the talking dog
AUGUST 2002 POSTINGS
Back to Home Page
31, 2002, East Hampton, NY.
Well, another bad day for the Indonesian Chamber
of Commerce, as a
kills 3, including 2 Americans, near a copper mine in
Indonesian New Guinea.
sorry to hear about the loss
of musical great Lionel Hampton
as well, at age 94.
in the "you're never REALLY sure about your well
thought out position department", we have the
Clintons telling us to "go easy" on possible
I guess if a unilateral attack on a foreign
nation DOES NOT involve deflection of criticism from
lying under oath about workplace sex, then we'd better
be CAREFUL about it.
Well, I'm on record vis a vis the current Iraq
war plans; the Clintons, as always, are making me bite
for some of our readers (notably Unqualified
Offerings and Mrs. TD) who are in any way offended about
yesterday's post vis a vis Jackie Mason and Ray Hanania
(and for the record, for those who believe your TD's
barrage of bad jokes was "bigoted and
unfunny", all I can say is that you left out
mean-spirited and crass -- and by the way, the line
about the Gaza strip WAS INCREDIBLY FUNNY), let me just
offer the following:
Jackie's record as a racist and bigot, and more
importantly, a JERK goes back a long way, be it making
fun of Ed Sullivan, or referring to ex-mayor David
Dinkins as a "fancy schwarze with a
criticism of Jackie regarding THIS incident has little
to do with whether or not I consider him a bigot; his
record is not only clear, he has resurrected his career
on this basis. That's
the free market of ideas -- be it for him, or for a
certain talking dog.
criticism of Jackie is that his dismissive treatment
(sending out his manager/wife to wimp out, and then
LATER to say that the concern was Hanania's lack of
experience) is UNPROFESSIONAL.
In your TD's book, that is the most damning
criticism I can level (especially for the likes of
Jackie Mason, who the odds predict is infinitely more
rich and famous than your TD will ever be).
Had Jackie delivered the monologue I offered, he
would have been considered, perhaps a bit offensive and
insensitive (Don Rickles anyone?), but this event would
have gone unnoticed, except perhaps for the laughs
and/or groans of his audience.
Instead, we literally get an international
Mr. Hanania is not JUST a Palestinian American -- he too
is a fascinating case study, as shown by this
and in this
example of his writings
demonstrating that this ain't no babe in the woods.
Among other things, I PARTICULARLY like this
screed by funnyman Ray:
addition to its policy of murdering anyone it does not
like, Israel's Nazi-like government is also engaged in a
policy of murdering the truth, too.
And, they are very good at it.
You can't get away with a lie unless you have two
things in place:
First, you have to impose controls on the media
in the area of the conflict, which Israel has done by
banning reporters from covering areas where its soldiers
are on a blitzkrieg-like rampage, shooting civilians.
Second, you need to have a news media that
doesn't care about the truth, which is the dominant
attitude of the mainstream American news media.
People like MSNBC's Alan Keyes, for example, who
asserts that "there is no occupation" in
Palestine, and a list of commentators who enjoy the
gratuity of the Israeli lobby like NPR's Linda
(Both Gradstein and Keyes are making more
"cents" than sense these days.)
With these two factors in place, the Government
of Israel can say whatever it wishes, and it is reported
And, each lie adds to the impact of the
For example, the Israeli Government is asserting
that "Palestinian gunmen" have
"occupied" the Church of the Nativity.
The truth is that Palestinians who are resisting
Israel's assault have taken refuge in the Church of the
Nativity and nearly every other building in the region.
But the Israeli point is to touch a nerve with Christian
Americans, who are so naive about the reality of the
Middle East they will swallow anything they are fed.
Ray, Jackie would have been more than justified to tell
you to go to hell, just for that article; a
Google search of the rest of your writings shows a
wide variety of views:
that, in some cases, some people (like Jackie, or
the 75 year old Jews that typify his fans) might not
Contrary to what you would like us all to
believe, you are NOT what I would consider to be a more
typical Palestinian-American (or for that matter, anyone
of Arab-American descent), i.e., someone who just wants
to be left alone!
we can probably conclude that since Mason's announcement
did not mention that Ray was arguably an apologist for
terrorists, we can conclude that this was not why he
canned Ray, and as noted above, I think that's probably
right: most likely, Jackie is a jerk who canned Ray out
of pure bigotry, and that's too bad.
Because Ray deserved better.
By my book, at least two minutes worth better.
30, 2002, New York, New York.
In the world of missed opportunities, what can I
say about Jackie Mason's stupid,
bigoted decision not to let Ray Hanania open for him
in Chicago because Ray is a PALESTINIAN-American.
TD confesses that he sort of respected Jackie M.'s work
(particularly as the voice of the Aardvark on the
companion cartoon to The Pink Panther), but now, as far
as I'm concerned, Mason can go on the entertainment
scrap-heap with Zsa Zsa (she thrust herself onto the
scrap heap after making fun of handicapped members of an
audience in Philadelphia).
of all, Mason missed a fabulous opportunity, one which
your TD WILL NOT WASTE.
THIS (or something like it) IS THE ACT JACKIE
MASON SHOULD HAVE PUT ON IN CHICAGO:
and gentlemen, Ray Hanania.
It does me good to see that there is hope for the
world that I, a big Jew, can have Ray, of Palestinian
descent, open for me.
Ray, come here, let me give you a big hug.
Thank God, ladies and gentlemen, he's clean!
Ray, I usually don't say this to my opening acts,
but Allah be praised that you DID NOT BOMB on stage
you at that table -- don't all of you know its Haraam to
drink -- and those pork rinds -- don't get me started!
But I will hold off on issuing a fatwa against
you all if you tip the infidel waiters generously!
And don't think you can hide behind that burqa --
we know who you are!
how about that Yasir Arafat -- what, with the 1.4
My regrets to Prime Minister Sharon, but with
that kind of money, this guy is not irrelevant!
He REALLY DID have a nickel for every time
someone called him a terrorist!
And what's with that thing on his head?
He couldn't pick a better restaurant than PIZZA
HUT to steal his shmatta from?
With all your money, Yasir, you could BUY
SOMETHING NICE for your head!
And what's with the beard?
Either grow it out, or shave it.
With $1.4 billion, the man can afford a barber!
Am I right, ladies and gentlemen?
I mean, the Ringo look looks good on Ringo, and
Ringo is a friend of mine.
Yasir Arafat, you're NO Ringo Starr.
and gentlemen, Ray is a NATURAL for this business.
He's the only guy I know to work the Vegas Strip,
the Sunset Strip, AND the Gaza Strip!
So, what's with Saddam Hussein? I hear he's a
Ray, what's this I've been seeing with those horrible
pictures of little Palestinian kids with bombs strapped
I saw one, the kid's shirt said "Mom and Dad
went to Jenin and all they brought me was this lousy
I mean, with parents like that, does the kid have
I say we accuse those parents of collaborating
with the Zionist entity!
Ray, I know you want to go back stage and wash the camel
shit off yourself, and make plans to blow up my
synagogue, so let's give him a big hand!
Ray Hanania, folks, he'll be here all week except
for Friday and Ramadan!
TD listened to an AMAZING array of reports on the radio
this morning, on a combination of a "classic rock
station", and the local affiliates of CBS and
National Palestine Radio (NPR).
The classic rock station made fun of the
plaintiff in a case from Reno, Nevada, whereby the
Henkle alleged he was harassed and/or hazed in high
school for being gay,
and school officials did nothing about it other than to
blame him (the station, of course, played an interview
with an effeminate sounding young man, whom they
proceeded to CONTINUE mocking!)
mocking by radio personalities immediately brought
thoughts of the St.
Patrick's Cathedral incident,
where, aside from the two CONSENTING ADULTS being
arrested (and probably facing real jail time), resulted
in pretty much the sacking of an entire radio show (and
suspension of many of the station's staff) and, OF
COURSE, the intervention of FCC Chairman Michael Powell
(yes, he is Colin's son) to bayonet the bodies in the
name of the President's "base".
what Cardinal Egan's Church seems to be all upset about:
consenting adults (who hurt NO ONE)
"defiling" its HOLY PREMISES.
Imagine if the Church brought 1% -- just 1% -- of
the vehemence it has shown in the case of
"defiling" its BUILDING, to bear against those
miscreants responsible for destroying countless lives
THROUGH RAPING CHILDREN, and ESPECIALLY holding those in
the Church hierarchy to account (yes, Cardinal Law
shouldn't still be a priest, let alone a cardinal, and
YES, serious consideration should be undertaken as to
whether CRIMINAL CHARGES should be brought against the
"see no evil when it’s done by priests"
Church hierarchy; you know: criminal facilitation,
accessory after the fact-- that sort of thing).
Much as the "pledge of allegiance"
BULLSHIT by Congress brought the Rabid Dog out of
retirement and into his position as The
I think the use of the FCC to strongarm a radio station,
(which to its credit has apologized and sacked all those
responsible for the distasteful, though ONLY
distasteful, incident), is, shall we say politely, A
TRUE CALL TO ARMS AS A #$$%^ VIOLATION OF CHURCH-STATE
SEPARATION THAT WE BETTER STOP DEAD IN ITS TRACKS NOW!
to CBS and NPR, I was listening to reports that
thanks to blogger and featured link Mark
was ACTUALLY the subject of the NPR story that drove me
refusing USA aid of food because the aid might include
genetically modified food which, despite over 5 years
and millions of AMERICANS eating it without apparent
consequences, may actually result in the EU later
refusing Zambia's own exports because of its truck with
GM food now!
So go ahead and let 2 million plus people starve
to death for the sake of political correctness at home,
am reminded of the Saudi clerical police who murdered 15
girls at a burning school by ordering them back into the
burning building because they came out without their
head scarves (by the way -- is there any reason we
should leave that country standing?
I can't think of any.
And the Bush family ties with the Saudi royals do
not give me reason for confidence in EITHER regime.)
I am also reminded of the first comments made by
Mohammed Atta's father back in
other thing I heard on the radio that got my bile up was
a recent decision in
employers backed up by the nanny state. The
nanny state, ladies and gentlemen. It
will be here all week, all month, and forever, until we
tell it to back the hell off and let us kill ourselves
has had a real tough year,
forget to check out Unqualified
Offerings, your TD's "sort of on vacation"
blog home, and the rest of our great recommended links.
August 27, 2002, Brooklyn, New York. We continue the blogosphere equivalent of the "emergency medical holograph", by sending our continued heartfelt thanks to your TD's home away from home in bloggerland, Unqualified Offerings. The Kennedy's go to Hyannis, the Boston Symphony goes to Tanglewood; this summer season, the Talking Dog goes to... Unqualified Offerings. Your TD's brilliant assessment of Saddam's redeployment (i.e., "Abdul, its time for the human shield bit again!)? Its on UO. TD's assessment of the perfidious podiatrist of Pinellas County? UO again. You get the idea...
26, 2002, New York, New York. Welcome
readers, to an extremely abbreviated "the editor is
out of town on vacation leaving the stupid techno-phobe
talking dog in charge of dealing with Frontpage and
related issues" edition. In short, I picked a
bad week to give up Prozac.
Naturally, I have (strangely) been more successful
keeping up and running our blog-child, specifically, our
Naturally, I have (strangely) been more successful keeping up and running our blog-child, specifically, our blog-separated Siamese-twinThe Raving Atheist).) We wish our friend and colleague a happy vacation; now get the hell back here!
OUR HEARTFELT THANKS go out to your TD's home away from home in bloggerland, Unqualified Offerings, for agreeing to put up your TD's post today (the funny one), and (we hope) the rest of the week (this web page stuff-- its just too damned complicated for us lawyer types!) .
For those of you who are STILL READING (instead of linking over to UO LIKE I TOLD YOU TO!) its onto the news: the White House has decided, according to this report from easy-to-spell CNN, does not believe it NEEDS Congressional (let alone UN) approval to launch a war against another sovereign state (though it does think "Congress should be consulted and kept in the loop".) Am I alone on this? Has someone not read Article 1, Section 8, Clause 11 of the constitution? Its sure starting to look like one either believes in the constitution, or does not. One gets the feeling that our current executive branch is picking a side on this one (and your TD is NOT convinced the Administration is "with us".)
Elsewhere in bloggerland, some, such as the great Professor Reynolds of Instapundit) are rooting for the "Impeach Mineta" movement. Let's just say that in a cabinet featuring Tommy "Mr. Anthrax" Thompson, Paul "Clueless" O'Neill, John "No Nickname Needed" Ashcroft, the complaints of long airport lines hardly act to diminish Mineta's stature as a SUPERSTAR!
Saddam is moving troops into "urban combat" position. Mesopotamean Stalingrad. Texas T (for trench warfare). Does he really think that an air force that routinely seeks legal opinions on blowing up the head of enemy forces while still being able to blow up not one but TWO Afghan weddings can be counted on NOT to blow the crap out of Baghdad ANYWAY-- human shields or not? Time will tell...
am duly chastened after my attempt at humor at the
President's expense regarding pre-emptive logging was
called by the Unseen Editor (speaking of our new links,
Cold Fury has something to say about the Oregon protests
regarding the President's statements; Steve Chapman also
had logging commentary:
weblog related (he suggested changing our column
width; we're always happy to try to be accommodating!)
think, in the context of Western forest fires, I
previously said we have to try SOMETHING DIFFERENT,
preferably something that has a documented history of
increased logging does the job, so be it.
I guess the Bambi set has to realize that, at
some point anyway, the trees are pretty much going
anyway -- either in a logging operation, or in a
conflagration -- so the choice between "nature's
beauty" and "clear cut blight" is not
only often a gross hyperbole, but may be affirmatively
harmful if it mires us in inaction.
than that, I fell into what I will call the "Upper
West Side" trap:
every issue must be viewed through the
stereoscopic prism of stereotype.
The President is perceived (in Blue America) as
environmentally suspect, so when he makes a statement
that can be quickly deemed "environmentally
irresponsible", I jump on it, regardless of whether
the stereotype holds.
(On the other hand, as my last evening's post
notes, thanks to the diligent reporting of The
Washington Post, the president REALLY IS more
interested in his 5K time than foreign policy, national
security, all economic issues except tax cuts for deca-millionaires
and up and just about anything else in the world with
the exceptions of pleasing his parents and baseball.)
that the "trillion" dollar mark has been
passed in ad damnum requests in lawsuits, hey -- let's
do it again.
conspiring to kill thousands of Americans is worth
trillions of dollars, then SURELY junk e-mails and faxes
must ALSO be worth trillions of dollars.
America, she's such a great and powerful country
that even inanities like this won't bring her down.
Of course, I am reminded of something else.
Liberals (a club of which I was not a member back
in the '80's, based on my aphorism, if you're not a
liberal at 21, you have no heart, if you ARE a liberal
at 39, you have no money) actually thought (and many
foolishly STILL THINK) that RONALD REAGAN was the kind
of lightweight idiot more concerned with his personal
vanity than with good governance who might do something
REALLY STUPID AND IRRESPONSIBLE in the foreign policy
context and plunge us into some kind of horrible
God we have no one like THAT running the country NOW!
Evening Presidential Extra: the
Hundred Degree Club
knew the President was in great shape, but your TD
clearly doesn't know the half of it, as reported by WaPo
favorite quote is: “If
the president of the United States can make the time,
anyone can make the time.”
Gee, I don't know, Mr. President.
The people I work for actually expect results:
they might be REALLY MAD if I took a couple of hours out
of every work day to run.
Fortunately, sir, you don't have that problem.
Unseen Editor will soon be taking a well-deserved vacation across the pond; we believe we can STILL keep
this site up technically past tomorrow, but if we can't,
I guess we'll have to think about "vacation"
else try any of our featured links -- as Anthony a/k/a
"Tony" de Tiger says -- dey're GRRRREAT.
Or something. (As I've said previously, though, if this site is down for
more than, say, 10 days, assume that I am in a military
brig as a declared enemy combatant, and send lawyers,
guns and money.)
all due respect, yesterday, the Unseen Editor made an
observation on my purported hyperbolic expression of
Jewish media control as it relates to
soon-to-be-ex-Congressperson McKinney (Disney/ABC-
controlled by Michael Eisner -- A JEW; Viacom/CBS/UPN --
controlled by Sumner Redstone -- probably a Jew; NBC, a
division of the General Electric Corporation, long known
to be a Mossad front; Fox/News Corp., controlled by
Rupert Murdoch- a Jew).
according to this from "Open
Secrets" (with thanks
to Instapundit), at least at some point, it was
MCKINNEY raising all her money out of state with her
opponent, what's her name, getting almost all HER money
the Instapundit updates note, there are delays in
reporting this information -- but this issue is not
NECESSARILY the usual shade of Black and Jew (just
because it satisfies an expected cliché), though late
out of state money may have been significant to the
the UE raises an excellent point, as I torture myself to
lay sarcasm aside long enough to complete this
the recent Congressional unity-lovefest to just about
unanimously condemn a LEGALLY PROPER NINTH CIRCUIT
INTERPRETATION OF OUR CONSTITUTIONAL SEPARATION OF
CHURCH AND STATE WITH RESPECT TO THE PLEDGE OF
ALLEGIANCE (and by the way, Jesse Ventura is right about
the pledge: MAKING
a citizen recite the pledge, ceremonial deity included
or not, is something Saddam Hussein would do)
demonstrates, there are issues where our democracy
operates pretty much as the Soviet Politburo did.
For better or worse, American support of Israel
happens to be one of those issues (another is my current
bęte noir, bankruptcy reform).
If I were of Arab or Palestinian descent, the
fact that, as far as Congress is concerned, anyway),
Israel can do no wrong (even when it does wrong!), I'd
be kind of pissed, and would certainly seek out any
remotely friendly voice I could find in Congress.
For Arab-Americans, Cynthia McKinney was their
man (er, person).
Offerings put it, if Jack Valenti can buy
Congressmen, there is no reason to deny that privilege
to others (McCain-Feingold be damned!), be they out of
state Arab-Americans, or out of state Jewish-Americans. If there is a fair criticism of McKinney, it is not that she
questioned the knee-jerk automatic support Israel
receives in the Congress, its that she is a rather poor
spokesperson for those views, and brings baggage to the
issue that a better spokesperson might not be burdened
in the wacky world,
TD, who has a 2 1/2 year old (Baby TD) is not sure where
he comes down on this case; obviously, it's the parent's
job to keep children safe from harm (and severe sunburn
is really nasty). On
the other hand, there seems to be no line anymore beyond
which law enforcement will not cross in the name of
SOMETHING on behalf of the all-encroaching state
(compare, e.g., "war on terrorism"; but also
see, compare and contrast another great institutional
authority, as personified by Bernard Cardinal Law, and
how IT values the protection of children.)
Still, the original felony charge seemed wildly
out of line for what was probably an accident.
feeling buff from the "war cabinet" meetings,
the President now proposes HIS solution to Western
forest fires: chop
the forests down first.
I can't top that. Won't
even try. [Editor’s
Note: Possibly because you shouldn’t even try.
Here’s the money line from an
article in last week’s Economist:
a strange way, America's war against fires is similar to
its war against drugs. Many
lives have been lost and a great deal of money spent
struggling against a fearsome enemy. But
too little has been done to address the underlying
causes, while a radical solution goes begging.”
Suffice it to say that their suggestions track
pretty closely with the President’s.]
TD notes that HIS OWN Hebrew name happens to be Shmuel,
and that he appreciates the reference to "the last
Jewish boy to listen to a Talking Dog".
Presumably, the Captain refers to David
Berkowitz, the Son of Sam serial killer of the '70's,
who allegedly heard voices from a dog.
I am reminded of a MadTV bit where the claymation
dog Goliath tells his good buddy Davey (remember that
show?) that he must "cleanse the city" by
committing murders at lovers' lanes.
on the occasion of Congressperson
Cynthia McKinney's primary loss, we take this
occasion to thank key blogosphere journalists The Indepundit
and our friends at Unqualified
Offerings for their yeoman's work following up the
Congressperson's 9-11 donations from people with Middle
Eastern surnames. Of
course, the blogosphere, which as we all know, is
nothing but a vast Zionist conspiracy, obviously wanted
to "get" McKinney, because of her anti-Israel
stances (and because she's Black).
So, in alliance with Jewish interests, and using
the Jews' superior influence (everyone knows that we
control the rest of the media and the banking system)
the outspoken advocate of freedom Cynthia McKinney goes
down in defeat. [Editor’s
her opponent raised well over a million dollars, much of
it from out of state, and presumably mostly from Jewish
that such out-of-state support is perfectly legal, at
what point does a joke about overstated Jewish influence
cross over into “methinks thou dost protest too
the President is at his ranch in Texas meeting
with the "war cabinet".
Vice President Cheney will have to sit out on
several of the sessions, which we understand include
spinning (Condi Rice is excellent at this), pilates (Don
Rumsfeld excels at these) and, of course, wind sprints
(let's just say the Commander-in-Chief rules in this
in all, a productive session is anticipated.
Early Evening Laugh Out Loud Post
the UN Human Rights Commission the US of A got kicked
off of? In
a spate of poetic justice, the commission will be headed
by Colonel Qaddafi (however you spell it!).
Obviously, Idi Amin was busy.
(with thanks to Pejman
Mid-Afternoon Congress Extra
let's wish good luck to the combatants in the battle for
a Congressional seat in Georgia: Cynthia
McKinney, and the other chick.
in bęte noir news, the bankruptcy bill has not been
see some amusing cruelties of the new bill,
such as making evictions easier! More
it appears that a mere 30 years after the Munich
Olympics massacre, German
police were willing to storm something to free hostages,
in this case, the Iraqi consulate in Berlin.
involved appear to be unharmed.
hostages in an embassy in Europe where the hostages are
ARABS (and not Americans, or ESPECIALLY, Israelis).
What a strange thing to do?
Noon-Time Berlin Hostage Extra
reports that an Iraqi dissident group (naturally,
operating OUTSIDE of Iraq) has taken hostages at the
Iraqi consulate in Berlin.
We are assuming that they saw the "bat
signal" from the roof of the White House during its
test run, and didn't actually mean to invade Iraq (or
its consulate) THIS FAR ahead of Congressional
you don't like the weather, or the news from Iraq, WAIT
day here in TD land; but your TD is amazed that a report
he heard last night -- about the Administration
"debating" whether to attack an alleged al
Qaeda chemical/bio weapons lab in Iraq!
It turns out, of course, that the alleged
facility is NOT in a part of Iraq controlled by
all this talk of
of freedom and democracy Jiang Zemin is confounding many
by wrangling to maintain his grip on control of the
People's Republic of China.
China, as you will recall, was deemed a strategic
partner – no, competitor – no, partner – no,
competitor – by President Bush in the
pre-90%-approval-rating-because-of- 9-11 early days of
his presidency, with some troubling events surrounding a
downed US aircraft.
To make matters interesting, China is
traditionally allied with (1) our new buddies in
Pakistan, to keep their large neighbor India off
balance; and (2) Axis of EvilTM member North
Korea (to keep Japan and the US off balance). Saddam or no Saddam, China could probably destroy Los Angeles
NOW if it felt like it.
In short, Saddam or no Saddam, the world will
continue to be a troublesome place.
Much as the nation is delighted to hear Dubya
talk tough when the competition is, say, Afghanistan, or
even Iraq, let's just say the President's handling of
the Chinese air craft affair was less than fully
news from Iraq?
long-time Palestinian trouble-maker and terrorist Abu
Nidal (so awful that even Arafat hated him and wanted
him dead) apparently "killed himself" in
course, if this becomes the start of a spate of high
level "suicides" in Iraq, we could only (of
course) attribute it to Saddam's chess game,
anticipating the coming attack (if it comes).
(Unless Abu Nidal was in the Saudi Royal family;
you never know!)
other atrocity news, we direct you to CNN's unearthing
of Al Qaeda training for atrocity tapes.
Younger viewers should probably look at something
we welcome our newest featured link Matthew
Yglesias to the Dog Run, and we welcome "TD the
Wonder Dog" to our home page (the guy holding the small child is
relegated somewhere else...)
friend Pooty Poot
course, elsewhere in the Axis of EvilTM
Russia is ALSO helping those stable, responsible Iranian
clerics build a nuclear facility. Meanwhile,
the US of A (and Western Europe) continue to crassly
under-fund the agency responsible for safeguarding the
nuclear assets and waste of the former Soviet Union, and
a group of countries (including the US of A and Japan)
are helping North Korea build their own
"peaceful" nuclear reactor.
American officials were well aware that Saddam's Iraq
was using chemical weapons against Iranian forces during
the war between those two members of the Axis of EvilTM
during the 1980's. Frankly, this type of revelation is not good for advancing
American moral and legal authority for taking out Saddam
Saudis are pissed
Saudis will be ESPECIALLY pissed when the plaintiffs
demand INTEREST – expressly forbidden by Sharia
Troubling Saturday Afternoon Extra
TD finds himself troubled when he is more or less in
full agreement with ANYTHING on the New York Times
editorial page (even though your TD proudly insists he
is a New York City liberal...)
So, he presents to you this
piece by former theatre critic and now proud
commentariat member Frank Rich (with thanks to Instapundit).
troubling is the public position of Brent Scowcroft,
suddenly questioning the coming invasion of Saddam.
If this LEGITIMATELY signals a policy change (in
Poppy Bush's mind that is), i.e., if George H.W. Bush
(41) somehow thinks that invading Iraq is a BAD IDEA,
then I would almost certainly have to reverse my
position, and call for an IMMEDIATE, ALL-OUT ATTACK ON
IRAQ -- RIGHT
statement could just be another clever Bush misdirection
designed to deflect attention from the growing evidence
that it is Saudi Arabia's government that must be
immediately removed, however, so I cannot make this
statement at this time.
17, 2002, East Hampton, NY. Well,
thanks to Josh Marshall for getting
right to the point regarding the president's recent
blustering speech on the $5.1 billion in proposed
It was a really bad idea.
The firemen were REALLY upset -- and if there's
one unassailable group in post 9-11 America, that would
be them. Mr.
President, I have told you time and again:
fluids, fluids, fluids!
Texas is a lousy place to work out this time of
year, but if you must, DRINK UP!
The heat and humidity take their toll -- even on
someone in as remarkable shape as you, Sir.
to our new featured link Voice
from the Commonwealth.
V from C takes on those who would lambaste the
great Charlton Heston (not that I am immune from that,
of course), because of his NRA credentials.
Let me say a couple of things:
as to Heston, let's face it Chuck, the NRA chose
you because you are a HUGE celebrity -- bigger than,
say, Kurt Russell or Tom Selleck.
So, you get your lumps (plus, Guns and Moses is,
well, just funny.).
Let me make the more serious Second Amendment
point, though, which not only Chuck (and Kurt and Tom)
will uphold – with their lives if necessary – but
your TD will too. The
Bill of Rights is a funny thing:
if you look at the
First Ten Amendments to our Constitution, only the
Second and the cryptic Tenth involve anything
affirmative; the rest seem to be promises the government
won't break. (By
the way, in your TD's opinion, the Tenth is SO vague
that it would itself be unconstitutional were it not
part of the Constitution itself.)
the Second Amendment gives the people themselves
something (what has been described in this column as the
"you keep your guns and we'll keep our porn"
social contract). It
gives the people ARMS: if
the government of any American polity (local, state or
national) treads too far, ultimately, it must deal with
an armed citizenry.
THIS IS A CHECK AGAINST TYRANNY.
Is it the BEST check?
But it's in the Constitution (compare and
contrast some other "Constitutional rights"
invented by the Supreme Court NOT in the Constitution: again,
no comment). So,
my liberal brothers, GET OVER IT.
And be sensitive to Chuck: you'd
be sensitive if ANY OTHER HOLLYWOOD CELEBRITY had a life
threatening illness, wouldn't you?
from a place where governmental tyranny is NOT unchecked
(even with, most likely, a well-armed populace!) --
Mugabe's Zimbabwe, where
80 white farmers have been arrested for not obeying
a farm confiscation law (was it like that when Steve
Hatfill was there in happy Greendale?
I wouldn't think so...)
TD Late Afternoon
Could Not Tell You
King Is Dead, Long Live the King.
I'm not sure what it says about the citizenry of
Earth that, (1) the late Elvis Presley seems to be
selling more records now than, well, WHEN HE WAS ALIVE;
(2) 25,000 plus people show up for a vigil at
Graceland; and (3) Elvis seems to be the number one
artist right now, in at least a dozen countries,
including Israel and Afghanistan...
It’s probably a GOOD thing that we are all
willing to be subjects to the same King.
we (I hope) move on to a national (and preferably
international) debate on whether the Bush family's
personal feud with the Hussein family (our survey says!)
becomes a matter of military action (to rid the world of
Saddam’s ability to threaten mutual assured
destruction -- which must be carefully undertaken to
make sure that the "prophylactic" military
action itself does not CAUSE such destruction.)
It is NOT an unserious question to ask about the
aforementioned sport of baseball's propensity
for....MUTUAL ASSURED DESTRUCTION!
very good reason. George
W. Bush WILL NOT BE CONTENT to retire into
post-presidential life as a mere big-time speech maker
and husband of a senator.
NO! Although I guess he enjoys being President (great gym
facilities at the White House), in his heart, our
President wants to be COMMISSIONER OF BASEBALL.
He loves the game:
t-ball on the White House lawn, the Andover team,
the Yale J.V., the Texas Rangers – it’s just the
man's first love. He
will have very little to look forward to (with over TWO
YEARS until the election in 2004) if major league
baseball has destroyed itself.
hope these guys figure it out...we'll send in Dennis
Ross and George Tenet to negotiate with Selig and Fehr...perhaps
now for something completely different, anticipating
TD's investigative blogging, Dr. Hatfill denies ever
having BEEN to Princeton: apparently, he has CATEGORICALLY REFUSED to deny having been
to Zimbabwe. Your
TD remains angry -- very angry, indeed -- with the FBI's
anthrax investigation: pictures
of Dr. Hatfill are now being circulated in the Princeton
TD gets the feeling that in the bizarrely politically
correct post 9-11 environment, FBI agents were
specifically under orders NOT to ask about, say, the
Middle Eastern guy in the hazmat suit who dropped
something in the mail box across from the bio
16, 2002, New York, New York. After
about the Central European floods that have made their
way to Dresden, don't you get the feeling someone there
is saying: sure, NOW we get floods.
No floods when we were getting our asses
NOW we get floods. Danker. Danker
ein lot! Meanwhile,
elsewhere in my fantasy life, neo-libertarian Bruce
Springsteen announced that he had absolutely no
connection himself to the anthrax case (or any other
ongoing FBI investigations), but was joining Richard
Jewell, Wen Ho Lee and Steve Hatfill in a special
benefit concert to raise funds to fight Western forest
story, of the class-action suit filed by 600 or so
relatives of loved ones lost on September 11th, your TD
has seen various accounts of claims between $1 trillion
and $100 trillion.
As, I suspect, the GDP of the planet is not quite
up to $100 trillion, I admire the creativity of
plaintiff's counsel in asking for such a figure.
time to time, your TD (a lawyer by profession) comments
on interesting lawsuits.
In substance, of course, this case is in NO sense
group of people clearly conspired (and then put their
money where their mouths were) to intentionally do harm
to another group of people. In law school, we call such a thing a "tort".
The problems with this case are, alas, more
practical in nature.
let me first address the "international law"
better or worse, private American citizens are unable to
launch massive military strikes against foreign
governments (or citizens) who cause harm to their loved
ones; their remedy tends to be limited to, alas, a
lawsuit in the United States.
[Only foreign nationals (particularly from the
Middle East) are permitted to engage in private military
type actions (i.e., if the victims of those actions
include citizens of either the United States or Israel,
or preferably, both).
Any American or Israeli who tries, or is even
accused of, such a thing will be hauled up before the
ICC at the Hague, or subject to indictment under Belgian
is a pretty good analysis of suing foreign
down, you will see a mention of Stephen Flatow v. Iran
(see also this),
where the father of a victim of terrorism sponsored by
Iran, obtained a hefty judgment against Iran, but was
not permitted to execute on "diplomatically
protected" property, and thus, has what amounts to
a Pyrrhic victory.
A 1996 law (the law that greatly helped the Flatow suit)
applies to "declared terrorist" states, which
include, e.g., Libya and Iraq, but NOT Saudi Arabia or
I suspect one of two unfortunate outcomes to the
lawsuit: either a lengthy jurisdictional battle over sovereign
immunity, or a straight default and reliance on the fact
that Saudi Arabia is not on our "terrorist"
list and thus its assets may quickly be deemed
thus not subject to seizure here!
While it will provide some level of satisfaction
to air the issues in open court, your TD still thinks
that, at least in this case, military action geared to
"regime change" -- in Riyadh, that is -- would
be a more satisfying outcome ultimately.
But then, to quote the great legal doctrine,
Afternoon Anthrax Conspiracy Extra
the anthrax case? I'll
bet Steve Hatfill does, seeing as the friggin' FBI won't
let him forget it.
Even though they can place him in Zimbabwe in a
town called Greendale in 1983 (though even IT did not
have a Greendale school!!!), our crack law enforcement
agency can place him NOWHERE NEAR Princeton, New Jersey
at the time the infamous anthrax letters were mailed to
key Senate Democrats Daschle and Leahy.
article does a good job of laying out the mysteries
of the envelope.
down through all of the articles, and you will see where
I'm going: one
of the victims at the Khobar Towers bombing was
Other victims were of various grades in the
military, including more than one FOURTH GRADE Airman.
Finally, in the other article, an individual at a
rally in Illinois (from FRANKLIN PARK, ILLINOIS) stated
that he was stationed at...the Khobar Towers at the time
of the bombing (June 25, 1996).
further interest, this
site shows famous people born in August; taking the
zip code from the mystery letter, we learn that Howard
Stern sidekick Robin Quivers was born on...August 8,
1952; the mystery letter's return envelope has a zip
code of 08852 (the NEXT TOWN OVER from Franklin Park, by
the way). (We've
solved the case: pick
course, 08798 (the zip code for...nowhere!) was the date
of the East African embassy bombings, something to which
guy in this story pleaded guilty to.
And will you look how old HE is?
I wonder when his birthday is?
course, we KNOW the envelope was mailed in Princeton,
New Jersey; we COULD just take a look at...the
Princeton University microbiology department.
We know that these people were (1) probably near
the mailbox the day on the letter was mailed and (2)
how about we start with them?
If nothing else, maybe one of them saw somebody
am I missing?
is one of many reasons why your TD (though he DID serve
in the Justice Department, step-parent of the FBI, for a
time in the mid-80's) is not with the FBI itself. (Actually, the real reason is, despite his ability to trod
over endless distances, he can't run the required 2
miles in 14 minutes.)
Did You Expect?
the stock market had a big end-of-day rally yesterday on
the "strength of" the mandated earnings
certification reports rolling into SEC headquarters.
Time will, of course, tell whether this was
anything other than a one-session blip, or if the
mini-rally is sustainable.
The market is down slightly at this writing.
this report shows, the President found himself in a
bind between two conflicting policy goals: (1) Karl's
"reach out to Hispanics" thing and advancing
the "close friendship" worked out with
Mexico's president Vicente Fox; and (2) the more
important policy prerogative, "don't mess with
the end, allowing Texas executions to proceed unabated
is, next to tax cuts for the extremely rich, the
paramount goal of this nation.
Mis apologias a Vicente, but that's too durn bad
about your citizen: he
military officials question whether an apparent movement
of trucks and equipment within Saddam's Iraq signals
preparation on Iraq's part for a perceived U.S.
well, you know..you think he's up to something?...
substantial parts of the former Austro-Hungarian Empire
are under siege...from
floods and rain.
With all due respect to our friend The
Raving Atheist, do you think God is trying to tell
us something? (On
the other hand, sometimes a deluge is just a deluge...)
Steamy Afternoon Extra
TD sends a hearty "feliz cumpleanos" out to El
Jefe himself, Fidel Castro, who, for everyone who’s
counting, is setenta y seis anos hoy.
Buena suerte! Perhaps someone will listen to apparent neo-liberal Dick
Armey and withdraw the embargo, in which case, Fidel
might spend his 77th in retirement!
is the Day
I'll break out of Haiku form to address this one; by the
way, I will give credit to the sudden resurgence of
interest in the Haiku form to Aaron
Naparstek who lives near your TD (and Mrs. and Baby
TD, of course) in Brooklyn, New York, for composing
Haiku's which he called "Honkus" and posted on
lampposts in the neighborhood to protest the unabated
car noise in our otherwise quiet neighborhood -- but I
deep inside the head of either Harvey Pitt (or more
dangerously, Secretary O'Neill) it was thought that the
"problem" of investor lack of confidence was
that investors feared that ALL CEOs were a bunch of
cowardly crooks (at least of the 1,000 or so largest
public companies -- and click
here to the SEC's list to see up to the minute
results of who is certifying) and forcing them to
personally guarantee their books would calm Wall Street
course, contrary to the hopes of the Bush
Administration, the stock market is not going to
spontaneously take-off as a result of this sudden spate
of sign offs (and indeed, as I write this, it's down a
stock market has to factor a broad panoply of
uncertainties and expectations into valuations;
"irrational exuberance" means "selling
opportunities" (if the exuberance is TRULY
irrational), just as irrational pessimism means
"buying opportunities" (again, if the
pessimism is TRULY irrational).
a TRULY rational investor would be spooked even more by
the sign-offs, because now, in the event that a company
chooses, for whatever reason, to restate earnings, one
more arrow has been added to the quivers of parasitic
class action lawyers to bring extortion-suits, which
actually WOULD be a drag on real earnings, and THIS DOES
have to be factored in to valuations. Further, any CEO in his right mind might wonder if his job
hasn't become TOO MUCH TROUBLE:
besides civil liability in the form of the
above-referenced parasitic lawsuits, now, a CEO may face
prison time for mistakes in reporting made by
a truly rational investor would factor this in to stock
the truly rational investor would look at other huge
uncertainties out there.
Forgetting the (I guess) coming war with Saddam,
which will do wonders vis a vis high oil prices and
their effects on just about every other industry (let
alone what fear of terror will do to travel/tourism),
there are many straight economic uncertainties.
For example, the feckless Gray Davis has presided
over California (something like the number 8 economy in
the world, if an independent country) by saddling it
with an inconceivably large budget deficit; and other
states and municipalities (such as the City of New York)
face comparable (though not as large) budget shortfalls
of their own, and the "back-stopping" federal
government is itself back in big-time deficit, which
does not bode well for the one thing that is keeping the
economy humming now:
historically low interest rates.
there’s the President's sudden decision to "get
tough" on deficit spending, as
reported in the New York Times.
Some of the items included are such things as
training for firemen and testing of Ground Zero workers
for toxins. Again,
a rational investor would NOT look at Bush's attempt to
make a political issue out of this particular spending
as credible (surely, much of this relates directly to
the "War on TerrorismTM"); in any
event, Bush's choice to make this an issue may only lead
to...more uncertainty, and bidding down values...
least we are strong
in the "cause for optimism" department, we
give you this exchange, where a federal judge is
seriously questioning the government's handling of an
"unlawful combatant" (i.e., refusing access to
counsel) in the Navy brig at Norfolk, as
reported in the Washington Post.
ever forget: it’s
our CONSTITUTION and LAWS, and our insistence on
following them, not our "homeland", certainly
not our "government", and not even our
"people", that guarantee our freedom, and make
this nation the greatest that has ever existed.
came up with this
what does the last one mean?
The way your TD does things, it means one of two
reasons for the US NOT to attack Saddam (as a matter of
game theory, rather than "legality", which to
my mind, our following is what makes us superior to
Saddam in the first place.)
Saddam's rejection of inspections either means:
He REALLY HAS -- RIGHT NOW -- weapons of mass
destruction which he is saving up, so he can go all
Wagnerian on us if he has to (be it against our friends
in Kurdistan or Israel, or American forces wherever they
may be found -- or maybe even somehow against the United
States proper). Why
turn over such a prize to international inspectors?
OF COURSE reject inspections!
If so, anything short of the instant obliteration
of Baghdad (which, of course, simultaneously sentences
hundreds of thousands, if not millions, of human beings,
to horrifying death) would be ill-advised, especially
given our current "Saddam must die and we must pour
salt on his gravesite" strategy.
Cold comfort that the guys (and gal) who decided
to implement their al Qaeda control and security plans in early September are
the same guys and gals who are implementing our war
(2) Saddam DOES NOT HAVE WMDs at all, but wants us to
THINK he does (in which case, he really isn't a threat
in the first place) -- so REJECT INSPECTIONS.
This comes back to my "what are we waiting
for/what's the hurry" argument.
Saddam is unquestionably a bad guy, but surely,
he is ALREADY the most contained member of the Axis of
EvilTM; unlike Iran or North Korea, American
forces effectively control large swathes of Iraq, right
is building a nuclear reactor with help from Pooty Poot.
Amazingly, as part of the brilliant strategy of
prior governments (and our Japanese friends) North Korea
-- which ALREADY has ballistic missiles capable of
hitting Japan (if not Alaska) is planning to build a
nuclear reactor with help from...Uncle Sam.
is, alas, a third possibility:
Saddam is ABOUT to COMPLETE work on a WMD and
change the equation from (2) to (1).
Of course, if THIS IS THE CASE, then my question
becomes why the Bush Administration is WAITING AT ALL --
in fact, why wait until TOMORROW -- why not direct the
fighter pilots in the air over Iraq RIGHT NOW to start
shooting – this second!
In this (extremely unlikely) third possibility,
Saddam, of course, has to be stopped IMMEDIATELY, lest
he change the equation and be able to blackmail us
and/or destroy Israel.
If THAT'S the case, then the Administration's
inability to demonstrate and articulate this for those
annoying "legal purposes", and thus get
IMMEDIATE CONGRESSIONAL, if not United Nations, support
for an instant strike, constitutes an act of gross
recklessness so great that it cannot be calculated.
Then again in the Cold Comfort Department, this
is the same team that was on watch on September 11th,
now, is it not?
one last question.
Pakistan ALREADY HAS nuclear weapons, and ALREADY
HAS a healthy serving of Islamic militants, and as far
as we know, MOST OF AL QAEDA ITSELF IS ALREADY THERE. Shouldn't keeping Pakistan in order be the first priority of
the Bush Administration?
12, 2002, New York, NY. Well,
for the conspiratorially minded, we
give you this probable explanation (running up cash
flow ahead of the IPO) of the story that bothered the TD
so much yesterday.
is of course, based in the Detroit area, home of the
nation's largest Arab community.
Could we be seeing the start of a pita-pizza
on that segue, we
give you this story.
What's wrong with this picture?
Iran (Axis of EvilTM) hands over 16 or
so suspected al Qaeda Saudi national members to...Saudi
Arabia where (the Shiite extremists insist) "any
results of interrogation" will make their way to
the United States intelligence services (via the Sunni
Oh, that's right. I keep forgetting how cooperative Saudi Arabia has been in
all aspects of the War on Terrorism TM so far to date. Well, I have EVERY confidence the Saudis will be EVERY BIT as
cooperative on this as they were with the Khobar Towers
good news in South Asia – much less need to worry
about death from a nuclear war.
Oh, wait: this
isn't good news at all!
Fortunately for us in the US of A, we have
NOTHING to worry about as far as air quality is
the Keystone Kops Department:
I say the Bureau should just pick up Richard
Jewell again: he's always good for a laugh or two, and he is as
statistically likely to be as responsible for the
anthrax "thing" as most of the other
non-suspect suspects (particularly since the Bureau
seems to have ruled out anyone from, say, the MIDDLE
continued non-handling of the anthrax investigation by
the FBI continues to make your TD very angry indeed.
(Sometimes, a Greendale is just a Greendale
a look at this investigative work from our friends
at Unqualified Offerings.)
department, we give you this
report on a sudden spate of deaths among former germ
warfare workers that is making your TD wonder if these
guys were ALSO members of the Saudi Royal family (with
thanks to blogger, and no relation, Gary
can I say? This just makes me even more angry a the FBI's handling of
this affair. VERY
Offerings sends its continuing congratulations to a
suddenly reasonable-in-the-face-of-retirement House
Majority Leader Armey.
Does this mean that I have to start liking Tom de
Lay and Trent Lott too?
'Cause I don't think I can do that...
10, 2002, East Hampton, NY. Continuing
kudos to our friends at Unqualified
Offerings for their continued, intelligent coverage of
the phony war with Iraq.
When Baby TD asks her daddy what he did during
the war (or more accurately, back in the EARLY DAYS OF
THE WAR ON...) he would like to think that these musings
and ravings would be his finest hour.
(That, and having had the intelligence and
foresight- although not, actually, the money to have
gone long big on petroleum, gold and Exxon-Mobil and BP
appears the Justice Department is
scaling back the TIPS national anti-terrorist snitch
program; apparently, most people felt that a
national scheme of organized government informants was,
somehow, contrary to liberty interests.
a key non-suspect suspect in the anthrax
"thing" will talk -- to someone, about
something -- tomorrow, as
reported here by CNN.
(Your TD is very angry with the FBI's handling of
the anthrax attacks.
Very angry indeed.)
are saddened to hear that actor (and NRA President)
Charlton Heston may be suffering from the early stages
of Alzheimer's disease.
Although there are those in the NRA (and
certainly those in the Bush Administration) who might
oppose it, this MIGHT be a good time to take the bullets
out of Chuck's guns...
And finally, regarding
Vice President Cheney's address to Iraqi ex-pat
dissident groups, notice that nowhere in there is
mentioned creating an American state (first mistake).
Also, note the "secure location" of the
Vice President, and compare it with the TD's
intelligence work, as
reported here, last spring.
(Hint: the Veep's "secure location" is
in Jackson Hole, Wyoming.
Don't worry: Saddam already knows that.
Pooty Poot told Dubya, Dubya told Crown Prince
Abdullah -- and, well, you know...)
Evening Extra And Saddam Policy Change Rave
your TD sits here pondering the (I guess) coming
invasion of Saddam's Iraq on this, the evening of the
57th anniversary of the day that American forces dropped
a second atomic bomb on the Empire of Japan, at Nagasaki
(ending World War II).
Obviously, the principal stated rhetoric about
why we should take out Saddam is that he might acquire
that type of weapon (even though neighboring
psychotically Islamic fundamentalist IRAN is trying to
build a nuclear reactor, and neighboring psychotically
Islamic fundamentalist SAUDI ARABIA, whose nationals
have already launched a military-terror assault against
New York and Washington, is ALSO trying to acquire
let me end any ambiguity on my position and join the
dissenters: I think we blew it on attacking Saddam. I felt (and I still feel) that there is sufficiently
compelling evidence linking Iraq to 9-11 that, by
itself, justifies removing Saddam (including the meeting
in Prague and Ramzi Youssef's probable connections to
Iraq as probable Iraqi intelligence agent, and possible
roles in the anthrax attacks and the crash of Flight
587). I do
not have sufficient evidence for a conviction in court
-- but then no one really asked me, now, did they?
Still, in my view, given the apparent policy imperative
to toss Saddam's ass ANYWAY, this was more than
sufficient to have warranted attacking Iraq in the
relatively immediate aftermath of September 11th (as I
said, in this column, last year.)
BUT, it wasn't deemed a POLITICALLY defensible
move (by the guy with the 90% approval ratings), and
ergo, it wasn't done.
IS WHY JOHN MCCAIN, OR BOB KERREY, OR EVEN AL GORE
SHOULD BE IN THE WHITE HOUSE.
Military deployment is serious shit:
better to trust someone who has actual military
experience (as opposed to having posed for photos in his
flight suit), who can appreciate the significance of
such momentous life and death decisions.
If military action is to be undertaken, it must
be timed to maximize its MILITARY EFFECTIVENESS, not its
domestic political impact.
in the opinion of this Talking Dog,
we have now simply waited too long to attack Saddam.
The post-9-11 hot pursuit is now over; it is
lukewarm at best. The
stated reasons for attack (he will give weapons of mass
destruction to terrorists) is ridiculous:
Saddam, as a rational (albeit evil) control
freak, would not hand the possible means of his own
destruction over to crazy people.
Yes, he might himself have the ability to launch
a WMD at American interests (or Israel), but he would do
so only as a last resort (as doing so would doubtless
end his OWN life).
Indeed, it is VERY POSSIBLE that he has the
ability to do so NOW, as we may shortly find out. In any event, better we give ISRAEL the green light to keep
him in line (they have a more direct interest in the
neighborhood anyway) than risk thousands upon thousands
of more American (let alone Iraqi and Israeli) lives, as
we are evidently about to do.
(As I stated, and still believe, Saddam COULD be
VERY helpful in enabling us to round up al Qaeda; I KNOW
there is a deal there to be made, if the appropriate
officials are creative enough.
I have no doubt that they are not.)
Is Saddam a bad man who has done evil things to
his own people? Is he worse than our friends King Faud, Crown Prince
Abdullah, Hosni Mubarak, or any of the OTHER dictators
in charge of Arab countries (seeing as there's no one
BUT dictators in charge of Arab countries?)
Shall we remove them all?
(YOU KNOW I WOULD, but that's not the plan on the
table, now, is it?
We should at least remove those immediate
responsible for the attack on this country, and we all
know who THEY are!!!
Oh wait, they are "family friends" of
the President! Never mind!!!)
Bush Administration that insists on permitting
incompetents to continue in their important jobs, be
they Ashcroft, O'Neill, or Tenet, has reached a fever
pitch in its level of rhetorical inanity over Saddam. What has happened is asinine beyond belief:
by belligerent posturing, either (1) we have now
given Saddam more than sufficient time to build up
appropriate defenses against us, which will greatly
increase the blood and treasure costs of military
action, or (2) in the alternative, Saddam is not now
capable of, and can NEVER build up such defenses, in
which case, (a) what the hell were we waiting for or (b)
what's the hurry?
I personally believe that the Bush II Administration is
SO crassly political that the fact that the stock market
ended only mixed today (Dow and S&P up a bit, but
NASDAQ down) signals no imminent attack (and, of course,
the WorldCom news is not good), I still wonder...
What's all this about, REALLY?
September 11th was the operation of some
well-connected Saudis (hosted by crazed Wahabbis based
in Afghanistan), with add-on Egyptian manpower, and
quite probably, Iraqi logistical support.
On the other hand, what it MOSTLY was the lucky
project of a few nuts:
they picked a REALLY weak point in our security
security in the US of A was (and still is) a very
unfunny joke. That particular trick won't work again, at least, that way
(though, as we learned in East Africa, there are MANY
vulnerable American interests).
I repeat: what's all this about?
We have punished the Taliban for harboring Al
are about to punish Iraq...to avenge the political
defeat of George H. W. Bush by Bill Clinton?
Is this the same "end justifies the
means" contempt for the rule of law that has led to
the detention of American citizens without charge and
right to counsel as declared “enemy combatants”?
(By the way, if this is permitted, then there is
NOTHING, I repeat, NOTHING, stopping the President from
reading this web site and declaring your TD an enemy
combatant, and detaining him in camera in secret
military detention, without charge, counsel, or trial;
as an aside, if you detect "radio silence" on
this site for more than a few days, to quote the great
Warren Zevon -- "send lawyers, guns and money --
Dad, get me out of this!!!")
such apparent contempt for rule of law -- under the
rubric of a probable one-time terror attack -- EVER be
justified, be it for apparent miscreants like Jose
Padilla or any OTHER CITIZEN?
Could this contempt for the rule of law now be
extended to the international sphere -- where entire
wars can be initiated and waged without ANY legal
niceties followed (such as a declaration of Congress
and/or UN resolution)?
If the answer to either question is yes, I
dissent again. Though,
naturally, I wouldn't dissent too loudly, because if the
answer to either question is yes, this will no longer be
the country my grandparents fled totalitarian Europe to
9, 2002, New York, New York. Well,
another day, another atrocity somewhere:
today, this one in Jalalabad (remember Jalalabad
from back when we were told that AFGHANISTAN was
CNN reports the death toll is at least a dozen dead,
maybe SEVERAL dozen.
you might ask, why does your TD keep linking to CNN for
breaking news stories like this?
Is it because of those 12 or so shares of AOL
Time Warner he owns?
No, that sort of thing is for Congressmen [see
below]. It is because, aside from CNN's worldwide presence and
professionalism, CNN is easy to spell.)
other atrocity news (as reported by CNN), there was an
attack on a Christian hospital in Islamabad, Pakistan.
in God's name are we watching here?
I'll tell you.
We have NOT finished off al Qaeda.
We have NOT EVEN finished off Osama bin Laden.
We nailed some cannon fodder that Osama and Omar
threw at us (not to mention a couple of weddings.)
These are Osama's homies at work, trying to
foment a grand global jihad between all Muslims and the
rest of the world.
In a way, the USA's crassly political planned
attack on SECULAR IRAQ right now (as opposed to in the
immediate aftermath of 9-11, when it actually MADE SENSE
TO DO SO, as suggested by, ahem, me) may be making his
point for him (at least in the view of many Muslims, for
whom this sort of thing may not be such a hard sell.)
Further, American special forces are coming under
fire more and more regularly in missions in Afghanistan
and Pakistan. Remember
that "first part of the war" -- the kind that
was "easier than we thought"?
It was TOO EASY:
the Taliban are out of power (for the moment),
but the Taliban only HARBORED al Qaeda Central.
AQC is still operating (possibly even with OBL
himself at the helm; unquestionably with CONTINUING
Saudi financial and logistical support).
In plain English, we haven't won yet.
Worse, we're focusing, AGAIN, on a bogeyman who
(like the Taliban) only AIDED the 9-11 perpetrators (not
that that's not enough to remove his ass) -- while Bush
officials continue spouting and gushing about our
"friendship" with the House of Saud, elements
of whom CARRIED OUT 9-11.
the way, as I write this, I see that the Dow is down
around 100 points, so we don't have to think about an
invasion of Iraq, or whether to cover our oil positions,
over the weekend.)
to domestic affairs.
you look at this Washington Post report.
It seems WorldCom forgot about ANOTHER $3 plus
BILLION in losses in the late '90's!
(Your TD is shocked to hear that this sort of
thing is possible in our transparent, well-regulated
and overseen financial markets...
on to my bęte noire:
the bankruptcy "reform" act.
It seems that Rep. James Moran (D-Virginia) (a
key House sponsor of the Debtor's Prison Reintroduction
Act) took out some sort of sweetheart loan from credit
card issuer MBNA (NUMBER 1 credit card issuer MBNA, that
is) who lobbied for this bankruptcy "reform"
reported by the New York Times.
TD is not picky. Since
SUBSTANCE will obviously not kill this horrible bill,
and the President seems to have no truck (let alone
sympathy) for anyone with less than $10 million in the
bank, your TD will accept the possibility of SCANDAL
killing this horrible bill.
The media doesn't seem to have caught on about
just how destructive the bill is, but at least it can
get itself into a Beltway-Business-As-Usual froth --
when the story might just have "legs" (besides
those that will be broken, under the proposed
TD Evening Extra:
TD is getting very worried that amidst the various
tongue-clucking going on in weblogs and editorial pages
everywhere (and your TD himself is no less guilty) we
have just sat here, while, apparently, one of the most
important precursors to attacking Saddam has happened
under our noses. I'm referring to this,
TD feels it in the air: a mandate to attack Iraq not
from Kofi and the UN Security Counsel, not from Chris
Fatty Patten and the EU, or even from Tom, Dick and
Denny over at Congress.
No, much more importantly, and ominously for
these purposes, the STOCK MARKET IS UP for a 3rd
out the S&P 500 around noon tomorrow (New York
time). If its up more than 2% for the session by that time, go short
on Iraqi anything futures, sell your downtown Baghdad
real estate, and, baby, GO LONG ON OIL!
8, 2002, New York, New York. I
note (in passing) a brief bomb scare at the New York
City Public Library's main branch at the southwest
corner of 42nd Street and Fifth Avenue; I of course am
sitting on the 43rd floor of a building, well, across
the frigging street!
Your TD recalls a sort of vague existential angst
from, oh a dozen or so years ago when the Bush I
Administration decided to launch a massive military
attack against Saddam Hussein's Iraq (which, a year or
two earlier at that time had been receiving not
insubstantial American support for a war against
We in New York (at that time) had a vague fear:
perhaps terror attacks somewhere, perhaps friends and
loved ones might be called into their reserve units --
now that New York HAS ALREADY COME UNDER ATTACK, I gotta
tell ya': I
DO NOT feel that same fear and anxiety in the air, now.
I don't. If
anything, Midtown feels kind of
it’s the nice weather.
Still, your TD is NOT feeling good about the
current "phony war" being rhetorically waged,
particularly given some evidence of mobilization for a
war effort (such as this
reported by Instapundit.)
an unsurprising development in the Middle East, talks
don't seem to be going well regarding Israel's pull-out
from the re-occupied territories, as
reported by the Jerusalem Post.
the OTHER hand, this may be construed as good news, as
continuing talks seem to be in the offing.
We will see; although the morons in the United
States Department of State usually believe that talking
to insanely hostile parties is an end and a goal in
itself (Hey Osama, have you done something with your
beard?), IT IS NOT!
However, the Israelis and Palestinians clearly
have things to talk about, so in THEIR case, talking is
a good thing. Hope
continues to spring eternal (though Hamas will continue
to murder women and children in the name of peace, God
in another front on the War on Terror (you know --
Colombia is ALSO a major front in the "war on
drugs"; if we can make it a front in the "war
on poverty" -- I understand that it would
constitute a trifecta!) one has to question if
"Plan Colombia" should go back to the drawing
board, as Ye Olde FARC attacks Bogota as Colombia's new
president is sworn in, as reported by MSNBC here.
ARE places even MORE fucked up than the Middle East!!!
just in (care of CBS News):
Arabia vows NOT to help the USA with the coming (I
guess) war with Iraq.
(Since the market looks like a gainer today -- 2
more up days and we have the green light to attack,
your TD was thinking (as suggested by the same secret
source who ALSO first suggested "Club Med for
(including your TD) believe that Iraq was
"helpful" to the Al Qaeda bastards who
murdered 3,000 of our countrymen (the famous meeting in
Prague between Atta and the Iraqi intelligence man come
to mind). However,
for 9-11 purposes, the SAUDIS were MORE than HELPFUL:
they did the manning, planning, scanning, buying
and flying. Not to mention funding and spreading the Wahhabi famous
international hate-mongering schools, and the Saudis'
generally not helpful disposition in our "war on
the D.O.D. commissioned a recent Rand Corporation report
suggesting that SAUDI ARABIA is in fact our enemy, and
plans should be made accordingly.
I was just thinking -- if the Saudis won't help us in
our coming war with Iraq, maybe we can ask IRAQ to help
us in our coming war with the SAUDIS!
Saddam might like the opportunity to get back
into American good graces; it's tough living EVERY DAY,
day in, day out, as the most wanted man in the world by
the world's only superpower (I know, I know -- bin Laden
WAS the most wanted man in the world, but Karl Rove
figured Saddam IS BETTER in the swing states --
especially with the market tanking.)
a "good will" gesture, Saddam can hand us Al
Qaeda (we all know he can do this -- see above), and
hand in his weapons of mass destruction, and we can
leave him in charge of Iraq (you didn't REALLY think we
gave a shit about the Kurds, Shiites and rest of Iraq,
how about it? Do
we have a deal?
7, 2002, New York, NY.
Kudos to the blogosphere (such as Instapundit;
Tushnet for picking up a REASONABLE discussion of
the pros and cons of our (imminent, I guess) invasion of
Iraq set forth by our friends at Unqualified
Offerings (note the intelligent sounding ravings of
a certain canine in there somewhere...)
surprise, surprise, European elites seem sort of against
our proposed (inevitable?) Iraq attack, as
reported by CNN.
(Notice that a recently
aggressive-toward-a-Muslim-country Spain seems to be
"with us" in the "with us or agin'
Honestly, who CARES what the Europeans have to
have become UTTERLY irrelevant (by their own actions,
proving themselves more concerned with solipsisms like
their own welfare states, subsidizing French farmers and
the Euro than they have been with global -- or even
regional -- order and security:
witness the fiasco in the former Yugoslavia)
since the fall of the Soviet Union.
moving over to a country that is anything BUT
irrelevant, we give you China (and Taiwan which
"Beijing considers a renegade province"; you
know, why can't someone, for once, just say,
"Taiwan, a free, democratic and sovereign in
everything except name state made a pariah because the
much larger nasty dictatorship to its West with nuclear
weapons insists on this nomenclature and the rest of the
world is afraid of them". Oh. I guess I just said it.)
Anyway, Taiwan, like Israel, is NOT a
super-power, and must measures its actions carefully, as
set forth in this
report showing Taiwan's cancellation of naval
exercises, again, by CNN.
know, I have had two occasions in my legal career to
represent people from Israel against people from Taiwan
-- and vice versa -- and both ended up being legal
battles to the death over relatively small amounts of
imitates geopolitics, I guess; fortunately, Israel and
Taiwan have no reason to undertake military action
against the other, and can join the league of democratic
by the way, much as I think it might be a good thing for
other reasons, I do NOT see my usual solution for
international problems lately -- i.e., adding Taiwan as
an American state -- adding anything to the equation,
here (though as to Tibet and Sinkiang...).
is a fully functioning state, with a booming economy,
not dependent on foreign aid.
I would, however, like it to be unequivocally
stated that an attack on Taiwan by the Mainland would be
construed as an attack on the United States, and would
be responded to in kind -- as opposed to equivocally
it appears that the boys over in Israel-Palestine are
talking again, as the Palestinians seem to have approved
Israel's phased pull-backs from reoccupied areas,
conditional on no attacks being launched from there, as
reported by the Jerusalem Post.
fact that the parties are talking is good, necessary,
Maybe this agreement will stick?
Hope springs eternal...
6, 2002, New York, New York. As
I write this, the Dow Jones Industrial Average is up
over 300 points; thus, we can take solace in the fact
that George W. Bush is a genius (again).
Of more note is the recent effect that the
amazingly inane statements of amazingly inane Treasury
Secretary O'Neill recently had on Latin American markets
report from the BBC; or this
from The Houston Chronicle).
Treasury Secretary Rubin has recently been lambasted for
(such as this
by Andrew Sullivan), at least Bob Rubin gave the
impression that he knew what he was doing.
Paul O'Neill (like the President himself all too
often) not only gives the impression he doesn't know
what he's doing, but in O'Neill's case, that he doesn't
CARE that he doesn't know what he's doing.
Alas, O'Neill's apathy forces the Prez himself to
go make stupid speeches to Wall Street, and now, it
looks like 3 or 4 straight up days for the Dow may be an
additional necessary precursor (along with peace between
Israel and the Palestinians, and perhaps the eradication
of world poverty) for any attack on Iraq!
another day, another massacre by Islamic extremists in
Indian-administered Kashmir, as
unfortunate that General Musharraf, alas, remains our
last, best hope in that insane part of the world, but in
the alternative, a Taliban-type government would inherit
nuclear weapons. But
have previously suggested here that Israel (and at the
promptings of our friends at Unqualified
Offerings, Palestine, and later Northern Iraqi
Kurdistan) should join the United States, I DO NOT
believe that Kashmir should join the United States;
unlike Israel (and/or Palestine) and Northern Iraq, we
ain't got no vital interests there, and we don't really
want to be neighbors of not one but TWO nuclear powers.
just as in selecting a national official language,
rather than deal with the various internal ethnic
jealousies on the subcontinent, English was selected (at
least it was FOREIGN), I am suggesting that Kashmir
(both sides of the line of control) revert to British
crown colonial status.
No one need worry:
since the Blair government seems as eager to
divest itself not merely of colonial vestiges like
Gibraltar, but such colonial vestiges as Scotland and
Wales, we can be SURE that this arrangement will be a
this time, the ultimate resolution of the Kashmir issue
can be worked out with far more time and forethought
than the 1947 partition.
Since neither India nor Pakistan can ultimately
win on Kashmir (without a nuclear war that will result
in the destruction of Kashmir) -- I think this is as
good an outcome as any.
as reported here
by the Associated Press (as picked up by The
Jerusalem Post), kudos to Defense Secretary Rumsfeld
for distancing himself (and the Defense Department) from
a Rand Corporation study recommending that if Riyadh did
not do more in the War Against Terrorism (such as, for
example, discontinuing the funding of terrorist
operations, aiding and abetting bin Laden and the
Taliban in their evading justice, and sending their
nationals to crash airplanes into our cities) then we
should, well, go all military on them, seize oil fields,
freeze assets and that sort of thing.
Saudi Arabia, an enemy of this country that we
should plan military action against... YOU THINK?
"Let's Get Saddam" Evening Extra
thanks to Matt Drudge, we
give you these takes on the coming (I guess) war
with Saddam, the first documents warnings against such
an action by former National Security Adviser Brent
Scowcroft and one of his former British counterparts.
second is an
account that Israel, AS WE SPEAK, is preparing for
an Iraqi attack WITH CHEMICAL AND BIOLOGICAL AGENTS, in
response to a US strike, if Saddam believes he will be
cornered, or to paraphrase from the Economist, Go
Wagnerian on our ass.
This thoughtful piece from The Atlantic Monthly is MUST READING for those who think they understand Saddam.
rest of the world, of course, is just Delighted to have
Saddam around, and doesn't mind one bit that he might
help give the likes of Osama bin Laden the means of
destroying American cities.
(This, of course, is because the rest of the
world doesn't live in American cities; only American
city dwellers do.)
And I needn't tell you what the rest of the world
thinks about the fact that Saddam might want to destroy
your TD is saying: the
fact that the USA might have to go it alone (defined as,
with Britain and Canada) is not a problem; the USA has
most of the moral authority in the world right now.
The issue becomes logistical:
can we trust the Bush Administration not to fuck
this up. THAT
is the question.
5, 2002, New York, NY. And so, its
back to another really hot, humid work week, in this
bizarrely warm year (I still recall the freakishness of
walking around Downtown White Plains Christmas Week when
it was seventy degrees with Christmas music blaring over
loudspeakers in the streets).
And so, on this irregular feature of
"blogger jogger", I note that yesterday, I
joined 7,000 or so other idiots who did two laps around
Central Park in something called the Manhattan Half
surprisingly, in a "personal worst time"). The joys of jogging are the ability to always see something
new (or at least something one hadn't noticed before). In Central Park yesterday, this was a "forever
wild" sign at the North End of the Park, and the
plethora of people wearing "Natural Living"
tee-shirts (a reference to a radio show, and I guess a
"way of life", spearheaded by radio persona
Gary Null). I
just thought: we have all chosen to live in New York City; we are in what
amounts to a giant English Garden (with thanks to
Olmstead for his design genius) in the middle of a giant
ain't nothing "wild" about it. And as for "natural living", again:
we have all chosen to live in New York City, and
to THAT, I
have nothing to add.
let the repercussions begin, as the Bush Administration
deftly back-pedals on the issue of Al Qaeda
reported here by Time magazine, which seems to have
broken this story.
know the TD has been growling about this since September
11th itself (and in this column since its inception),
that, notwithstanding the unfounded accusations of
Congressperson Cynthia McKinney that the Bush
Administration KNEW the events of 9-11 were coming, I
prefer to say wimpily that the Administration KNEW OR
SHOULD HAVE KNOWN something was up, and taken
(Weasel-like qualifications are what I have
learned in my nearly 20 year affiliation with "the
seems to be a story that won't go away.
(Karl Rove is STILL praying for a market rally!)
surprise, surprise, is increasing pressure on the West
Bank and Gaza. It
is, for example, closing highway access to many parts of
the West Bank, and destroying homes of, and evicting,
etc., families of suicide bombers.
Could Hamas be any happier?
Or the Likud and Shas hardliners?
Meanwhile, British PM Blair states that he thinks
Israeli-Palestinian peace discussions should proceed
BEFORE the (apparently imminent) attack on Saddam, as
reported by the Jerusalem Post.
with you Tony? Bush
went down that route for months:
results include hundreds of dead Israelis and
even more dead Palestinians.
It’s a separate affair entirely; EITHER SIDE --
Sharon or Arafat -- is free to make the "grand
gesture" to break the minuet of mayhem they are
TD is not hopeful.)
But let's face it:
Saddam is another affair.
are good reasons for NOT taking him out, although there
are FAR MORE and BETTER reasons for taking him out
TD would just like to see a rational, public debate on
the subject, in any forum except the
credibility-challenged New York Times editorial page.
(For example, here's
one vote "for war" from The Economist.
Another view, raising
concerns similar to my own, is
raised by Josh Marshall here.)
Another view, raising concerns similar to my own, is raised by Josh Marshall here.)
let's keep this in mind:
Israel has decided to keep Arafat alive and
nominally in charge (and lest we be clear, Israel can
have him killed before you finish reading this
now, the United States has decided to keep Saddam alive
and in charge (he would be much harder to remove, and
we're about to find out exactly HOW much harder -- I
both, at their core, are secular, and hence RATIONAL!
Both seem to know exactly how far -- to the inch
-- they can go, before disaster strikes, such as
Saddam's crazy-like-a-fox decision to fire CONVENTIONAL
scuds at Downtown Tel Aviv in the Gulf War.
Had Saddam used chemical or bio-agents, or a
small nuke, he would now be dead and Baghdad off the map
(probably by the United States, and if not,
unquestionably by Israel).
Saddam did just enough (along with the not so subtle
suasion of the Bush family's Saudi friends and
benefactors) to convince the first Bush Administration
that it was better off leaving Saddam in place, in a
"box", because he was "rational",
and a final drive to remove him would result in
something crazy (like, well, Scuds containing chemical
or bio agents being showered all over Israel, Saudi
Arabia and Kuwait).
Saddam needn't worry about an internal religious
crazed uprising (as Arafat does); Saddam more or less
murdered all of HIS effective opposition.
His concerns tend to be external.
does this mean? Saddam
is NOT Bin Laden (or even Hamas):
he knows that dead is dead, and there ain't no 72
has no problem killing OTHER people, of course, but he
seems unlikely to engage in a suicide mission (ditto
Arafat, of course).
What this means is that if we push him against a
wall, he will suddenly unleash whatever crazy shit he
has stored up. Obviously,
if we are correct, this will only be conventional stuff.
If we wait too long, of course, it won't be.
Just keep in mind that the USA under Reagan
(Poppy was the Veep) did business with Iraq -- to help
it against the TRULY IRRATIONAL AND DESTRUCTIVE IRANIAN
CLERICS (who are still there).
is evil -- but he is more or less predictable: he tends
to act out of personal interest and self-preservation. So...
was once suggested to your TD that the United States
essentially set up a "super-nation" of
"Club Med" type resorts operating under the
protection of the United States military, in a network
of individual glamorous venues around the world for the
dictators of the world who are willing to VOLUNTARILY
relinquish power. (Perhaps
Ted Turner might want to sponsor THIS international
initiative, in which case we could call the program
Old dictators needn't worry any longer about
nasty Ceaucesciu (however you spell the name of the late
dictator of Romania, put to death by his own people)
exchange for peaceful
cessions of power, such dictators could be assured of
being allowed to keep the first $1 billion they stole in
their Swiss bank accounts (anything over that would go
back to the treasuries of their former piggy banks --
ahem, countries), with Club Ted picking up the tab on
food, housing, travel (within the network) and whatever
debaucheries the former dictators could desire (we
understand, for example, that Kim Jong Il of North Korea
is partial to expensive cognac and Danish prostitutes;
both could be provided in abundance, without causing
massive starvation to North Koreans!) Saddam could retire as a private businessman (although
limited to the $1 billion program limit for "seed
is unlikely that Castro -- who ostensibly ALREADY lives
in a tropical paradise would go for this scheme, but no
idea is perfect; of course, no credible plans to invade
Cuba and remove him are currently under public
do I bring this up now?
Because I'm not sure anyone has played this out: we
suspect Saddam has nasty shit in his arsenal now.
If we make this a "to-the-death" thing
without an honorable -- or at least, reasonable -- way
out for this evil (but rational) dictator (short of a
blitzkrieg-type rapid removal before he can do
something) we will find out EXACTLY what he has saved
I'm NOT sure that Tel Aviv (or for that matter, New
York) actually being destroyed is an appropriate price
to pay to ensure that...Tel Aviv and New York aren't
the Prez screwing around on this issue just gives Saddam
more time to plan whatever it is he's going to do, which
is NOT a good thing. Get on with it, Mr. President:
go to Congress, let's discuss all the
ramifications in the open, if the consensus supports it,
let's get a declaration of war, and let's get this done
(while we still think Saddam can't go all "mutual
assured destruction" on us).
what can a lone Talking Dog across an ocean say?
He knew that the Gaza bombing -- even if it
killed a Hamas leader who probably needed killing --
done in that particular balls-to-the-wall way (blowing
up his APARTMENT BUILDING -- collateral damage be
damned) would be good for stirring things up.
And they're stirred up.
Shimon Peres noted that the Palestinians killed
before the Gaza bombing, and after -- and really need no
prompting to violence.
He's right, of course.
The Palestinians need no prompting.
They are vicious, they are relentless, and in
their minds, they are winning.
PM Sharon's policies have gotten lots of Israeli
And there seems to be no end in site.
you have an "only Nixon could go to
China" situation; continue the hard-line crap and
watch a stream of premature funerals, or do something
statesmanlike and take a shot at ending this.
(Or join the damned USA already).
The choice is yours.
your TD listened inattentively to a program called This
American Life on National Palestine Radio (NPR)
which detailed life in Israel/Palestine currently.
There was an optimistic story, on a doctor named
Barghouti, very popular for his good works in setting up
community health programs, and related to a
cousin-terrorist with the same surname in Israeli
Alas, the story continued that if he were running
in an election, Arafat would kick his ass, because the
Palestinians to a person said "yes, he is corrupt
and has brought us ruination, but he is OUR
Vicious and relentless, sure.
But this view of Arafat right or wrong does not
smack of the intelligence that these people should have
developed in the seven left-wing universities set up in
the West Bank by the Israelis during the "brutal
reports are now coming in that plans to deal with al
Qaeda that had been worked up by the Clinton
Administration had been back-burnered by the Bush
Administration until just, well, days before September
11th (see Josh
Marshall's Talking Points Memo and Time
We will see how this developed, but your TD is
shocked -- SHOCKED I tell you -- to hear that the Bush
Administration failed to take all appropriate
precautions vis a vis Al Qaeda. (Not.)
Biden (D-DE, Chairman Foreign Relations Committee) is
beating the war drums as to our (I guess) imminent
attack on Iraq. Could
the Senator be seeking a tough line for his resume for
ANOTHER presidential run? Is
there ANYONE in government who can speak clearly on Iraq
without some political overtones? People:
-- principal supporter of Hezbollah and the number one
state sponsor of terrorism according to our State
Department is BUILDING A NUCLEAR REACTOR -- FOR SURE! (Yes,
Iran is in the Axis of Evil, of course.) Anyone
reading this site for any length of time knows my
feelings on Saddam: he
should have been removed a long time ago -- certainly in
the immediate aftermath of 9-11. And
in the end, even if it takes crass political
calculations to make it happen, maybe this is a good
the other hand, where do we go from here? The
point can be kicked around and around and around, until
Saddam GETS his friggin' nukes -- and then we can't
touch him. The
other theory is Saddam knows if we leave him in place
with a sword of Damocles over his head, he has to
not going wobbly on this; I'm just not sure our
government's motives on this one are presently beyond
Saudis still have to be removed (more urgently than
Saddam, frankly; we KNOW the Saudis sponsored attacks on
THIS COUNTRY; we only SUSPECT Saddam's involvement). To
me, Poppy Bush's saddling this country with a
"personal relationship" with the evil bastards
known as the Saudi Royal family is our number one
foreign policy problem right now. But
as I said, I'm kind of used to being alone out there...
3, 2002, Brooklyn, NY.
Well, the market took around a 200 point hit to
the Dow yesterday; this means that Dubya is an idiot
are the efforts the Administration did to try to
distance itself from this sort of tether of its own
performance to that of the market -- but then, who told
the Prez to go to Wall Street and make lame speeches?
(LOL-- rhetorical question-- we all know that was
of idiots, on to Congressperson McKinney.
For those of you willing to look, we give you this
site, apparently put up by the Congressperson's
Zionist enemies (with thanks to lawyerblogger
your TD would be remiss if he did not commend (and
recommend) the painstaking work
on this performed by our friends at Unqualified
you scroll through the Goodbye Cynthia site, you will
encounter such gems as this (from the Atlanta Journal
About one-fourth of the individuals who have contributed to
McKinney's campaigns over the past five years have names
that appear to be Arab-American or Muslim, according to
an informal study of Federal Election Commission
Their contributions total $142,950, a full third of the money
McKinney has collected from individuals over the last
five years, a review of government records by The
Atlanta Journal-Constitution indicates.
Arab-American leaders, including some who believe their community
has been singled out for persecution since the Sept. 11
terrorist attacks on New York and Washington, say the
explanation for their generosity is simple: McKinney is
a longtime supporter.
Their concerns are particularly pertinent in the wake of
regulations proposed by U.S. Attorney General John
Ashcroft to require certain foreign visitors,
particularly those of Middle Eastern and Muslim descent,
to submit to more extensive border security checks.
Arab-American leaders say McKinney has spoken in their defense when
other members of Congress would not. They appreciate
that she has lamented the quality of life that
Palestinians in the Middle East suffer.
"McKinney has addressed our conventions more than once. She
has received standing ovations. She has brought tears to
people's eyes more than once," said Hussein Ibish,
spokesman for the American-Arab Anti-Discrimination
The contributions are a sizable chunk of McKinney's campaign bank
account, especially when compared with those of other
members of Congress.
For instance, Rep. John Dingell (D-Mich.), whose
district includes part of the largest Arab-American
community in the nation, took in $21,525 from individual
contributors with names that appear to be Arab-American
or Muslim, according to the AJC study.
That amount equals not quite 3 percent of
Dingell's $835,893 in campaign contributions over the
we debate "secret" plans to invade Iraq,
perhaps we should ask some Congresspeople (such as
Congressperson McKinney, as well as
Rep.Danny K. Davis (D-IL), Rep. Sam Gejdenson
(D-CT), Rep. Earl F. Hilliard (D-AL), and Rep. Bernard
Sanders (I-VT), who
visited Iraq recently under the sponsorship of an
Arab American lobbying group.
lots more, of course; let the rumor and innuendo fly! Just follow this Google search to get you started: Type
Cynthia McKinney and Hala Maksoud into a Google search
-- and follow your nose!!! This is a free country (at least it is now) -- so go for it --
see what's out there. And
no one need have their privacy or freedom infringed, a
goal unheeded by the heavy-handed genius in the FBI who
thought of lie-detector tests to members of Congress! (I
guess we now know the branches of government ranking: Supreme
Court no. 1 with a bullet, because it can select the
head of the no. 2 branch, the executive; Congress, a
kudos to the New York Stock Exchange for its tactical
decision to threaten bailing out of lower Manhattan in
exchange for a better subsidy, and kudos to the City of
New York for proposing to trade the land under Kennedy
and LaGuardia Airports for that under Ground Zero to
"reduce the incentive to maximize the rent revenue
received from development on the site". Well,
I guess I stand alone in thinking that economic
redevelopment of downtown Manhattan is a GOOD thing. I've
found myself in that position before!
although my heart is often with organized labor in their
political forays, on THIS issue, they are just wrong.
This President, and the last President, and the
President before that, were right.
Free trade is the best possible economic outcome
for this country, EVEN IF WE HAVE TO DO IT UNILATERALLY.
(I am not speaking of politically motivated
sanctions, which, may, albeit rarely, be an effective
foreign policy tool).
For the those of you who find economic issues
boring, skip the next two paragraphs.
TD's libertarian and liberal streaks collide over free
trade, but in the BEST way:
who do tariffs help?
Entrenched, and usually inefficient industries
and their workers (think steel and textiles in the USA).
Who do they hurt? Two groups, actually. Foreign
producers and their workers tend to have a reduced
market, because their products are less competitive.
BUT FAR MORE SIGNIFICANTLY, domestic consumers
(including other domestic industries that have to buy
the subject products) are hurt most, because they have
to pay higher prices for goods that aren't competitive
enough to make it on their own.
(It has been recently noted that the Third World
is hurt FAR MORE by First World economic farm subsidies
and tariffs than they are "helped" by
international aid; the irony is that the First World
would also save ITSELF money if it cut the crap with the
aforementioned farm subsidies and tariffs.
Ah, but all politics is indeed local).
economics professor's chart will show you TWO
inefficiencies associated with a tariff.
Let's talk tons of steel:
let's say the South Korean price is $10 per ton,
but our domestic producers price is $20 per ton. A tariff of $10 per ton is placed on the South Korean steel,
so its now also $20 per ton (politically, the desire is
to make the foreign goods cost more, but we'll assume
it’s just equal).
Our USA consumers are not only screwed out of the
ability to pay $10 less per ton, they would buy a hell
of a lot more tons at $10 than constrained to $20, so
more economic activity up the line is constrained -- at
the expense of ALL domestic workers and consumers, for
the benefit of a tiny group of producers and their
I saying all tariffs are bad?
Pretty much, I am.
Keep in mind that as we enter a period of
potentially deepening economic downturn, we want MORE
economic activity, not less (even if some of it would be
politically important enclaves like the steel producing
on to the fun. There is a buzz going
around the blogosphere concerning the fact that
Congressional character Rep. Cynthia McKinney (no friend
of the Jews she) of Georgia received an unusual number
of campaign contributions from donors with Arab-sounding
surnames ON SEPTEMBER 11, 2001.
For discussions of same, check out the breaker of
this story, Indepundit,
stories by the Volokh Conspiracy and this
painstaking analysis by our friends at Unqualified
does this mean? Who
do I look like, Ken Starr?
I have no idea -- but it’s the kind of
wonderful story full of rumor, innuendo, and possible
serious crimes, all available because of the
it’s fun with the web day -- and this sort of thing
will doubtless help my "slut" total when the
Z. Bear blog ecosphere rankings come out -- check
the Attorney for a detailed discussion of the web's
known lawyerblogs, of which, not coincidentally, this is
in an unsurprising move, IDF tanks rolled into Nablus as
reported by the Jerusalem Post.
more things change...
view of "bankruptcy reform" from Robert
Scheer at Salon.
I'm not mistaken, there seems to be an amusingly ironic
pop up ad that's everywhere you want to be!)
Habeas Corpus Extra
attorneys employed by the United States Department of
Justice argued that a United States District Court Judge
had no habeas corpus jurisdiction over Jose Padilla,
because he has been transferred to in camera,
military detention in South Carolina.
For details of the argument, see this
as reported by the New York Law Journal.
Judge Michael Mukasey didn't seem impressed on this
point; briefs on relevant issues are due by September
TD will not be submitting an amicus brief himself, by
the way. For
this exercise, I am assuming that the allegations
against Mr. Padilla are true, including his possible
role in the Oklahoma City bombing.
Still, as an American citizen, even a potentially
miscreant and treasonous one, he is entitled to due
process of law. Milliken
v. United States remains good law: habeas corpus continues to apply as long as the courts of the
United States are open and functioning (i.e., stated as
a legal principle:
"the President has declared you an unlawful
combatant my ass").
it often falls to lawyers to have to argue silly points
on behalf of their client, lawyers for the United States
Department of Justice (of which your TD was once one
himself, albeit for a short time) are supposed to try to
do the RIGHT thing.
Well, for those interested, take a look at the
report of the argument, and YOU make the call.
(I assure you, Chief Judge Mukasey will call it
as HE sees it.)
1, 2002, New York, New York. Welcome
to another month. We
start this one much like LAST SEPTEMBER (when we
commenced TD operations):
American citizens (and others) killed at the
hands of Arab terrorists.
The Jerusalem Post reports
the dead are five American nationals, including one
Janis Ruth Coulter of Brooklyn, New York.
Your TD understands that this particular Hamas
handiwork (which, interestingly, despite the fact that
for the most part its victims were not Israelis was
marked by the usual celebrations in Gaza and the West
noted yesterday, Hamas, etc. couldn't care less if
Palestinian Arabs (who constitute around 5,000 of the
23,000 students at Hebrew University) are among their
the "but I thought I was a hard-ass"
department, I give you this
editorial from The New York Sun, making the
heretical statement that, perhaps, the
"terrorism" against which we are putatively
"at war" is a seamless affair, based in
various foreign capitals confined not just to the Axis
of Evil, but includes our, ahem, friends.
My only problem is the political improbability of
its statements: Poppy
Bush has saddled us with "personal
friendships" (and interlocking business interests)
with the Saudi Royals that, pretty much, leave this
country hamstrung to attack the REAL state sponsors of
terrorism (the Saudis, of course).
to the coming military defeat of Iraq, your TD ran
a Google search for secret Iraq invasion plans. Feel free to browse at some of the 15,000 plus entries, and
like the World Trade Center design plans, pick your
coming (maybe) invasion is, apparently, at the moment,
the subject of an internal Administration debate between
Karl Rove, Condi Rice, and the President's pollsters
about the precise coordination of the Iraqi invasion
with the rebound in the stock market and the mid-term
Congressional elections, and whether additional
protective tariffs benefiting some Midwestern
constituency might help with the invasion plans.
from the observation that the difference between a
"war" and a "war on" is that
"wars" end, does not one get the feeling that
something far more sinister is afoot here?
The psychological impact of September 11th (your
TD said as much himself, that day, standing one city
block north of the WTC catastrophe) could be summed up
in one phrase: Pearl
the immediate aftermath of that attack, the country
clawed for leadership through a really dark hour:
the first foreign attack on the United States
proper since the War of 1812, without even the
satisfaction of a solid return address.
a short time, at least, polls showed that Americans
would have favored a draft, mandatory rationing of vital
materials, various restrictions on liberty in the
interest of national security, and approved of the
President by margins hitherto unseen in such polling.
In response, the President told us to go
shopping, and that what we needed to protect us from our
hitherto disorganized government which apparently let us
all down security-wise was to create a mammoth new
bureaucracy with an ominous sounding name.
Oh, and we were launching a "war on
us return to the heady days of last September; I will
quote from...myself (back when I was the "Left
Leaning Dog"; also at that time, less than ten days
after the attack, it was believed that the casualty
count was substantially higher than the around 3,000
killed number that was later determined):
September 20, 2001. Our
president has addressed a joint session of Congress
(Gentlemen-- we've got to protect our phony baloney
I didn't get a harrumph out of you).
The upshot: a series of the same types of
reasonable demands on Afghanistan that reminds one of
those we imposed on Serbia before bombing it.
I love the reasonableness of our diplomacy!
Oh-- and we get a national office of Homeland
Security at the Cabinet Level.
it get the same funding as the ministry of silly walks
-- or the Drug Czar?
LLD understands the anger of an angry nation.
He too is angry-- along with grief stricken-- at
the loss of 6,000 souls-- including his client the
unfortunate fireman. He is angry about watching the trajectory of an airplane
crashing into a building that killed so many-- which,
but for the temporary structural integrity of the South
Tower of the World Trade Center, would have left your
LLD a dead dog. He
is angry that the destruction has -- aside from giving
him the lifelong horror about having to live with the
sound of planes hitting the neighboring WTC and
exploding, being close enough to watch poor souls
jumping to their deaths, or the tears of fellow escapees
on the Manhattan Bridge watching the fall of the mighty
him temporarily on the dole.
Your LLD is mad too.
having listened to our president, who, frankly, allowed
our national defense and intelligence services to be
asleep in the first place (as he contemplated gutting
them and decimating their morale in the interest of
funding an absurdly regressive tax cut), now proposes a
war on an unnamed enemy (except, perhaps, strategically
untenable AFGHANISTAN!) -- the only thing we know for
certain is that Americans--
I suppose MORE Americans -- will die in ground
combat-- somewhere. As to our enemies: No
names, of course (except panderingly, individual names--
a la Bill Clinton).
No mention of, say, Yasser Arafat and the
Palestinian Authority, the world's currently most active
terrorists, or its supporters in Damascus and Cairo
(Egypt- home of several of the hijackers!), or Saddam
Hussein and Iraqi intelligence (whose chief is seen in a
photograph with the head hijacker).
we will not be erasing Papa Bush's mistake-- Saddam can
Yasser can continue snickering.
'Cause a bunch of Afghan shepherds and goats are
going to die, thanks to our tough talkin', wanted dead
or alive president.
Unfortunately, so will more innocent American
let's survey the last ten months or so:
other than the WTC death toll noted above, what
exactly have I gotten wrong?
I'll tell you what I did NOT expect.
I did NOT expect W's poll numbers to stay so
high, so long (they are starting to evaporate, finally,
amidst the Enron-WorldCom-Harken-Halliburton-market
decline fiasco). Nor
did I expect a President who governed early in his term
as if he won by a landslide (pushing through a massive
and insanely regressive and ill-advised tax cut for his
"constituency" -- i.e. those likely to attend
the Oil Baron's Ball in - and on- Dallas), to suddenly
start operating in an even more craven and politically
pandering manner than his predecessor AT A TIME WHEN HE
HAD AN ABSOLUTELY FREE HAND BECAUSE OF 90% APPROVAL
Marshall has noted, the President has had only two
state dinners: one
each for the Presidents of Mexico (Karl and that appeal
to Hispanics thing) and Poland (Karl and that appeal to
those Midwestern males thing), leading one to think that
NOTHING besides short term political calculus seems to
go into ANYTHING the president does).
where was I going with this (now) insanely long ramble:
oh yeah. I
get the feeling that our national security -- including
prior decisions of how to attack Afghanistan (our survey
wait, the polls say we need ground troops!) to the
decision of when or whether or how to attack Saddam,
will be guided not by geo-political strategic
considerations, or tactical military ones, but by the
crassest of domestic political considerations.
Clinton was often accused of this, of course, but
he had a rising stock market and a popular domestic
agenda (and got to hold off the other parties' control
of both houses of Congress).
Dubya, without this Clinton backdrop, seems
constrained to fight the last war: his
Papa's failed reelection campaign.
Unfortunately, at a time when the nation needs a
grander statesman than dear old Dad, what we are getting
is instead a crasser politician.
help the rest of us.
Back to Home Page