the talking dog


October 2001 Postings  

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The Left-Leaning Dog Says:

The Rabid Dog Says:

October 31, 2001, Brooklyn, Jamaica and White Plains, NY.  I started this Halloween standing on interminable lines at the entrances to Queens County Supreme and Civil Courts, two high priority targets of terrorism if ever there were!  New York's court system decided that lawyers - who by custom could breeze into court if they had valid court-issued identification cards - must now wait in metal detector lines like everybody else.  The topic among my fellow forced-line waiters drifted between the Yankees (could you believe Arizona would start Schilling on 3-days rest?), to anthrax, to the "war on terrorism" and the general "alert" of "something" happening on Halloween.

While we wait for the inevitable further disaster, I find myself troubled that we have an illegitimate government which is, ostensibly, a redux of a prior (albeit less illegitimately elected) government -- literally son of Bush -- the people who gave us the Gulf War.  The SAME people who gave us the Gulf War -- because then, as now, Saudi oil was more important than American blood.  Thus, now, even after we have witnessed a Saudi-planned, Saudi-financed, and Saudi-staffed attack on our largest city and on our capital, we must still kowtow to the pashas of petroleum.  It makes me want to go out and shoot up an SUV!

Unfortunately, the "constraints" of having to not offend the perpetrators of the most horrible act ever inflicted upon the United States leads to the inevitable failure of the "war on terrorism", the escalation of that war into germ warfare here and meaningless strikes at meaningless targets in response, and a prayer that we all live the 3 years and one week necessary to vote the Gulf War Gang out of office.

Happy Halloween.


Brooklyn, October 28, 2001.  In reading the Sunday New York Times editorial page -- Paul Krugman lambasting the House "stimulus package" that seems to stimulate only the balance sheets of already politically favored mining and oil companies, as well as already affluent, Maureen Dowd noting the Bush Administration's emphasis on political spin over public safety, and, well, you know the rest.  It is endearing to know that your LLD, in fact, is ahead of general knee jerk liberal consensus.

Andrew Sullivan at lays out an alarming scenario (Yes, there ARE members of the punditocracy ahead of your LLD though they are not, of course, liberals.  I don't purport to be the leading edge of thought -- just of left-leaning thought.).  Ostensibly, the traditional military doctrine of deterrence is that if a foreign enemy uses "weapons of mass destruction" against the United States (you know: the HOMELAND, apologies to the apartheid era South Africans for having expropriated THEIR term), the response of the United States would be NUCLEAR.  While arguably the use of four 767's can be tortured into NOT qualifying as "weapons of mass destruction" (though don't ask your LLD -- and the thousands, or hundreds of thousands, of other up-close eyewitnesses to the horrors of the 11th to accept this), but bio-weapons are, without doubt, along with chemical and nuclear weapons themselves, the basis for a NUCLEAR response by the United States.  For some background reading links, try reading this from the Coalition To Reduce Nuclear Dangers

As Sullivan points out:  wouldn't it be horrible if the whole point of the LIMITED bio-weapon attack were to create a slippery slope so  that, like killing 5,000 civilians in an office building is "not" a weapon of mass destruction, so that the horrors of bio-terror and bio-warfare can now be inflicted on the United States in a "ratchet-up" manner, with progressively more horrors, noting that not only will the United States "response" not be nuclear, it will be the same sort of travesty that our "response" to the September 11th attacks has been.  Which, of course, only ENCOURAGES further and more aggressive attacks on the United States (as does our bizarre minuet with Israel, orchestrated to impress Saudi Arabia, a country which we should be BOMBING instead of Afghanistan -- as it is frankly, as or more complicit on the events of September 11th as the anarchic Central Asian quagmire).

Let's hope Sullivan is wrong.


White Plains, October 26, 2001.  Your LLD sends birthday greetings to Senator Clinton (and, more importantly, happy 39th to himself).  Its now official:  15 of 19 hijackers on September 11th were SAUDI nationals.  Saudi Arabia: a government dependent on the United States for its security -- and the security of its oil revenue stream.  The government that immediately escorted the bin Laden family members out of the United States within hours of the WTC and Pentagon attacks (lest they be subjected to "embarrassing questions"), that executed the Khobar Towers perpetrators, lest the United States actually be able to solve that murderous crime committed against our military members.  Saudi Arabia: the country that could have captured Osama bin Laden -- and was requested to by even the inept Clinton Administration, right after the embassy bombings in Africa -- but still refused to help up, allowing bin Laden to escape to Yemen, and then Afghanistan.

Saudi Arabia.  Our trusted ally.  The country we try to court most strenuously in our little games of "condemning" Israel for having the audacity to hunt down the killers of its citizens outside its borders, there by encouraging terrorists with a simple message: kill Americans, and Washington will put more pressure on the Jews.  (What exactly is the UNITED STATES doing in Afghanistan again?)  To court the Saudis -- who would just as soon murder our citizenry-- nay do so much faster -- than it "helps" our efforts at "enduring freedom" (something you won't find IN Saudi Arabia).

At this rate, your LLD will just be happy if we all make it to his 40th.  But then, you already know where your LLD stands on the conduct of American foreign policy by its current handlers.


Brooklyn, October 24, 2001.  Well, much as we despise "Reverend" Sharpton and his political protégé Freddy Ferrer, and as much as we despise race baiting ourselves, your LLD can think of no other conclusion than the District of Columbia postal workers (largely African-American) were simply not as important as the pampered and privileged (largely White) Congress and its staff; indeed, police (non-talking) dogs on the Congressional police force were tested and given antibiotics; postal workers who handled the ultimate poison pen letters were not.   Well, much as we despise "Reverend" Sharpton and his political protégé Freddy Ferrer, and as much as we despise race baiting ourselves, your LLD can think of no other conclusion than the District of Columbia postal workers (largely African-American) were simply not as important as the pampered and privileged (largely White) Congress and its staff; indeed, police (non-talking) dogs on the Congressional police force were tested and given antibiotics; postal workers who handled the ultimate poison pen letters were not.

When it came to the simple matter of public health, the government just behaved as if the events of the last 43 days did not happen.  (43 - interesting number).  In all fairness, we attribute this more to a lack of seriousness about the business of governance of our so-called leaders than any insidious motive.  That's good enough for us to suggest voting out the entire government -- any incumbent, regardless of party -- at the first chance we get.  This is not a right or left issue: both sides have shown themselves to be no better than clowns.  Safety first -- that's PUBLIC SAFETY -- especially to hard-working ORDINARY government workers who deliver to every home in America.  Regressive and counter-stimulative tax cuts for the affluent and subsidies for the murderously reckless airline industry later.

And that goes for YOU TOO, 43.


** Talking Dog ISRAEL Extra **

(White Plains, Brooklyn, and points in between)  (October 23, 2001).  Unfortunately, your LLD, notwithstanding the fact that it means "the terrorists have won," realizes that the State of Israel is in a very precarious time.

We offer the following as the "peace plan plus"; we recognize that Yasir Arafat wants peace about as much as Osama bin Laden does; ultimate peace will require his ouster, or more likely, his death.  Still, the amazing thing about the absurd Barak proposal was that Israel could have actually lived with it:  a divided Jerusalem as the double capital of Israel, ostensibly the 48 borders, minimal settlements (and those traded for land in Israel proper) and a contiguous Palestinian entity.  Your LLD proposes to settle the troubling "right of return" issue by BUYING IT from individual Palestinians.  For a price, representing the probable value of property abandoned by Palestinians in 1948 when they chose to leave Israel and fight for its destruction rather than stay and build it, we can simply buy a quitclaim deed from individual Palestinians for any interest they may have in the State of Israel.  I suggest $1,000 per person -- a princely sum in Palestine -- or $5,000 for a family of 5 -- really, a lot of money there.  In return, they would deed their "rights" to "property claims" in Israel.

Since most Palestinians HAD NO property as of '48, they will be getting a gift; those that DID have property can negotiate a price.  I propose to fund this with private philanthropy: 5 billion should be enough to buy off ALL of the 5 million or so Palestinians-- and end this bogus issue once and for all, while simultaneously creating a wealth base in the Palestinian community.  Your LLD hereby pledges $100 to the effort.  In coming weeks, we will endeavor to seek your input, and if feedback is favorable, your money -- and that of Michael Eisner -- to bring this about.


Brooklyn, October 23, 2001.  As we take a few moments to contemplate whether we will stop bombing Afghanistan for Ramadan, and we finish washing our hands after taking in the mail, let's take a look at our awe-inspiring government, in these troubled times, and just thank God we're Americans living in a time of peace and prosperity.

When it’s not running away, AFRAID of anthrax itself - though more than willing to cover up and obfuscate the threat when it comes to mere postal workers -- or non-congressional employee Americans, our House of Representatives features Tom "Hey, We Congressmen Are So Important That WE Are Targets Of Terrorism -- But The Rest Of You Pretend Life Is Normal" DeLay (an EXTERMINATOR by profession; very reassuring) and Bob "The Real Danger Of This Crisis Is That The Federal Government May Actually Get Its Powers Expanded" Barr; the executive branch features HHS -- the agency charged with protecting us from bio-attacks -- featuring Tommy "That Guy Got Anthrax From

Some Bad Water He Drank While Trout Fishing" Thompson; Defense is headed by Don "Don't Talk To Me- I Just Put My Hand Through A Wall" Rumsfeld; and State is ably managed by Colin "Sure, Iraq Is Welcome To Join The Anti-Terrorist Coalition" Powell.  All respond to the siren call of George "W. As In We Will Win

Against The Evil One (And Crush The Death Star)" Bush.

What to do?  Don't pretend life goes on as usual; it doesn't.  Not even close.  Your LLD's life ain't the same; not Mrs. LLD’s -- and not even Baby LLD's (though she's too young to know it, and we do he best we can to make sure she doesn't).  Let's not pretend.  We're now in serious shit.  Our government, unfortunately, does not appear itself sufficiently serious enough to comprehend HOW serious.  Perhaps it should learn fast, or discover what happens in a democracy when it doesn't.


Brooklyn, October 21, 2001.  Your LLD is just wondering if our put-upon American fighting man has any chance at all in the war on terrorism.  If it isn't Secretary of State Powell negotiating away our reason to have or ability to fight our war on terrorism with our new "anti-terrorist" coalition friends in Khartoum and Damascus, our own (genius) military commanders have to seek LEGAL advice before killing the enemy.  It took several efforts of explaining it to him before the LLD finally GOT the story (not even he can believe it).

Apparently, we have gotten so good at push button war, that one of our airborne UNMANNED drones actually locked in on Taliban Supreme leader Mullah Omar -- the guy who officially keeps refusing to turn over bin Laden (and who is protected BY bin Laden -- not the other way 'round).  The field commander apparently inquired of someone in higher command if it was OK to use the drone's capabilities to launch a rocket or whatever to KILL Mullah Omar.  Problem 1: our field military does not believe it is supposed to take any initiative -- IN A WAR.  I can't blame them -- in today's environment, someone who took a clean shot at Hitler during WWII would probably be court-martialed for violating the "no assassination" order.  Problem 2 -- SOMEONE decided to ask advice of the military’s legal arm -- the Judge Advocate General.  As a lawyer, I can tell you that a lawyer's job is to give you as many reasons as possible NOT to do something.  Naturally, the JAG's advice was "here are the problems with killing Mullah Omar".  So the shot wasn't taken.

As a result, the war that could have been over within HOURS (the Taliban have been held together by Mullah Omar, despite the fact that he’s said to have bouts of delusion when he gets into parked cars and makes driving noises for hours on end!) may go on indefinitely.  Countless Afghan and American lives will be needlessly lost now -- because our military is more afraid of violating the "no assassination of foreign leaders" EXECUTIVE ORDER than they are of COSTING THIS COUNTRY A WAR (and quite possibly, its continued existence).

By way of footnote, this country does not recognize the Taliban as the government of Afghanistan, and accordingly, Mullah Omar is NOT a foreign leader to whom that order would have applied; furthermore, we are now at war, and he is also a military leader.

But why go there?


Brooklyn, October 18, 2001.  Well, we at The Talking Dog congratulate Dan Rather on finally having gotten into the anthrax story by having HIS OWN assistant become infected by anthrax (what's the postmark, Kenneth?)  I know how awful it must be for a media superstar to have to sit on the outside of a story like this, while Brokaw gets to have his personal assistant infected, and ABC gets to have a producer's infant child infected -- while all CBS could do was watch.  But now, Rather can join in the fray.  Good for you Dan!  Cronkite's assistant never got anthrax!  [Editor's Note:  Perhaps it was Rather's unconventional stand against reporting on the Gary Condit-Chandra Levy affair this past summer which spared him the wrath of the biological warriors until the less "principled" members of the media -- who cravenly thought the potential murder of a constituent by her Congressman was newsworthy -- were dealt with first.  Indeed, when attacks start on talk show hosts, Oprah's handlers will undoubtedly fall ill long before Phil Donahue's.]

Folks, the rules don’t apply to this war.  Hijackers are not looking to trade hostages for prisoners somewhere: now they just want to kill and inflict pain.  Now the media are no longer to be courted -- THEY are the target too!  Doubtless, as discussed in your LLD's last entry, Indian Point nuclear plant would have been a brilliant target, though we suspect that the Iraqi-Al Qaeda-Pakistani-Palestinian network that arranged the September 11th horrors knew that a large migration of swarthy Southwest Asians out of the New York area would have been noticed, while a couple of hundred Pakistanis staying out of downtown Manhattan would not.

I suppose we would feel better if we could all be confident that the American government were at least on OUR SIDE.  Well, we'll give them time.  We have no choice.  Hopefully we'll all make it to the happy day when Saddam is dead or out of power, or if not, at least to late January 2005, when our own then-failed government is replaced (in a landslide that not even the Supreme Court can overturn).


Brooklyn, October 17, 2001.  Well, your LLD already thought that Secretary of State Colin Powell was cynical for even SUGGESTING contacts with such nefarious terrorist sponsoring states as the Sudan (which, besides being Osama bin Laden's hometown for years and years, is also the current home of SLAVERY), Syria (as Delaware is to corporations, so Syria is to terrorist groups) or Iran (proud sponsors of Hezbollah and proud exporters of petroleum and, well, terrorism) as "coalition members" in the "war on terrorism".  Your LLD -- who has suggested since as far back as the immediate aftermath of the bombing (check the September archives if you don't believe me!) that the United States lacked the political will to do more than a token strike -- perhaps a "war" on terrorism defined as a "war" on Afghanistan's Taliban with "victory" declared after the body of someone who looks like Osama bin Laden is dumped on a commander's doorstep.  I thought I was being a bit hyperbolic:  the American public would demand more.  But, in context, the war on terrorism has been forfeited before it has really started.  If those terrorist sponsoring governments that we should be bombing and replacing are now our partners and allies -- then your LLD suggests we simply declare that we have already won the "war" now!

Your LLD admits he was wrong:  Colin Powell is FAR more cynical than even your LLD imagined him to be (which was pretty damned cynical).  The Secretary of State now suggests (to our "friends" in Pakistan) that "moderate" elements of the TALIBAN are welcome to participate in the "new government" that will replace, well, the Taliban!  Its as if General MacArthur invited the more "moderate" members of Tojo's war cabinet to assist his occupation administration -- or asked the more "moderate" SS officers to serve as the nucleus of the Post-WWII West German government.  Secretary Powell (aside from YOUR OWN) -- just whose side are you on?

I can't figure it out.  Unless the president is as stupid as he is purported to be -- HE must know that the "war on terrorism" is a non-starter if virtually every major terrorist from Yasser Arafat to the Hezbollah are our partners in... a war on terrorism!!!  In which case, he is not only cynical -- he is deliberately engaged in a public relations stunt designed to quell the anxieties of the American people, while actually accomplishing nothing meaningfully positive.  Dubya's his father's son, I guess.

Speaking of Arafat -- his minions decided to assassinate Israel's minister of tourism – that’s right, TOURISM -- obviously, a provocative portfolio to the Palestinians, as they are THEMSELVES dependent on visitors to the Holy Land!  Rest assured that members of Mr. Arafat's cabinet will be sleeping uneasily tonight -- something that Saddam Hussein and, frankly, Osama bin Laden -- have no reason to be doing thanks to the Bush Administration.

Meanwhile, it has been reported that the Coast guard (the Coast Guard, NOT THE NAVY) has withdrawn from its "protection" of the Indian Point nuclear plant -- a target that, had it had a 767 crashed into it, would have had approximately twice a "Hiroshima" impact, killing virtually all of Westchester and Rockland Counties immediately, and probably 10-15% of the American population within 72 hours.  But our Coast Guard tells us it is too expensive to bother with full time guarding.  Hell, our East Coast (including our capital) weren't worthy of ANY attempts at air defense.

And we're worrying about anthrax!


Brooklyn, October 15, 2001.  Obviously, someone has developed an "A my Name is Anthrax" obsession: hence, mail from Malaysia goes to Microsoft (in Reno, NV, anyway) and mail from Trenton goes to Tom -- Brokaw and Daschle, evidently (I suppose wouldn't open my mail, if I were Tom Seaver, Tom Hanks, Tom Cruise or Tom Jones -- especially if it came from Trenton).  Tom is obviously an upsetting name to the perpetrators of yet another atrocity on the American workplace -- probably because it rhymes with Saddam.  Beware any kind of alliteration -- it may represent annihilation.  As the manager of the office I worked in donned rubber gloves today, the prominence of the organization as target became irrelevant.  All of the stupid '90's analogies of the workplace as battle zone (management secrets of Attila the Hun) take on a bizarre cruelty as, of course, the American office becomes, well, a battle zone (at least with respect to casualties).

The fact of the matter is, it is absolutely necessary to understand the mindset of those attacking us at every turn -- if for no other reason than to understand where the next strike is coming from.  These motherfuckers unquestionably think "outside of the box" -- our national security apparatus seems to be several steps behind.  Mrs. LLD is most upset, having web-surfed the alarmist AMA bio-terror anthrax protocols.  Once again, your LLD is not so sure those panicking (and trying to stock up on antibiotics) are wrong:  anthrax is actually MUCH more horrible than anyone is saying:  the antibiotic treatment is actually prophylactic; once full blown anthrax develops, assuming it is treated before death, the FATALITY rate is 89%.  Scary shit.

Of course, anthrax could just as easily be a misdirection: note the terrorist attention grabbing brilliance at every turn:  get every eye turned to the WTC by crashing a plane in it, ONLY TO CRASH A SECOND PLANE IN IT.  Get the media's attention (and hysteria, thereby fueling the public's) by SENDING ANTHRAX TO THE MEDIA!  (Send some to Tom Daschle because they still don't seem to like him; still pissed that those irritating guys on the 4th flight prevented it from crashing into the capitol like they wanted!)

So I disagree with the RD:  this is an enemy that has to be figured out -- if for no other reason, to figure out what will stop them.  Personally, I am quite certain that the total destruction of some Middle Eastern capital would IMMEDIATELY bring a stop to ALL of this shit.  Once again, just as our quaint habit of "yielding to hijackers so that no one will get hurt" got over 6,000 people killed, our quaint habit of purporting to be a civilized country may prove our undoing:  your LLD suspects that apologizing for civilian casualties when one of our "smart bombs" goes awry is suicidally counterproductive.  In fact, its insane.  We are conducting a WAR -- not a tea party.  If we are to WIN this war, Middle Eastern capitals (certainly Baghdad and Damascus, and probably Kuwait and Mecca) will probably have to be leveled -- LEVELED.  Or we can fight with both hands and feet tied behind our back -- and apologize to the world for having to defend our country.  If we finally understand what and who it is we are fighting -- and realize that their point of view is not worthy of our respect, and frankly, is beneath our CONTEMPT, then and ONLY THEN will we do what is necessary to defend our country (which, will not be a tea party).

In the meantime-- pass the sugar, please.

I'm glad the RD can deal with trivialities like the mayoral race.  Milk or cream with your scones, RD?


Brooklyn, October 14, 2001.  In the few moments involved either commuting to and from his new labor deployment, working  at it, taking care (such as he can) of his daughter, eating or sleeping, your LLD has been obsessing (frequently while tearfully reading the New York Times "A Nation Challenged” section listing the brief bio-obituaries of the WTC and Pentagon victims).  Your LLD has obsessed at exactly what sort of bastard could knowingly and deliberately render thousands upon thousands of children parentless, or parents childless, or some variation of lifelong grief imposed on thousands and thousands thereon.

And apparently, to understand the mindset of such bastards requires a level of "out of the box" thinking that this country has sorely been lacking.  Your ordinarily doctrinaire LLD certainly confesses to an inability to see other angles of the big picture all too often.

The best explanation of the uniquely Islamic mindset capable of these particular horrors (aside from a brilliant exegesis -- complete with geo-political, tribal and Islamic theological -- Sunni vs. Shia -- description given to me by a South Asian cab driver the other evening) -- comes from an article forwarded me by the unseen editor, with thanks to Mickey Kaus for bringing it out         .

(Of course, after reading the article, Mickey -- one would THINK you would THINK TWICE before making scandalous statements about the United States' position vis a vis the barbarous Palestinians (who turned down their own state with Jerusalem as its capital because it involved the continued existence of the Jewish state next door).

In the months to come, when the war will be taken to all fronts, knowing the mindset of the enemy will become more and more crucial.  This is a good place to start.


Brooklyn, October 12, 2001.  Is it IRONY that, not just employees of some sleazy supermarket tabloid, but no less than Tom Brokaw's personal assistant is mailed -- and then develops -- anthrax?  No, frankly it was inevitable.  One month after an event SO BIG in its own right that the media couldn't overplay it -- an event is now being pulled on the media itself.  The media has become a media event!  The thing MOST troubling is the “assurance" of "law enforcement" officials that this is NOT related to the September 11th terrorist events.

It isn't?  I feel better knowing that there is no relation.  I feel better knowing that the first victim, who lived less than a mile from where Mohammed Atta took his flying-into-buildings lessons, was killed by an absolutely unrelated event -- no connection to the terrorists!  I was so afraid that Saddam Hussein had something to do with this, given his obsessions with ALL forms of weapons of mass destruction.  Whhheeewww.  I feel better knowing it had nothing to do with terrorists!  Perhaps the anthrax just came from a sick sheep.

We are, of course, starting to get troublingly mixed messages from our government.  The president is shockingly fluid -- even at ease -- with a prime time press conference -- something that his allegedly telegenic and personable predecessor didn't do for his entire second term!  And yet, just as the commander-in-chief suddenly appears presidential, leading prudently deliberate (if insufficient) military action on a likely terrorist stronghold, we are told that the anthrax "was some criminal act unrelated to terrorist action".  Perhaps the public's collective head will explode from comprehending the OBVIOUS -- that the terrorist war is ALSO proceeding apace, even as it appears that we may be up to the shooting war.  And the FBI issues a general "terrorism is coming somewhere but go about your lives and don't panic" warning.

Frankly, your LLD, within 100 yards or so of meeting his own fate last month, is too numb to panic -- but isn't panic a correct reaction?

Anyway, your LLD is NOT pleased to report that the statute of limitations for "everything has changed" was exactly 30 days:  today, for the first time since September 11th, on a commuter train, people deliberately put their bags and their feet on seats while lots of people (including your LLD) were forced to stand, and even worse, on the subway, some psychopath (and we never gave Mayor Giuliani enough credit for his oft-challenged policy of just picking up psychotics and removing them from the street) insisted on screaming about how he discovered Jesus and blah blah blah and we're all sinners blah blah blah and because none of us are sexually chaste we're all going to hell (except him of course -- because HE discovered Jesus).  Unthinkable just 2 weeks ago -- and yet, the statute of limitations on abstaining from inconceivable self-absorption is now over.  In this case, a casualty of the passage of time.


Brooklyn, October 10, 2001.  One day to the primary, and the City's "economy" has already soured for your LLD to the point that at the moment, at least, he is forced to leave the City for work.  Your LLD is doubtless not alone -- but the numbers will, of course, jump into the stratosphere when, like "President Quayle" or "Mayor Dinkins" --  the possibility of Mayor Ferrer closes in on reality.

The man who takes credit for "rebuilding the Bronx" could be our next mayor.  Obviously, if the Bronx is the standard Freddy is setting for the rest of the City, our panic at the mere possibility for a Ferrer mayoralty is at best, a gross understatement of what's coming.  So how about a big Bronx cheer for Freddy!

Meanwhile, your LLD understands that we have run out of targets in Afghanistan; bombers are returning with unused ordnance.  May I suggest that there are PLENTY of targets in IRAQ.  Of course, I'm sure Secretary of State Colin "let's invite Syria to the Security Counsel as a reward for all their anti-terrorism activity" Powell will soon be petitioning Saddam Hussein to join the anti-terrorism coalition, instead.  But an LLD can dream.


Brooklyn, October 8, 2001.  Well, I heard someone else say it best today: watching the long-distance explosions of some far off Asian city reminded him of the good old days of the Gulf War -- when he would go home early from work so he could turn on CNN to "watch the war" -- the way one would watch a football game (complete with the telestrator and locker room chat with Wolf Blitzer).  We at the Talking Dog are proud that it only took one cross-word from us (read the 10-6-01 LLD dispatch) and the Bush Administration was finally cowed into action in Afghanistan.

Don't get your LLD wrong: he is not one of those, let me politely say, unpatriotic, "peace protestors".  Our country has been attacked, innocent blood has been shed, and the only people talking about "peace" did not lose friends and loved ones on September 11th.  (By the way, Happy 60th Birthday -- its today -- to America's favorite part-time "peace ambassador" and full-time extortionist, Jesse Jackson!  Sorry we talked you out of going to Afghanistan yesterday, Jesse!)

On the contrary: your LLD believes that the allegedly tough right wing government that placed itself in charge of our nation last winter will not go FAR ENOUGH in conducting its current campaign against terror, despite the rhetoric.  I assure you that deep inside our national security apparatus, ten times the effort that is going into finding perpetrators and stopping the next wave of terrorism is going into the cover up of responsibility for the last wave, of which our national security apparatus almost certainly had some level of  foreknowledge of the events of September 11th.  Your LLD won't accept the "incompetence" argument from the son of the former president AND CIA DIRECTOR -- even if it seems to fit.

That said, your LLD believes that the current government will perform EXACTLY the way it did in the Gulf War: a series of showy explosions (the terrorists liked showy explosions, too, of course-- though we tend to go to extremes to avoid "collateral damage" -- while that is their aim).  Notice the reversion to an official secrets act as pertains to war correspondents?  Its always "officially" about "national security" -- but its actually about a psychosis for secrecy that has permeated through Bush and Cheney about everything -- even the release of Ronald Reagan's NON-CLASSIFIED presidential papers!  Well, I guess that's what America's about -- that and watching what you say!  Suffice it to say, the showy explosions will NOT end with the removal of Saddam Hussein (necessary if we actually want to end terrorism -- even if we only want to end the "bad" kind against the United States and not the "good" kind directed against Israel) from power, violently and viciously, and leaving his country in flaming ruins, as the only sort of message the Arab world (you know, the people who merrily crashed our planes into our cities) will comprehend.

Again, I have said it privately, and now I'll say it publicly:  if Saddam Hussein is dead  (I'll even take natural causes) or out of power within 180 days, I will vote for, hell, I'll CAMPAIGN for, George W. Bush to be reelected.  I'm not worried about having to pay off that bet.  Prove me wrong, Mr. President.  For America's sake, prove me wrong.


Brooklyn, October 6, 2001.   You knew that when Dub surrounded himself with Colin and Daddy's boys that this administration would become Daddy's Oldsmobile (and the Bushes are the kind of people who DRIVE Oldsmobile -- as were my father and grandparents -- so I simply mean upper middle class Americans at one time -- but I digress).

Look, its now 3 1/2 weeks after September 11th, and, you can't walk around downtown Manhattan anymore- because its STILL ON FIRE!  After 3 1/2 weeks, Baghdad is not only still there, its probably not even on alert!  And as to Afghanistan, we evidently can't even figure out where it is!  It has a brilliant "hit and run" strategy: it is utterly landlocked!   The United States, with its allegedly awesome air and sea power can't figure out what to do with it unless our "friend" Pakistan and our "friends" in Uzbekistan and Tajikistan (and perhaps our newest "friend", China?) allow us to "borrow" their "airspace" or bases.

It takes a special vision to understand how can one carry out a "war" on terrorism by immediately seeking an "alliance" that includes Syria and Iran, which even Colin Powell's State Department considers terrorist states.  A vision called blindness and insanity!  Despite being allegedly stronger than ever, and accused of unilateralism everywhere, the United States (as led by the abdicated president Bush and the effective co-presidents Powell and Rice) now believes it is impermissible for it to act- even and especially in its own self-defense, unless the thugs who attack it (you know- the Arabs) approve of our actions .

It is most unfortunate that the terrorists failed to leave an official return address.  had they done so, we probably could have formally surrendered by now.


Brooklyn, October 5, 2001.  I can already see the wheels turning in Al Sharpton's mind about today's Daily News:  on the front page, a story about firemen sacrificing their lives at the WTC -- only one of whom was African-American.  In the back of the tabloid, in the sports section -- some mention about Joe Torre (a White man) and his plans for the upcoming playoffs (which, yada yada yada, the Yankees will be just good enough to somehow win again -- with a peculiarly bittersweet parade past Ground Zero).  Only WAY INSIDE THE PAPER were the two accomplishments that SHOULD have occupied those pages: Rickey Henderson (an African-American) beating out that nasty White cracker racist Ty Cobb's runs scored record, and most importantly, Barry Bonds' (also an African-American) triumph over being pitched around to tie a record that heretofore had ALSO only been held by a White man, the single season home run record.

Few people realize that Mark Green (NOT Freddy Ferrer, or Vallone or Hevesi, or that old George Spitz guy) went on a DOUBLE DATE with Al Sharpton (they saw, I kid you not, Judgment at Nuremberg).  No wonder Green panders for his endorsement!  You know what?  I don't know!  Your LLD favored Green for two things (at the behest of the invisible editor):  Bill Bratton (a good man who has never been given all the credit for reducing crime that Giuliani has taken for himself!) supports Green, and, in direct response to his campaign promise to hold the line on the untenable wage increases demanded by the teachers union, that union now supports Ferrer (as does the aforementioned Al Sharpton).

Of course, Sandy Feldman's teachers get out and vote for THEIR self-interest.  Your LLD suggests that everyone else in New York WITH A JOB should also get out and vote for THEIR self interest, which, bizarrely, is Mark Green!  As unlikable as he is (notice that since his former mentor Ralph Nader helped hand the presidency to GW Bush, we don't hear much about that earlier relationship), he is probably mostly harmless.  And as apparently, RD now concurs, our State and Federal government have come to regard New York as too important to allow its electorate to destroy it -- so state and national authorities will see to it that some basic level of service is provided to all New Yorkers in any event.

(Meanwhile, someone somewhere decided to shoot down a passenger plane bound from Israel to Siberia.  Draw your own conclusions.)


Brooklyn, October 4, 2001.  And so its been 26 years since my bar mitzvah, today -- and happy birthday greetings to my brother Fred - as of tomorrow (he pulls in at 33).  Your RD can barely drag his ass out of bed for the schlep to Westchester - let alone keep up with the nimble RD (who, after all, is too busy foaming at the mouth to tire).

I can't keep track of the RD anymore -- he's just TOO rabid (perhaps God will get him -- and the RD will be completely blindsided by it, seeing as he doesn't believe in God!)  What is it we don't like about the prospect of Al Sharpton as our mayor?  For God's sake -- after his Nelson Mandela-like 90 days in Club Fed for a probation violation (just exercising his free speech rights -- which he also exercised toward that nasty Mr. Pagones in the Brawley case) -- Sharpton isn't even that fat anymore!  Is it the haircut?  I mean, what is the RD's problem?  All citizens of New York owe Sharpton a debt of gratitude for serving as the foil in a senate race that ended the political careers of Liz Holtzman, Geraldine Ferraro, Bob Abrams, and, eventually, Al D'Amato.

In a way, Ferrer has a point about endorsers:  Ed Koch endorsed him, as did Peter Vallone -- losers both -- respectively, to Dave Dinkins and Mark Green (also related by endorsement).

Your LLD doesn’t like Mark Green either (despite voting for him in the primary -- and intending to vote for him in the runoff) --for a very simple reason.  NO ONE likes Mark Green, presumably including his own family.  He is an arrogant, self-righteous, self-important jerk.  But let's face it:  if you were appointed to the Hague as judge and juror of  O(u)sama bin Laden, Al Sharpton and Saddam Hussein for their crimes against humanity, what would you do if there was only enough juice in the electric chair for two of the three?  RIGHT!  Release all three of them immediately because, despite the fact that most European citizens FAVOR the death penalty in polls, the elites who run those countries are far less Democratic than ours (than Rudy?) and they would DEMAND their unconditional release because of the "inhumane" punishment we planned!

Who do I blame for this fiasco that creates the almost inconceivable possibility of an even worse mayor than David Dinkins?  You got it!  I blame none other than Rudolph Giuliani!  How many times?!  He has set up this election cycle:  he threatened to veto a repeal of the term limits law when it was with the City Council!  And he's turned an otherwise sensible plan of a mere 90-day extension into political ammunition - FOR FERRER!!!  (Besides, enough Mr. RD,  Giuliani himself has ruled out running for another term -- though he still keeps pushing for this 90-day thing -- which will happen- IF Green wins the runoff).

We will see: if Green can't take the runoff there is no reason to try to murder a substantial part of the electorate anymore.  We will muddle through-- that's all.  Doubtless, the State will take over the City's finances (by law, anytime the deficit exceeds $100,000,000; current projections are an unbelievable deficit of $4 BILLION).  And, under a Ferrer mayoralty, the State will doubtless also take over the school system, the national guard will handle policing, etc.:  in short, far less to worry about than the RD frets (unless you were relying on property values, or your job).


Brooklyn, October 3, 2001.  Your LLD must be brief and curt (that'll be the day), as it is early in the morning, and the commissar of labor has assigned him to a position in far off Westchester County for which he must leave extremely early.

Amazingly, with respect to the continued service of our mayorissimo -- which even I would not support if the alternatives did not consist of Mark Green, Mike Bloomberg or (God help us all) Freddie Ferrer -- the RD seems to join in the mayor in wanting it both ways.  We had a whole to-do last year in the Florida elections over the never-satisfactorily-resolved issue:  did the Florida Supreme Court change the election law after the election had started?  Regardless of what one feels about the outcome (which led to the installation of the Bush Administration, which finds itself in charge of our country in these troubled times) -- almost everyone can at least agree that that was the issue!  Well, what Mayor Rudy has in mind is just that:  changing the rules of the election at the last minute to give himself a (grossly unfair) advantage.  Too late, I say.

Now, of course, our Republican mayor -- who was in a position way before this election process got started to OPPOSE term limits (like just about EVERY OTHER politician in the City) -- instead chose to surf on the issue, benefiting from its popular appeal (or as I said, at the very least, refusing to take the political flak for opposing it).  As an aside on the unbelievably troubling Israel issue (note that the Bush Administration, like its indistinguishable predecessor, was willing to sell out Israel long before the WTC events -- see the Tuesday, October 2nd New York Times front page story), the RD asserts that many people in the US believe in astrology and UFO's, so even if they support Israel, so what.  Amazingly, the RD suddenly IS concerned with the "people's choice" for mayor as (Rudy, his favorite, albeit mine would win, of course).

Which is it?  Perhaps it is the people who believe in UFOs and astrology who are the same ones who believe that the mayor should be permitted to evade term limits!


Brooklyn, October 1, 2001.  Well, earlier trepidations aside, your LLD and Mrs. LLD spent the better part of the weekend (after our Friday night bacchanalia with our unseen editor) upstate in Ulster County, celebrating our tenth wedding anniversary back where we got married -- and the baby spent an overnight with grandma for the first time.  Thus explaineth my recent reticence -- when coupled with the Jewish holidays, and other factors.

Alas, I concede that the RD is correct on one point: Israel, having been established nearly 150 years after the original ratification of our Constitution , does not appear to have been mentioned in it (though there are references to the continuity of the slave trade, at least for a time).

I suppose the response to the RD's provocative stance toward the State of Israel (and, presumably, its supporters) is to question whether the United States (and its either over- or under-deployed military might) should use its power in the interests of "doing the right thing".  To the extent we deter a large ground invasion (through Canada or Mexico?) or a naval assault by Japan or Great Britain, or even a nuclear strike by Kazakhstan or Ukraine, the point is obvious.  However, the "Powell Doctrine" as interpreted by all the Presidents since President Powell has meant that the United States should use its force for its national, vital interests (read, commercial interests).

A little history on the recent "moral" use of force by the United States.  Obviously, we need to recall the "moral" basis of the Gulf War:  Saddam Hussein and the Elite Republican Guard had invaded Kuwait, and were threatening to invade Saudi Arabia.  As a moral matter, we had to prevent Saddam from control of world oil supplies.  We preferred that they be in the hands of the more commercially reasonable Saudis and Kuwaitis.  Both Kuwait and Saudi Arabia are, of course, hopelessly corrupt, dictatorial states (who, interestingly, join Iraq, Iran and Libya on the not so long list of countries whose nationals suffered no casualties in the WTC tragedy).  But high gasoline prices were deemed "against the national interest" -- so lower gasoline prices were subsidized by a few servicemen's lives, and the expense of a prolonged campaign and a couple of hundred billion dollars, and the current "world order".  Near the end of his term, President Bush I (over the objections of President Powell) deployed a "humanitarian" mission to Somalia -- of course, to save Muslim lives.

If the United States devoted 5% or 10% or 15% of its GDP to solving world hunger and disease, we would still be perceived as an arrogant aggressor by certain irrational forces in the Arab world (there are maniacs everywhere - but only the Arab world has decided to go through the trouble of crashing planes into our cities).  And on college campuses, of course.  (I know I'm supposed to be the lefty).

Anyway, the point vis a vis Israel is that there ain't nothin' in the Constitution about the use of military force to maintain lower gasoline prices -- but we do that too.  The basis of the United States support of Israel is because its the RIGHT thing to do.  Notwithstanding criticisms (of which it is cognizant, and which, as a free democracy, it receives from its own people as well as outside), Israel's values and interests are consistent with those of the United States -- as well as being a well-placed reliable military and intelligence ally.  Frankly, I'm tired of hearing about Israel's moral lapses from the likes of places like Belgium (King Leopold and the subjugation of the Belgian Congo, not to mention setting in motion the bloodbath in Rwanda), or France (whose RESISTANCE turned in Jews! and by the way, ditto, Rwanda), or the Arab world (!).

We support Israel because it is the right thing to do.  Period.  The average American understands this -- even if our elites (such as the RD?)  don't seem to.  Also, the average American believes in God (or won't publicly say they don't!)  However, the fundamental basis for this country, and why it is BETTER than every other country that now exists or has ever existed, is that we recognize the right of EVERYONE to believe - or not believe - in the deity (or deities) of their choice, without reservation (short of human sacrifice or the use of illicit drugs, I suppose).  The Taliban, of course, don't believe this.  Nor does most of Europe, Asia or the rest of the world.  We do.

Anyway, I guess we'll hear more from the RD on this!

Jumping to what seems to concern HIM -- the machinations of the no-win New York City mayoral race -- let me just say that we are witnessing is simply crass opportunism by our current mayor (who, notwithstanding anything else I say, I believe is a national hero, and who I would vote for myself, if he could legally be on the ballot).  My point is simply that he was in a position less than a year ago to encourage a bill literally introduced in a City Council committee to repeal term limits, notwithstanding the two (badly worded) referendums.  He could have taken the political flak for it AT THE TIME, and NOT hinted that he would VETO the bill -- if it came to him -- and term limits would be out.  Instead, he sat on his hands, took whatever political benefit he could from "respecting the will of the people" -- until his elevation to sainthood on or about September 11th -- and others stepped into the fray.  Now that our current mayor HAS political cover we no longer hear about the "will of the people".  As unthinkable as a Ferrer mayoralty is (and, as I live in a very expensive home in Brooklyn, so it’s UNTHINKABLE) -- he has a point on this issue.  We have regularly scheduled elections, and regularly scheduled inaugurations -- and setting a precedent might be dangerous.  Of course, given that Ferrer is an idiot and has wrapped himself around Al Sharpton, he is a poor spokesman for this -- but he has a point.  However, on balance, this would be a peculiarly bad time for our current mayor to leave office -- regardless of which of the two remaining rich mediocrities or one idiot is elected to the mayor's office.  His 90 day delay of the inauguration seems a sensible, unique approach.

However, I certainly see an almost certain Mark Green mayoral victory, followed by one term and then defeat at the hands of Rudy Giuliani in '05 (the City's election law only prohibits Rudy from running for a third CONSECUTIVE term).

October 15, 2001.  I'm not sure whether the LLD believes that "understanding the mindset" of the Bin Laden & Co. is 1) irrelevant because they're bastards and no mindset could justify what they did, or is 2) necessary because we have to understand the enemy to defeat it.  He seems to be leaning towards No. 2, asserting that knowing their mindset will become "more and more crucial," but in fact this position differs little from No. 1, insofar as he concludes that we must understand that they have the mindset of bastards.

In which I concur.  But, of course, they had the same mindset when we were funding Bin Laden to fight the evil Soviets, which, in turn is the same mindset of the Northern Alliance we are now siding with to fight the evil Bin Laden.  The ultimate question in matters such as this is WHICH bastards pose the greatest danger to American interests.  So, as "barbarous" as the Palestinians might be, if appeasing them is in our best interest....let's go for it!

Now, on to what's left of New York.  I never imagined that this year's mayoral campaign would have any interesting, much less delicious, moments, but Freddy Ferrer's demand for a recount is just that.  Remember, the overriding issue among the Democrats was which candidate could best UNIFY all New Yorkers.  And yet Freddy and Mark cannot even unify their own narrow, Sharpton-worshipping constituency of the far, far left.  And the issue that divides them, even with DINKINS in Green's camp, and Sharpton in Ferrer's camp, is RACE!  Yes -- Ferrer is charging that Green's ads, which accurately quoted the New York Times(!!) in calling Freddy unqualified, were racist.  Unify New York?  These guys couldn't even unify the parents in "Heather Has Two Mommies"!

So I repeat:  Mike Bloomberg for Mayor!


October 13, 2001.  Today Governor Pataki issued an executive order permitting the partners of gays and lesbians killed in the World Trade Center attack to collect Crime Victims Board benefits.  The ostensible reason was that "the terrorists targeted Americans . . . [t]hey didn't care if they were gay or straight."

Well, actually, I think the Taliban DID care a bit more if they were gay.  After all, collapsing a building upon a person is the traditional method of execution for homosexuals in Afghanistan.  So technically, Pataki should have said that "the terrorists targeted Americans because they are all infidels who support Israel over the Palestinians...[t]hey cared very deeply whether they were gay or straight, but it didn't matter since both the gays and straights were American, Israel-supporting infidels."

But, to get to the point, Pataki's statement is pretty ridiculous.  The belief of the perpetrators isn't really relevant to how benefits get distributed among the victims.  So what if (contrary to fact) the Taliban doesn't care if a victim is straight or gay?  Why should a surviving partner get a benefit that the law doesn't allow when the gay victim is murdered in some other way?


October 9, 2001.  I see that our unseen editor has elected to join the fray with a little bit of provocative race-baiting. Apparently there is not enough diversity in death for him. He bemoans the fact that so few black and Hispanic firefighters were incinerated in last month's WTC attack. Perhaps next time we should keep some on hand nearby to toss into the flames to keep the stats up to a politically correct level. Or perhaps UE's disappointment would be assuaged if the newspapers published pictures of the firefighters from after the attack--the 2000 degree heat likely darkened their skin to an acceptable shade.


October 5, 2001.   The LLD has truly offered a bright ray of hope. If Fernando Ferrer is elected, we will "muddle through."  Perhaps Freddy should use that as part of a new campaign slogan: "I am so incompetent that we will muddle through only when the budget, the schools and the police force are taken over by George Bushes' federal government."

Ah, and Fernando Ferrer WILL likely be elected. Green is playing a pathetic game of catch-up, attacking Sharpton for his "Bozo" comments nearly a week after the fact. The attack looks particularly ridiculous given Green's statement in the debate that he would accept Sharpton's endorsement, and given Sharpton's own revelation that he spoke to Green only two days ago on the phone without being criticized for the anti-Giuliani comments. Green's attack on Ferrer's "divisiveness" is also too little too late, given his complete refusal to characterize Freddy's "two cities" campaign as divisive only two nights before.

The only positive sign is Green's decision to campaign with Bill Bratton at his side. It has Ferrer in hysterics, calling the joint appearances "troubling" and "unprecedented." Freddy apparently sees some conflict in the appointment, as a political reward, of someone who has supported your political campaign.


October 4, 2001.   For the umpteenth time, Rudy was NOT talking about changing the rules or violating the law. The rules expressly PERMIT the legislature to abolish term limits at any time. It is the LLD who is advocating a change in the rule, one that would strip the legislature of that power. And if the LLD is truly concerned with "the rule of law" (whatever than means) he should concentrate on denouncement true anti-democratic violations of the law, such as when the legislature wantonly ignores the statutory requirement to pass a budget on time.

And what IS the LLD talking about when he says that the alleged rule change will give Rudy a "grossly unfair" advantage? Merely being on the ballot is an unfair advantage? Don't the other candidates have that same advantage? Isn't the true advantage actually BEING Rudy Giuliani, the overwhelming choice of the people? And if, in fact, the "will of the people" decisively favors term limits, won't that preference doom the Giuliani candidacy?

Despite my alleged elitism, I do embrace the "will of the people" when it comes to the elections. That is the very basis of democracy...the person with the most votes wins. And of course I reject it when it comes to determining particular truths -- who but a complete idiot would believe that questions of fact, such as the existence of UFOs, whether astrology works, whether 1 + 1 = 3--can be determined by a poll?

That being said, this militant atheist is PRAYING for a serial killer to eliminate enough of the electorate so that the will of the remaining people is NOT to elect Fernando Ferrer. Having viewed last night's mayoral debate. I conclude that the terrifying, unthinkable, suicidal possibility of a Ferrer/Sharpton mayoralty is now a cold hard reality. Green was in full self-destruct mode, managing to be both too arrogant to be likeable, and too wimpish to challenge Ferrer on any disputed issue. Two incidents in the debate particularly disgusted me.

First, Green actually EMBRACED Al Sharpton, stating that he would have accepted the Reverend's endorsement had it been "dropped" on him. At the same time, he called for a moratorium on criticism of either candidate's endorsers, presumably because the practice was "divisive." Thus, the most outrageous aspect of the Ferrer candidacy, the pervasive and malicious influence of Sharpton, has been effectively removed from public debate.

Second, Green refused to denounce Ferrer's "two New Yorks" slogan as divisive, on the ground that Freddy, and not he, was responsible for coining the phrase. Apparently, then, ANYTHING Ferrer says is now beyond criticism or comment, merely by virtue of the fact the Green is not responsible for what Ferrer says. Wha? Huh?

I wasn't happy with the rest of the debate either, but nothing in the candidate's bromides about the need to rebuild and protect while defending civil liberties was concrete enough to merit discussion. I do wish I knew what imbecile decided it was a good idea to having a panel of ignorant, uniformed left-wing public college students lob softball questions, though.

We're on our way to hell, folks. Abandon all hope--all is lost.


October 2, 2001.  Our constitution has been amended a number of times in the past 150 years,. Some of those amendments were enacted after the creation of Israel, but none of those later additions defined the national interest in terms of subservience to a Jewish state. In contrast, the constitution has always provided for the promotion of the general welfare of citizens of the United States. Lowering gas prices easily falls within that clause.

I rather doubt the average American, outside of New York City, ever even thinks about Israel. If he does, however, and believes that Israel's survival is essential to the United States' welfare, then his belief is as false as his supposed belief in God. In any event, most polls show that John Q. Public believes in astrology and UFO's.

The fundamental basis for this country is freedom of speech and expression, not freedom of religion. However, the extent to which this country actively encourages its its sky-god worshippers to pursue their insane delusions at the expense of others is one of its main weaknesses. The government should be discouraging such conduct, just as it discourages racism and sexism. I agree with the LLD that the Taliban and Israel (with its Law of Return) are deficient in the religious freedom category.

As to the mayoral race, I agree with the LLD that Giuliani would be the best candidate. And he can very easily legally be on the ballot if the Legislature simply changed the law (which it won't). It's no threat to democracy when elected officials enact or repeal laws in response to the will of the people. And nobody is talking about eliminating regularly scheduled elections. They're talking about holding the election as scheduled with Giuliani on the ballot so the people can elect who they want. That's a dangerous precedent?

And as far as regularly scheduled elections go, wasn't the one scheduled for September 11 canceled? Wasn't that a dangerous precedent .... rescheduling an election just because of an emergency? Didn't that let "them" win? Of course was precisely BECAUSE of the emergency that we changed the rules. I cannot understand why the mindless adherence to some abstract democratic principle (in fact, the anti-democratic principles embodied in the term limit law) is more important than preventing mediocrities and idiots from ruling the city in this time of crisis.

As to the Mayor's hypocrisy, so what? Ferrer and Green opposed terms limits, and are embracing them now only because its in their own self-interest. The question is WHOSE self-interest - - Giuliani's or his opponents' - - coincides with the interest of the city.

One last point...the expressed purpose of the term limit law was to ensure that "citizen representatives" rather than "career politicians" run the city. Those are the exact words of the statute.  Aren't Ferrer and Green violating at least the SPIRIT of this law by running, when each is indisputably a "career politician?"  Why isn't THAT a dangerous precedent and a violation of the will of the people?



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