issues.  Back in late 2007 the National Intelligence Estimate stated that Iran was not developing nuclear weapons.  This admission undercut years of diplomatic dialogue, built to stop the threat of nuclear Iran.  

    Now, it would seem the multiparty talks and UN sanctions are not working and Iran is determined to continue down the yellow cake road.

    http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/mid

    http://www.time.com/time/world

    Continued nationalistic rhetoric from Iran and Israel is doing nothing to diffuse the situation.  Israel has noted that military strikes against suspected Iranian nuclear facilities could come within the year and Iran has promised a ball of fire if this scenario occurs.

    Is it too late to avert military strikes against Iran?  Is this President Bush’s swan song?

    How would the new administration begin dealing with and diffusing the potential for increased animosities and warfare in a region already teetering on the brink? How does the world welcome a new member of the nuclear club?

    • Danny the Red (hair) says:

      Bush is going to attack Iran so that the US is embroiled in a conflict that will destroy our economy and any hope for stability.

      • Car 31 says:

        Watching the spin machine at work.  Not just Bush, previous Presidents as well, but Bush’s spin cycle is like a dervish on crack.

        The other night I watched a film about media and the lead up to the Iraq war.  The rhetoric and the repitition of phrases (‘smoking gun’), the claim of diplomacy with the disclaimer that everything is on the table…

        Before the NIE report, I saw this process ramping up again and it scared the poop out of me.  After the NIE, it seemed the talk became a bit deflated.

        It is interesting to think the intelligence world undercut President Bush on purpose.

        Possibly (likely?) Israel will attack Iran, thereby doing the dirty work. I think they’ll do it before November, not wanting to risk what a new Administration may think.  

      • Car 31 says:

        but Israel may.  

        from the Economist –

        Recent weeks have brought a spike in chatter about the prospect of an Israeli military strike on Iran’s nuclear installations. Israel has conducted ostentatious long-range air exercises over the Mediterranean, and one former chief of staff has called an attack inevitable if Iran continues its nuclear work.

        http://www.economist.com/opini

  4. Car 31 says:

    Lame duck President Bush sat back in the White House residence one night about a year ago and realized his legacy was in jeopardy.  So what does any right thinking President do to ensure a legacy?  Broker a Middle East peace deal, that’s what!

    Secretary of State Condi Rice, bless her little heart, has travelled often to the region to persuade, bully and cajole members on both sides to find a way to peace.

    It is an interesting statement, about the office and the man, when a President who has inflamed the Middle East so well is able to even dream about pulling off a peace deal before another chapter begins.

    http://www.telegraph.co.uk/new

  5. BlueCat says:

    and flawless operation to rescue Ingrid Betancourt and other hostages, including three long held Americans, was pretty amazing.  All pinpoint accurate intel and infiltration, no gunfire or bombing.  After the news broke, noticed a few early attempts by the Bush administration to take some credit but even the Pentagon agrees with the Colombian military that all the credit belongs to them and US had nothing of any importance to do with it.  

    Kind of makes you wonder what we might have accomplished by now in the realm of counter-terrorism if we hadn’t cut lose so many Arabic speakers of Arab descent throughout all of our intel agencies and made them all so inhospitable to Arab Americans who were willing to help.  

    • parsingreality says:

      Of course, we have to have the now sultry Ingrid Betancourt falling for the FARC leader, while an erstwhile American captive attempts to set her straight. She finally comes to her patriotic (Columbian-French) senses and stabs him while submitting to his animalistic advances while singing a composite national anthem consisting of the Columbian music and the French lyrics.  

    • cologeek says:

      is a brilliant operator.  Not only do they rescue high value hostages, but they nab the FARC commander in charge of guarding them!  From the fake NGO to the Che Guevara t-shirts, the attention to detail shows that a real intel pro was involved.  While not as many hostages were rescued here, you can easily compare it to the Israeli mission at Entebbe.

      This is a real blow to the FARC, the only real winning card they have had to play in a while is the large number of hostages they hold with the threat of their death if any rescue is attempted.  With the rescue of Mrs. Betancourt and the others, that threat is severely undercut.

      Bravo to the Columbian Army, for an excellent example of the perfect rescue!

  6. dwyer says:

    And, this is Colombia’s walk on the moon day. Congratulations to a brave people.

  7. parsingreality says:

    FL governor Charlie Crist popped the question to Carole Rome and didn’t get a veto. Very pretty – and wealthy.  (Ms. Rome, not Charlie.)

    Yes, they were together at McBush’s Memorial Day-Vet VP Possibilities BBQ.  Maybe John told Charlie he needed to get married to be considered…….

    • One Queer Dude says:

      …ask Suzanne Craig, Dina Matos McGreevy, and Gayle Haggard.  It is, however, evidence that he’s seriously being considered for V.P.

      • parsingreality says:

        Gov. Cris was married for six months when in college, stayed single for all of these years, and thirty years later marrying again.

        I would think that if truly gay, staying single would have a lot more advantages than covering by marrying….even for the veep slot.  

  8. Paraducks says:

    Daily comes the reminder the government is failing, drugs, long, costly warfare, energy, border crossings, gangs, health care, education, social security, out of control litigation, the economy. Government accomplishes nothing. It matters little who’s in power, blue or red. Americans get the same results for their money, whether taxes are high or low. Every malady we pay to resolve becomes worse by the moment. It must be obvious now to ambitious despots the US is feckless. With every power grab, the dysfunction multiplies. With every new injustice lawyers concoct, with the environmental catastrophe of the moment, our resources are diverted and wasted. We could never again duplicate our success in World War II when our power and influence peaked. We’re a nation in slow motion collapse, a happy prospect to contributors here addicted to debasing power and authority no matter the cost to the nation.  

    • Danny the Red (hair) says:

      I think you forget just how dominant admired and respected the US was just 10 years ago.  

      Our problems are managable if we just get off our asses and do something about them.

      If we sit around and wallow we will get nothing done and we will fail, but I have hope.

      I think Americans are self-absorbed, but they are not suicidal.

    • parsingreality says:

      you parked the finger that points at the beginning of the end of the middle class under Ray-gun and the absolute disaster that the Boosh administration has been.

      Squandered money like drunken sailors, destroyed the sympathy and good will of the world after 9/11.

      There is plenty of blame to go around, including the average Amurikan wanting lots more stuff, but don’t every blame wanting a world with clean air and water and with rights for everyone.

      If you want respect for authority and the good old days, there a lot of places in the world you should be comfortable in.  

  9. Paraducks says:

    The average American I know wants health.

    The desire for a new pick-up is largely gone now. I stopped looking, myself. I really like the Ford F-150. But forget it at $4 gasoline. We’re all fat. My friends who got into the jogging craze in the 1980s are all heavy now. Most limp because they’ve blown out a knee or a hip.

    I would imagine you’d agree, there’s something in the food, hormones or steroids.

    Personally, I want bigger biceps. But, liberals don’t want bigger biceps for themselves and certainly not for me.

    “Comrades! We must abolish the cult of the individual decisively, once and for all”

     Nikita Khrushchev

    • BlueCat says:

      I suppose that’s your way of saying  liberals are wimps. Three generations of my family are liberals, combat vets and patriots while you are a silly snot nosed little moron. You don’t have a clue what the 4th of July stands for. Hope you enjoyed the mattress sales.

      • parsingreality says:

        Although not a fan of intra-Pols name calling, that last line is a zinger!

      • Cartesian Doubt says:

        Something in the food. Maybe the water. You seem to be the General Ripper type. Too much grain alcohol and rain water.

        Unfortunately, your friends in Congress aren’t big fans of affordable healthcare. Your jogger friends could use it to see a doctor about their blown joints. Or maybe they should try maintaining a more suitable and consistent workout schedule to help prevent injuries. My knees were blown out years ago, but I’m still able to leg press 150.

        I work out 3-5 times a week. I’m hitting 30 soon, and my belly button isn’t as close to my spine as it used to be.  

  10. DavidThi808 says:

    Civilization advances. Daya by day, even year by year, you will have setbacks. But century by century, with the exception of the dark ages, we move forward.

    • Car 31 says:

      Even Cowgirls Get the Blues

    • Car 31 says:

      I should have put a poll with the diary.

      How is the state of the world?

      good

      getting better

      getting worse

      bad, or

      desperate as usual.

      • parsingreality says:

        I’m sure that all of the previous generations had great emotional struggles with, oh, the Depression, Hitler invading Poland, the Cold War, slavery, and, oh yes, those pesky British shacking up in your house.  

        • parsingreality says:

          One thing very new is the detox program we are entering to get off of (near term) cheap energy.  This is already having wider repercussion and decreased standards of living than any political or economic troubles of the past.  Even The Depression probably would have healed itself and people at a gut level knew that.

          OTOH, I do think that we, meaning the whole fricking world, has the intellectual ability to solve this problem.  I would be surprised that even with 100% implementation of alternatives that we will ever again have the luxury of cheap energy.

          Whether the politicos have the will power is a whole ‘nudder question.  

          • DavidThi808 says:

            it will take 20 – 30 years but technology tends to find much cheaper ways to provide. We jut needed this mess to get people focused. By defzinition solar & wind should both be very cheap once we get them right – like hydro

            • parsingreality says:

              I think some energy will be inexpensive, mostly electricity.  Once built, most alternatives don’t require a constant input of fuel, just some lubing and minor maintainence.  That electricity in turn is capable of refining uranium for fission nukes.  I just don’t see how we can attain the electricity we need to add transportation without going nuke until fusion and lots more wind, solar, tidal, ramps up.  

              Petroleum and liquid fuels will be appealing for transportation for years to come, regardless of the source for obvious reasons. But we can, in the meantime ramp up electric transportation for local and commuter use.

              Back to your response, I think in the near term, thirty years at a minimum, we will be convulsing to get it all worked out.  After, that, utopia!  🙂

  11. GoneAway says:

    Since I am in Taiwan now, I might as well mention that this weekend China and Taiwan have resumed flights between the 2 nations after 60 years of no direct flights.  

    Guardian article

    Most Taiwanese I have spoken to are very excited about the advancement of relationships with mainland China – primarily for economic reasons.

    At least they are talking and not pointing weapons at each other.

    • Car 31 says:

      I had not heard about this, thanks.

      Beehooves both countries to move the diplomacy forward.  Strategically China should want to save face with the Olympics coming and lessen American influence by strengthening economic ties.

      In Taiwan on business or pleasure?

    • DavidThi808 says:

      I worked in Taiwan for 6 months and I found the people there to be really nice and very much like us. Culturally I think they may be more like America than any other country.

      I also know a lot of people in PRC – also very nice people. Microsoft’s developer support team is there as is one of our largest OEMs.

      I think the Chinese people by and large want to get back together and are realistic enough that they’re going to do it peacefully.

      It’s good to see real steps like this happen.

  12. ClubTwitty says:

    Forbes is reporting

    FARC leaders were paid millions to free hostages: Swiss radio

    link

    PARIS (Thomson Financial) – Leaders of the Colombian FARC rebel movement were paid millions of dollars to free Colombian politician Ingrid Betancourt and 14 other hostages, Swiss radio said on Friday, quoting ‘a reliable source’.

    The 15 hostages released on Wednesday by the Colombian army ‘were in reality ransomed for a high price, and the whole operation afterwards was a set-up,’ the radio’s French-language channel said.

    Saying the United States, which had three of its citizens among those freed, was behind the deal, it put the price of the ransom at some $20 million.

     

    • DavidThi808 says:

      If it was a total disaster for them, this is probably the best angle they can try and sell it as.

      • ClubTwitty says:

        I can see it either way, but your point is a good one.

      • ThillyWabbit says:

        We pay the various factions in Iraq not to shoot at each other. We pay the warlords in Afghanistan to quell the violence there and to hand over fresh meat for our black prison sites. And the French and Germans (particularly the private sector) regularly pay ransoms to get their people back as a matter of policy–one of the reasons the kidnapping industry is so lucrative down there.

        If past actions are any indicator, I’d say the story is fairly believable.

      • cologeek says:

        The fact that FARC prisoner commandant Gerardo Aguilar Ramirez, AKA Cesar, was captured in the operation completely puts the lie to this story.  

        There are reports out there that the inside man is a disgruntled member of the FARC and that he may be getting a hefty reward from a $100 million fund that was set up for the capture of the organizations leaders.  Expect stories of purges and fractures in the group as paranoia starts to set in.

  13. Paraducks says:

    It’s interesting two liberals were distracted by biceps and totally missed their issue, what’s going on with the food on grocery shelves. In London recently, I noticed the comparative paucity of fat people. It was startling. And British food is identical to American.

    But I’m really disappointed by my delt development, the first thing that goes with age.

    And I was taken by surprise on the vet part of it. I don’t see how that’s connected to the food. The only connection it could possibly have to biceps is psychological, not logical.

    What’s your unit BlueCat, you ole god of war you? Did you carry a 9mm or a .45?

    I was rejected at my induction physical. I’m sure you and Parsing have something to say about that as well. (I was too small and my nose ran constantly. Oh, you already have said something.)

    “Methinks the lady doth protest too much”

    • Car 31 says:

      on my thread or shut the hell up.

        • Car 31 says:

          you can go on spouting nonsense if you wish.

          You won’t get much respect from the community here if you do, though.

        • DavidThi808 says:

          You can spout nonsense, we can ask you to shut up and go away – we are each exercising our right to free speech.

          So I’ll add my $0.02 worth – please go away until you learn to at least make sense in what you say. Moronic ramblings just waste everyone’s time.

          Henceforth I will not replay to any post of yours.

          • Paraducks says:

            Well, let’s see what’s moronic. Louisville is an integrated community. How can you make a statement like that, especially if you live there? The Hispanics live in the trailers and that’s what makes Louisville integrated? It’s in the aggregate? Denver is integrated because Montbello is in the city limits?

            This is itself, this inability to see the world as it is, this fantasy is racist.  

            You give up too easily David. If you give up that easily, maybe Republicans, whom I thought were dead and gone, will come back.

            But, if they don’t, the comments I’ve been reading are a preview to Republicans what single party rule will be like. This is a minor unleashing of the violence Democrats have in store for us. Thank you all for revealing your souls to us.

            Are you really sure that a floor can’t also be a ceiling?  ~M.C. Escher

            • Cartesian Doubt says:

              A Republican administration got us into war in Iraq. Your presidential candidate sang “Bomb Iran” for crying out loud.

              Democrats are trying to end this war. Our candidates are winning special elections on an anti-war platform. Yep, we’re the violent ones. You’re onto us, Skippy.

              Why don’t you take a break and take in some fresh air? We’re trying to have rational discourse here.  

    • Danny the Red (hair) says:

      Its not your politics: aside from believing that racism is a liberal myth, I’ve never seen much in the way of politics.

      Your posts seems to be strings of non sequitors that you believe are clever, but are in fact completely devoid of even a framework to help us understand your point.  It frustrates people, they think you are being nonsensical on purpose–I personally think you suffer from a disability, mental health issue or deficient language skills.

      I will attempt to make adjustments for your condition.

      As to your point about UK Obesity: you are wrong.  Though not as high as the US, UK rates are out of control.  http://www.news-medical.net/?i

      Most likely culprits: rise of computer entertainment (i.e gaming, blogging) and High fructose corn syrup processed food.  Continental Europe retains a cooking culture which keeps the fructose out of the diet of most Europeans.

      Not my area of expertise, but I can see from the stats, that our problem is not unique.

  14. dwyer says:

    We eat the meat and then we start putting on the pounds….Coincidence? I think not.

  15. Car 31 says:

    In our world religion plays a significant part of how international politics play.  Currently in Turkey there is a battle between the secular government and the Islamists.  The Islamists have power but the secular judicial branch has agreed to hear a case calling for a shutdown of the ruling party because some believe they are trying to establish an Islamist theocracy in Turkey.

    http://www.guardian.co.uk/worl

    Even more interesting, from today’s NYTimes –

    A three-foot-tall tablet with 87 lines of Hebrew that scholars believe dates from the decades just before the birth of Jesus is causing a quiet stir in biblical and archaeological circles, especially because it may speak of a messiah who will rise from the dead after three days.

    http://www.nytimes.com/2008/07

    The history of the bible has always fascinated me.  I have always viewed the book as a guide on how to live, but not as a literal account of history.

    This stone tablet may show that the bible reflects historical myths and beliefs that were later incorporated into mainstream Christianity.  Creation myths, flood myths, resurrection myths…all part of religions predating Christianity

    Should religious leaders teach that a) these myths were incorporated into a growing religion and b) men through the ages adjusted what had been written to meet the agendas of their time?

    Muslims and Christians have battled for centuries over religion and to this day there are people on both sides of the ocean who believe the words of their holy books as literal.

    The stone tablet and other archeological finds, such as the Dead Sea Scrolls, will ensure that the debate continues for years to come.

    • Sir Robin says:

      turned on the History channel, and heard that an early biblical document that did NOT make it in the final version spoke of Jesus’s malevolent side as a youth. Apparently, he was quite a challenge. According to this account, Jesus apparently pushed a boyhood friend off of a roof and killed the poor lad. When accosted with the charge of murder, Jesus claimed innocence. To prove his innocence, he brought the kid back to life and asked him. The kid answered, “No, you didn’t push me off the roof causing my death”.

      Now if GW could bring back over 4500 dead Americans and countless thousands Iraqui’s to ask them the same question, would he get the same response?

      • BlueCat says:

        I saw a program on this subject and it pointed out this same story and that it survives in the Koran.  Evidently at the time the Koran was written the story hadn’t been tossed yet. The bible today is apparently just the most recent collection of approved religious writings.

        Lots of stories, from both the Jewish and Christian religious writings that were once included have been tossed by the religious powers that be of various eras.  Others have been added over the centuries by the monk/scribes who copied the bible when they decided another parable to make a moral point was in order.   A biblical scholar I heard on NPR explained that the story of the prodigal son is an example of such an addition.

        The chaotic history of how the present day bible was arrived at helps explain why there are so many contradictory passages in it and also makes taking all of it to be literally true a bit problematic.  If the modern version is different than more ancient ones, which is to be considered THE literally true one?  I suppose people who do take it literally would consider this nit picking.  

      • Car 31 says:

        What an interesting story.  I can see Joseph and Mary standing there, shaking their heads.

        Joseph turns to Mary and says, “You know, he gets this rebellion from you.”

        If GW could bring back all the troops, he would get a response, but I don’t think I would want to see Messiah GW hangin’ around…

  16. Car 31 says:

    The G8 is set to meet this week in Japan and already newsprint shows protesters punished and demonstrators demanding change.

    Again, from the Economist, an interesting article on how the richest, most powerful nations show leadership in the future.  

    In an effort to show that the G8 is still up with the times, Japan, like Germany last year, has invited along for a brief chat leaders from five “outreach” countries: Brazil, China, India, Mexico and South Africa… Might the world be better managed by such a G13? Or a G15 or G16, to include a couple of weighty Islamic states too? Or, to preserve the group’s original globe-steering purpose, by a G12 of the world’s biggest economies?

    http://www.economist.com/displ

    Shouldn’t a major economy like India be included in discussions?  With no Islamic country represented, how can the G8 say that their leadership is what’s best for the world?

    What about that pesky UN?  Are they able to justify their existence with an alphabet soup of agencies, or should we turn towards McCain’s idea of a League of Democracies?

    • Danny the Red (hair) says:

      Throw in Indonesia (Populous (4th), moderate Islamic, Democratic, growing/reforming economy)

      (maybe Pakistan too if they can get their shit together) and you’d have the multimodal architecture that could actually stabilize a lot of places.

      The US should be trying to build up regional leaders–we won’t always get want we want, but we wont have to carry all the cost ourselves.

      • Car 31 says:

        The article also points out that if America resists new members, those countries will be more likely to form their own alliances (the Asian Union similar to the EU) – competing against us instead of working together.

        Besides, in politics there’s always strength in numbers.

    • DavidThi808 says:

      Make it “large economy, democracy.” Granted Russia’s democracy is pretty rigged, but so is Japan’s and Mexico’s was for a long time. And the bottom line is – it is a democracy.

      Add Turkey and any others that fit the bill and we make it a very powerful force. You might even consider telling Iran they’re in if they drastically reduce the power of the ruling cleric over the democratic system.

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