Monday, December 31, 2007

Mitt Picking

The main-stream media has bent over backwards to find things wrong with Mitt Romney. For instance:

1) Years ago he strapped his dog to the top of his SUV to travel to New Hampshire (IN A DOG CRATE)
2) His lawn care company uses illegal immigrants (EVEN AFTER HE TOLD THEM TO DESIST)
3) He has changed his position from “Choice” to “Life” on the abortion issue, therefore he “waffles”
4) None of his five sons have joined the armed forces (NOR HAVE HUCKABEE’S SONS)
5) His religion, Mormonism, believes that Satan is Jesus Christ’s brother (NOT TRUE)
6) He “saw” his father (George Romney) “march with” Martin Luther King (ONLY VIRTUALLY)
7) His record as Massachusetts governor is checkered (A MATTER OF OPINION)
8) He may wear Mormon’s “magic underwear” (HAS REFUSED TO COMMENT ON THIS)
9) Mormons didn’t allow blacks into the their church (UNTIL 1978 … NOW ALL RESTRICTIONS REMOVED)
10) Mormons endorsed polygamy … men could take multiple wives (UNTIL 1910)

Of these ten nits, four have to do with Romney’s religion … something I thought was traditionally off-limits in presidential politics. The other six nits, four are either so silly as to be ludicrous, or, the last two (#s 3 & 7), are little different from other candidates and/or are very debatable.

Why the main-stream media is so down on Mitt Romney is a little puzzling to me … perhaps it’s a little out of fear that he could defeat anything the Dems have to offer. After all it looks to me like the 2008 contest is shaping up to be one of heart (Obama) versus head (Romney)..

Friday, December 21, 2007

I AM NOT A CROOK

(From the Drudge Report) "Sen. John McCain said yesterday that he has 'never done any favors for anybody -- lobbyist or special interest group,' as his presidential campaign issued a statement denouncing allegations of legislative favoritism as 'gutter politics.'"

Excuse me … does anyone remember the savings and loan scandal in the late 1980's? And the Keating five? See: The Keating Five Senator McCain I guess hopes that we have all lapsed into dementia. He apparently has.

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Sow’s Ear

Joe Kennedy has a new radio commercial touting his Citizens Energy “non-profit” company. He extols Venezuela’s Citgo for donating million of dollars worth of oil to the poor people of Massachusetts to help them heat their homes. I know I am beating a dead horse here, but first, let me point out again … Citizens Energy is not a non-profit company. It is an energy trading company (like Enron was) which has a small eleemosynary section. Joe Kennedy pulls down hundreds of thousand dollars a year in salary from this ersatz “charity.” Secondly, Joe says in this ad that this oil was donated by Citgo which is “owned by the Venezuelan people.” This is a genteel way of saying that Citgo was nationalized by Venezuela in the 1990’s (other U.S. oil companies been nationalized there more recently) … in other words, Citgo was stolen from us. How’s that for turning a sow’s ear into a silk purse? And this is a silk purse from which the Kennedy clan extracts more of its ill-gotten lucre. (I wonder why we Bostonians insist on keeping that huge Citgo sign behind the Green Monster in Fenway Park? Is it a monument to Hugo Chavez? Or, to this Kennedy charade?)

Monday, December 10, 2007

Spanglish

Last night there was a Republican-candidate TV debate held entirely in Spanish. I couldn't find this debate on my TV but have heard excerpts of it on talk radio. I have often thought that, just like we have the SAP option on many English TV shows, we should have an ENG option on any Spanish-only TV shows. I have watched Hispanic rallies on CSPAN and wished I knew what they were saying ... especially when I kept hearing the word "gringo" punctuating their speeches.

Saturday, December 08, 2007

Three Billion Penny Oprah

Oprah Winfrey went to Iowa today to attend two huge campaign rallies for Barak Obama. There she gave her enthusiastic campaign endorsement for Obama to huge cheering crowds of “her people”. Now the issue that this raises in my mind is one of campaign donation limits. My understanding is that no single individual can give any one campaign more than $1,000 in hard money (and $5,000 in soft money to PACs). But Oprah is giving a donation-in-kind that is obviously worth many millions. Plus she is obviously spending much more than $1,000 in hard dollars just to be in Iowa with her posse (make-up artist, hair dresser, body guards, pilots, drivers, etc). Is this right? Does this lie within the spirit or even the letter (can't even be construed “soft money”) of the McCain/Feingold campaign finance reform bill? I think not. Will anyone object? I think not. (By the bye, I would not be unhappy if Obama were to knock off Hillary … who is obviously also getting huge donations-in-kind from her lothario husband.) But I raise this issue to show how will-o-the-wisp such attempts at “campaign finance reform” really are.

Tuesday, December 04, 2007

Mourning Imus

Imus is back on the air. I listened to much of his painful program yesterday morning with his wife, Deidre’s ceaselessly flacking her “green” cleaning products and mentioning the Hackensack Hospital (where she is a director) every five minutes. Imus also now has two black sidekicks, one male and one female, (assumedly as penance), so the show banter is now decidedly from the ‘hood. (Not that there is anything wrong with that.) I got up early this AM and turned on his program at 5:00. I was surprised to hear an hour-long repeat of yesterday’s 8:00 segment (in which Chris Dodd tries to rationalize his run for the presidency and to repeatedly buss Imus’s derriere.) Then, after having my morning coffee and reading the newspapers, I tuned in again to his 7:00 segment. Surprise, surprise, it was a re-repeat of this same segment! Wow!! What a rip-off. I am now listening to the 8:00 segment and it is finally original programming (with Mike Huckabee giving his born-again sermon about why to vote for him … and, in the process, dissing Mormon’s). I assume that this hour will make up the majority of tomorrow’s show.

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Paying the Piper

The U.S. dollar is hovering near a new low today … $1.47 per Euro … and I’m afraid it is destined to go lower. Why? Very simply, because our balance of trade is so abysmal (running about a negative $55 billion per month!), partly traceable to the outrageously high price of oil (closing in on $100 per barrel), and this traceable primarily to an international oil cartel that has (through collusion and the politics of fear) decoupled the price of oil from what a free market would dictate (many believe that the free-market price of oil would be below $50 a barrel.) (If the UN were to ever aspire to become a world government, it would do away with international cartels of any stripe.)

What are the U.S.’s options to deal with this conundrum? Unfortunately there are only a few … and most of them are onerous:

1) Continue to lower U.S. interest rates and, as a consequence, weaken the U.S. dollar further. This, in turn, would devalue the dollar reserves held by foreign governments (often now being called “sovereign funds”) and probably cause a stock market swoon. But, this would make our exports cheaper and much more attractive to world markets and therefore should help to improve our balance of trade.
2) Install high import duties on oil and many Chinese (read Wal-Mart) items. Unfortunately this would likely cause a trade war (which many claim caused the economic depression in the 1930’s).
3) Establish a clear national priority to become energy independent within five years. This would mean increasing mileage standards for new cars and trucks, building many new nuclear power plants, reducing clean-air standards for coal-fired power plants, placing greater emphasis on bio-fuels, drilling for oil in ANWAR and in the gulf of Mexico (e.g., off-shore in Florida), and harvesting/processing the oil shale deposits in Utah. (Other talked-up alternatives such as wind power, solar power, etc. would have minimal effect.)
4) Devalue the U.S. dollar. Basically, say that our dimes are now called “dollars” with many of the same results as noted in #1.
5) Disavow our foreign debts. This could be done by declaring that only U.S. citizens or companies could redeem government debt obligations. This would force foreign governments to sell their U.S. government debt obligations to U.S. citizens/companies at pennies on the dollar.
6) Invade and take over the oil supplies of one or more Middle Eastern countries (or even Venezuela). I would suggest maybe Saudi Arabia and Kuwait. We could also directly usurp most of the Iraqi oil production to our benefit (over ¾ billion barrels per year).
7) Permit or even encourage foreign ownership of U.S. companies (e.g., Citigroup, NASDAQ, etc.) and then, at some point in the future, nationalize these companies. (Russia, Cuba, Venezuela, China, Mexico, Saudi Arabia, etc. have all done this very thing to us in the past.)

Let’s pretend you’ve just been elected President. Which one (or ones) would you choose?

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Unintended Consequences

Larry Summers (the former Clinton Treasury Secretary and bounced President of Harvard) recently predicted that the odds were high that the U.S. is heading into a recession. This prediction is based on his assessment of the consequence arising from the recent sub-prime mortgage meltdown. In turn, this mortgage debacle, predicted by some to cost U.S. financial institutions as much as $300 billion, has occurred because of both greed on the part of lenders and financial naiveté on the part of borrowers. The specter of this huge financial loss has caused a tightening of monetary flows that is rippling through many other economic sectors and is the reason for Mr. Summers' gloom and doom.

Now, why has this sub-prime mortgage crisis occurred? May I suggest that politician's fingerprints are all over this misfeasance? I distinctly remember a number of years back when bank's lending practices were under the microscope and, if the number of mortgages given in depressed urban areas were not proportional to those in more affluent areas, they were castigated by solons at both the national and state level. The media had a hay day with such lurid headlines. In response, banks and other financial institutions, against their better instincts, started giving mortgages to marginal credit risks … and, in return, jiggered the terms of these mortgages to compensate them for these higher risks. They then would package these mortgages and sell them to third parties at a nice profit. The result was a paving over of the inherent risks that these mortgage packages represented.

Strutting in the background with thumbs in their suspenders were the politicians who cajoled this "best-practices" change on the part of mortgage lenders. And they obviously used this relaxation to garner many votes among those who were then getting these sub-prime loans. Now that this debacle is affecting us all, where are those politicians? May I suggest that you look under their desks? Will those home owners whose houses have been foreclosed on take it out on these same politicians? I doubt it. Most likely they will despise the banks and other mortgage lenders. And now these pols are also deflecting their own guilt by telling lenders to rejigger their rates so that home-owners are not thrown out on their ears (lowering the rate but extending the term of the mortgage). Basically, like politicians since time immemorial, they are kicking the can down the road. They are also ginning up a legal mechanism to make class-action suits easier for such mortgage borrowers. So, those financial institutions, which are not deep-sixed by this mortgage crisis, will, in the longer run, be crippled by our avaricious trial lawyers.

Sunday, November 18, 2007

Soon to be Forgotten

The passing of Norman Mailer has brought to mind what a horse’s ass he really was … and how his only real claim to fame was that he used the word “fug” (instead of that other word) in the Naked and the Dead and, consequently became an antebellum infant terrible. After that, he stayed famous, in my opinion, not because of his tortured prose but because of his continued acting-up (stabbing and almost killing his wife; getting a murderer released from jail so that he could murder again; etc) and his ultra-liberal politics. This then led me into compiling the following list of prima donnas whose reputations far exceed their talents … and whose self-images exceed(ed) their reputations. I fully expect that they will slowly fade from history like Lewis Carroll's Cheshire cat. My current list of imposters is:

Norman Mailer, Andy Warhol, Maya Angelou, George Lucas, Paris Hilton, Al Gore, Tom Cruise, Rush Limbaugh, Joe Biden, Miss Piggy, Bob Dylan (aka Zimmerman), Harold Pinter, Frank Lloyd Wright, CĂ©line Dion, and Donald Trump.

I would love to be also able to put Barbara Streisand on this list, but, unfortunately, she really does (did) have quite a bit of musical talent.

Monday, November 12, 2007

SHAME ON US

NEWS:
Dozens of schoolchildren and five teachers were among those killed in a suicide attack in northern Afghanistan earlier this week — the country’s deadliest since the fall of the Taliban — the government said Friday.
The 59 schoolchildren had lined up to greet a group of lawmakers visiting a sugar factory in the northern province of Baghlan on Tuesday when a suicide bomber detonated explosives.
“The education minister has ordered that no children should be ever again be used in these sort of events,” said Zahoor Afghan, an Education Ministry spokesman. He said the children ranged in age from 8 to 18.
In all, the explosion claimed the lives at least 75 people, including several parliamentarians, and wounded 96. It was the deadliest attack in the country since the toppling of Taliban regime from power in the 2001 U.S.-led invasion.

All in the name of radical Islam. And we want to roll over for these barbarians. Shame on us.

Friday, November 09, 2007

GLOBAL SMARMING

By JOE McDONALD (Associated Press Writer)
From Associated PressNovember 09, 2007 4:21 AM EST

BEIJING - A Chinese official gave the clearest sign yet that Beijing will reject binding caps on greenhouse gas emissions at a global meeting next month, saying Friday developing countries must be allowed to raise emissions to fight poverty.
"Climate change is caused mainly by developed countries," Vice Foreign Minister Zhang Yesui said. "They should have the main responsibility for climate change and to reduce emissions."
Beijing is about to overtake the United States as the world's top greenhouse-gas producer. It is under pressure from Washington to accept binding limits at a meeting in Indonesia of environment ministers from 80 nations to discuss a possible replacement to the 1997 Kyoto Protocol on emission reductions.


HOW DO YOU SPELL PATSY? -- "A-L G-O-R-E"

Friday, October 12, 2007

Carter’s Baby Clothes

Ex-president Jimmy Carter was recently interviewed on the BBC. Besides piously accusing (on foreign soil no less) the Bush administration of torturing prisoners, he charged Vice President Dick Chaney of being “a disaster for our country. I think he’s been overly persuasive on President George Bush [and] they all seem to be outdoing each other in who wants to go to war first with Iran.” Now, I may be wrong but who was the last American president to actually invade Iran? You’re right! It was this very same Jimmy Carter (with disastrous consequences to boot)!!

This toothsome one also has accused George W. Bush numerous times of “being the worst President in U.S. history” even though, in poll after poll, he himself usually brings up the rear in such voting. He obviously has no shame and sense of proportion or decorum. I kinda think he may be vying to be also voted the worst ex-President in U.S. history.

This then is a convenient segue way into the subject of the Nobel Peace Prize … which Jimmy Carter won a few years back. Today, Al “the planet has a fever” Gore also won this dynamite award (which, hopefully, will impel him to run for president in 2008.) Gore-ba-chef joins such other august recent winners of this prize as Mohamed ElBaradei, Yasser Arafat, Kofi Atta Annan, and Le Duc Tho. There is clearly enough prestige in this group to make Jimmy Carter and Al Gore look like a pair of mongooses in a pit of vipers.

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Summers Time

As all my readers should know by now, I am a conservative. However, there is one liberal I tolerate … and even like … Larry Summers (the former Clinton Treasury Secretary and erstwhile tarred-and-feathered President of Harvard). Mr. Summers was on "KIudlow and Company" (CNBC) the other night and was asked lots of economic questions, most of which answers Larry Kudlow (a conservative) agreed with. The one that caused him some consternation was whether Larry Summers favored the lower (15%) capital gains rate currently in place. He said no, primarily because this lower rate is being corrupted by such things as hedge-fund managers using this lower rate to pay taxes on their multi-million compensation packages (as much as $500 million per year). They claim (and the IRS and most Republican presidential candidates agree) that these pay packages are "return of capital" and not ordinary income. This, of course, is bullshit.

So, the fact that the lower capital gains rate is being so grossly abused, may be the reason that it is killed by the next (Democratic) administration. Why do so many Republicans close ranks around this hedge fund manager capital-gains tax abuse? Could there be such a thing as "knee-jerk" righties?

I have a suggestion -- when President Wright is booted out of Dartmouth for incompetence and alienating the majority of Dartmouth alums, the job should be offered to Larry Summers.

Thursday, September 27, 2007

Hillary Care

Last night at the Democrat Debate at Dartmouth (a fine venue), Hillary Clinton said that she would not approve of the torture of a terrorist even if it meant that a nuclear explosion would be averted in one of our major cities. (When Tim Russert pointed out that her husband, Bill Clinton, had answered the same question in the affirmative, Hillary responded’ “Well, he’s not up here on stage now.”) I’m so glad that our would-be president, values the civil liberties of one terrorist above the lives of hundreds of thousands of American citizens. What kind of upside-down, twisted, do-goody, knee-jerky, Soros-styled, bubble-headed liberal would make such an inane moral judgment? Here is the woman who expounds that “It takes a village.” to raise our children. Well, Hillary, it can’t take a village if that village is vaporized … along with all its children.

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

PROVOCATEUR

agent pro·vo·ca·teur Etymology: French, literally, provoking agent: one employed to associate with suspected persons and by pretending sympathy with their aims to incite them to some incriminating action [Examples: Andrew “Don't Tase Me Bro” Meyer, University of Florida, also Senator John "Gengis Khan" Kerry, Massachusetts (archaic)]
Partial Source: Webster’s Dictionary

Monday, August 27, 2007

Logic is Logic

A recent critic of mine asks "Would you sacrifice YOUR son or daughter to ensure that nine 'bad guys' [in Iraq] were eliminated?" This is pretty much the same question that Michael Moore sprung on unsuspecting conservative politicians in his movie “Fahrenheit 911”. The problem is – this is a false premise. This premise should be stated: “Would you discourage your child from joining the Army (it is all-volunteer, after all) out of patriotism/career choice, when you knew that there was about a 50/50 chance (or a lower probability if he/she were to join another branch of the armed forces) that he/she would be sent to Iraq and, if that happened, there would be about a 1% chance that he/she would be killed?” This is a far different query from the false premises used by both the above mentioned fuzzy thinkers.

And yet Michael Moore was generally hailed for his perspicacity and my blog critic may be hoping that he, too, gets an Oscar. This example of lazy syllogism in our society probably stems from the fact that Logic is seldom taught in our schools anymore. Terms like “ipse dixit,” “tautology,” “ad hominem,” “ad populum,” “equivocation,” “syllogism,” “reductio ad absurdum,” “petitio principii,” “false premise,” and “apiorism” are often responded to with blank stares. Wouldn’t it be nice if our educational system did a U-turn and began teaching our children more how to think and less how to “feel?” If you want more insight into the logical process, visit:

http://forums.philosophyforums.com/threads/very-basic-terms-of-logic-6816.html

and others:

http://cornerstone.st/Logic%20Terms.htm

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Term_logic

etc.

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

Body Count Calculus

On the Howie Carr radio show today (8/22/07), Col. David Hunt, his substitute host, said that he had it on good (inside) authority that we were currently killing about 250 “bad guys” in Iraq every day. (This would translate into about 90,000 “bad guys” per year if we continue these favorable “surge” statistics.) And, the way I calculate it, we are losing, on average, about three American soldiers ever day in Iraq … or about 1,000 per year. This means that, if Col. Hunt’s “inside info” is accurate, the ratio of American soldier losses to bad guy losses is 90 to 1. Now we also know that enemy body count statistics are always overblown, so, to be more realistic, let us assume that we are killing terrorists, Baathists, enemy militias, and opportunistic criminals at the rate of about 60,000 per year. Since the American surge has been going on fully for only about two months, this suggests that we have recently killed about 10,000 bad guys. From this, one can suddenly understand why so many in this country are now saying that the surge is “working.” And, if we were to continue this surge for six more months (until next spring), we should punish our collective enemies in Iraq to the tune of 30,000 additional deaths. This is a non-trivial cost for these corrosive Iraqi elements to suffer … one that hopefully might not be tolerable. Admittedly, our cost would be something like an additional 500 American soldier deaths and maybe ten times that number wounded.

The question for every American then becomes, “Would it be worth it?” I understand that there are many Americans that righteously say, “Not one more American death!” But then I also understand that we have already sacrificed almost 4,000 military men and women to this effort in Iraq … with many, many more wounded. Shall we just write these deaths and injuries off to our collective misjudgment? (Remember, most of us thought that going into Iraq was a good idea and we cannot deny or wish away our resultant responsibility.) I think I know what President Bush would and will say … and this is why having his job is not to be envied.

Thursday, August 16, 2007

Elite Effete Snobs

Karl Rove went on Rush Limbaugh’s radio program yesterday and called liberals “elite, effete snobs.” This, predictably, has caused many liberals paroxysms of elite effete snobbery.

Saturday, August 11, 2007

More for Moyers

Next time you are tempted to respond to PBS’s constant on-air begging (in between their ever-lengthening corporate commercials, their thanks to the many foundations who lavish them with pelf, and their Scrooge McDuck nod to the National Endowment for the Arts), be aware that Bill Moyers, that icon of the left wing of the George Soros left wing, receives over $6 million a year from the coffers of this high-minded institution to peddle his hate-America-first polemic.

Wednesday, July 25, 2007

Congressional Contempt

The House Judiciary Committee has just issued Contempt of Congress Citations to Josh Bolton and Harriet Miers for their refusal to testify before them in the flap over the firing of the U.S. Attorneys. I find it quite revealing that Congress finds the hubris to issue such writs when they themselves often treat those testifying before them as less than pond scum. I would love to see the executive branch (or the Federal Reserve Bank … or judicial nominees … or the armed services … etc.) make equivalent contempt pronouncements against congressional committees when they are unjustly abused as witnesses. (Remember Attorney Joseph Welch responding to the Senate's Internal Security Subcommittee abuse by Senator McCarthy with “Senator McCarthy have you no sense of decency at long last?” … one of the great moments in black and white TV.)

Monday, July 23, 2007

Mill(ions)

“Massive blaze engulfs downtown Uxbridge mill complex
[Boston Globe], July 21, 2007
UXBRIDGE, Mass. --Firefighters from Massachusetts and Rhode Island battled a massive fire that engulfed a downtown mill complex on Saturday, sending up billowing smoke that could be seen for miles. The eight-alarm blaze damaged or destroyed 65 small businesses inside the 400,000 square-foot Bernat Mill complex, and seven firefighters were injured -- mostly from smoke inhalation and exhaustion,”

This fire conveniently started at roughly 4 AM very early on this past Saturday morning. Why is it that most of the old mill fires in New England usually break out very early on a weekend morning? Now 65 small businesses and hundreds of workers are spit out of luck because of this “misfortune.” I strongly believe that the US should discourage ethnic lightning by copying what they do in Germany with fire insurance – payoffs are only made to reconstruct the destroyed building. Owners who lose their building to fire cannot walk away with a check. They must rebuild in order to benefit from their fire insurance. Makes sense to me … which is why our nation of pols and lawyers probably won’t do it.

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

Notes from the Rectory

Los Angeles (AP) -- “After a whirlwind weekend, the negotiations that produced a landmark $660 million settlement between the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Los Angeles and more than 500 alleged victims of clergy abuse are heading toward a conclusion. Attorneys from both sides, as well as Cardinal Roger Mahony, are expected in court Monday to enter a formal settlement agreement with Judge Haley Fromholtz. The deal marks the end of more than five years of negotiations and is by far the largest payout by any diocese since the clergy abuse scandal emerged in Boston in 2002. Mahony, leader of the nation's largest archdiocese, apologized Sunday to the hundreds of clergy sex abuse victims who will receive a share of the settlement.
‘There really is no way to go back and give them that innocence that was taken from them. The one thing I wish I could give the victims ... I cannot,’ he said.”


Yet another settlement from the Catholic Church to victims of pastoral sexual abuse has been negotiated. This time it was for $660 million … quite a raft of meager Sunday offerings from the supplicants of the Los Angeles Archdiocese. There are two reasons I am commenting on this settlement: 1) the judge in this case, Haley Fromholtz, is a old friend and fraternity brother of mine and clearly has done much to restore the reputation of LA justice after the OJ Simpson debacle, and 2) this is yet another indication of the scope of this scourge that has infected the once-proud Catholic church. I am not a Catholic nor am I condemning the entire corpus of this religion, but I do believe that a culture of pedophilia has permeated the US Catholic church for at least the last fifty years. I remember the old chestnut that went around in the late 1960s: Question, "Do you know how Cardinal Spellman died?" Answer, "Someone gave him a poison choirboy."

And I also strongly believe that a primary nexus of this institutional lassitude was none other than Boston’s own Cardinal Law. For almost twenty years, from 1984 to 2002, this Cardinal was the de facto head of the Catholic Church in America, suggesting and passing on all papal appointments in this country. And it was during this period when little-boy diddling seems to have metastasized throughout the Catholic priesthood. Not that it didn’t exist before, but under Law (irony of ironies), it seemed to have gone unchecked. Abusive priests were continually shuffled around this country with little or no penitence … or warning to their innocent waiting flocks.

This was, to me, unforgivable behavior on Cardinal Law’s part and one can only speculate on his diabolical rationales. I leave it to the reader to come to the obvious conclusion. (Now from Wikipedia) “After his resignation, Pope John Paul appointed Law to several authoritative positions in Rome and the Vatican. He is currently the archpriest of the Basilica di Santa Maria Maggiore. He is also a member of the Congregations of Oriental Churches, Clergy, Divine Worship and Discipline of the Sacraments, Evangelisation of Peoples, Institutes of Consecrated Life and Societies of Apostolic Life, Catholic Education, Bishops as well as the Pontifical Council for the Family. This is a large number of organizations for any cardinal to be involved in and is partly [responsible for his] residing in Rome.”

The other reason is that he would likely be skinned alive were he to return to the U.S.

Wednesday, July 04, 2007

Richie Rich

There is a very interesting double twist to the "Scooter" Libby imbroglio. It seems that Scooter Libby was Marc Rich’s defense attorney in the federal government’s prosecution of him for tax evasion and illegal arms trading in the 1980’s and 1990’s. (This, of course, does not do too much to recommend Scooter’s legal talents since Marc Rich fled to Switzerland rather than go to court.) Marc Rich, as you might remember, was pardoned by Bill Clinton in his last days in office, allegedly in exchange for a million dollars in donations and rumored lip service from Marc’s big-breasted ex-wife, Denise. See:

http://isteve.blogspot.com/2005/10/scooter-libby-marc-rich-connection.html

And now for the rest of the story … an even more profound twist emerges. It seems that Patrick Fitzgerald, the special prosecutor who went after Scooter Libby hammer and tongs as the special prosecutor in the recent Joe Wilson/Valerie Plame outing non-crime, was one of the prosecutors on the Marc Rich case (as described above) … and James Comey, who had appointed Patrick Fitzgerald special prosecutor while John Ashcroft was incapacitated, was previously the other U.S. attorney on Marc Rich’s trail. See:

http://thenexthurrah.typepad.com/the_next_hurrah/2007/01/the_pending_mar.html

Now I ask you, why haven’t these revelations been a big news story in the main stream media? And why didn’t Special Prosecutor Fitzgerald recuse himself from the Scooter Libby portion of the Valerie Plame investigation?

All very strange.

Tuesday, July 03, 2007

The Sound and the Fury II

My first “The Sound and the Fury” piece was greeted with such a chorus of “boos” that I have decided to proffer another set of twenty studied predictions that would come about if Hillary might be crowned as our unsexy prexy:

1) Effective repeal of the Second Amendment (“the right to keep and bear arms”)
2) Presidential pardons for many recently-convicted (rich) white collar criminals
3) The closing of Guantanamo Bay and other U.S. overseas terrorist prisons
4) The scuttling of our strategic defensive initiative (SDI)
5) The disappearance of more FBI files … resulting in the outing of Republican peccadilloes
6) The US Air Force bombing (from 15,000 feet) of the Darfur rebels
7) The re-opening of Hotel 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue
8) The naming of Eleanor Clift as the Presidential press secretary
9) The discontinuance of electronic surveillance of suspected terrorists
10) The outlawing of any form of coercive indoctrination of known terrorists
11) Medal of Freedom presentations to Michael Moore, Cindy Sheehan, and Bill Moyers
12) Huge federal funding increases for public radio and public television
13) Nomination of John Edwards and Janet Reno to the Supreme Court
14) The immediate firing of all sitting U.S. Attorneys (just as her husband once did)
15) A continued moratorium on the building of nuclear power plants in the U.S.
16) The dissolution of NATO
17) Chelsea Clinton’s White House marriage (to Rupert Murdoch’s son?)
18) Unilateral U.S. nuclear arms reductions
19) The naming of John Kerry as our Ambassador to France
20) Federal outlawing of cigarettes (but not cigars) and trans fats

Except for the Chelsea wedding in the White House, I expect that most, if not all, of these 40 predictions would still occur if some other Democrat were to win the next presidential election.

Thursday, June 28, 2007

The Sound and the Fury

Yesterday Warren Buffet endorsed Hillary Clinton for president. With her on stage, his comments started by quoting Peter Lynch saying that “one should invest in a company so good that even an idiot could run it … because one eventually will.” He added that the same is true for a country. This was a gratuitous swipe at President Bush (and does nothing but diminish Warren Buffet in my eyes). The audience laughed and Hillary gave her trademark cackle. This sent shivers up my spine as I sensed that Buffet was but another battleship in the juggernaut that Hillary was mounting that would sweep her and Bill back into the White House. I then got to thinking what would likely happen were this to occur. These are my studied predictions:

1) A significant swing back to favoring the Palestinians and Syrians in the middle east conflict
2) Socialized medicine -- including many of the bureaucratic mandates contained in the original Hillary health-care plan (telling medical student what fields they could specialize in, disallowing and penalizing ANY private medical practices, etc.)
3) Eliminating most of the Bush tax cuts -- killing lower taxes on dividends and capital gains, restoration of the death tax (advocated by Warren Buffet), etc.
4) Increased income tax rates at most tax brackets
5) Relaxed illegal immigration enforcements
6) Removal of U.S. troops from Iraq and Afghanistan independent of the state of affairs in either country
7) “Wink, wink, nudge, nudge” accommodations to North Korea and Iran in their nuclear programs
8) Dramatic reductions in U.S. military and intelligence spending and a resultant devolution in their war on terrorism
9) The return to treating terrorist as criminals within the U.S. legal system
10) Elimination of the “don’t ask, don’t tell” policy in the military
11) Large increases in government spending on social services (back to where they were before her husband “eliminated welfare as we know it”)
12) Important (and dangerous) technology transfers to China
13) The naming of Bill Clinton as our ambassador to the U.N. (with the hope that he will eventually become Secretary General)
14) Mandated draconian reductions in hydrocarbon usage in the U.S. … even if this results in reduced economic growth
15) The restoration of late-term abortion legality
16) The abandonment of Formosa and its re-adsorption back into China
17) The return of the Clintonista’s (James Carville, Rom Emanuel, Paul Begala, Sandy Berger, Jamie Gorellick, etc) into her administration and onto talking-head TV
18) The effective shut-down of conservative talk radio
19) The likely payment of reparations to blacks in America (independent of their heritage)
20) Closer ties and accommodations to Fidel Castro and Hugo Chavez

Is this enough?

Sunday, April 22, 2007

Smart Alec

Alec Baldwin is an egocentric, arm-candy-collecting metrosexual. A smarmy, bubble-headed, Bush-bashing poltroon. A corsetted, sycophantic, smirking, B-movie thespian. And now a short-tempered, blowhard father. His voice-mail rant against his daughter, Ireland, when she turned off her cell phone rather than take his scheduled call may be a career-ending faux paux. Clearly I don’t respect this fellow, but there is one person I esteem even less – his ex-wife, Kim Basinger. She, the scorned woman, has apparently helped create this spoiled brat of a daughter and, by releasing this tape to the hyena-press, done her best to publicly humiliate the father of their child. She has consequently driven a wedge between these two that may never allow them to have a meaningful relationship. And this will certainly further wound this child. To me, it’s as though she said to King Solomon, “Go ahead, cut the baby in two.” Shame on her! Shame on her! Shame on both of them … but somehow spare their daughter her prancing parents.

Thursday, April 19, 2007

Global Warming Warning

The global warming nuts are now predicting drought and flooding will be the result of global warming. Now, when we get droughts or floods (as we have since the beginning of time), it will prove that (man-made) global warming is real. Pleeease! Larry David's wife is now flying around the country in a private jet preaching how we need to stop using fossil fuels. Other nabobs (John Edwards, the Governator, John Kerry, etc.) buy "carbon offsets" (planting trees, etc.) to justify their own profligate cee oh two production. While "The Economist" now opines that new computer modeling says that trees contribute to global warming and we should cut them all down. Will such naive mass hysteria never stop?

Signed,
Euell Gibbons

Saturday, April 14, 2007

Clive James

I was just watching the famous critic, Clive James, on Book TV (CSPAN2). He said two things that I would like to share. He first related that when he was once lecturing he noted that while two negatives make a positive, two positives never make a negative. With that, someone in the audience cynically barked, “Yeah, Yeah.” He later said that he never found John Coltrane worth listening to. He followed that Coltrane was “the sonic equivalent of a toothache”. (In the sixties I went with a buddy, Jay Goshen, to listen to John Coltrane at the Five Spot in New York City. Coltrane was so spaced out on drugs that there was absolutely no continuity or art in his performance. While the rest of the audience sat in reverent silence, I turned to Jay and said “The emperor has no clothes.” He nodded and so we got up and walked out.)

Friday, April 13, 2007

IMUS IRONIES

Don Imus, who has been booted by both MSNBC TV and CBS radio for his comments about the Rutgers women’s basketball team, calling them “nappy-headed hos”. This story is full of sweet, sweet ironies … some of which I am now compelled to relate:

1) Imus, who has feathered his New Mexico nest by extorting money and payments in kind (“donations”) from his sponsors and other US corporations, has been taken down by two far greater extortion artists, Jesse Jackson and Al Sharpton. (This is a “borrowed” idea from my son.) Imus went on Sharpton’s New York radio program, I suppose, expecting Sharpton to recognize him for his over-the-years pandering to black rappers (who NEVER use such derogatory remarks). Instead, Sharpton kicked him to the curb. And, I got to believe that most of the sponsors that dropped Imus like a hot potato had gotten a call from Jesse James … er … Jackson.

2) Al Sharpton, who cut his teeth defending Towanda Brawley, and Jesse Jackson, who recently viciously attacked the three Duke Lacrosse players for “raping” that Durham stripper, have both had to back peddle from these outrageous and likely libelous charges. The true irony here is that both these Sharpton-and-Jackson-defended women surely were NHHs.

3) Hillary Clinton benefits enormously from Imus’s demise. Generally once a day Imus would refer to Hillary on his show as “Satan.” This drip, drip, drip of derogatory remarks (I can’t now say dissing) for the next year could not have been good for Hillary’s try at the Presidency. But now, this chronic negative goes away. I am enough of a conspiracy theorist to believe that anything good that happens to Hillary is not accidental.

4) Many of those liberal guests who have appeared on the Imus in the Morning have dropped him like he was radioactive (stolen term). These include David Gregory, Barak Obama, Harold Ford Jr., and James Carville. He has so far been defended only by Paul Bagala, Mike Barnacle and Bo Deitel. Over the next few days many more former “names” and politician guests (who used Imus much as he used them) will go on extended vacations to avoid having to comment on-air and be proven the hypocrites that all are. I’m particularly curious to see on what side Tim Russert will land.

5) Chris Carlin, Imus’s punching-bag sports commentator, also does play-by-play for what football team? You guessed it … Rutgers. This poor schmoo, who daily suffered taunts of vicious and diabolical proportions, is now out of a job thanks to the sadist he sucked up to.

6) In the end I really don’t think that this kerfuffel (another stolen term) had anything to do with the Rutgers women’s basketball team. It just has been a massive settling of scores … kinda like what is going on in Iraq these days, but a tad less bloody.

Sunday, April 08, 2007

40 Degree Easter

Would someone please call Al Gore and ask him to turn up the heat?

Monday, March 26, 2007

Most Craven

The following is a list of the top contenders for Mr./Mrs. Craven of 2007. Please vote for your three favorite poltroons:

/__ / Osama Bin Laden
/__ / Hillary Clinton
/__ / Joseph Biden
/__ / Ann Coulter
/__ / Kim Jong il
/__ / Rush Limbaugh
/__ / Jimmy Carter
/__ / Al Sharpton
/__ / Don Imus
/__ / Mahmoud Ahmadinejad
/__ / Jim Cramer
/__ / Keith Oberman
/__ / John F. Kerry
/__ / George Potts
/__ / Katie Couric
/__ / George W. Bush
/__ / Al Franken
/__ / Kofi Annan
/__ / O.J. Simpson
/__ / Jacque Chirac
/__ / Nancy Pelosi
/__ / Bill O’Reilly
/__ / John Edwards
/__ / Sean Hannity
/__ / Barbara Streisand
/__ / Bill Clinton
/__ / Vladimir Putin
/__ / Dick Chaney
/__ / Mike Barnacle
/__ / Howard Stern (either one)
/__ / Hugo Chavez
/__ / Alberto Gonzales
/__ / Chuck Schumer
/__ / Ted Kennedy
/__ / Newt Gingrich
/__ / Lawrence O‘Donnell
/__ / Rosie O’Donnell
/__ / John Murtha
/__ / ________________ (your write-in)

Friday, March 23, 2007

MORE PET PEEVES

Ham Rind -- Why is it that many hams and ham steaks now come with a layer of plastic welded to the outside? Ham used to have nice soft tasty fat on its outside, not a cuticle of a non-organic nature that reminds me of the cellophane rind on bologna. And why do U.S. consumers tolerate such nonsense? And while we’re at it, let's get rid of the huge brine injections that meat processors give hams to bulk them up for higher profits. This thumb-on-the-scale trick adds nothing to the taste of ham ... it only causes water to exude during cooking and dilutes the resulting flavor.

“Jumbo” Eggs -- Has anyone noticed that jumbo eggs aren’t often “jumbo” any more? Jumbo egg cartons have “jumbo” compartments, but the eggs you often find there are frequently one or two sizes too small. As an educational exercise sometime, compare the largest egg of a “Large” egg crate with the smallest egg of a “Jumbo” egg crate. Your eyes may be opened.

Strange Names -- Weird spellings of common names is an irksome trend. Novel spellings like Jessye, Eriq, and Alisyn I guess are meant to set children apart ... but they unnecessarily slow the pace of life. How many times a year do people with such nonsensical appellatives have to stop and spell their names during introductions and applications? It’s not just a waste of their time, but also wastes the time of those on the receiving end. It even forces everyone to ask for spelling of those with normal names ... just in case. I suggest that parents endow their offspring with uniqueness in some other, more enduring but less trivial way ... say with character or selflessness or piety or honor. Even common spellings of weird names don’t ensure that the children so named will be so endowed ... witness Chastity Bono.

Commercials on Public Television -- Public television is supposed to be funded by individual and corporate donations and, disputably, the government. So why is it that corporate donations engender what increasing appear to be commercials? Public television is slowly morphing its segment breaks into product commercials. First, just the name of the company was mentioned. Then a corporate image statement of one sentence was added. Then two sentences. Then product names were introduced. Then favorable attributes of these products were added. And through it all the length of these segment brakes keeps increasing. It won’t be long before public television is as commercial as network TV. Then perhaps we might wean them from our government’s funds ...

Vanity Street Names -- Corporations increasingly are adopting vanity street names for their headquarters address -- Apple Computer has Infinite Loop; Data General had Computer Drive; and Gateway Computer has Gateway Drive, etc. Since most of these names don’t exist on city maps, it almost assures that you must stop and ask directions in order to get to these headquarters ... another indication that corporations sometimes behave like they’re above it all.

Free Handicap Parking -- Now I don’t have any problem with physically handicapped people having special parking places. However, why is this parking free? What about a nabob who has a bum leg? He gets gratis parking (near the action) while a destitute schmoo who happens to be physically able must feed a ravenous parking meter. Why do we equate being physically handicapped with being fiscally distressed?

Mothers with Infants Parking -- The other day I saw a sign reserving a parking space in a supermarket lot that said “Mothers with Infants.” Now, since we already have handicapped parking and loading zones, this new category of privilege is a little disturbing. What about “Fathers with Infants” parking? What about “Cars with Faulty Mufflers” parking? What about “Parents with Whining Children” parking? What about “Munchausen’s Syndrome Sufferers” parking? When will it all stop?

Homophobe-Phobes -- People who find in-your-face homosexuals uncomfortable or even offensive are quickly labeled “homophobes” and are automatically criticized or even ostracized by many ... sometimes with a good bit of vitriol. Can we, in turn, stamp those, who rail against “homophobes,” as “homophobe-phobes”?

Trite Expressions of Grief -- A smoldering trend that erupted into a conflagration with Princess Dianna’s death is the trite expression of grief -- a Teddy Bears tied to a chain link fence, a plastic balloon with a maudlin message, a rubber duck with a [blue, red, pink, black] ribbon around its neck, one rose packaged in Saran Wrap, etc. Such anonymous crepe hanging is like chalk on a blackboard to me. In Princess Dianna’s case, the sheer volume of this banality became a public health hazard. Please, please, please ... when I pass on to that place where there are no more pet peeves; let no one memorialize my death with a plastic balloon of any type with any message, however heartfelt.

Icon Flags -- This pet peeve might lose me some friends, so I will be as gentle as possible. What is it with people who have a repertoire of multi-colored event flags that they proudly display at the drop of the tam-o-shanter ... a martini glass, a birthday cake, a snowman, an exploding firecracker, etc.? Do I really care that it’s Aunt Louise’s birthday? Or that tonight they are abusing their livers?

Diagonal Parking in Parallel Spaces -- “I’m so important and rich that I get two parking spaces while you get none.” This is the kind of ludicrous thinking that causes people to park their new expensive, usually foreign, cars diagonally across two parking spaces ... denying others the extra spaces. Greed and anal retentiveness trump neighborliness in this ostentatious power play by these boobs. If I were a miscreant, I would “key” their shiny news, but I am not. However, I shall find no real fault with those that do.

U.S. Female Correspondents Wearing Hijabs (Islamic Head Scarves) -- I find it profoundly offensive to see non-Muslim female TV correspondents (CNN, MSNBC, etc.) reporting from the Mideast wearing hajibs (usually black and white checked) as though they are Muslims and have sided with the terrorists.

Gross Generalizations -- As soon as polls show more than say 60% of the U.S. populous agree with a leftist position (no more war, Bush lied about WMDs, etc.), then talking heads (like James Carvel, Eleanor Clift, etc.) start saying that "All the American people want blah, blah, blah.")

Space "Walks" -- When astronauts work outside their space capsule, it is called a space "walk". Now, this is similar to when you "dial" a phone by pushing some buttons … or why doen't everyone (other than Emeril) call a refrigerator an "ice box?" When you step on the accelerator, do you then say you "whip" your car? Can't we, for God's sake, update our terminology?

Saturday, March 17, 2007

Evacuation Day

In the Commonwealth of Massachusetts they celebrate one obscure holiday which is conveniently concurrent with St. Patrick’s Day. It is called “Evacuation Day.” On this day, the state government closes down ... allowing its many pols and solons to gather at their favorite watering holes to celebrate the banishing of snakes from the ole sod. Once there, they donate a parcel of liquor taxes back to the treasury from which they draw their sustenance. Incidentally, the reason Massachusetts is called a “commonwealth” is that the Pilgrims believed “from each according to his ability and to each according to his need” ... a tradition that lives on in this state unto this day.

Evacuation Day was named to honor the purging that supposedly saved the life of Paul Revere’s mother when she had come down with the croup the night before her son’s famous ride. Her doctor, Elias DeBakey, gave her a double dose of ipecac and prune juice. Then he bled her with leaches; sweated her in a log-cabin sauna; gave her a soapy water enema; and finally, had her down a triple dose of bromide expectorant. She was “evacuated” so completely that she dropped nearly a third of her body weight. But, despite all this bad medicine, she survived ... and the people of the Bay State chose to honor this miracle by declaring this day an annual holiday.

The Irish, when they are not blowing each other up, spend a good deal of their time writing blue-ribbon prose; and, as already noted, have an affinity for amber liquids. On Evacuation Day this tropism becomes an obsession. Brass-railed bars with names like “Galway Bay” and “Glacamora” fill with corpulent-visaged Celts downing tuns of Harp lager and Guinness stout. And, at the tables, sit hoards of green-tie trenchermen devouring nitrided corned beef, bilious cabbage, boiled Bliss potatoes, and Irish soda bread. In the more radical of these establishments, Erse is spoken to cover the intrigues and cabals being planned, abetted by the bravado of booze.

These Sons of Erin, having sated and slaked themselves, finish the day with some sort of melee. On this day, a bloody nose or a broken tooth is a badge of honor. But the belligerents know it’s time to go home when they start seeing leprechauns prancing among the pots of shamrocks on the bar top. Then, after everyone has left, the leprechauns really do emerge, belt down the bar spitsies ... and, invariably, start their own brouhaha. But when in turn, these elves start seeing even littler people hidden among the mosses and detritus of the clover pots, even the leprechauns call it a day.

Friday, March 09, 2007

Al-Gored

Last night Boston set a new record for the lowest temperature in recorded history -- not just for March 8th, but for all of March – 3 degrees Fahrenheit. This is a FULL FIVE degrees LOWER than the previous record of 8 degrees/F. It must … it has to be all Bush’s fault!!! And I’m sure we will hear from at least one Al-Gore looney today that such low temperatures are a result of global warming. Don’t try to follow the supporting logic to such assertions for they will basically devolve into, “You just have to believe … that’s all.”

Speaking of believing, it has recently been posited that Christ had siblings and, therefore, clearly was a historic construct. And as a result, the Church of the Latter Day Polar Bears (Al Gore, Pope) is rapidly supplanting Christianity. We will soon be asked to stop buying Polar Seltzer and wearing Polar Fleece as a token of our piety.

Yours in Genuflection,
Saint Elmo (The Vicar of Sesame Street)

Monday, March 05, 2007

KVETCHING

Why is it that all those talking heads and (now) solons who are screaming about the Walter Reed/V.A. Hospital “scandal” are the same ones who are constantly kvetching for our government to take over our nation’s health care system (read “single payer” health care)?

Friday, February 16, 2007

Carter’s Little Liver

(From 2/26/07 FORBES Magazine) In 1980 Jimmy Carter signed the Energy Security Act which created the Synthetic Fuels Corp. at a taxpayer cost of $2 billion. It went belly up a mere five years later. I wonder how many Habitat for Humanity houses could have been built with those same 2,000,000,000 (1980) dollars? Maybe 100,000? OOPS!

Thursday, January 25, 2007

CON CONS

I think the anti-victory-in-Iraq vote in the Senate Foreign Relations Committee yesterday was a disgrace ... and indicates how evil and self-serving politicians can become when they think that their power base is in jeopardy. If one calls the Neo Cons who are for the Iraqi war “chicken hawks” ... perhaps we should call these Con Neo Cons, "plucked chickens", or "chicken fingers", or “Chicken Little’s”, or even, "Brothers of Islam". During the cold war, Russia liked to call such people "useful idiots". Before you, who may belong to one of the above appellations, takes too much umbrage at these comments, think of the patience that we “chicken hawks” have visited upon you when you have shrieked your insults at us.

Tuesday, January 23, 2007

A QUESTION

I have a question for any of you liberals who have graduated into rabidness: Would you have us win in Iraq if that means that Bush would go down in history as a good or even a great president?

Sock Raties

Monday, January 22, 2007

REPORTAGE

There are two articles in this morning’s newspapers that neatly illustrate a point that the major media outlets in the U.S. have been drumming out an anti-Bush and anti-U.S. message for at least the last two years. Both these articles have to do with U.S. losses in Iraq over the weekend. One is in the NY Times (page A6) headlined “U.S. Toll in Iraq Is 27 for Deadly Weekend” and the other in the Boston Globe (page A6) headlined “Cunning, sophistication seen in Iraq ambush”. Both articles detail how Sunni terrorists, dressed up like American soldiers (but with beards no less) conned their way into an Iraqi government compound and killed five American servicemen.

These articles also highlight a helicopter crash in which 12 American soldiers were killed and other combat incidents: one, where two Marines were killed and another, where five servicemen were killed, both in Anbar Province. The NY Times does mention that the first attack “was repelled by American forces” and that, earlier, and American raid had killed a guard in Moktada al-Sadr’s posse which was then diminished by a quote from another al-Sadr lieutenant as “inhuman and against human rights”.

Both articles managed to bring up other past incidents where large numbers of U.S. troops were killed … and other weekend incidents where Iraqi citizens (including young children) were blown up by insurgents. Neither article thought to report or even estimate bad guy losses.

This is not reportage … this is propaganda, but, unfortunately, not pro U.S. propaganda.

Thursday, January 11, 2007

SURGE PURGE

To all my liberal, self loathing readers. Here is an example of why it is all downhill from here. It essentially says that we, as the most powerful force in the world (for the nonce), must follow, not lead. There is a groupthink now in this nation's mainstream media that is exemplified in the following snippet. If you keep nodding your head as you read this, you have drunk the kool-aid. (You also probably think that hanging Saddam was cruel and unjustified.) American Liberals confuse that fact that we have not been "successful" in Iraq (as defined by the NY Times) with whether our strategy of taking the fight to radical Islam around the world is flawed. Not that this attitude on your part is necessarily wrong. It is just means that you have gone into your shell and should go shopping for a prayer rug (and learn where Mecca is). And please, please do not mourn when Israel is in ashes.


Published on Tuesday, January 9, 2007 by CommonDreams.org
How the World Will See the Surge
by John Brown* see brief bio below

There has been much press commentary in recent days concerning the administration’s planned surge of American soldiers in Iraq. According to The New York Times, this “rapid influx of forces … could add as many as 20,000 American combat troops to Baghdad.” The domestic consequences of what some media are calling a military escalation have been widely analyzed.

But US pundits, reflecting our widespread national assumption that Iraq is essentially about ourselves, have not sufficiently commented on the possible international reactions to the President’s latest initiative overseas. Below are speculations, based on what polls and foreign media have been saying about the U.S. in recent years, about how some public opinion abroad, taken as a composite, will look at this latest Bush foreign-policy move.

1. The surge is yet another expression of US unilateralism. The Americans do what they want when and how they want, no matter what non-Americans -- including Iraqis -- think. They are not bothering to get international support or approval for their surge. The rest of the world be damned.
2. The Americans say one thing and do another. They proclaim peace as their goal in the Middle East but use military force whenever things don’t go their way. While they love to boast about their wholesome values, they brutally kill innocent civilians in Baghdad neighborhoods in a surge to restore “stability.” Their public diplomacy, whatever they say it is, is no more than blatant, hypocritical propaganda.
3. Elections in the U.S. don’t really matter. Americans in November didn’t vote for more troops in Baghdad, but their president is doing precisely that. The so-called opposition party in the U.S. is just part of an American imperialistic system that wants to dominate the rest of the planet, including its oil reserves, and that allows the White House carte blanche in carrying out aggressive military operations like the surge anywhere, any time.
4. The U.S. is under the control of an anti-Muslim, anti-Arab lobby. The White House is in fact controlled by a coterie of ideologues that wants to redraw the map of the Middle East in favor of Israel. The surge is their latest effort to accomplish this.
5. The American international media, both private and US government-supported, are not to be trusted. Their coverage of American military actions, with its traditional neglect of civilian victims, will try to show the surge in the best of lights. As for USG-funded outlets like Alhurra, they don’t offer the real news. For more accurate reports, better to turn to the BBC or Al Jazeera.
6. The surge will result in more US casualties, but that’s the Americans’ own fault. They are bringing disaster after disaster upon themselves because they refuse to understand or negotiate with the world outside their own borders. The Americans have no idea of the real situation in Iraq, where they are occupiers, not liberators.
7. The surge is further evidence of sheer American incompetence. US efficiency, planning, and management are far overvalued. Simon Jenkins, The Times (January 7): “I have not heard one remotely plausible game plan for the 'Battle of the Surge.'”
8. The U.S., like ancient Rome, has overextended itself. The more it tries to control the world through the force of arms, the less successful it is in doing so. The surge, per se a minor military move, is yet another illustration of America’s imperial decline caused by its hubris. How can American soldiers possibly “clean up” Baghdad neighborhoods, when their own cities are marked by incessant crime and violence?
9. The surge, while historically of limited significance, gives added evidence that the future no longer belongs to the U.S., which has become desperate in finding ways to influence events. The American era -- the twentieth century -- is just about gone forever, and another Bush military push in Iraq won’t bring it back.
10. Any “superpower” that thinks it can “win” a universally condemned war with an additional 20,000 troops is certainly not a model to follow. Forget about the made-in-Hollywood American “dream.” America is now producing one nightmare after another. It’s become a mortal danger, not a universal hope.

John Brown is a Senior Fellow at the University of Southern California Center on Public Diplomacy http://www.uscpublicdiplomacy.org/pdpr/, and a Research Associate at the Institute for the Study of Diplomacy at Georgetown University. He's a former Foreign Service officer who practiced public diplomacy for over twenty years, now compiles the "Public Diplomacy Press and Blog Review," http://www.uscpublicdiplomacy.org/pdpr/ which can be obtained free by e-mail by requesting it at johnhbrown30@hotmail.com

Wednesday, January 03, 2007

PRESIDENT FORD'S ETERNAL INTERMENT

"Let the dead take care of the dead." -- Jesus Christ

(On the other hand, I wouldn't mind being constantly reminded that Jimmy Carter had achieved room temperature.)