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The Left-Leaning Dog Says:

The Rabid Dog Says:

January 31, 2002, White Plains, NY.  We're sorry to hear about the illness of former attorney general and future Florida governor Janet Reno.  Janet, get well soon- you hear?!


Brooklyn, January 29, 2002.  Kudos to the President on his State of the Union; I enjoy seeing Stewardesses, and widows of CIA agents as much as anyone (and the First Lady, of course; same speech, different president, I guess; hey, let's roll, and don't forget the USA Freedom Corps!).  And I am pleased that we seem to be winning the war with North Korea, Iran, Iraq, and, of course, Hummus.

Still, like any good liberal, your LLD will simply state the obvious: foreign policy and war conduct, in speech and in deed, the man has out done himself: solid A (let's roll).  Sure, I can criticize deployment levels and tactics in this column (and the fact that we seem to have tacitly made deals with Pakistan that probably resulted in the escapes of Mullah Omar and bin Laden) -- but on the whole, no complaints.  Naturally, most of the speech addressed this: play the stronger cards, I suppose.

When it comes to the domestic policy issues (i.e., raping the working man for the benefit of the president's friends), W earns the gentlemen's C he came in with; even he did not dwell on domestic areas for very long.

We will see if the timing of the first part (i.e., attacking Iraq right around the 2004 New Hampshire primary) outdoes the fallout of a down economy (if we have one, as we likely will, given that the Bush II Administration seems to have a cockamamie fiscal sense and the stupidest man ever to hold the post of Treasury Secretary.  Well, time will tell: 2 years 11 months and 21 days until he is either out of office, or re-upping.  We'll see...


Brooklyn, January 25, 2002.  Well, my rabid friend misses a rather simple point: I couldn't care less what punishment is inflicted upon the hapless (and stupid) Traitor John Lindh (he wants to use that name, without the traitor part, of course).  I trust that our justice department in tandem with our court system will mete out something appropriate.  As it will to attempted air terrorist Richard Reid.

I was making a MEDIA point.  Very simply, would John Lindh get, say, 1/10 as much attention if he were Black?  And I insist to you that his crimes -- taking up handheld arms against the mightiest fighting force in the world (or more accurately, its Afghan surrogates and proxies) on behalf of a movement that WE recognized as the legitimate government of Afghanistan (just ask the Judge Advocate General who decided that question just that way when it came time to blow the crap out of Mullah Omar) -- though treasonous, are MUCH LESS SERIOUS than those of attempted terrorist Richard Reid.  So, why less attention on the crazy and incompetent Mr. Reid, who unlike Mr. Lindh, was trained by Al Qaeda and attempted to kill a couple of hundred UNARMED CIVILIANS in mid-air?  I submit to you that the difference in media treatment is PRECISELY because Mr. Reid is, well, a Black man (at least on one side).  THAT was my point.  Both of them will get ample punishment from our legal system, no reason to worry about that.

And yes, I was making a broader point about our (hilarious) justice system.  The big story this week in legal circles concerns the bribery charges floating around Mr. Justice Victor Barron of Kings County (my hometown!) Supreme Court.  (Full disclosure: I have appeared before Justice Barron, and have found him to be a competent, reasonably fair jurist.)  Our system is such that even if he is fully exonerated, however, he will have a difficult time recovering; certainly, one can anticipate dollar bills being stapled to motion papers!  Alas, there is a perception  that this incident, though recorded THIS TIME on a district attorney wire, is all too common an event in our city, and in our nation. And this system, well, sends people away forever on bullshit charges, and, invariably, condemns people who don't deserve it (and many who do, of course) to death. And, of course, let's O.J. walk around, perhaps to kill again.  And again.

Finally, as to my "charitable choices", those are, by definition, my affair.  However, its almost time for my (second) annual foray into something called the Achilles Marathon; last year, through pledges of usually $1 per mile, your LLD raised over $300 for the New York chapter of Habitat for Humanity.  The race is in late April; instructions on your participation as LLD sponsors (hey, maybe we can raise MORE than $300 this year!) will be posted in due course...


Brooklyn, January 24, 2002.  Yes, yes, yes.  I'm a loyal NPR listener -- and hell, I give our local station money.  What of it?

Still, NPR's irritating coverage of the return of TRAITOR Johnny Walker Lindh (did I mention he was a TRAITOR?) makes me, well, SICK.  This is a 20-year-old WHITE kid, from an affluent area, who literally got mixed up with the wrong crowd, and then, well, you know....  When something similar (often of much smaller significance) happens to a person of color, we in our enlightened society (which now houses the largest number of prisoners in the world after China, where the entire population can be counted) often SEND THEM TO THE SLAMMER, usually on some bullshit drug charge, FOREVER.

Well, all I can say about Johnny Walker Lindh is that he probably hasn't committed a death penalty offense.  Otherwise, he knowingly took up arms in support of evildoers against this country -- ostensibly, he joined a gang!  I don't actually want to hear his (affluent) parents' position on him being a "good boy" or misunderstood or misled or even brainwashed.  All of the foregoing is so stipulated.  And it doesn't excuse treason. The only other interesting angle to this story is the notion that, because he is from groovy granola Marin County, we should blame the lax (read:  left wing) upbringing for his rebellion.  ACTUALLY, HE JOINED A RELIGIOUS RIGHT TYPE CULT.  So let's give that story a rest too.


Brooklyn, January 22, 2002.  Well, it has only taken us until now to achieve our 2000th hit!  Some major leaguers never reach that milestone!  But, thank you, loyal readers, for keeping up the hitting streak!  You might want to talk us up on web newsgroups and chat rooms, so the hits keep coming (your LLD will get round to doing it himself, one of these days!)

Well, it appears that they may have finally de-toxed the Hart Senate office building.  Too bad:  your LLD, like Will Rogers, believes that no citizen is ever safe when the Congress is in session.  Especially a Congress where the awful Texan monsters De Lay and Armey hold sway, at the behest of Texans Bush and Cheney.

Well, before "that thing" in September came up, the president's dance card involved talking about stem cell research and federal funding, thereof.  (Your LLD actually was disappointed by the president's middling compromise, as were most people, who either said "harvest away" on one side, or "ALL life is sacred" on the other; your LLD's big picture view is "today, 'unwanted' frozen embryos, tomorrow, unwanted Guatemalan orphans, it’s OK, its for medical research!  Our biotech stocks will go up!)  Anyway, the president himself, whose hardass supporters like Pat "Abortion is murder, unless performed involuntarily by a repressive regime, such as China" Robertson and Jerry "September 11th is actually God's wrath against us for not burning more witches" Falwell, are probably of the "all life is sacred" and "women and their doctors who obtain or perform abortions should be, well, burned as witches" variety, thus making the president's "middle ground" somehow PECULIARLY unsatisfactory to all concerned.  But there you go:  he's a compassionate conservative.  (That means: cut those damned taxes.)


January 22, 2002.  Talking Dog Extra:  This just in:  it looks like all of this talk about new paradigms was right after all.  K-Mart (founded 1898, classic "old economy" discounter, about to file for bankruptcy.  THE new economy paradigm:  about to report a PROFITABLE QUARTER.  Oh, and Bill Clinton was the greatest president in American history.


Brooklyn, January 16, 2002.  Well, your LLD is lamenting his choice of the legal profession.  He is envious of the accounting profession, or more accurately, the guy who supplies shredders to Arthur Andersen.

Still, the key facts to watch are the numbers:  FIVE Congressional committees investigating (Why won't four do?  Or six?); a 50 million dollar fee to Andersen (roughly 25 million each for auditing and "consulting" services, appropriately comparable amounts, as they seemed to cancel each other out!), to understate profits by 600 million or so, which resulted in a loss to shareholders (including Enron employees in the billions and billions); Enron's executives paid a couple of million in campaign contributions to BOTH parties so that they could get away with 1.1 BILLION in recent sales as the stock declined (and they talked it up).  And get away with it they will.  With the money.  Just watch.

But, in all fairness to the Bush Administration (which will doubtless invoke executive privilege to avoid yet further embarrassment, thereby casting greater suspicion on the whole thing), members of both parties were delighted to dine at the Enron trough (our esteemed Senator Schumer is a big local recipient of Houstonian largesse).  Indeed, the Bush cabinet members evident refusal to intervene on behalf of a large constituent and friend of Dubya may have been the ONLY time that Enron's entreaties to Washington went unanswered: the bubble got as big as it did with help from friends on both ends of Pennsylvania Avenue.

While McCain-Feingold is not the ultimate answer, and parts of it are arguably unconstitutional -- how dirty does the system have to be before the outcry to some level of campaign finance reform gets to pass into law?


January 14, 2002, White Plains, New York.  Well, what can we say? Even while New York continues to rock and reel, the rest of the country can go back to feeling smug and self-satisfied!  So, four months after the unthinkable, and we are back to talking about the usual:  presidential scandals, and presidential pretzel chokes (are we REALLY supposed to believe that the president would be left alone by himself for that long?)  As far as calls to the cabinet, what have we learned, other than Paul O'Neill will DEFINITELY give John Ashcroft a run for stupidest man in the cabinet!  Chandra, there's hope for you yet!

Meanwhile, overseas, plan Colombia seems to be working perfectly:  if your plan is to make that country an even bigger shithole!  Argentina attempts to dump the costs of its devaluation onto foreign investors (this should bode well for FUTURE investment there!)  The Euro seems to be working perfectly, as if anyone thought it wouldn't (unless you're German, and need some fiscal flexibility, in which case, that's the way the flummencake crumbles).  India and Pakistan are talking nice; hopefully, nuclear war will be averted.  And how can anyone forget Robert Mugabe, remember the rallying cry when his movement overtook Ian Smith (with Western blessing) for "majority rule":  one man, one vote.  The cynics (your LLD included) would always add "one time".  Well, will you look at that?  That's EXACTLY what Mr. Mugabe had in mind for Zimbabwe!  And is China our friend, now?  I keep losing my scorecard.

Oh, and, as always, thank you Pentagon for picking up the baton The Talking Dog carried to you (in its mouth).  We now understand that US forces are going cave to cave, to make sure Osama is really dead. Happy hunting, guys!


Brooklyn, January 11, 2002.  We would hate to be the harbinger of future bad stuff (on this, the four month milestone from...) but, Osama still ain't accounted for, and we can't even be bothered to send in our own troops to EMPTY CAVES to make sure he's dead.  THAT FUCKER HAD BETTER BE KILLED, or more bad stuff will happen (not that it won't anyway, but who needs him alive any longer).

That said, the RD raises interesting anecdotes, except that Michael Bloomberg is smarter than Mark Green -- as well as nicer and richer (and Green starts by being a spoiled rich guy).  Of course, in all fairness, Bloomberg is, himself, a Democrat.  The ideological righties, to the extent they can read (something that does not apply to the GOP Congressional leadership, in either house of Congress),  tends to read Ayn Rand ( I used to as well, of course, but as I like to say -- if you're not a liberal at 21, you have no heart; if you ARE a liberal at 39, you have no money).  Still, I remember the "money" scene in the Fountainhead (that's the one about the architect).  Howard Roark (he's the architect) gets so pissed that the owners of a housing project aren't building it HIS WAY that he goes out and blows it up just before completion (he's a good guy, you see, so he makes sure the night watchman isn't on site).  As I recall, the location of that fictional housing project (the Cortlandt Houses) later became the World Trade Center.  Oh well, just keep cutting those damned taxes!


Brooklyn, December 10, 2002.  Well, we can all take great solace knowing that Attorney General Ashcroft will bring his legendary objectivity into the investigation of George and Dick's buddies over at Enron.  I'm sure we can expect to see some assistant treasurers and accountants and perhaps a secretary or two hung out to dry  (in military tribunals, no doubt) while Mr. Lay and anyone actually responsible skates away.  But, what's the point of being Dubya's biggest financial backer if you can't get something for it?  Meanwhile, we can expect severe sanctions against the outrages of the bankruptcy of a FORTUNE TEN COMPANY -- whose income statement rivaled that of MALAYSIA --  from the SEC, where Harvey "Even I Don't Think I'm Objective" Pitt figures out a way not to punish Enron's principals - or their compatriots in stock fraud -- TOO badly in his arena.

Oh, and the Bush family’s international patronage (Argentina) has also gone to hell in a handbasket.  You know, get the guy diverted for just a few months because of some little war or something, and the whole world just goes to hell!

Ah well!  America now has two kinds of rich Republican politicians: those who got rich somehow (Bloomberg, as an entrepreneur or Steve Forbes by inheriting from an entrepreneur) and then went into (or at least tried to go into) public service, and those who were well off, but became fabulously rich AFTER going into "public service" (that would be the Bush family).

Keep those tax cuts coming.


White Plains, January 10, 2002.  Well, in the haze of snideness (no doubt, caused by the rabidity condition), the RD misses the point again.  The only way a daisy cutter bomb would be dropped on my house in downtown Brooklyn by the United States, evidently, is if we could convince high command that Mullah Omar or Osama Bin Laden were DEFINITELY NOT THERE.

Meanwhile, there are taxes to be cut and deficits to be incurred.  And we have to attack the Philippines.


Brooklyn, January 9, 2002.  Well, the jury (or military tribunal, or whatever cliché works best) is still out on old Osama.  If he or his corpse washes up soon, I'll happily stand corrected on my assertion that a brazen attack on this country requires a greater showing of military force than, well, the "showing" so far made.  Until then...

As to Israel, what can we say?  There may very well be Palestinians who WANT to negotiate a final peace with Israel; they obviously are not in, or have any relationship, with the arms smuggling Palestinian Authority.  (Perhaps they're hanging out with the moderate Taliban; by the way, several Taliban cabinet ministers have now been freed by the "new Afghan government" in exchange for recognizing that government).

But mostly, I just want to know which speech writer came up with the brilliantly poignant: "You can raise taxes over my dead body" speech of the President.  Good choice of words!  While we should all watch we say and do, according to your spokesman, I think the priorities of your presidency couldn't have been spoken better and more succinctly than in that one sentence!  National security?  ("I will not tire...").  Education ("I'm the education president").  But TAXES, THAT invokes images of, well (see above).  Sometimes, being a liberal is fun!  [Editor’s Note:  Bush supposedly improvised the “dead body” line.]


Brooklyn, January 7, 2002.  Huh?  I guess living with the hydrophobia must be as painful as it is mentally debilitating to the RD.  (I do wish the RD his ad hominen obsessions with the New York Times -- which, lately has been amply deconstructed by our featured link Smartertimes, or National Public Radio, whose New York affiliate is lately tied up in a fundraiser!)  My concern with our ground troop levels ranging between low and negligible is that we are left ENTIRELY dependent on proxies when confronting the first foreign enemy to attack our "homeland" since the War of 1812, and the possibility that this FACT might lead to the escape of such villains as Osama and Omar was noted in that most liberal of rags, another of our featured links, The Economist.  It is simply a basic fact:  the INCENTIVE to catch Omar or bin laden lies with US.  While annoying to the Afghans, the Afghans are, for the most part, simply happy to be rid of the Taliban and back in the game to play their local version of realpolitik, free from the annoying Arabs.  So, given those facts, we increase the odds of their escape by not having OUR personnel there.  Hence the result of our two principal targets -- one, after having escaped with the help of our military's Judge Advocate General -- still at large, though apparently, at least,  not in charge.

Somewhere in the haze of his condition, the RD has made a valid point:  it is certainly too early for nay-saying and cries of "we are defeated", even though, with the ludicrous mismatch of the mightiest nation in the world aligned with ALL OF THE OTHER nations of the world against, ostensibly, two guys and a couple of hundred man private army -- and those two guys not only seemed to play us to a draw for a while, but seems to have escaped!  Admittedly, we have plenty of time to catch up to these pricks, and I certainly hope we do, and fast.  It is, of course, EQUALLY too early to start strutting around like the cock of the walk  declaring our undying machismo, either, as Charles Krauthammer has done publicly, and our President, apparently, privately.

That said, I have no desire to adopt an Israeli approach, which, frankly, DEMONSTRATES my point rather than undercuts it.  The current wave of violence against Israel has followed, almost to the day, when it foolishly showed the Arab world a level of weakness, by unilaterally withdrawing from Lebanon.  Israel is being punished not for a policy of toughness, but for a previous act of the opposite.  Would we get more respect in the Arab world if we, say, LEVELED MECCA?  Yes we would.  Even more so if we removed Saddam Hussein.  In the meantime, we'll take bombing the crap out of some caves, for now, though its nothing to be too self-satisfied about.


Brooklyn, January 6, 2002.  Actually, in tests, poodles finish second only to border collies in canine intelligence, so your LLD is hardly insulted by the reference.  (Tests also show that being rabid decreases the intelligence of ALL breeds!)  Frankly, that in the midst of his rabid haze, the RD takes my statements to be that I bloodthirstily want to see more American casualties, in this, as in most everything else, the RD misses the point.  (Your LLD also concedes that he was also a pampered poodle -- and like the RD -- never served in the American military.)

I cite Vice President Cheney's statements made before a single troop was deployed to South Asia: this will be a unique war, in that we have incurred more civilian casualties than we WILL INCUR military casualties.  Excuse me, but the ONLY way to ensure that result in advance (as we know from American experiences in Lebanon and Somalia and Saudi Arabia, if American troops are deployed, there is a potential for ANYTHING to happen) is NOT TO DEPLOY any more troops than there were casualties ; hence, miraculously, the WTC and Pentagon death tolls appear to be "only" 3,000 or so, rather than the 6,000 once, of course, our on-the-ground troop deployment levels are in the range of 1,000 (obviously, our naval and air personnel are much more extensive, though few are engaged at any given moment).

Obviously, we would all like to see as few American casualties as possible.  As we tragically learned on September 11th, however, the perceived refusal to commit to action (ludicrously ineffective response to East Africa embassy bombings; almost undetectable, if any, response to USS Cole attacks) may embolden our enemies -- and has evidently done so.  The fact that we lost very few troops in the Gulf War, or Kosovo, is unquestionably not, by itself a bad thing.  On the other hand, if the PRICE of those cautious engagements is, ultimately, the deaths of MORE AMERICAN SOLDIERS AND SAILORS (Khobar Towers, anyone?  The Cole? Our Kenyan and Tanzanian embassies?)  let alone CIVILIANS,  than the price of "zero battlefield casualties" -- i.e. A LOT MORE DEAD AMERICANS LATER, is INSANELY HIGH!

So what have we got?  Have we freed Afghanistan from the tyranny of the Taliban?  Yes, we have, and we should be proud of it.  Was that the objective?   I daresay not.  Recall that the Taliban were originally welcomed as a relief from the excesses of -- you got it-- the Northern Alliance and the very people we have placed in charge of Afghanistan at the moment.   Am I not delighted that the Taliban are gone?  Of course I am: they were a horrifyingly repressive, corrupt and awful regime.  And they harbored terrorists who ATTACKED NEW YORK CITY!  Replacing them with anything short of other Taliban (Colin Powell's original Pakistani-inspired suggestion!) is, at least in the short run, desirable.  And we have done so.

But that wasn't the mission!  The mission was to "bring to justice" those responsible for the September 11th event, i.e. Osama bin Laden, and to some extent, his harborer, Mullah Omar.

By valuing the short term expedience of a popular engagement with no casualties, we have left the "mission" to the Afghans, and apparently sacrificed (forgive me for thinking this was important) the objective of, well, bringing to justice those primarily responsible for September 11th!  So,  unless our government is not telling us the happy news of Osama's demise:  he is (1) alive, (2) not in our custody, and (3) with millions of dollars with which to regroup and scout out a new safe harbor to plot attacks against American civilians.  So please forgive me if I believe that any exuberance over the success of our Afghan adventure may be a bit premature. 

Oh, and last time I looked, Saddam Hussein was still in charge of Iraq.


Brooklyn, January 5, 2002.  Well, I recently drifted through the September, 2001 archive column (largely written with the stench of burning from downtown Manhattan still burning in your LLD's sensitive olfactories), where I stated that the true and best "answer" to the events of September 11th was not what I termed an "absurd" war on terrorism, but a call for national action leading to ultimate stability via energy independence (and freedom from a commodity principally located in the world's most intellectually backward and fucked up region).

Well, now, about three months in, we can report on the "success"  (success that I am advised has gone to the president's head, causing his handlers no end of trouble, lest this bizarre cockiness get seen by the public, who might start to worry as much about our commander-in-chief's sanity as we do his intelligence).  In short:  a couple of thousand Afghan civilians: dead.  Osama bin Laden: probably escaped and out of Afghanistan.  Mullah Omar: probably escaped also.

Our "no” (or at least “ALMOST no”) American casualty policy, which seemed to be the MISSION itself, has been admirably achieved.  Except, excuse me for asking, but what was the point of this again?


White Plains, NY, January 4, 2002.  Again, Happy New Year to all of our loyal readers!  Well, TTD condolences to our fellow canine, former presidential dog, Buddy.  It seems like an unfortunate tragedy that left the 4 ½ year old chocolate lab in a position to be run over by an SUV, but what can we say?  Though Buddy didn't talk (boy, the things he could tell us if he did, and Ken Starr would have subpoenaed him!), we are saddened by his parting.

And kudos to Bob Torricelli: looks like you beat the rap, good guy.  High fives with Condit to follow.

As to the ongoing Israel-Palestinian issue, please refer to our featured link, Defense and National Interest for the Mitchell Report, and an extensive treatment of this issue.  As I prefaced, I did not state whether the Barak plan was a good plan, or an acceptable one.  It was, however, a BOLD plan, and should have been met by negotiations, rather than suicide bombers.  Reasonable minds may disagree.  And the RD may disagree too...


Brooklyn, January 2, 2002.  As I have been saying to several colleagues today (including one from the hellish law firm/branch of the Mafia that your LLD spent an unpleasant- though unquestionably fascinating- period of his career just a decade ago):  Same shit, Different year!  Hopefully, your LLD's pissiness (he'd better curb himself!) is misplaced- and this will NOT be the same old crap.

Speaking of which, the hydrophobia seems to have finally gotten to the RD!  He now spends the column inches NOT devoted to conspiratorial fonts trying to outflank your Left Leaning Dog -- ON THE LEFT!  Of course, your LLD is a BALANCED individual, with left LEANINGS -- but still the efforts do lead me to think that maybe the RD should get over the vet and get himself checked out!

Naturally, his history of the Middle East is as flawed as his conclusions as to what will happen there.  Historically, the area now known as Israel was a freaking desert, with a few towns here and there (occupied for millennia, of course) but a population density for the most part that would rival much of pre-Columbian America.  The people started coming there in droves in the late 19th and early 20th century -- the Zionists first (out of ideology) and then, the Arabs (for practical reasons:  conditions SUCKED in the rest of the Arab world).  So, BOTH parties' historical claims (prior to that time, there had ALWAYS -- meaning since Biblical times -- around 10,000 or so Jews roaming around Jerusalem and environs) are ABOUT THE SAME.  Which was the genius of the Balfour Declaration (issued on an earlier September 11th) and the original international mandates that created twin Jewish and Arab states in the area-- international mandates that have never been recognized by the Arab side of the equation, because the people who are (Communist holdouts excepted) the least free and democratic in the world, just can't get along with anyone else.  Of course, the Israelis have always acknowledged that they will have to reconcile living among Arabs; the Arabs simply continue to teach and preach "river to sea".  Intractable?  Pretty much.  Does Israel want to continue its expensive and unpopular occupation?  The overwhelming majority of Israel's population would gladly give up all of its settlements for the Barak peace plan -- divided Jerusalem and all, even now, for real and lasting peace.  Does reciting these politically incorrect FACTS make me a bad liberal?  Who cares?

Speaking of outflankings on the left, it now appears that Mayor Bloomberg is set to outflank his opponent Mark Green -- on the left of course.  That is not so much of a surprise; even to your LLD who endorsed him a few minutes after St. Rudy did.

However, he appears set to outflank Freddy Ferrer on the left, appointing one Verna Eggleston as his HRA (social welfare) commissioner.  read this for the inimitable New York Post's take on this.

Could this be the first of paybacks to Sharpton-Ferrer?  Is this the work of an Upper East Side super-liberal neo-Lindsay?  Or is this some sort of brilliant maneuver that will work out fabulously?  Time will tell, and the talking dog ain't going anywhere (particularly given what this will probably do to the price of Brooklyn brownstones!!!)  If crime (and squeegee men) are kept duly suppressed, the change in leadership can be a welcome one...

Barking Mad.  Even a gentleman's C is much too much.  I'm beginning to think that maybe this Enron business is going to be more important than I first believed.

For example, I thought it was common knowledge that Bush replaced Curtis Hebert at the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) with Pat Wood specifically at the behest of Enron.  Now all of a sudden it's an issue!  So much stuff went on with Bush and Enron, it's hard to see how the scandal will not either end the Administration outright or, failing that, bring its public approval rating to Nixonian levels (or to levels around what his dad had at the end).  OK, the chairman of the FERC was maybe no big deal.   But what else did Enron get them to do?  Maybe if they had spent less time trying to gin up the regulatory apparatus to favor Enron (and taking 2-month vacations) and more time on taking care of basic national security September 11th could have been preempted.  Now we need a National Security State to set the world right.  How convenient.

I'm really beginning to think that Enron might be curtains for Bush.  There's just so much.  Now, remember when Clinton bombed that pharmaceutical plant when the Senate was starting some investigation.   That was one thing.   Now Bush wants to launch an unending series of wars just as all of his conspiracies are coming out.  It's even a stretch to call them "conspiracies" because they were so brazen...  

And one more thing about Bush and Enron -- disloyalty.  It's not like Bush says, "I stand by my pals even though they screw up sometimes", he just denies ever having known anyone politically inconvenient, even when there are ample smoking guns.  This is loathsome in the extreme, and only magnifies his substantive crimes.  And what about this "axis of evil" crap! Axis? Evil?  Who writes his speeches, Marvel Comics?  I thought they went bankrupt.


An Old George Carlin Joke went like this:  "Why do they say someone has a dog's life and mean it like it's a bad thing?  Who has a better life than a dog?  All they do is sleep, shit and eat.  Sounds like a pretty good life to me!  I mean, what's a dog's job?  To sit around!"

Well, that may be true for most dogs, but this one feels mighty whipped at the moment, beaten down by the fact that I do have a job:  responding to a cockamamie cocker spaniel.  To wit:

  • The doggie in the window to my left must be the first person in American history to complain that black people committing crimes get too little attention from the media, rather than being the subject of sensationalism and hype.  Perhaps Eddie Murphy could do his Doctor Doolittle best to translate the howling barks of my colleague for the use of Al Sharpton.
  • I'm not sure what planet the left-leaner is from, but on the one I inhabit Richard Reid certainly has been getting every bit as much publicity as John Walker Lindh.  Just because yesterday featured America's homegrown Talib returning to the United States doesn't mean that he has generally gotten any more press than has Reid.
  • Even if a Nexis search were to discover that Walker Lindh has, in fact, received more coverage than Reid, what would that prove?  He's an AMERICAN, and that's undoubtedly why he's getting so much ink.  Is our Socialist Scottie suggesting that O.J. Simpson would be ignored if he had been caught in Afghanistan with a hand grenade and a dream?  Was not Mr. Simpson's trial -- that of a black man -- the so-called "trial of the century"?  (And didn't he get off?  Doesn't that maybe suggest that money has as much or more to do with these matters in this country than does race?)
  • As to the possibly corrupt Brooklyn judge, I'm speechless (harder for this breed of dog than you'd imagine) that my counterpart would make such an incredibly feeble point.  Judge Barron is a civil judge, where money is usually the point of the cases and hence bribery must seem like an awfully tempting prospect.  People who get "condemned" on "bullshit charges" as my pound-mate excitedly exclaims, do so in criminal trials in front of juries.  One of the reasons being that it is much harder to bribe a whole jury.  Now, my friend may be condemning the entire jury system, I suppose, as he finds the time to note that O.J. Simpson was wrongly freed...but if so, what is his point, because he's simultaneously smearing the idea that judges can keep their noses (and reputations) clean?  What's the alternative?  Perhaps a panel of Ivy League grads working at elite institutions like The New York Times should run the justice system?  I'd bet they could come up with something every bit as workable and constitutional as campaign finance reform!
  • Jimmy Carter, excepting the execrable Richard Milhous Nixon (who was the worst President ever), was the worst President of my lifetime.  If he supports Habitat for Humanity, it must be an unworthy cause.


Forget About New Tricks.  This dog can't even learn the old tricks.

So, is the deal here that you wait for the other dogs in your pack to decide where they want to go, and then you go and pee on the same hydrant?  Liberalism as smorgasbord!  Take what you want, and leave the parts you don't like behind!

Michael Kinsley thoroughly addressed the topic of how we should treat John Walker better than I ever could over a month ago, but let me just briefly ask you about this issue of "we treat black folks badly, so let's treat a few rich white boys badly to make it fair."  Are you saying that because blacks and other minorities are given a raw deal by the criminal justice system (e.g., much longer and harsher terms for crack than the powdered cocaine preferred by the white middle-class), then we should mistreat white people, too?

I guess it makes sense that you think the best and highest use of your charitable dollars would be for National Public Radio.


Well, At Least They're Not Sophomoric.  Today's pinko poodle piddles are merely soporific.  Does anyone other than the shareholders and employees (current and former) of Enron -- along with most of the Congressional Democratic caucus and their amen corner on The New York Times op-ed page -- give a hoot about this supposedly earth-shaking scandal?  I agree completely that the guys who perpetrated the Enron Ponzi scheme, and the sharpies at their accounting firm who helped them get away with it, should all do some serious time behind bars.  As should anyone who perpetrates such an egregious theft.  But I think the public sees this affair pretty much for what it is:  some bad doings by a few rich people which have wound up screwing a far larger number of poorer people.  That is, business as usual.

Whitewater never went anywhere.  Neither did the "Stop John Ashcroft" movement.  Heck, the Congress impeached Bill Clinton in what may be the most historically irrelevant near-removal of a President ever.  Mostly because the public, try as press and politicians might, could not be stirred to take an interest in any of these matters.

So trust me that campaign finance reform wouldn't have changed any of their outcomes either.

But just suppose it wasn't a pretzel that caused the President to pass out, but instead he had hit his head while "falling off the wagon"...?

Now there's an investigation we could all get behind!


Young, Dumb and Full of GOP.  Apropos of nothing other than the fact that banality doesn't deserve a response, I've been set to wondering about something lately:  do most voters prefer their Republicans dumb?

I ask this not because of the very obvious example of Bush v. Gore, but because of a growing impression I have that in elections for statewide or Federal offices (local elections, as for mayor, for example, are more prone to being swamped by identity politics than anything else) brainy Republicans rarely seem to have a chance.

First, an observation:  even coming from the right side of the page, as it were, I would be the first to acknowledge the intellectual superiority of the average Democrat over the average Republican (its nickname, after all, is "The Stupid Party").  Would anyone question that Jimmy Carter or Walter Mondale were smarter than Ronald Reagan?  Dukakis than Bush pere?  Mario Cuomo or Bill Clinton than just about anybody?  Go back further:  Stevenson was certainly considered smarter than Ike.  And who are considered the smart folks in Congress now?   Barney Frank; Hillary Clinton; Joe Lieberman; Chuck Schumer, Dems all.  The morons?  Well take a gander at the Republican leadership:  Tom DeLay; J.C. Watts; Steve Largent; Denny Hastert -- an exterminator and a bunch of washed up athletes.  And have you ever heard Mary Bono (R-CA) speak?  Suffice it to say that you wouldn't want her taking an I.Q. test that required a high score for your life to be spared.

This was particularly true listening to the 2000 Democratic and Republican nomination debates.  Sure, Bill Bradley and Al Gore nattered a lot of gibberish, but they understood what they were talking about...they had a command of the nonsense, and seemingly of any topic that came up.  The Republican debates, on the other hand, distinguished George Bush as the class of the bunch -- does anyone really believe that he picked Jesus Christ as his favorite "philosopher" for any reason other than that he couldn't think of anyone more intellectual than Vince Lombardi or the members of his father's Cabinet?

I got to thinking about this after listening to Governor-elect of New Jersey Jim McGreevey blathering about something or other on the radio and wondering to myself, sure Bret Schundler was probably too right-wing for many denizens of the Garden State, but why was the white noise of McGreevey considered more appealing than someone who might actually have a few interesting, if controversial, ideas?  And why couldn't an interesting, and intellectual, candidate like Tom Campbell in California get any traction against the almost heroically bland Dianne Feinstein?  In both cases, the smart Republican was absolutely demolished by the Democrat.

And I got to thinking:  maybe the Republicans can only win when their candidate is dumber than his or her opponent!  (Obviously, the reverse isn't true, for while people seem to expect their Democrats to be smarter than their Republicans, being dumber than one's opponent is not enough to guarantee a Republican victory.  Witness, for example, Clinton versus anyone.)  Nixon was thought to be smarter than Kennedy.  Goldwater was the father of modern Republican conservatism, for God's sake.  Yet both lost, Goldwater in a landslide.

This is obviously as underdeveloped a thesis as something that might be put forward by my barking brother on the left.  Still, this incipient theory has already led me to another idea:  maybe my left-leaning colleague would be better off as a Republican...?


A Proposition:  We'll drop a 15,000 pound "daisy-cutter" bomb on the Left-Leaning Dog House and see if he still thinks "a greater showing of military force" is called for.


Get Your Shots.  I'm supposed to be the rabid one?

I do not wish to waste anyone's time, but I will address the putative liberal's points, such as they even deserve a reply:

  • Of course the United States has the incentive to pursue bin Laden, and that's why we're doing it.  Nonetheless, as the Soviets demonstrated, Afghans do not take kindly to large incursions of foreign forces.  Indeed, many natives do not even seem to feel too kindly towards their liberators.  Is it not what makes our country great that the richest and most powerful (our President and his advisers) do not want to casually send our soldiers into harm's way?
  • Israel is being punished because it showed weakness?  Have the Russians shown weakness in ChechnyaHas their ruthlessness helped?
  • Indeed, not only would the U.S. get more respect if it leveled Mecca, it would probably earn little short of awe and the never-ending gratitude of the Left-Leaning Dog if it would drop atomic bombs on all of the Muslim countries of the Middle East.  Of course, the Israelis would be killed by the radiation, but at least they would be saved the shame of making peace.


Is Willful Ignorance the Same as Stupidity (i.e., Can you Teach a Dumb Dog Anything At All)?  Has the President declared victory in Afghanistan?  Has his puppet-master, the Vice President?

Clearly, without hearing his master's voice (The NY Times, NPR) declaring it is OK to continue supporting the present military action, the dog on my left is at sea and has decided that he never gets in trouble condemning a Republican.  Hence, in Pavlovian fashion, he is going ahead with his inane attacks on the war on terrorism.

Osama bin Laden not caught?  Must be because we're losing.  Mullah Omar still riding around on his motorcycle?  Could only be because there aren't enough of our boys with bullets lodged in their hearts.

"The price of those cautious engagements [in Kosovo and the Gulf War] is, ultimately, the deaths of more American soldiers and sailors..." in other terrorist attacks, he says authoritatively.  Really, now?  So we should be responding now more like, say, his idea of Eden on Earth:  the great state of Israel?  That is, by throwing everything but the kitchen sink at our terrorist enemies to show that we aren't pussies...that they can't push us around with their puny suicide bombers?

Sure seems to be working well for them, huh?

Osama and Omar may still be running free, I agree, but I haven't noticed any suicide bombers here in the U.S., lately...or are my media sources simply refusing to report anything damaging to the President?

If, in six months or a year, these two guys are still free and there are more dead American civilians, I'll be the first to agree that my liberal friend made a valid point on the three month anniversary of our military response to the September attacks.  But right now he reminds me of a barking dog futilely chasing and chasing cars -- liable to get run over unless his owners lock him up.

(P.S.  Did we lose the war in Kosovo?  I must have missed that!)


Question of the Day:  What kind of dog leans left?  My guess would be a poodle:  smug, effete, cocksure, and eminently unlikable.  When not at the groomer in a vain attempt to look butch, a poodle would get all of its news from The New York Times and National Public Radio and would have no use for any information that didn't fit its closely clipped worldview.

My guess is that The Times and NPR must now be tsk-tsking the war effort and pronouncing its failure, believing that they can influence the public to turn on the President.  The public, however, is, as always, smarter than they give it credit for.  Not so certain dogs, who are ready now ready to disparage our military's victories (termed "successes" to my left...the quotes being the most important part of the word).

To wit, I will cite just one obvious example of why mocking the American involvement in Afghanistan is the basest form of elitism:  do you suppose that perhaps Afghan women, unable to go outside without being covered head to toe, or to attend school at all under the now vanquished Taliban, might deem the American effort in their country as something more than a failure?  More to the point, seeing as no one, not even the most rabid Bush supporter (and certainly not Bush himself) has declared victory, and the fighting is clearly nowhere near an end, smirking defeatism ("serves us right, thinking we could just waltz in and beat these guys!") is just more of the same condescension which is keeping "liberals" from ever again holding the reins of power (Bill Clinton understood this, Gore did not).

The absolute gall of someone expressing displeasure that more Americans haven't died...that the government has a policy of avoiding casualties if possible...well, unless I'm mistaken and the dog to my left is a frustrated pit bull, then I'm afraid I don't really understand what he's getting at.


Remember Vince Foster.  Clearly, my colleague believes there need be no honor among canines.  I, on the other hand, am seeking the conspiracy behind the death of Bill Clinton's dog Buddy.  Recall, if you will, Bill's casual dumping of his cat Socks on Betty Currie as he departed the White House.  Supposedly, Socks and Buddy just didn't get along.  Then, there was Bill's humiliating and well-documented tumble over Buddy while playing with him last winter (it was originally reported that Buddy bit Bill...this seems to have been cleaned up in the later accounts, just like Foster's office).  Now, Buddy is suddenly dead and the Clintons are conveniently pet-free and able to pursue their continued self-aggrandizement unbound from the fetters of pet ownership.  If I were Chelsea, I'd get out of the country now.


"Man" of the Year?  This item about Mayor Mike, from the November 19, 2001 New York Magazine, has not been adequately explored in the world of me-zines, or anywhere else for that matter, to my knowledge.  It's not that it's troubling (after all, I'm sure the Mayor's Israel policy is closely aligned with that of the Panting Left-Leaner ), but it sure seems weird at a time when our heroes are supposedly firemen, cops, soldiers, and that Rudy guy.


Logorrhea.  Clearly hoping he can filibuster me into giving up, I will not take the sick puppy's bait.  Politically incorrect...perhaps.  Plain old incorrect...for sure.  "A land without people for a people without land" was, in fact, a phony assertion from the start.

More important, however, is the fact that no one really cares what the Balfour Declaration says, or how many Arabs, Jews or Martians were living on the contested lands when Charlie Chaplin was in his prime.  What matters is political reality today.  And the reality that my growling friend refuses to recognize is that old chestnut, "No justice, no peace."  Justice, I realize, is in the eye of the beholder, but let me quote from Harper's Magazine's December 2001 issue (not online) describing Israel's "first detailed proposal for a Palestinian state":

"Israel's plan for a Palestinian state includes isolated Arab pockets of Jerusalem and a network of Jewish settlement roads dividing the West Bank into 29 pieces, its eastern edge under Israeli control without formal annexation."

Justice, anyone?


My Link of The Day.  Another reason to be grateful that we live in such a great country.


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