Tuesday, March 13, 2007
Joke of the Day
As Bush tours Latin America, it isn't helping the reputations of the heads of state he visits. On Sunday he was in Colombia where President Alvaro Uribe has been facing the indictments and resignations of corrupt members of his party linked to right-wing paramilitaries along with opposition to Bush's free-trade program for Latin America — you know, the sort of thing we may hope to see some day in the U.S.
We have a special relationship with Colombia: the U.S. pays for most of the mayhem there—
The president has indicated he will ask Congress to maintain current aid levels to Colombia at roughly $700 million annually to support the Latin American nation's fight against terrorism and drug trafficking. Colombia receives more U.S. aid than any country outside the Middle East and Afghanistan.
White House spokesman Gordon Johndroe noted Bush would meet with Colombians involved in various U.S programs "that help them reap the benefits of a democracy as well as demonstrate the compassion of the American people."
Ahead of Bush's visit, the Colombian law-and-order president urged for continued aid, crediting the U.S. assistance with helping to make his violence-tortured nation more peaceful and less corrupt. The U.S. has sent nearly $4 billion in mostly military aid to Colombia since Uribe took office in 2002.
The Colombians are indeed reaping the benefits of U.S.-financed democracy, and we're getting a lot for our money—
Eight close Uribe allies in Colombia's Congress, as well as his hand-picked former domestic intelligence chief, have been jailed for allegedly colluding with right-wing militias in a reign of terror that nearly subverted Colombian democracy.
The scandal prompted Uribe's foreign minister to resign last month when her senator brother and father, a regional power broker, were implicated for alleged participation in the kidnapping of a political rival.
As for the guerrilla movement, it's doing fine, thank you—
Colombia remains the source of more than 90 percent of the world's cocaine despite record aerial fumigation of coca crops. And the leftist Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia, or FARC, has neither been defeated nor had any members of its leadership captured.
The [right-wing] paramilitaries, which gained control of the entire Caribbean coast during the past decade, demobilized two years ago under a peace pact with Uribe's government. The paramilitaries arose in response to kidnappings and extortion by leftist rebels.
The paramilitaries demobilized because they had actually become the government. No word yet from the AP on what caused the leftist rebellion.
Unless you join the FARC, there's little you can do but laugh. So this joke is being spread about in Colombia's neighbor Ecuador, where Uribe says the rebels hide—
Alvaro Uribe, George Bush and the Queen of England meet in Hell.
Bush tells the Queen that there's a "red" telephone in Hell and that he's going to talk to the Devil to ask for authorization to use it.
He goes right away and asks the Devil for permission to make a call to the U.S. to find out how the country's been doing since he left.
The Devil allows him the call and he talks for 2 minutes. When he hangs up, the Devil tells him that the call was 3 million dollars.
Bush writes him a check and pays it.
When the Queen finds out, she wants to do the same thing and calls England for 5 minutes. The Devil hands her a bill for 10 million pounds and she also pays it.
Alvaro Uribe also wants to call Colombia to see what condition he's left the country in, and he talks for 3 hours.
When he hangs up, the Devil tells him that will be a thousand pesos.
Uribe is stunned because he's seen how much the calls cost the others, so he asks why a call to Colombia is so cheap.
The Devil tells him:
"Look, you bastard... with the reforms you approved, your new policies, your inexperience, the unemployment, the Free-Trade Treaty and the cost of living, you changed Colombia into a real Hell ... and from Hell to Hell the call is local."
[A Simply Appalling translation]
But who will handle the coverup? (5/4/05)