the talking dog
SEPTEMBER 2002 POSTINGS
Back to Home Page
September 30, 2002, New York, New York. Well, in this ever changing and ever more dangerous world in which we live, man could we use Superman now. For a brief discussion (followed by comments including those of, well...guess!) on the moral implications of comic book superheroes, we give you some dead-on insight from Unqualified Offerings here and here.
Meanwhile, on to less comic matters (the more I try to escape from this issue, the more they keep dragging me back in!) its off to Baghdad. Actually, it’s off to Vienna home of really good pastries and OPEC meetings, and the current discussion between Iraqi and UN officials over the proposed resumption of weapons inspections (by the way, Steve Hatfill was trained as one of these). CNN's report indicates that France (they'll cave, they always do), Russia (this is a problem; we haven't bribed Pooty Poot yet, even though I felt that his support was the linchpin of any diplomatic strategy) and China (they won't get in our way themselves, but will be delighted to join, well, France and Russia in thwarting their leading strategic competitor, no partner, no competitor...never mind) are leaning toward a less nasty UN resolution than Dubya and Tony.
Simultaneously with our executive branch war-mongering, three Democratic members of Congress are making it interesting, and are in Baghdad, urging the United States to "take Iraq at its word" over the proposed weapons inspections. Although Scrappleface has his own (inimitable) take on this, as someone who feels that the Bush Administration has given us no reason to trust it on these matters (though the Congressmen telling us we can trust Saddam Hussein MORE seems a tad much), I will simply say that if we the people have the right to speak freely on any subject (especially on the political implications of war and peace) those who would scoff at the RIGHT of our ELECTED REPRESENTATIVES to do so (even with Baghdad's skyline behind them) are UN-AMERICAN and enemies of our Constitution. So, people like Uber-blogger Andrew Sullivan (another blogger I greatly admire, and another one of the original inspirations for this particular blog) who would go so far as to question the LOYALTY of these Congressmen to our nation (including Vietnam vet and House-minority whip Boniors!) and glibly toss around the word "treason" had just damned well better watch what they do and say (in MY humble opinion). Just kidding: the beauty of our system is that EVERYONE gets the right to voice an opinion, even when many, or even MOST, disagree with it.
September 29, 2002, Brooklyn, New York. Mrs. TD and I were married just 11 years ago today (by quirk of calendar, also a Sunday). Also interestingly, this appears to be the day this site's hit meter crosses 10,000 hits. (This IS a vanity blog; once in a while, I have to mention things like this!)
Your TD is shocked, SHOCKED I say, to learn of this report showing a possible bungling of the Chandra Levy investigation by the District of Columbia police in failing to arrange for a bi-lingual polygraph technician, relying instead on a translator; thus, a suspect accused of similar crimes may have been prematurely dropped as a suspect for Chandra's murder. "The District" TV show notwithstanding, does anyone in America REALLY attribute competence to the D.C. police? Anyway, the two major problems with this story are (1) we all suspect Gary Condit did it, unless the "suspect" can be tied to him per some contract hit, and (2) under a case called Frye v. United States, the "lie detector" has been deemed unreliable scientifically, and its results are thus inadmissible in every courtroom in America.
Meanwhile, the IDF has pulled back on its siege of Arafat's compound in Ramallah just as PM Sharon heads off to Russia. Israeli troops remain close enough to nab (supposedly) any of the 41 suspects believed still inside the compound (now one building and a great deal of rubble). The Palestinians call the move "cosmetic". For a change, they are precisely right: the idea is to take Israel off of front-pages and radar screens -- places that the Sharon government seems intent on putting it, as Ariel and the boys slowly, but surely, undermine Israel's moral high ground, the principal asset of a client state dependent on US largesse to maintain its mighty military, otherwise under siege from hostile neighbors.
Finally, your TD is still unclear as to what to make of the story of the "weapons grade uranium" supposedly found in a taxi in Turkey, somewhere in the general vicinity of Iraq and Syria. Is this to be the famous "casus belli"? We'll see.
September 28, 2002, Brooklyn, New York. Well, in the JUST TOO GOOD story that keeps on giving, Madelyne Toogood has been arrested again, for giving a "false address". As a member of a group of Irish Travelers (described by some as the "anti-Amish", for their close-knit, secretive community's EMBRACING of all things modern), she probably had several addresses. But let's hear it for the Hoosier (Nanny) State: they sure know how to kick her while she's down. Just how, precisely, THE CHILD benefits from forcibly being removed from her family setting (including her uncharged father and two siblings) remains solely within the ambit of our children-fetishizing nanny state. Way to go. (To see the video, click here, scroll down and follow the instructions).
Well, the United States is (in conjunction with Britain; I don't care WHAT you say about Tony Blair -- he IS Bush's poodle, he IS, he IS, he IS) circulating a proposed UN Security Council resolution that Iraq had pretty much give up all of its Weapons of More Destruction in one week.
Well, the immediate elimination of Saddam Hussein's ability to wage unconventional warfare is a laudable goal, but as I read it, it is designed to be the type of conditions proposed to Slobodan Milosevic (before we bombed Yugoslavia) or to Mullah Omar (before we bombed Afghanistan), i.e., unmeetable. At least in THOSE cases, compliance with our demands was theoretically possible; it seems obvious to everyone that if Saddam Hussein were to hand us the head of Osama bin Laden and Mullah Omar, and the addresses of and keys to the secret hideouts of the entire remainder of Al Qaeda leadership as well as its secret coloring books of proposed targets and operations, and the keys to Iraq's OWN secret WMD weapons laboratories, Ari Fleischer would announce these as subterfuges on the part of Iraq and that the stated goal of American policy was regime change.
At least under THOSE circumstances, SOMEONE in Congress might actually look carefully at the latest poll numbers, and realize that the overwhelming majority of American opinion supports military action on Iraq IF the United States has the support of the international community, as, amusingly, reported here by the PRC People's Daily.
What does this mean? It means that what the President is counting on to steamroll through his (well, Dick Cheney's, anyway) warmongering is the perception of a voter backlash that isn't there!!! American democracy folks, it'll be here all week...
September 27, 2002, New York, New York. Well, here is a rather chilling future scenario, posted in National Review Online by UCLA Law Professor Eugene Volokh of our featured Dog Run link, the Volokh Conspiracy (with thanks to Instapundit). Actually, if you want to know the truth, what scares the crap out of ME about the article is not so much the possibility that Saddam Hussein will have acquired nuclear weapons and then CREDIBLY threaten to use them against the United States if his demands are not met, but Professor Volokh's presupposition that Hillary Clinton will have become President of the United States.
In the "Nothing personal" department, CNN reports that the President says, of Saddam Hussein, "this is the guy who tried to kill my Dad". Well, this reassures me that our nation is guided by objective, sober leadership, acting solely in the best interests of the nation as a whole, with no personal feelings clouding their judgment.
Following up on the across the board competence of the Bush Administration, we turn to the Justice Department and U.S. Marshal's Service, under the august command of arch-competent A.G. Ashcroft, which, evidently handed up to 48 sensitive CLASSIFIED documents to Zaccarias Moussaoui, and can't find several of them after searching Moussaoui's cell! If only the President had the power to terminate the bureaucrats responsible for this without the hindrances of our civil service system. Oh wait, the Justice Department would remain subject to this system! Never mind...
Finally, the District of Columbia police answer the musical question of "how do I get arrested in this town"? The answer is NOT: kill your girlfriend Chandra and dump her body in Rock Creek Park, but IS...protest yet another meeting of the World Bank! While admiring the protestors' tenacity, I remain clueless as to what their point is.
TD Evening Homeland Security Extra, 9-26-02. Our hero Mickey Kaus, THE uber-blogger, who has a well-reasoned position on everything, has an interesting suggestion on the Homeland Security Issue, and whether civil service protections should be removed for employees of the new "Department of Homeland Security", as proposed by the President in the interest of "flexibility". His position, stated here, is to go "50-50" (reminiscent of "Who Wants to be a Millionaire?" with the answer clearly NOT being anyone who would sign on with the new Department!), i.e., remove civil service protection for HALF of the civil service employees of the new Department.
With all due respect to Mr. Kaus's neo-Solomonic proposal to resolve the White House-Congress impasse, I respectfully have to side against him in this case.
As a preliminary matter, Mickey Kaus has been at the forefront of the argument that "Homeland Security" is a terrible name, reminiscent of either South African apartheid era bantustans, or the Third Reich; perhaps "Fatherland Sekurity" is the way to go.
My concern with Kaus' suggestion is that while it is a 50% loss to those who think that our civil service system is worthy of preservation, his suggestion represents a 100% win to the President, who in this case, is not really making a point that he needs "flexibility", but that he needs to score points for the Grover Norquist ideological wing of the GOP by getting in some union-busting -- in any way available. This conclusion is amply supported by the President's perfect record in failing to fire a single official for incompetence or anything else associated with governmental failures surrounding September 11th, despite his ability to freely fire anyone he (or his predecessors) appointed, if he so chooses, right now. So, why "flexibility" would not be exercised in the sacking of the flatfooted CIA Director George Tenet but IS DESPERATELY NEEDED to be exercised for GS-7 clerks is quite a serious question.
Kaus correctly cites numerous problems with our civil service system that end up protecting incompetence and encouraging mediocrity (and from my short stints as a federal employee with the General Accounting Office and later the Justice Department, I will testify that Kaus knows of what he speaks). Addressing these problems with the civil service system in an open and honest debate is an appropriate exercise in national policy making. "Open" and "honest" are not, however, words associated with this Bush Administration. Thus, it is attempting to dismantle the century-plus old civil service system via the back door of a reputed "homeland security" need. This is, of course, DISHONEST: it attempts to cloak what amounts to union-busting and return to a possible politicization of the pettiest of bureaucrats (which may or may not be legitimate in its own right) under the guise of a compelling national security need, while avoiding the expenditure of political capital that an honest debate would entail.
The President is attempting to insert a wedge in the civil service protection system for federal workers; the size of that wedge probably matters less to the President than to civil service workers, who will watch as their longstanding civil service protections are slowly eviscerated, presumably without much of a defense (because, hey, its about "national security"!)
In this case, with all due respect to Mr. Kaus, who I consider pretty much the progenitor of all blogging and a principal inspiration to this particular blog, I think 50% here is a failing grade.
Early Afternoon Extra, 9-26-02. Well,
your TD has noted the good time had at last week's Big
Apple Blogger Bash III; on that theme, we are delighted
to welcome to the Dog Run our fellow Bash attenders and
NYC Bloggers: The
Invisible Hand, Sasha
Castel, and Jane
to the best damned links section on the Internet
(perhaps if I say that enough, it will catch on like
Guard" or "Saudi bastards").
renewed his veto threat if the ominously Teutonic
sounding Department of Homeland Security does not
include the President's proposed union busting measures.
One wonders why the Democrats are not making an
issue about the PRESIDENT being soft on national
security in the name of satisfying HIS ideological base.
Well, I wonder anyway.
26, 2002, New York, New York. A
hearty Dog Run welcome to our newest featured link, Isn't
a Pundit. Check it out; another great addition to the (hyperbole
alert!) best damned links section on the Internet.
I'm not sure of that, but the Fed Chairman joins
ex-mayor Rudy Giuliani in this distinguished British
both men are (or at least were) married to
attractive female journalists. Coincidence, or conspiracy!
actually, she reports that "captured Al Qaeda
members" (presumably under torture at Guantanamo,
which I nominate be expanded and converted into the very
first Club Med for Dictators -- and I pledge another $10
to the effort) have stated that Saddam's Iraq trained al
Qaeda terrorists in the ways of chemical warfare.
Well, my hyperbole detector is already activated,
but I wonder...
not content with blasting acting President Cheney for
making national security a "political issue"
in the upcoming mid-term election (which, as noted over
and over by...me...is the primary reason for the timing
of the Iraq invasion talk -- if not the primary reason
for the entirety of the Iraq talk), Senator Daschle
takes on nominal President Bush directly. We're rooting for you, Senator -- but the lack of a
Democratic alternative to the President's current
bellicose position (such as disengagement from the
region altogether, or perhaps even a MORE hawkish stand
than the President -- i.e., WHY HAVE WE WAITED SO LONG?
-- may prove that, dirty pool and all, this issue has
do we all still love Dick Armey?
Early Afternoon Extra, 9-25-02. Happy
50th birthday to Christopher Reeve, a man whose tenacity
is an inspiration to us all.
To see the Madeline Toogood video, click here,
and follow instructions under the video box a little way
down the screen.
25, 2002, New York, New York. Well,
head on over to Blogcritics
where you'll not just encounter The Talking Dog's
review of Chris Hitchens' The Trial of Henry
Kissinger that you'll see if you scroll down a bit,
but literally hundreds of topical, dead on reviews of
books, movies, videos and other stuff.
This is a big day at Blogcritics, as all of the
nearly 200 blog critics are expected to post something
go for it!
Van Pham was rescued
off the coast of Mexico after drifting for nearly
four months in a small sailboat; he intended to sail
from Los Angeles to Catalina Island, until he was blown
off course and his mast was destroyed when the weather
started getting rough...(a three hour tour, a three hour
tour...) He survived by collecting rain water, and catching fish, and
had the occasional seagull.
He was most upset when his beyond-repair boat had
to be sunk by the Coast Guard, rendering him homeless...
Well, I'm sure he can syndicate his story for a
book -- or better yet, a GAME SHOW involving minor
in the "Ya think?" department, we have Senator
(and majority leader) Tom Daschle accusing
acting-President Cheney of "politicizing "
the (coming) war with Iraq, by urging voters in a Kansas
Congressional race to back the G.O.P. candidate because
he is more likely to support nominal President Bush in
(Pause for TD to cringe at the thought that Mr.
Daschle is ALSO polticizing the issue by accusing
acting-President Cheney of same.)
for months, feckless Democrats have not proposed an
alternative policy scenario to a military invasion of
Iraq -- but have either knee-jerk opposed Bush (not that
that is a BAD thing), or have simply "called for
we have the debate. Now
just it: Democrats
have very little (other than Al Gore, and even he did
not offer an AFFIRMATIVE alternative policy) have, for
example, kowtowed to the Bambi/Hollywood wing of the
party, and refuse to permit, say, drilling in the Arctic
National Wildlife Refuge (which COULD have been traded
for stiffer mileage limits on SUVs, more alternative
energy funding, higher gasoline taxes, etc.) and moved
America toward less dependence on Middle East oil,
allowing for the possible option of disengagement from
the region (the only legitimate way Saddam's Iraq can be
we get a party of not-so-creative naysayers and
obstructionists, who do not offer much of an
alternative, and offer candidates like the scoundrel
Torricelli because otherwise the terrorists...er, the
GOP...will win (at least control of the Senate).
Trial of Henry Kissinger by Christopher Hitchens
notes that Kissinger, alas, did not sue him.
Henry, apparently, has a problem with courtrooms.
Hitchens pictures an amusing scene, where an
interviewer is present in the office of publishing mogul
Michael Korda, who interrupts his session on another
author to call Kissinger, looks up and says "His
phone number (759-7919 in Manhattan) should be 1-800
Cambodia-- or better yet 1-800 Bomb Cambodia", and
then has a conversation concerning the jurisdictional
implications of the Pinochet detention in Britain.
I read an article by Kissinger in Foreign
Affairs Quarterly denouncing so-called
"universal jurisdiction", where some countries
claim the right to try anyone for human rights
the extent such political prosecutions have permitted
the likes of Belgium to indict Ariel Sharon, Kissinger
has made his point; to the extent that Henry Kissinger
walks the Earth as a free man, proponents of
such jurisdiction have made theirs.
Henry must now tread lightly when traveling
abroad, if he does so at all.
book documents Henry's public career, starting with his
audition for the Nixon Administration, playing the
turncoat at the Paris peace talks,
where he effectively helped Tricky Dick undermine
the Johnson Administration's conduct of peace talks by
helping to persuade the South Vietnamese they would get
a better deal from Nixon, only to sell them out and get
them virtually the same deal four years later with
untold thousands killed in the interim.
As Hitchens describes it:
"This is what it took to promote Henry Kissinger. To promote
him from being a
mediocre and opportunist academic to becoming an
qualities were there from the inaugural moment: the
sycophancy and the duplicity; the power worship and the
absence of scruple; the empty trading of old non-friends
for new non-friends. And the distinctive effects were also present: the uncounted
and expendable corpses; the official and unofficial
lying about the cost; the heavy and pompous
pseudo-indignation when unwelcome questions were asked.
Kissinger's global career started as it meant to
go on. It
debauched the American republic and American democracy,
and it levied a hideous toll of casualties on weaker and
more vulnerable societies."
then get to take a not so random walk through the bill
of indictment against Kissinger, first for his
substantial role in expanding the Vietnam War, not just
in its entirety by undermining peace talks (arguably an
act of treason committed to win the '68 election --
Tricky Dick was SO MUCH MORE than just Watergate!) but
the illegal expansion of that war to Cambodia and Laos,
resulting in the senseless deaths of MILLIONS and
suffering beyond calculation.
Next, we go to Bangladesh, where Kissinger made a
tacit deal to do nothing with the Pakistani military
dictatorship, which resulted in a civil war and the
break off of Bangladesh, during which hundreds of
thousands were killed.
Then, its on to Chile, where a democratically
elected government is absolutely subverted, and a key
general and the elected premier are murdered at the
behest of the United States of America.
Similarly, in Cyprus, a democratically elected
government that Nixon (and, thus, Henry) didn't like are
duly subverted, as in Chile, resulting in violent
partition, as in Pakistan.
We are treated to Henry's tacit green-lighting to
the Indonesian dictatorship's invasion of East Timor,
and Henry's role in basically orchestrating the
attempted contract killing of a Greek journalist who
opposed that nation's previous military dictatorship.
virtually all of Henry's co-conspirators in the
foregoing are either dead or in jail (or like Pinochet,
at least forced into a defensive posture to avoid same;
note that Henry even came away unscathed from
Watergate!), Henry parlayed his "government
service" into a powerful influence peddling
consultancy, and though he is crass and unpleasant as
Hitchens describes him (I once saw him having dinner in
Manhattan, though I cannot vouch for this description),
he remains an "a-list" party man.
notes that, some day, in some form and in some forum,
Dr. Kissinger's deeds will be brought to light, possibly
by some of his victims.
Hitchens is clearly preaching to the converted as far as
I am concerned, that day cannot come too soon.
After one reads this little book, one can only
feel the same way.
24, 2002, TD Afternoon "Toogood To Be True"
Well, its back to Madeline Toogood (whose actual
name is apparently Madelyne Gorman Toogood) as
CNN report shows that a
not guilty plea has been entered on behalf of the mom
caught beating her 4-year old child on videotape; her
defense lawyer Steven Rosen is confident a plea can be
TD has a small child, and certainly, there would be no
excuse for my beating her (EVER) and I have no intention
of condoning ANY parent who can't control themselves in
this area. HOWEVER,
the system in its genius has placed this 4-year-old
child in foster care rather than placing her with, say,
her uncharged father (who WILL get custody of her two
don't think Ms. Toogood will get 5 years, or frankly,
ANY prison time here; she will certainly be mandated to
get counseling, will get some sort of probation, and may
lose custody of her children.
Simple question not being asked: this is all in
the best interests of the CHILD, right?
Or is it in the best interests of the NANNY
STATE, that wants to show it means business with heavy
24, 2002, New York, New York. Tony
presented his dossier on Iraqi WMD capabilities and
other nasty shit (with thanks to Instapundit).
Well, seeing as Blogspot is offline today, we
won't know AirStrip
One's thoughts on this for a while.
I'll tell you mine.
It certainly looks like serious shit, and makes
you wonder why we didn't use the entree we had right
after 9-11 to take on Saddam as well as the Taliban
(given how small a detachment we sent to Afghanistan --
it should not have been a major logistical problem;
indeed, we seem to have plenty of troops available such
as for operations
to Ivory Coast to rescue Americans).
Of course, it also all seems to be old news: Saddam has the ability to "go Wagnerian on our
asses" if we decide to fight him "to the
death", and has for a long time.
Again, old news; gas masks were issued to US
military and all Israelis back in the Gulf War. Saddam's chem and bio shit is better now; but so are our gas
masks, vaccines and countermeasures.
Tony's statement says Saddam is
"developing" them; if you followed my links
recently, you too can have nuclear bomb plans on YOUR
hard drive. This
is not in any sense an "unserious" threat, but
if, say, General Pervez Musharraf were to fall, we know
that AL QAEDA is in Pakistan, right now, poised...and
lest we forget the rest of the Axis of EvilTM.
The only OBJECTIVE evidence we have regarding
Saddam's nuclear program is that the Bush Administration
(now joined by the Blair government) overstates its
to back to my man Al Gore.
Are we a nation of laws, or of the unfettered
discretion of our elected (LOL) President? And do we wish to be a nation in a world of other nations
that follow laws -- or not?
No one in their right mind really wants Saddam
Hussein to be able to develop WMDs of any kind, let
alone nukes. But
the alleged principle here is making the world (or at
least making the United States) safer in the long term.
In the end, we are all resigned to know it will
be about power politics. But displaying an affirmative contempt for the niceties of
international law is simply not in the American national
encourages OTHER nations to take what they will term
"pre-emptive action", nations whose leaders
will not necessarily exercise THEIR discretion with the
same beneficence as our President. It
is likely to make the world a more dangerous place than
removing Saddam by force will make it safer.
TD Evening Extra --
The Once-Bearded One Strikes Back, September 23, 2002.
"After Sept. 11, we had enormous sympathy, goodwill and support around the world," Gore said Monday. "We've squandered that, and in one year we've replaced that with fear, anxiety and uncertainty, not at what the terrorists are going to do but at what we are going to do."
In his first
major speech on the Iraq situation, the once and
possibly future Democratic presidential candidate
accused Bush of abandoning the goal of a world where
nations follow laws.
concept would be displaced by the notion that there is
no law but the discretion of the president of the United
States," he said.
"If other nations assert the same right, then the rule of law will quickly be replaced by the reign of fear," and any nation that perceives itself threatened would feel justified in starting wars, he said.
Here is another report on Al Gore's statement in San Francisco, as reported here by the San Francisco Chronicle.
A rebuttal is offered here by VodkaPundit.
I think Al Gore is a decent man (and to be fair, a FAR more decent man than the hard-jogging scion of that sinister family presently charged with, well, our lives.) Frankly, back in 2000, I blanched while watching his speech at the Democratic Convention. I waited to hear about millions of new jobs, millions of new BIRTHS (including Baby TD) during the Clinton-Gore Administration as a new optimism prevailed after the incredibly DARK BUSH ERA, which the stupid GOP was looking to bring back.
Well, I think Al Gore may have finally started to give the speech he should have: not a homily about losing in general (followed pretty inevitably by his own), but about the costs of the free lunch of lower taxes, lower deficits and "prosperity with a purpose".
A speech worthy not of the whiny man who withdrew his election night concession or had 10 Power Bars before a debate, but of the statesman who eloquently conceded his personal ambition for the good of the nation.
We only pray that his feckless party will recognize that its standard bearer is not the womanizer from Chappaqua and his machine, but its one, remaining statesman.
Still Later Afternoon Extra, 9-23-02. Welcome
to Marc's Blog, or Quit
the Dog Run. What the hell: let's
ALSO welcome fellow NYC Bloggers who your TD was just
pleased as punch to have met at the Big
Apple Blogger Bash III:
Frankenstein, Jim of Objectionable
Content, and as far as I know, our first fellow
member of the animal kingdom (except for Bull
Moose, who’s much more of a pure political
animal), the Illuminated
ongoing warmonger news, British PM Tony Blair announced
that Saddam must be stopped -- he will "name
names" (or something) at a special parliamentary
session tomorrow. I
can't wait to see what AirStrip
One's take on this will be; Emmanuel Goldstein
(being an Orwellian fictional character, we assume he is
not related to Ken Goldstein of the Illuminated Donkey)
has argued at various times that committing something
like a third of Britain's available combat troops to the
Iraqi theatre of operations is probably not in the
United Kingdom's national interest -- except possibly to
assert Britain's independence from its feckless European
Well, we'll see.
Blair, an otherwise unpopular leader with an
unpopular domestic program decides to make hay in the
foreign policy realm by being the proponent of a major
attack against Saddam.
Haven't seen that one before.
Afternoon Extra, 9-23-02. Well,
I'm in a welcoming mood today, so "Welcome to the
Jungle -- er, Dog Run" for Two
Tears in a Bucket and Capital
Influx (official web site of Elizabeth Spiers, who
your TD enjoyed meeting at the Big Apple Blogger Bash
no citizen is safe, because Congress
is in session and debating the proposed resolution for
war against Iraq.
The President, meanwhile, is off
raising funds for Republican candidates while still
chiding lawmakers for not finalizing his version of a
union-busting (there's no other way to put it) Homeland
Security bill. All
seems to be right with the world:
as the nation prepares to sacrifice billions of
dollars and hundreds (or thousands) of lives, its good
that none of us lose sight of what ACTUALLY matters to
our government leaders: REMAINING
our government leaders.
23, 2002, New York, New York. Let's
give a hearty welcome to Ravenwolf
to the Dog Run (the best links section on the whole
damned Internet, even if I am a bit inclined to
hyperbole as well as a bit of an egomaniac).
Seriously, both Ravenwolf (who I was pleased to
meet at the recent Big Apple Blogger Bash III) and
Scrappleface (I'd describe him as a "one-man
Onion", but he's so much funnier than the Onion)
are great. Read
away we go, to Ramallah where
Palestinian officials are meeting with Arafat to
survey the situation.
Memo to Yasir re: "the situation":
your compound is wrecked, but your house is
standing because Israel wants it to be; your homies (by
going back to the suicide bombing crap) gave Sharon the
perfect excuse to try and score points for an early
election by wrecking your compound (again); Israeli
troops can stay there a REALLY LONG TIME -- really, they
can -- just watch them; and even your own homies don't
like you much these days. Yasir, do us all a favor and leave; the TD pledges $10 to
start his Club Med for Dictators , as I stated here
and as expanded upon by Unqualified Offerings here;
Yasir, you can be the first guest -- save a towel or two
just as the President (for our purposes, Dick Cheney)
has failed to think about "what happens after
Saddam is gone", so Ariel Sharon has failed to
think about the aftermath of the removal of his bête
noir Arafat. It’s
OK: I haven't thought about that either, but then, no one elected
the follow up department, lawmakers
from both U.S. parties warn Israel that an Israeli
response to an attack by Iraq could widen the Middle
Eastern war. You
item, the Jerusalem Post reports that the White
House has termed the current siege of Arafat...get
Them's tough words.
I still get the feeling that somewhere in there,
Sharon negotiated the right to force Yasir out (or at
least, for American reticence while he tries to make
this happen) in exchange for Israel holding back from
retaliating to all but the most egregious Iraqi strike
on Israel. Time
TD Extra, 9-22-02. Kudos
to Herr Schroeder on
winning the German national election.
It does the heart proud to know that in at least
ONE (democratic) country, a willingness to say that you
pretty much hate the United States, and then compare its
leader to Hitler is STILL a formula for electoral
to think that that country is GERMANY!
too was thinking "France"; but we're wrong!)
Mr. Gorbachev -- PUT BACK THAT WALL!!!
Early Afternoon Feminism Extra, 9-22-02.
This story is TOO GOOD.
Literally, about Madeline Toogood, who, as you
know or not is
the mom caught beating up her 4-year-old child ON
VIDEOTAPE, and is, ergo, public enemy number one.
This is a country that will acquit the likes of
O.J. Simpson, because he was not caught on videotape, or
the cops who beat up Rodney King even when the ARE
caught on videotape (when their actions can be explained
away and blamed on someone else), will vilify this chick
for the ULTIMATE crime against America:
the woman is POOR for God's sake!
Five years in prison and loss of custody?
I noted the sunburn story a few weeks ago;
five-year-olds who kiss their classmates deemed sex
are a sick society, people.
The goal of protecting children is perverted for
PC lunacy. Well,
folks, the hell with Hollywood lesbians being able to
come out (or go back in):
you're looking at the state of women in the
United States, right now.
in that department, congratulations to Miss Illinois,
Erika Harold, who deferred Harvard law school to compete
in the pageant, who
was crowned Miss America last night.
Way to go Erika.
Mid-Morning Extra, 9-22-02.
Our unseen editor has directed me to this
from the New York Times (with
thanks to Matt
in which Israel's leadership stated it WOULD retaliate
from any attack against it by Iraq, but a careful
reading shows a great deal of equivocating on that
think that, as with any good strategic doctrine, the
Israelis believe that an unpredictable response may be
the best deterrence; if they SAID "we won't
retaliate if Saddam attacks us", Saddam would
probably not believe that either.
further interest is this
also relayed by Matt Drudge, showing Israel's plans for
gas mask distribution, including to tourists (that
should do wonders for El Al ticket sales!). Obviously,
preparedness is critical, but Israel seems to be taking
this Iraq-attack thing VERY seriously as if it were
coming SOON, leading me to believe that, perhaps,
"they know something".
Well, we'll see how this plays out; so far, Yasir's faxes and e-mails have not gotten much response from Washington...
22, 2002, Brooklyn, NY. Turnabout is fair
play; your TD handed it to the Palestinians for their
tenacity in continuing the insane, immoral -- no, EVIL
tactic of suicide bombing.
Well, now your TD has to hand it to Ariel Sharon
for HIS "beat a dead horse" tenacity:
when in doubt, send guns and bulldozers to
Yasir's house. Of
course, as the Jerusalem
Post reports here although FRANCE and the EU (LOL)
have weighed in, the American response appears, well,
more reticent. At this writing, your TD is NOT aware of any high level
American contact telling Ariel to knock it off!
Of course, it COULD be that the State Department,
which would USUALLY make the contact, might be DELIGHTED
that Ariel is doing this, knowing (perhaps) it will stir
up international opposition which could detract from
Iraq plans, while the warmongers in the Administration
are still preparing for the Sunday morning talk shows.
Well, so far, five Palestinians have already been
killed at protests of their "irrelevant"
the games begin -- as apparently, Ariel is trying to
drum up support for an early election to outmaneuver
this will also become one of the issues filtering into the
German elections today.
Right now, the major issue dominating the fray is
German involvement in a potential Iraq issue, with
Hitler's name invoked (as applied to Bush of course --
not to the lovable Saddam Hussein) and flying in all
directions. As is typical for ethically selective Europeans, there has
been a failure for the most part to acknowledge German
complicity in providing Saddam's Iraq with the
technological transfers to develop the WMDs in the first
the hell with the Germans:
what matters is the Americans.
Perhaps our defense apparatus has to tread
lightly regarding the Ramallah bulldozing because (in an
item little noticed except by The Talking Dog’s
acute canine hearing) Secretary Rumsfeld has
urged Israel not to defend itself (via retaliation) if
Iraq strikes at it.
here we go again. Just
like in Gulf War I.
Perhaps the tacit American standoffishness with
respect to Arafat is the price the United States has
offered to Sharon for standing there and taking anything
Saddam dishes out at Israel (short of WMDs? Including
I just think the naturally secretive Bush Administration
is just too into this type of conspiracy?
21, 2002, Brooklyn, NY. Well,
a good time was had at the Big Apple Bloger Bash III. Your TD enjoyed the company of, among others, Ken Goldstein
Illuminated Donkey, Sasha
Frankenstein, Elizabeth Spiers of Capital
Influx, Jim of Objectionable
Content, the eponymous Ravenwolf of The
Randomness of Ravenwolf, Nick Marsala of the Ramblings
of a Blue-Collar Slob, Clay
Waters, the kind hosts of NYC
Raving Atheist, Philip Murphy of The
Invisible Hand, Mr.
Swill and the eponymous Jane
Galt. (Your TD's blog ecosystem slut rankings should duly go
through the roof now; if only TODAY were the day the
rankings were computed!)
on to Iraq! Once
in a while, your TD scrolls through some of the non-blog
links in the Dog Run. One of my faves is Defense
and the National Interest, and in particular, this
lengthy monograph entitled "Is a Predatory Elite
Shaping the War Scare of 2002" (the answer
being yes). Crony
capitalists in the oil (Dick Cheney) and defense
industries (Dick Cheney -- I just like typing Dick
Cheney -- the article does not mention him by
name...Dick Cheney, Dick Cheney) are fanning the war
fires for their sectarian profit (not prophet) interests
at the expense of the rest of us, and use methods such
as hyperbolic claims that Saddam is
"developing" nuclear "technology".
the article, you won't be disappointed.
of the key areas of hyperbole relating to Saddam, of
course, is that he is "imminently" developing
"the technology" for developing a nuclear bomb
(we know, for certain, that he has chemical weapons, as
he has used them, and that he has bio-weapons, as UN
inspectors found chemical and biological weapons.
This has been true for decades, of course, before
SAUDI BASTARDS decided to attack THIS COUNTRY.
Oh, sorry. As
to "nuclear technology", it is, unfortunately,
very common knowledge that there are NUMEROUS plans for
atomic weaponry freely available at a few button clicks;
your TD tried a Google search of "schematics atomic
bomb" and got
881 search matches on Google, and that's with one
search, and (as always), I'm not even trying very hard!
My simple point is that we have to watch the
hyperbole, here. Is
Saddam [you fill in the blank] years away from
completing a working and deliverable nuclear bomb?
Well, when ISRAEL thought he was close, they
bombed the shit out of the facility.
Two decades later, I doubt that Sharon's Israel
would be LESS likely NOW to repeat that operation if
ISRAEL believed Saddam were close to such a development.
while the rest of the blogosphere can divide themselves
into the "warblogger" camp and plot the
inevitable demise of Saddam and his regime (knowing, of
course, that they risk not their own lives nor those of
loved ones), while others can decry this war, that war,
any war, no matter what, I simply say the following.
War is sometimes diplomacy by other means; war is
ALWAYS a political matter, where external consequences
are exploited for internal purposes.
The LAST time this nation decided to go on a
"pre-emptive strike" of the kind envisioned
now by the President with respect to Iraq was when it
expanded the Vietnam War into Laos and Cambodia. If that
model of international behavior (Nixonian-Kissingerian
lawlessness and cynicism leading to the senseless deaths
of millions) is required for the defense of this
country, then this country is not worth defending.
20, 2002, New York, New York. With
thanks to Unqualified
Offerings we give you this,
the text of the President's draft resolution to
authorize the use of force vis a vis Iraq; the operative
paragraph is brief (after a long series of
"whereas" clauses), and simply state:
President is authorized to use all means that he
determines to be appropriate, including force, in order
to enforce the United Nations Security Council
Resolutions referenced above, defend the national
security interests of the United States against the
threat posed by Iraq, and restore international peace
and security in the region.
is reminiscent of the
President's "authority" to detain
"unlawful combatants", i.e., by "all
means that he determines to be appropriate".
Well, the practical issue is whether the Congress
(i.e., Tom Daschle) wants to make a deal here, or
whether he wants to keep this ball in the air until
November; another group of senators (unfortunately
including the ethically-challenged Bob Torricelli of New
for a commission to investigate the 9-11 events.
the geniuses at the UN have now proposed that inspectors
will first set foot in Iraq in mid- October, Secretary
Powell told the world that the United States would
OPPOSE the return of inspectors absent a "new
mandate", presumably, the ability not to be
flimflammed by Iraq (again).
la la la la la. OK
people, what the HELL IS GOING ON HERE?!
Bush screws around in the post 9-11 window of
opportunity he had as to action against Iraq, allowing
enough time so that the country (and the world) are
complacent again. Although
the Taliban and al Qaeda ain't done, they are no longer
running Afghanistan; Andy Card says "no new product
introductions in August" which can only mean
"that far before the election"; Pakistan seems
to be on board fighting al Qaeda (and probably won't
even start a nuclear war); the Saudi BASTARDS remain
absolutely unapologetic, and won't offer a lick of
assistance to the War on TerrorTM, when, by
rights, they should be the enemy (although they are
always welcome for lunch in Crawford)!
How many times do we have to say this about
Saddam Hussein: we
backed him in the 80's when he served our interests
against Iran; as yesterday's post showed, we may have
intentionally or inadvertently green-lighted his
invasion of Kuwait, since that time he has been under
tight sanctions, and although I hate to say it, Iraq is
hardly the only country in the world not in full
compliance with various United Nations resolutions,
including those relating to WMDs (Israel comes to mind).
In short, this is all looking too personal, too
political, and just TOO DAMNED PAT!!!
course, although the support for a war with Iraq is
diminishing over time, it is still strong (I won't deny
reality is, other than having to be exposed (perhaps) to
a few unpleasant television images, what the hell does a
war mean to the average White middle class American?
I can't think of much; we have an all-volunteer
military, which includes a disproportionate number of
poor and ethnic minority members in combat positions. Another strike here is by definition possible, but seems
unlikely; if so, it would likely be another terrorist
attack, and we might get that war or not.
Usually, a war increases commodity prices, but we
seem to be in a world-wide recession of sorts, so, that
might not happen; this particular war may not even
affect the price of oil that much, as Iraq's output has
dropped precipitously since 9-11.
Well, there's the COST of war, usually covered by
tax increases. Not
this time: NO
NEW TAXES, no old taxes, less taxes all around,
ESPECIALLY for White, Middle Class Americans.
Sure, deficits are inevitable, as are higher
interest rates (which will devastate home prices causing
a REAL, STEEP RECESSION, shades of Poppy Bush), but we
can probably hold THOSE OFF until Dubya's (LOL!) second
although the President has declared this a
"war", it has none of the usual attributes of
national sacrifice (at any level) usually associated
with a war, and hence, the consequences of escalating
seem, well, non-existent.
THEY ARE NOT! THIS IS NOT A JOKE!
And, as I have no doubt that the Congress will
simply make ITS OWN political judgment as to how to deal
with this, my vote would be, right now, Mr. President,
the answer is NO, NO, NO, until you do better on
"your case" of why our nation's men and women
in uniform should risk their lives battling Iraq. (I
would, of course, vote AYE on the identical resolution,
unlimited discretion and all, if the word Iraq was
replaced by the words "Saudi Arabia", for a
very simple reason: THAT COUNTRY financed and manned a military attack ON THIS
19, 2002, New York, New York. The
Palestinian terrorists (another unfortunate
juxtaposition) were taking the Jewish High Holidays off;
but they seem to be back in action; the
Jerusalem Post reports at least 5 dead and 53
wounded in a suicide bus bombing in Tel Aviv, on top of
3 other terror incidents killing at least 3 others.
You have to hand it to the Palestinians for their
tenacity: the tactic is clearly not working militarily,
and in the public relations war, has cost them just
about any support they were going to get in the United
States, and even the Europeans (looking for a way not to
have to commit troops to the coming Iraqi campaign) just
don't have the energy to go to bat for their little
murderous darlings anymore; and yet, on they go with the
since the Middle East has reached out and grabbed our
attention, a little historical perspective is in order.
Since, despite seemingly any hard evidence that
Saddam Hussein's Iraq was directly related to the events
of September 11, 2001, our nation's blood and treasure
is being committed toward a fight to the death with said
regime, I thought this would be a good time to take a
look at one of the great historic diplomatic
conversations of all time, that between Saddam Hussein
himself and then United States Ambassador April Glaspie.
By the way, for those who think Saddam is all
bad, imagine the SAUDI (bastards) standing for their
leader having to meet with a WOMAN.
are what appear to be the "semi-official"
accounts of that conversation, from the Iraqi side
U.S. State Department, then headed by James Baker --
remember him? -- nor Ambassador Glaspie herself, has
ever confirmed or denied this account, though
the Ambassador did contend the transcript was a
"fabrication that distorted her position, though it
contained "a great deal" that was
accurate" during "informal" testimony
before a Senate committee
money lines seems to be:
Hussein: As you know, for
years now I have made every effort to reach a settlement
on our dispute with Kuwait.
There is to be a meeting in two days; I am
prepared to give negotiations only this one more brief
chance. (pause) When we (the Iraqis) meet (with the
Kuwaitis) and we see there is hope, then nothing will
if we are unable to find a solution, then it will be
natural that Iraq will not accept death.
this story is true, it explains a great deal: it either
makes the first Bush Administration (1) certainly
knowledgeable of, if not complicit in, Saddam's invasion
of Kuwait, or (2) more grossly negligent in the
management of this country's foreign affairs than can be
imagined. It is vaguely reminiscent of the second Bush Adminsitration's
handling of national security before September 11th.
Afternoon Conspiracy Extra 9-18-02. Well,
such as this from Skippy the Bush Kangaroo as to
"what the White House knew, etc.", and perhaps
Osama is dead, as
noted here by Instapundit, perhaps its time to think
"out of the box" on a really big conspiracy
what the hell was 9-11 about?
Your TD, as always, says "first, follow the
a loyal reader who identifies himself as "Omar from
Kandahar" (who notes that he has to have the site
both read to him and translated), suggests that there
was an internal split among Saudi [bastard] leadership,
between the "pro-American" more worldly group
(who are nominally in charge of the place now), and the
more hard-ass Wahhabi group, the ones setting up
madrassas everywhere, championed by Osama bin Laden.
The "in-crowd" was horribly afraid that
the religious lunatics, emboldened as they were by
Osama's successful attacks on the Cole and the East
African embassies, might make a play for control of
Riyadh (and all that oil and money...).
a cabal of Saudi [bastard] insiders decided that as
blowing up American war ships and embassies was not
going to draw the United States into doing what needed
to be done to eliminate the religious nuts (and Allah
knows, the Saudi [bastard]s couldn't do it themselves --
or be SEEN to do it themselves).
What was needed was something insanely dramatic:
an attack on the United States proper.
Hence, both Saudi [bastard] "insiders"
and the hard-ass Wahhabis got together on this
Laden hated the worldly branch of course, but was happy
for the financial and logistical help.
Ever wonder why, with numerous Jordanian,
Egyptian, and other Arab deaths, there was not a SINGLE
Saudi death at the World Trade Center (excepting the
final question is American involvement, if any.
Omar suggests that we have two very unpleasant
choices, but one of them is true.
Either, (1) members of our government were
actually aware that something was coming (not an
unreasonable extrapolation from the above by Skippy),
and took steps such as ensuring that Dubya himself was
safely in a classroom in Florida on the fateful Tuesday
morning and nowhere near Washington, or, probably more
likely, (2) our government, despite what appears to be
extensive warnings as to means and methods of a coming
bin Laden attack on the United States proper, and
despite itself having taken steps such as canceling
cabinet member summer vacations because of heightened
fears, nonetheless proved negligent beyond belief in
failing to actually take appropriate steps such as
beefing up airport security, following up on flight
school leads, etc., and, allowed September 11th to
happen by the sheer incompetence of the American
security and intelligence apparatus.
I think Omar from Kandahar is a nut-job, but on the
18, 2002, New York, New York. Remember
the old QANTAS commercials where a cute koala bear
sitting in first class would just grumble "I hate
was kind of brought to mind by this
report from CNN.
George Herbert Walker "41" Bush telling
an interviewer that he HATES Saddam Hussein (at a
personal level). Just
so everyone understands that the feeling is mutual, we
have been told that in Baghdad's premier hotel is a
large picture in the tile of the lobby floor of the
aforesaid 41, and Iraqi citizens (and perhaps others)
are subject to arrest if they DO NOT walk over and spit
problem with all this is that the personal peeves of our
leadership leading us into wars was supposed to go out
as an American problem yea around the time we kicked
George III's ass out back in the 1780's. It is troubling, of course, though entirely coincidental,
that the President is the third U.S. President named
George, but that the personal peeves of the head of
state (in the current state of affairs vis a vis Iraq,
Dick Cheney) may become a matter of policy, potentially
costing hundreds or thousands of military casualties and
certainly billions (if not hundreds of billions) of
is a bad guy. No
less a figure than myself had called for his ouster
continuously in the immediate post 9-11 maelstrom (you
when fewer questions would have been asked about Atta's
famous meeting in Prague, anthrax, Tim McVeigh and
anything else we wanted to blame on Saddam).
But, TO HIS CREDIT, the President instead chose
deliberate, restrained action against al Qaeda and its
harborers in Afghanistan.
Iraq, though an irritant, is in a box, under
no-fly zones, ethnic safe havens and sanctions; the
removal of its governing regime was not of immediate
what now? Now
I see the internal battle brewing:
Dick Cheney, who was Secretary of Defense back in
Gulf War I, is now itching to correct history and take
out Saddam; he is counterbalanced by Colin Powell, who
was Joint Chiefs of Staff Chairman back in GWI, who
likes history just fine. The real battle is in the head of our titular President, who
(1) carries the Bush family "wimp" baggage,
(2) carries the policy imperatives of the unfortunately
close relationship with the House of Saud, and (3)
carries the family resentment that Saddam helped cost it
the '92 election (even if we all accept that it was
"the economy stupid").
Well, I made my call; I don't know where this is
we can assure that weapons inspectors are not being
flimflammed again (and "unconditional" is
already starting to look pretty damned limited!) then
that's the way to go.
If not, I'd like to see Saddam go; the problem
is, we get into the realm of when Nixon wanted to see
Allende go -- or better yet, when Kennedy wanted to see
Castro go. The
means matter. A
they matter entirely.
And overplaying either Saddam's connection to
9-11 or his potential to develop and deliver WMDs does
not help to "make the case".
out of Israel are coming on...a
Well, we all hope this is an isolated instance; I
suspect even most Palestinians are sick of this,
realizing it is getting them precisely nowhere.
your TD notes in passing that this site is now one year
old, having gone "live" on September 18, 2002.
Then, of course, I was the "Left Leaning
Dog", and on that eerily beautiful day a year ago,
I had this to say:
Happy Rosh Hashanah Greetings from Brooklyn: Gateway to Ground Zero
September 18, 2001.
Its now one week after "the day" your
left leaning dog got to work a little early to prepare
for a trial that day that now seems less important than
it did that day, early enough to look over his left
shoulder at the WTC out the window after a sonic boom,
airplane whine, and giant popping sound, which followed
by a shower of glass and paper, and a few minutes later,
bodies falling, and a few minutes later, another boom
and pop, followed by even greater fireworks, followed by
a convoluted escape on foot.
As your LLD was that close to the events of 9/11
(1 city block, or perhaps a couple of hundred yards
across air), it should come as no surprise that his
office appears to be one of the casualties; we've been
confined to our neighborhood in Brooklyn since -- your
not normally phobic LLD just can't bring himself to
drive over bridges even now even to see his family at
the Jewish New Year.
So we end up reflecting: to the backdrop of round
the clock news coverage (being LLD, a lot of that coming
from, naturally, National Public Radio).
human implications are unfathomable: people
at one degree of separation are gone.
The geopolitical implications to follow. Unfortunately, the only logical national response to this
(no, not an absurd "war on terrorism" which
will doubtless kill the wrong people and further
radicalize the nuts, even if it makes the people who
voted for Bush feel better):
(1) a radical national energy conservation
program with a goal of self-sufficiency (which would
include development of ALL domestic energy sources,
including the disturbance of a few caribou), (2) careful
control of our borders, including the denial of all
visas, if not termination of diplomatic relations, with
most Arab Middle Eastern countries, and, obviously, (3)
European and Israeli style security measures, which
would, presumably, make short-distance air travel
sufficiently untenable so that we might develop faster
trains. Of course, these actions are precisely what will NOT happen
because, last November, nearly half of this country
decided to forget RECENT history -- that the very forces
-- my God, the very same people -- that (largely, though
obviously not exclusively) put us in this fiasco (i.e. a
war fought in the Persian Gulf in the name of cheaper
gasoline, followed by a ten year energy bacchanalia
here) have been restored to the throne, and will
doubtless act in their parochial and, perhaps, regional
interests -- and not in the national interest.
Any general voice of optimism will be welcomed!!!
that's all folks...
17, 2002, New York, New York. Well,
today Iraqi officials met with UN weapons inspection
officials, and not surprisingly, the
United States (via Secretary Powell) expressed its
displeasure, accusing Iraq of anticipatory breach of
the UN inspection regime based on that nation's past
history of violating same.
Picky, picky, picky.
Well, I suggest we all make the best of this
inspection thing (which, hopefully, will actually get
the job done this time), because I think that's where
it's going to end up.
Pooty Poot likes it; he's the guy to watch here.
The inspectors may be here to stay; if nothing
else, as Scrappleface
suggests, Saddam Hussein probably WANTS weapons
inspectors in Iraq just to determine if Iraq's aging
stockpiles of weapons still work.
in other Axis of EvilTM news, the
North Koreans amazingly admitted that allegations
that that Stalinist shithole country had abducted about
a dozen Japanese nationals in the 1970s and 1980s WERE
TRUE, and that the four surviving abductees would be
returned to Japan (they also extended a missile test
regrettably, we seem to have nothing major to report out
of Iran today (precluding the coveted Axis of EvilTM
Trifecta) we DO have
encouraging news out of Sri Lanka as talks between
the Sinhalese majority government and the Tamil Tiger
rebels are "going well".
If they can stop killing each other, the Israelis
and Palestinians can stop killing each other, Saddam
freely admits unrestricted access to weapons inspectors
to Iraq, and al Qaeda is duly rounded up, we can all go
back to talking about what's important:
Gary Condit, shark attacks, and the Osbournes.
sadly (or happily, depending on your point of view)
Janet Reno has finally conceded defeat in the Florida
Democratic gubernatorial primary.
If only she'd have started that road trip a few
16, 2002, Brooklyn, NY. A
short one, since I am tired and cranky after another day
of ritual fasting, followed by a drive to the suburbs
(without eating or drinking anything so much as water)
for a quasi-gorging on bagels at TD sister's house.
many others on the blogosphere are linking to this
site lest the world forget Shiri Negari, killed (no,
not strong enough: MURDERED)
in a terror bombing in Israel.
I also suggest The New York Times’ Portraits
of Grief series, and in particular, the profile of
one Richard Pearlman.
Read them both and try not to cry.
according to reports from everywhere, it now seems that
Kofi (remember him?) is waving around a letter from Iraq
saying it agrees to the "unconditional" return
of weapons inspectors.
Stay tuned; my problem in analyzing the scenario
is that as of 11:00 a.m., 11 September 2001, George W.
Bush's reelection picked up the necessary (but not
sufficient) condition that he remove Saddam Hussein from
problem is assessing which is more important (in his
mind, or at least the minds of those who control his
power on 21 January 2005 in Washington...or in Riyadh. I made my call; the President remains free to prove me wrong.
15, 2002, Brooklyn, NY.
Well, I was scared when the Bush Administration
was starting to make diplomatic sense.
Now, with this
geo-political-economic analysis from The Economist,
which correctly points out a divergence in interests
between the United States and Saudi Arabia over the
issue of Iraq on the one issue that makes that part of
the world matter at all (oil), I am getting VERY scared.
Simply put, Iraq has the world's second largest
proven oil reserves (after the Saudi bastards; I'm
thinking of never referring to that country in other
terms, so that perhaps the phrase will catch, like
"Druse militiamen" or "ELITE Republican
If unleashed on world markets, this could screw
up Saudi oil hegemony, a BAD thing for the Saudi
bastards and a GOOD thing for the United States.
I'm just shocked at a personal level because (at
least with respect to the Bush tough talk about Iraq) in
THAT dichotomy, the Bush Administration is (for a
change- a unique change, by my count) siding WITH the
American people and AGAINST the Saudi bastards in an
area where their interests ACTUALLY collide.
(Again, as this appears to be the first time it
has done so, this COULD BE a
You all didn't think that the likes of George H.
W. "41" Bush (by his official vocal chord
JAMES BAKER) would be against removing Saddam Hussein
out of mere prudence, did you?
course, both Iraq and the Saudi bastards are part of
OPEC, but the Saudi bastards are number one with a
bullet, and can "enforce" OPEC output
productions simply by cutting back production all by
Obviously, the Saudis always want small,
controlled price increases (higher than the price would
be if they weren't playing games with supply) because
oil has a "short-term inelastic but intermediate
and long-term VERY elastic price curve", meaning,
small price increases stick it to us and make the Saudi
bastards more money, but BIG price increases stick it to
us AND screw the Saudi bastards (and the rest of OPEC)
TOO because it might just cripple worldwide economic
activity, thereby REDUCING DEMAND FOR OIL.
Well, if Iraq's full oil production potential
were unleashed AND NOT IN A PSYCHOTIC DICTATOR'S HANDS,
it could actually prevent Saudi Arabia (the Saudi
bastards) from unilaterally controlling world oil
prices; indeed, Iraq (and over time, Russia) could
actually ensure a steady output ensuring longer term oil
price stability, which is certainly good for oil users,
and, generally, non-Saudi bastard oil producers as well.
your TD was of the view that a Bush Administration which
would kowtow to its Saudi (bastard) masters to the point
of permitting the Saudi (bastard) prince who visited him
at the Crawford ranch (for lunch) to have his private
pilots refuse to take directions from female air traffic
controllers, rather than being ordered to comply
immediately OR BE SHOT DOWN, the way we would with ANY
OTHER recalcitrant pilot, would tow the Saudi (bastard)
line on such a critical issue as removing Saddam (and
hence quite literally liberating not just Iraq, but
WORLD OIL MARKETS from tyranny.)
how does the TD reconcile these seemingly conflicting
It's all a big subterfuge to AVOID pissing off
the Saudis while regaining Congress: the
President has BRILLIANTLY (as
right-leaning members of the blogosphere see it, though
others might say "as required by international and
American law" for their preferred adverbial phrase)
gone to the UN (and he will
BRILLIANTLY go to Congress) so that he LOOKS LIKE HE
IS BOTH TOUGH AND FAIR (when, of course, he is probably
neither; what he probably is, at a personal level, is
clueless -- but his handlers know what they are doing).
Thus, the President will GO INTO the November
elections looking like the strong leader that keeps his
poll numbers buoyed AND a responsible international
player who has duly gone to the UN and Congress, BUT
what will ACTUALLY happen is EXACTLY what happened in
'98 when Bill Clinton (remember him?) went A STEP
FURTHER than Dubya did now and actually INCREASED TROOP
LEVELS AND MATERIAL DEPLOYMENTS AROUND IRAQ when Saddam
kicked out weapons inspectors.
The PUBLIC will have voted out of (patriotic)
fear and given the "better on national
security" GOP both houses of Congress (and JEB the
Tallahassee state house, again).
George Dubya Bush (now the
"Statesman!") can then hand off Saddam to Kofi
(allowing the President more time to exercise) and Kofi
will, as he did in '98, make some sort of tepid
"deal" that "resolves" the whole
question; indeed, Saddam can "officially" hand
off power to his sick fuck son Quzai, or whatever his
name is, so that Bush can take credit for not just
"removal of WMDs", but
"peaceful regime change" too!
Everybody wins (that is, both the GOP and the
Saudi bastards; the American people -- and the Iraqi
people, of course --
get screwed, but very few plans are perfect.)
The President remains free to prove me wrong.
In never ending terror news, from
Florida we NOW get the story that Kambiz
"Moe" Butt, Ayman "Larry" Gheith and
Omer "Curly" Choudhary were merely playing a
joke on another diner patron, and that bitch waitress is
on the day the President addresses the United Nations to
discuss possibly world-shattering military action
directed against the Middle East, what could POSSIBLY BE
FUNNIER than three Middle Eastern guys joking about
"making the United States pay".
Well, lots of things, actually.
But, with that "fake" terror event
resolved, it’s on to Florida's election (and don't get
me wrong -- JEB Bush is STILL an idiot, and likely Dem
nominee McBride should
make the ELECTION the sole issue OF THE ELECTION).
I think it has chads...er, legs...
Moving on from Florida, we Shuffle Off to Buffalo, where five
"Possible Al Qaeda operatives" were arrested.
Didn't O.J. used to play in Buffalo?
Maybe we're winning the War on TerrorTM
and crushing Al Qaeda man by man (and Pakistan seems to
have captured “20th
hijacker” -- sorry Zaccarias -- Ramzi Binalshibh).
Obviously, on the 9-11 anniversary, the President was
"credited" with the fact that Americans were
not victimized by ANOTHER terrorist attack after
September 11, 2001 (except for (1) anthrax, (2) flight
587, (3) the EL AL shooting at LAX, (4) the consulate
bombing in Pakistan, (5) the Hebrew University
bombing...). In part, of course, there are several components to this
(other than simply denying the truth of the statement --
MY approach): (1)
we really ARE winning the War on TerrorTM and
have rooted out the bad guys; (2) the 9-11 guys were
uncharacteristically lucky, as even in Israel, where
thousands of terror plots are hatched EACH MONTH, very
few get through -- many are thwarted, and many more just
fail ; (3) al Qaeda only plans "an operation"
every few years, and we're not due yet; (4) our
"heightened security" is doing the job.
The correct answer is, of course, to SOME extent,
all of the above.
Let me say this: tough
talk of regime change and all, if the President ends up
getting Saddam Hussein, in exchange for some package of
REDUCED (not eliminated) sanctions and remaining in
power, to actually give up all of his WMD (and what the
hell, disarm generally; his rank and file troops aren't
worth a damn as it is), he will have, bizarrely,
probably done more toward "winning" the War on
TerrorTM than if he GETS his couple of weeks
of neat-o explosions on CNN.
But how will it play in Pennsylvania and
there's the rub!
Speaking of rubs, why don’t you get a massage after that workout,
Mr. President. You've
13, 2002, New York, New York. The
word of the day is triskaidekaphobia
according to Dictionary.com.
Oh well, if the ONLY thing you are afraid of is
one day every seven months or so that each week you
would otherwise say "Thank God" for (apologies
to The Raving
Atheist, but I mean in the sense of "Thank the
Ceremonial Deity Its Friday"), then you are
probably not all that unhealthy (as opposed to, say,
your TD, who is afraid of fear itself).
course, your TD is ESPECIALLY AFRAID when the Bush
Administration's handling of international affairs
starts to look downright intelligent (i.e., the
President does what I suggested).
In speaking to the UN General Assembly, he has
stated the obvious: the USA's currently proposed "Iraqi regime change"
is nothing more than the logical outcome of effective
enforcement of EXISTING UN Security Council resolutions
(specifically 687), and the United Nations can either
endorse enforcement of its own resolutions, it can
withdraw the prior resolutions (subject to our veto,
ha!), or it can effectively go out of business.
The President has so much as said so.
He didn't NEED to say "go ahead, vote me
down and I'll take out Saddam anyway. Nyah!" -- the rest of the international community got
the message (delivered as it was in 3 or 4 word chunks
of generally monosyllabic words).
the "we need to do this in the next few weeks"
part is troubling to me; no "photograph of a nearly
completed Iraqi nuclear tipped ICBM aimed in the general
direction of Wilmington, Delaware" was offered as a
reason for the IMMEDIACY of acting on a message that the
President himself has waited 366 days since September
11th to deliver. Saddam's
long history of atrocities and violations of UN
resolutions is old news.
wait, there's the ELECTION coming up in A FEW WEEKS (and
don't forget, its not just both houses of Congress up
for grabs, JEB is running too, which may be related --
though let's hope NOT -- to a "foiled terror
assault" of a plot allegedly
aimed at Miami this morning; such an assault would
certainly change the mix of electoral issues in Florida,
where the ENTIRE ELECTION should be a referendum about
HOW STUPID AND INCOMPETENT JEB IS TO HAVE ALLOWED TWO
YEARS TO GO BY WHILE THE STATE'S ELECTIONS REMAIN A
I cynical enough to believe that the President (and his
political allies) are playing with war and peace and
national security issues to try to influence an upcoming
it seems that a North
Carolina beauty pageant
will be decided by a different kind of judge: one in a
black robe! And
I thought Elizabeth Dole had ALREADY won the North
Carolina beauty contest.
TD is extremely saddened to hear that the
great Warren Zevon has inoperable lung cancer.
Though in his inimitable way, he said "I'm
OK with it", your TD will be praying for him anyway
(even if our friend The
Raving Atheist wants to
mock your TD for doing so); maybe God can send doctors,
guns and money, if it would help.
12, 2002, New York, New York. So
how's this for the unsatisfactory nature of
on the fateful morning of September 11, 2001, I
was in my office (uncharacteristically early) working on
preparing for a trial on behalf of a client that had a
small business in New York's Financial District.
Indeed, even after both planes had struck the
nearby towers, I still carried the case files to court
(lawyers!), which, bizarrely, WAS OPEN.
After a few minutes of course, I was told that
court was now closed, and to leave, which I did,
carrying my case files over the Manhattan Bridge (on the
bridge, a man I met while himself escaping to Brooklyn,
helped me carry the case files -- another lawyer of
today, a year and a day later, the client in that case
is seeing me again, this time, alas, to file bankruptcy,
his downtown business having been devastated by we all
know what and whom.
in the deja vu all over again department, it’s more
electoral fun in Florida!
The voters of America's national source of
amusement must now await resolution of the Democratic
primary, in which (our occasional hero, and at other
times, our villain) former A.G. Janet Reno and
businessman Bill McBride are vying to take on JEB Bush.
Good luck to all concerned -- even if it’s a
zero sum game (except for Florida's reputation to amuse,
which seems to have no limits)!
other "political" news, it seems the
Palestinian cabinet has "issues" with Yasir,
and duly resigned, which, according
to The Jerusalem Post makes some in Israel very
far, it appears that the geniuses at the Popular Front
for the Liberation of Palestine (killers of Tourism
Minister Zeevi, among others) and Hamas (just plain old
synonymous with cruel, gruesome murder) overplayed their
IDF has captured or killed the bulk of their leadership
and operatives, as a result of the free hand it had
after the Hebrew University attack (you know, the one
that killed AMERICANS).
Yasir just decided to be on the wrong side of
"for us or against us" one too many times;
Dubya and Ariel have, for now, decided to let him live,
but it seems the usefulness of his ($1.4 billion) ass,
even to the Palestinian mainstream is evaporating
happen to a nicer guy.
the President addressed
the UN General Assembly today talking tough about
would seem that the President is also following a
strategy approximating diplomacy, following closely a
formula laid out by a certain talking dog on sorta-summer-vacation
at Unqualified Offerings.
an ORDINARY Presidential cabinet (one stuffed with
politically-connected LAWYERS, as opposed to
veracity-challenged businessmen and the occasional
senator's wife), the IMMEDIATE tactics would have
been to (1) insert more troops till we get to about
100,000 troops around Iraq (we ALREADY have close
to 50,000 operating in that theatre NOW), (2)
lobby our UN buddies for the aforementioned resolution
IMMEDIATELY ENFORCING UNSC Resolution 687, (3) lobby our
buddies in Congress to make sure that all of this is
nice and legal and we have no "War Powers Act"
crap, and, this is critical, (4) lobby our buddy Pooty
Poot to ENSURE Saddam that we have NO INTENTION of
hurting Pooty Poot's investment in the place -- mi 5
billion, su 5 billion -- and thus, Pooty Poot must tell
Saddam in no uncertain terms that Saddam, THANKS TO
GLOBALIZATION, need no longer have a nuclear
(and/or chemical or biological) arsenal as his ultimate
insurance policy, because he has 5 billion Pooty Poot
dollars worth of insurance!
if Saddam (and Pooty Poot) don't play ball, we have
100,000 USA Republican Guard troops (that only works
with a GOP Administration!) ready to kick the shit out
of Saddam once and for all, forever.
(In other words, "regime change" is not
the GOAL, but merely a by-product of not playing ball
with us to get rid of the WMDs, which would no longer be
welcome because Saddam would be OUR PARTNER in
protecting Pooty Poot's investment.)
used to call that sort of thing "diplomacy".
Back when we had ) Presidents who could spell
what can a TD say?
As a lawyer, alas, it is ALWAYS about process to
me. A just
end REQUIRES just means. (It JUST does!)
Does this mean "lying" about the Kurds
or Jews you are hiding in your basement from Saddam's or
Hitler's forces is "wrong"?
Only to an idiot. It DOES mean that as the world's only MILITARY and MORAL
superpower (the Europeans can cluck all they want -- but
THEY kicked us off the UN Human Rights Commission and
let it be chaired by Qadaffi!), that we (like the
Israelis) have to do things above board AT ALL TIMES --
and be duly called on it if we do not.
means that, while the President can MUSE that the only
way to ENSURE that Iraq does not get its hands on WMD's
(I prefer "Weapons of MORE Destruction"; Unqualified
Offerings might use "Weapons of SOME
Destruction") is to ULTIMATELY remove Saddam,
insisting on "regime change" for OPENERS is
not how THE PRESIDENT OF THE WORLD'S MOST IMPORTANT
COUNTRY SHOULD TALK.
Because removing Saddam Hussein from power is not
"the goal"; the goal is ensuring that Saddam
Hussein is not a material threat to American interests,
either in the Gulf region, or elsewhere.
The "official" methodology we have is,
alas, weapons inspectors, to ensure this result.
If we believe the weapons inspector program is
not up to the job, we can improve it, or threaten to
kick the UN out of our country if it balks (which is why
it won't!) And
if Saddam insists on NOT COOPERATING with the weapons
inspectors, in place,
we can have, in hand, a CURRENT UN resolution
authorizing us to use "all necessary force"
(duly endorsed by a Congressional resolution to the same
effect) to MAKE him cooperate, which we can then
INTERPRET requires us to remove Saddam and the Ba'athist
bastards from Baghdad.
seemingly all falling into place that way now; a UNSC
veto seems extremely unlikely.
But why has this been SO HARD to fathom for
of my jibes at him, the President, though perhaps
inarticulate, is NOT a stupid man (unlike, say, A.G.
Ashcroft who REALLY IS a stupid man -- which has caused
a large part of the problems of badly drawn and enforced
"laws of war" that we face right now).
Poppy Bush, arguably as bright or as un-bright as
scion Dubya, understood the machinations of "legal
process", and went through the appropriate motions.
Even Dubya understood this by forming the
"Coalition Against TerrorTM", which
included Syria and Saudi Arabia (though not the Axis of
EvilTM countries), when, to be honest, he
didn't need to do so to retaliate from a direct attack
on North America.
just what's the problem?
Forgetting talk of Bush or Ashcroft, no one
doubts that Saddam Hussein IS a smart and savvy fuck.
If he thinks -- FOR REAL -- that he'll be taken
out ONCE AND FOR ALL, THIS TIME, he MAY just plain old
hand over his damned WMDs just to hold on to his (and
his family's) dictatorial power!
Although, as Karl Rove has apparently figured
that such a result would apparently play badly in the
Midwest swing states, so THAT, unfortunately, seems to
be the LAST thing Dubya and company WANT!!!
Much as Sun Tzu's Art of War notes that the
savviest combatants achieve their ends without battle in
the first place, let us hope that SOMEONE in our
government is thinking in those terms.
10, 2002, New York, New York.
The more things change, the more they stay the
same; those tolerant Canadians shouted down Bibi
Netenyahu, scheduled to speak at Concordia University in
Montreal (well, 200 or so pro-Palestinian protestors,
the university canceled BIBI!
(with thanks to our friends at Unqualified
Offerings). Obviously, your TD has no love lost for Mr. Netenyahu, who I
have often regarded as Israel’s Bill Clinton: smug,
self-satisfied, pandering to the worst impulses and
fears of his constituents.
But come on: let the man talk.
Protestors have every right to be heard TOO, not
INSTEAD OF. I
am unfortunately reminded of the scene in the early
Richard Dreyfus movie “The Apprenticeship of Duddy
Kravitz” (set in Montreal in the 1960’s-1970’s),
where an unrepentant ex-Nazi German businessman says he
prefers doing business in Canada (as opposed to the
United States) because they don’t celebrate Yom
is not a good thing.
We all KNOW the answer to where the lines are
drawn: Sharon or Peres would probably ALSO have been
barred from speaking by the cowardly university, but
certainly not Arafat or Q’addafi, and probably not
even LePen. So
much for our liberal neighbor to the North.
Good luck to all of the candidates in today’s
primary races, and especially to Janet Reno, who right
now looks like she will not get an opportunity to take
on presidential brother JEB in the general election for
Florida Governor—but hope springs eternal when you
drive a red pick-up!
In Washington, DC, Mayor Anthony Williams has to
run a humiliating write-in campaign to hold on to his
job—but being a good mayor doesn’t get you around
those ballot-petition signature requirements. The fact that our democracy is strong and vibrant is another
happy sign: the terrorists have not won, and will not
as we sit on the cusp of the big day, what can I say? My more or less contemporaneous thoughts are laid out in the September
I was saddened, angry, bitter, disappointed,
frightened, and yet somehow, emboldened, all at the same
time; some of this made its way to this column.
I saw the towers burn from less than 100 yards
away, heard both impacts from that distance, walked
through the maelstrom of falling paper, glass and hopes,
saw people fall (or even jump) to their deaths, saw the
second tower collapse while on the upper deck of the
Manhattan Bridge, and after finally walking home, saw
that the airplane that struck the South Tower was on a
collision course and, had that tower not held, would
have struck the building in which I was standing.
I lost people I knew (though not loved ones), and
I ended up losing my own job.
I had trouble sleeping for a while, and still
look up at airplanes, which fly too low for my liking.
For months, I had a daily cry as I read the Portraits
of Grief series of The
New York Times (for those seeking a cathartic
experience, I cannot recommend that series enough; for a
rare change, from The New York Times which wouldn’t DREAM
of putting most of the (non-upper bourgeoisie) victims
of 9-11 terror on its regular obituary page, or its
wedding announcement page, here are snapshots of lives
well-lived, cruelly cut short by automaton barbarians
not worthy of being called “human beings”).
yet, I knew that life would go on, remarkably unchanged
from how it transpired before; after a few weeks, the
toxic soot that blew over Stately TD Manor (conveniently
a mile or so downwind as the crow flies from Ground
Zero) stopped blowing.
Your TD was working, albeit for a different
organization, and in the suburbs; eventually, back to
Manhattan, at yet a different organization.
Mrs. TD and I looked forward
to our tenth wedding anniversary; we now look forward to
our eleventh. Baby TD, then a few months shy of two, is now a
few months shy of three (by the way, that awful day, she
somehow said “Da Da, Twin Towers Go Boom!”, the most
succinct technical explanation I have ever heard, and
probably where I should leave it).
as I have said before, the events of
September 11, 2001 defy words.
The occasion of September 11, 2002 will not be
marked by my own.
9, 2002, New York, New York. Well, I have no idea
where he’s going on the question of the day (should we
attack Saddam? Yes
or No?), oh please tell me, oh
Hitchens (with thanks to
our friends at Dodgeblog.)
Well, to be honest, Chris’s screed, while not
to my satisfaction in answering that question, has more
or less set forth what I perceive to be the PROBLEMS in
attacking Saddam’s Iraq, at this stage.
those problems are about the US of A, and not about
Saddam AT ALL. The
United States, to the frustration of many present in
Downtown Manhattan on that glorious morning,
deliberately held off from any military response
for over a month. Obviously,
in calm reflection, a well-planned military action is
always better than a hastily put together half-assed
affair, regardless of the satisfaction it would give to
a wounded citizenry, and this is how the Afghan
“war” came about.
This is America at its finest: mighty,
deliberate, careful; not the America of confiscated
toenail clippers at airports, “unlawful combatant”
detained citizens, secret deportation hearings and Henry
Kissinger (I threw him in; I’m sure Chris would
writes purtier than I do: read his screed.
of course, elements of our military are stating
(publicly or otherwise)that the coming War Against
Saddam may divert valuable men, materials and other
resources (whatever they are) away from the “War
and not just Brent
Schwarzkopf and Anthony Zinni, but others currently IN
the military. A
look at CNN’s pretty map on that link shows that
apparently the “War Against Saddam” and the “War
Against Terror” may no longer be the same thing.
If they are no longer the same thing, and the
military is now questioning whether we can fight “two
simultaneous wars”, then this
would mean that attacking Saddam is not only NOT
synonymous with prosecuting the “War Against TerrorTM”,
it would actually be counterproductive to said War
We are now at 9 September 2002.
Saddam still has a job; how about you?
If what Saddam is doing was not sufficiently
urgent to have ALREADY prompted action, and could wait
until this crappy MID-TERM election, then presumably it
can wait until the next presidential election.
(Karl is debating this in his head.)
finally takes us to something HOPEFUL: could it be that
amidst all this war and peace stuff, our Congress might
decide that implementing the obscenely cruel and
counterproductive “Bankruptcy Reform” this close to
an election might not be a good idea?
the way, the First
Lady doesn’t want
parents to let their children watch 9-11 commemoration
frankly, I am sickened by just about all of the prurient
pulling at emotional scabs that this media
self-celebration constitutes, I think the First Lady is
WAY out of line here.
9-11 is a watershed historical event, and
children must confront it, however possible, and however
feebly; denying it won’t make it better. Of course, parents not having to answer as to “what kind of
idiot is running the country to have allowed something
like this to happen” might be what the First Lady had
September 7, 2002, Brooklyn, New York. Well, its been a whole year... Happy Rosh Hashanah Greetings from Brooklyn, New York. See y'all after the holiday.
6, 2002, New York, New York.
Welcome, Congress of the United States.
We here in the big city are pleased to have you
back after these lo 212 years, where once again, Congress
will convene at Federal Hall today.
Again, while no citizen is safe when the august
body is in session, today’s session will at least be
am reminded of the historical background of the last
time this City was attacked (back in 1776); General
Washington lost a key battle in Brooklyn called the
Battle of Long Island (a few blocks from stately TD
manor), then retreated to Manhattan (miraculously under
cover of fog and darkness), was unable to hold Manhattan
(which, like New Orleans in the Civil War, the
Confederacy’s largest city was under Union occupation
during virtually the entire war, New York, the fledgling
American colonies’ largest city was under British
occupation during virtually the entire Revolutionary
War). Washington then retreated to various places,
including a defeat at White Plains, New York, and
further retreating by the Colonials under Washington!
Like the guy from F-troop, Washington’s
brilliant military plans included retreat into victory;
that and bringing in the French!
Your TD notes this because, shortly after the
NEXT time New York suffered a foreign military assault
some 225 years later, your TD found himself more or less
re-tracing Washington’s route (from Brooklyn to White
Plains) on a daily basis for several months.
Of course, in “military importance” and
strategic economic importance for the colonies, as
significant as 9-11 was last year, the loss of New York
by Washington’s forces was FAR more significant in a
military and economic sense, and yet, a far less mighty
America at the time managed to deftly defeat what was,
at the time, a superpower.
to quote the great Steve Martin, in the “I wish the
Battle of the Network Stars Were Fought… With Guns”,
we give you Britain’s “I’m
a Celebrity… get Me Out of Here!”
The show has been called the “Celebrity
Survivor”, and features less than A-list celebrities
doing gross stuff in the Australian Outback for a couple
of weeks. I’m
tired of seeing “real-life” celebrity wannabes go at
it on fake reality shows (actually, I’m tired of
hearing about it, since I find these programs unwatchable);
so let’s have PROFESSIONAL celebrity wannabes go at
it, shall we?
the President’s tenacity, as developed on those 100
degree days running up the hills of Crawford, Texas, is
showing his measure in the ongoing and
unstoppable preparations for our unprovoked,
unilateral attack on another sovereign nation to enforce
United Nations Security Council resolutions despite the
lack of either Congressional or United Nations’
authority to do so.
Way to stay in stride, sir.
Evening Big Apple Blogger Bash III EXTRA
Afternoon Extra, September 5, 2002.
Well, I just had a pleasant chat with The
Raving Atheist f/k/a the Rabid Dog, who, as always
had a few unique things to say.
Although he didn't mention it, I am proud to say
that TRA is now almost as important a site as The
Talking Dog according to the Alexa
rankings (we're both somewhere around 3.5 million!) and
according to our respective stat servers.
on to the subject of our chat.
As the first claimants to "the
fund" associated with the 9-11 disaster are
finally receiving their checks, and the deadline to sue
the Port Authority has just come and gone, and as we
approach the one year anniversary of the most important
event in the history of weblogging (other than Robert
Fisk being beaten up, leading to the
oft-used-only-in-blogging term fisking), the Raving
Atheist and I both think it’s a pretty good time to
question the "special treatment" accorded
families of 9-11 victims financially (and it is clearly
special; nothing comparable was extended to the victims
of Oklahoma City, the East African Embassy bombings, the
victims of WTC I (until now; I understand that their
families may be eligible for the new fund), or, despite
PROMISES AT THE TIME, to victims of flight 587, victims
of the anthrax attacks, or other American victims of
terrorism overseas, such as the Lockerbie disaster, the
Klinghoffer family and countless others).
specific question is, why the special treatment?
We understand the emotional angst and turmoil
associated with the tragedy, but, as the question
preceding it noted, although the nation's television
sets were glued to this one event for days (and THAT
probably WAS unprecedented), is that REALLY a good
enough reason? Obviously, one can argue that the alternative is litigation;
this has led to the unfortunate decision to administer
the fund as if it WERE another ordinary litigation, and
thus, investment bankers are just plain old "worth
more" than janitors and clerks (sorry, but that's
how our legal system does things).
When one considers that this is NOT an ordinary
litigation, and would be a VERY hard case if it were,
this seems particularly unfair. (I'll explain the problems with potential litigation in the
next paragraph). My
feeling is that the available fund (I believe it to be
$6 billion) should simply be divided per capita, 50% to
the widows/widowers, 35% to surviving DEPENDENT
children, and 15% to other relatives/gay partners/others
who can prove ACTUAL FINANCIAL DEPENDENCY on someone who
was killed or disabled from the September 11th events,
evenly divided among the number of applicants, PERIOD.
The families of the investment bankers can
complain about this, but then we can consider the ACTUAL
PROBLEMS WITH A REAL LITIGATION:
a REAL litigation, the first question is "who is
Pentagon employees were, for the most part, members of
the military, against whom the government bears various
forms of immunity from suit (I'm not aware by the way if
their families can participate in "the fund".)
The passengers on the planes could sue the
airlines for liability, though there are various
immunities and liability caps that the powerful airline
lobby has built in, and unlike an ordinary
"mechanical failure", negligence becomes
EXTREMELY hard to find here:
airport security was administered in accordance
with FAA regulations (which ALLOWED KNIVES up to 4
inches in length); flimsy cockpit doors were permitted,
and all airlines' hijacking manuals (FAA approved!) said
to cooperate with hijackers.
The World Trade Center victims could ALSO sue the
airlines, although, the same problem of proving
negligence applies, and it applies to suits (leaving
aside troubling incidents where people in Tower 2 were
apparently told to return to their desks while
descending the stairs) against WTC owner the Port
Authority of New York and New Jersey: is
it "negligent" to own a building that can't
survive a direct hit from a Boeing 767? Obviously, Osama, al Qaeda and company would be found liable;
now go get your judgment and figure out how to enforce
Saudi government? Good
luck overcoming THEIR sovereign immunity and more
importantly, their political influence here (you thought
the ISRAELI lobby was powerful?
tragedy, to be sure.
A compensable tragedy?
Tough one. The
fund proposes to save a lot of this trouble (and in the
end, most claimants will, kvetching aside, opt for it).
as we prosecute a "war" against terrorism, and
as we prepare for a pretty serious distribution of money
to victims of ONE PARTICULAR terrorist attack (or two,
if you ask WTC leaseholder Larry Silverstein, who is
suing his insurers over this issue, and $3 billion turns
on that question!), the question persists.
Please explain to me why some victims of
terrorism are better than others?
5, 2002, New York, New York. Well,
six days until the big party, and according to the AP
(alas, a report provided by AOL, so I can't find a
hyperlink), the famous Ground Zero "Iwo Jima"
flag can't seem to be located.
of oops, your TD is pleased to hear that (somehow)
Afghan leader Hamid Karzai survived an assassination
attempt in which the governor of Kandahar was wounded by
simultaneously with an explosion in Kabul that killed 15.
naturally this ominously reminds us that just dropping
precision bombs (from several miles up using stealth
bombers based in Missouri) on an otherwise screwed-up
place will not magically transform it into a First World
to Bush Administration: once we have injected ourselves
into a place like Afghanistan (or, ahem, Iraq) in a
"regime-changing" mission, we had damned well
better stay around long enough to ensure that the
"new regime" can keep the place from falling
into the type of power vacuum that led us to intervene
in the first place.
In short, Afghanistan will require more money,
more personnel, and more nation building, or in a matter
of months, Karzai will be out of power (and/or DEAD),
and Afghanistan can revert to its happy days of warlord
this "Afghan nation building" will end up
being substantially cheaper than maintaining order in
post-GWII Iraq, but if the "quick" military
"victory" is a model for the place, then the
aftermath of that "victory" had better serve
as a cautionary tale for what's coming in Iraq; of
course, at least Iraq has oil!
takes us back to a question of the
"seriousness" of that Texas country club
softball game committee otherwise known as the Bush
Afghanistan up has already cost billions and billions of
dollars, hundreds of local lives and a not insubstantial
number of USA casualties (and other allies have lost
people, including Canada and Britain).
And yet, victory has already been declared
despite troubling reports that Osama and Omar are still
out there, as are key elements of al Qaeda leadership,
and we have left Afghanistan pretty much in a state of
chaos that results in the routine assassinations (or
attempted assassinations) of key members of the
"government", while now, only months later,
considering – CONSIDERING – expanding international
peace keepers beyond the not-so-friendly confines of
we have NO IDEA how much even the military part has
cost, and continues to cost, let alone the "nation
building", while the President proposes to balance
the already hopeless budget by reducing promised outlays
to FIREMEN, he has now set out his schedule for making
the Iraq "case" (BIG SPEECH TO NATION on 9-11
itself -- how poetic; speech to UN General Assembly on
9-12; invasion scheduled shortly thereafter to maximize
benefit to Congressional GOP!)
the worst part of this is that the President has to do
all this while being confined to that small, crappy
White House track, instead of being able to take good,
long runs in the pleasant autumn weather.
4, 2002, New York, New York. Well, one week to go here in the big city before
the big celebration.
Kudos to Mario -- er, ANDREW Cuomo for having the
good sense not to insist on completing a fight he can't
by The New York Times).
Now Carl McCall can go on and quietly be
massacred by Governor Pataki -- you remember him -- the
guy who carried the real leader's coat after 9-11.
I like Carl, and frankly, I'm almost certain to
vote for him. He
has no chance, however.
in other "fearless leader" news, the President
will be "making
that case" for invading Iraq.
The focus group this time will consist of
"key lawmakers"; Trent Lott already seems to
be on board. I
don't know what to say, anymore.
Obviously, objectively, no one in their right
mind wants to see someone like Saddam Hussein (on the
TD's own "Top Give or Take 10 most evil men of the
20th century") acquire nuclear weapons. Of course, Henry Kissinger/Richard Nixon, and later Josef
Stalin, also on the list, had them, as does almost
certainly Kim Il Sung/Kim Jong Il, and, as will soon
(with help from Pooty Poot) the political heirs to
Ayatollah Khomeini (the latter two not just on the TD's
list, but also in the Axis of EvilTM).
But to be honest, the Israelis don't seem worried
about Saddam's nukes (they are preparing
for a bio-attack).
The UN weapons inspectors didn't seem to think
there was much danger of Saddam acquiring nukes, either.
Despite the obsession, of course (perhaps
"more information" will be presented to the
key lawmaker focus group), with Saddam's nukes, a more
likely doomsday scenario involves nuclear material
simply being absconded from some "less secure"
nuclear site, say, in the Third World; we have done as
much about that as we have about energy independence, as
The New Republic reports here.
in the "making the case" department, submitted
by the prosecution: Lisa
Beamer is the new Kato Kaelin.
both derived their notoriety from the famous
death of someone they knew (in Lisa's case, it was her
husband Todd of "Let's Roll" fame, one of the
quick-thinking heroes who saved some major American
landmark and probably thousands of lives by overpowering
the murderous thugs who took over Flight 93; in Kato's,
as you will recall, it was Nicole Brown Simpson, ex-wife
of O.J.); both seem to thrive on publicity, with regular
appearances on major talk shows and elsewhere.
Obviously, we intend no disrespect to the late
Mr. Beamer, or the victims of 9-11 or their loved ones,
by making this charge.
In fact, the very question is based upon whether
Mrs. Beamer's actions constitute acts of disrespect.
We will see; perhaps a "cease fire"
from appearing on Larry King will persuade the court.
More on this, as it develops.
back to the big celebration; NO kudos to the majority of
Congress who have already committed NOT to attend a
special session of that body in New York; this is
America's most important city – you know – America,
the country you technically serve?
Remember September 11th?
I guess not. Your TD's current plans for the big day include coming to
work, and probably intentionally leaving this site blank
on the 11th. Since
in my opinion 9-11-01 defies words, the occasion of
9-11-02 will not likely be marked by my own.
Again, more on this as it develops.
big issue de jour for our representative government
(other than “bankruptcy reform”, which will be
passed and become law imminently, despite its
destructiveness) is “homeland security”, which, a
year after you know what, seems to be of little more
comfort than it was in the immediate aftermath thereof.
The President has threatened a veto if provisions
of “flexibility” (i.e., the right to “at will”
hire and fire employees of the new Homeland Security
Department, or whatever its ominously Teutonic name will
be) are not part of the law creating the new agency.
Of course, whatever laws applicable to the FBI,
CIA and other agencies NOT to be made a part of the new
department will still govern those agencies.
this is an interesting issue to get hung up about:
if the President wishes to expand the scope of
the military services for Defense of the 50 states
(how's that for a name -- the Department of 50-states
and DC Security!), he has all the flexibility that being
commander-in-chief provides (short of invoking a
military dictatorship, suspending the Constitution,
TD believes, however, that this (or any) President
should not be given the benefit of the doubt on what
amounts to a bureaucratic land grab: if the constituent units of the proposed new agency ALREADY
have civil service protections, then the burden falls
squarely on the President to establish why, simply
because of a politically expedient name change and
bureaucratic consolidation, this civil service
protection status (which has been the law of the land
for some time) should be changed.
be honest, the President has an especially high burden
in this case: after
September 11th, not only did no agency heads roll, but
there seemed to be no adverse consequence of any kind
for those in charge of the security apparatus who seemed
to be asleep on the job; indeed, the Bush Administration
did everything in its power to block a full
investigation of these failures, further lending
credence to the proposition that more top-level failures
would have been unearthed.
Since the President's definition of
“accountability” seems not to include those in
charge of agencies who he can ALREADY hire and fire at
will, it seems perfectly reasonable of Congress to
conclude that he has no need for this power at lower
on this basis, the President still insists on vetoing a
"homeland security" bill, that is his
on this issue, as on the (coming, I guess) attack on
Iraq, he has not "made his case".
2, 2002, Brooklyn, NY.
ironically the week in which some 30 years ago, armed
criminal thugs (who with that incident established the
unfortunate link between armed criminal thugs and
Palestinian nationalists) kidnapped, and then murdered,
the Israeli Olympic team in Munich, West Germany, Israel
now finds itself having to answer for a sudden spate of
civilian killings by its own military, as Defense
Minister Ben Eliezer calls for an investigation in
this report from The Jerusalem Post.
can count on the usual tongue clucking from the UN, and
the obscene hyperboles from Arafat and company, and the
probable reticence (for a change) of the Bush
at a time when the apparent futility of the suicide
bombing regime (admittedly in concert with Israel's
effective re-occupation of most of the West Bank) has
brought relative stability (and no major suicide
bombings for like a couple of weeks!), this sort of (for
a rare change, the call is deserved) heavy handedness
will only serve to possibly make Israel look bad in the
one place that matters: American
public opinion. All
a TD can say to PM Sharon and the IDF is clean up your
damned act, or you will be handing the Palestinians the
type of victory their own thugs can never deliver.
the President (to his personal sadness) is back in
Washington this week. Well,
Mr. President, as a guy who has logged many a lap on
smallish tracks, I'm sure the White House track is not
so bad. Make
the best of it, sir!
September, 1, 2002
Well, on this 63rd anniversary of the declaration
of World War II (after the declaration of which,
ominously reminiscent of the present, unless you
happened to live in Poland or elsewhere under the
Anschuss, nothing happened for several months in what
was then called the "Phoney War") and
something like 11 1/2 months after our first posting,
your TD has discovered that we have made this
list of Lefty Blogs.
appears that, at the moment, the TD is the last entry on
the list. Well,
to paraphrase/quote myself, if you're not a liberal at
21, you probably have no heart.
If you ARE a liberal at 39, you probably have no
the end, September 11th was the act of a (thankfully)
small group of evil madmen.
On the subject of evil madmen, this weekend, your
TD is reading Chris Hitchens' The
Trial of Henry Kissinger, on which I intend to write
a review for Blogcritics (look out for it both here and
there, hopefully soon).
Chris Hitchens is a TD fave (he too believes that
Bill Clinton's crass attack on a Sudanese medicine
factory constituted a war crime).
And Henry Kissinger ALWAYS makes the top 5 on
TD's list of the 10 most evil men of the 20th century
(feminists may blanch or cheer as they will, but MY list
is indeed entirely men).
Hitchens' account of Kissinger's uniquely
duplicitous moves to prolong the Vietnam War for his OWN
PERSONAL ENDS since as Nelson Rockefeller's protégé,
he almost certainly would have been hired in the
Humphrey Administration, as well as Nixon's, are eerily
reminiscent of the current non-debate debate vs. Iraq
(the one going on in the blogosphere, that is: domestic
political benefit is NOT an excuse to throw out all the
rulebooks, be it for invading Saddam, detaining citizens
without charge, or anything else).
the current top 5 (with my only stipulation being that
DEMOCRATICALLY ELECTED HITLER is ALWAYS Number One)
next 5 are harder, so I will suggest picking 5 from this
list of 10 (or suggest your own):
list is not exhaustive, and I would not be remiss to
include Suharto, or Castro, or others in this league,
though, this is all subject to debate; individual Nazis,
such as Eichmann or Himmler are welcome to their own
separate entries on the list, if you wish, though I
prefer to count them a part of Hitler's number one
committee (though again, if you do this, Nixon and
Mitchell may get to join Kissinger, which is not really
fair to Kissinger's OWN accomplishments as a subverter
of everything this country holds dear, peculiarly ironic
for the scion of Jews who fled Nazi Germany).
31, 2002, East Hampton, NY.
Well, another bad day for the Indonesian Chamber
of Commerce, as a
kills 3, including 2 Americans, near a copper mine in
Indonesian New Guinea.
sorry to hear about the loss
of musical great Lionel Hampton
as well, at age 94.
in the "you're never REALLY sure about your well
thought out position department", we have the
Clintons telling us to "go easy" on possible
I guess if a unilateral attack on a foreign
nation DOES NOT involve deflection of criticism from
lying under oath about workplace sex, then we'd better
be CAREFUL about it.
Well, I'm on record vis a vis the current Iraq
war plans; the Clintons, as always, are making me bite
for some of our readers (notably Unqualified
Offerings and Mrs. TD) who are in any way offended about
yesterday's post vis a vis Jackie Mason and Ray Hanania
(and for the record, for those who believe your TD's
barrage of bad jokes was "bigoted and
unfunny", all I can say is that you left out
mean-spirited and crass -- and by the way, the line
about the Gaza strip WAS INCREDIBLY FUNNY), let me just
offer the following:
Jackie's record as a racist and bigot, and more
importantly, a JERK goes back a long way, be it making
fun of Ed Sullivan, or referring to ex-mayor David
Dinkins as a "fancy schwarze with a
criticism of Jackie regarding THIS incident has little
to do with whether or not I consider him a bigot; his
record is not only clear, he has resurrected his career
on this basis. That's
the free market of ideas -- be it for him, or for a
certain talking dog.
criticism of Jackie is that his dismissive treatment
(sending out his manager/wife to wimp out, and then
LATER to say that the concern was Hanania's lack of
experience) is UNPROFESSIONAL.
In your TD's book, that is the most damning
criticism I can level (especially for the likes of
Jackie Mason, who the odds predict is infinitely more
rich and famous than your TD will ever be).
Had Jackie delivered the monologue I offered, he
would have been considered, perhaps a bit offensive and
insensitive (Don Rickles anyone?), but this event would
have gone unnoticed, except perhaps for the laughs
and/or groans of his audience.
Instead, we literally get an international
Mr. Hanania is not JUST a Palestinian American -- he too
is a fascinating case study, as shown by this
and in this
example of his writings
demonstrating that this ain't no babe in the woods.
Among other things, I PARTICULARLY like this
screed by funnyman Ray:
addition to its policy of murdering anyone it does not
like, Israel's Nazi-like government is also engaged in a
policy of murdering the truth, too.
And, they are very good at it.
You can't get away with a lie unless you have two
things in place:
First, you have to impose controls on the media
in the area of the conflict, which Israel has done by
banning reporters from covering areas where its soldiers
are on a blitzkrieg-like rampage, shooting civilians.
Second, you need to have a news media that
doesn't care about the truth, which is the dominant
attitude of the mainstream American news media.
People like MSNBC's Alan Keyes, for example, who
asserts that "there is no occupation" in
Palestine, and a list of commentators who enjoy the
gratuity of the Israeli lobby like NPR's Linda
(Both Gradstein and Keyes are making more
"cents" than sense these days.)
With these two factors in place, the Government
of Israel can say whatever it wishes, and it is reported
And, each lie adds to the impact of the
For example, the Israeli Government is asserting
that "Palestinian gunmen" have
"occupied" the Church of the Nativity.
The truth is that Palestinians who are resisting
Israel's assault have taken refuge in the Church of the
Nativity and nearly every other building in the region.
But the Israeli point is to touch a nerve with Christian
Americans, who are so naive about the reality of the
Middle East they will swallow anything they are fed.
Ray, Jackie would have been more than justified to tell
you to go to hell, just for that article; a
Google search of the rest of your writings shows a
wide variety of views:
that, in some cases, some people (like Jackie, or
the 75 year old Jews that typify his fans) might not
Contrary to what you would like us all to
believe, you are NOT what I would consider to be a more
typical Palestinian-American (or for that matter, anyone
of Arab-American descent), i.e., someone who just wants
to be left alone!
we can probably conclude that since Mason's announcement
did not mention that Ray was arguably an apologist for
terrorists, we can conclude that this was not why he
canned Ray, and as noted above, I think that's probably
right: most likely, Jackie is a jerk who canned Ray out
of pure bigotry, and that's too bad.
Because Ray deserved better.
By my book, at least two minutes worth better.
30, 2002, New York, New York.
In the world of missed opportunities, what can I
say about Jackie Mason's stupid,
bigoted decision not to let Ray Hanania open for him
in Chicago because Ray is a PALESTINIAN-American.
TD confesses that he sort of respected Jackie M.'s work
(particularly as the voice of the Aardvark on the
companion cartoon to The Pink Panther), but now, as far
as I'm concerned, Mason can go on the entertainment
scrap-heap with Zsa Zsa (she thrust herself onto the
scrap heap after making fun of handicapped members of an
audience in Philadelphia).
of all, Mason missed a fabulous opportunity, one which
your TD WILL NOT WASTE.
THIS (or something like it) IS THE ACT JACKIE
MASON SHOULD HAVE PUT ON IN CHICAGO:
and gentlemen, Ray Hanania.
It does me good to see that there is hope for the
world that I, a big Jew, can have Ray, of Palestinian
descent, open for me.
Ray, come here, let me give you a big hug.
Thank God, ladies and gentlemen, he's clean!
Ray, I usually don't say this to my opening acts,
but Allah be praised that you DID NOT BOMB on stage
you at that table -- don't all of you know its Haraam to
drink -- and those pork rinds -- don't get me started!
But I will hold off on issuing a fatwa against
you all if you tip the infidel waiters generously!
And don't think you can hide behind that burqa --
we know who you are!
how about that Yasir Arafat -- what, with the 1.4
My regrets to Prime Minister Sharon, but with
that kind of money, this guy is not irrelevant!
He REALLY DID have a nickel for every time
someone called him a terrorist!
And what's with that thing on his head?
He couldn't pick a better restaurant than PIZZA
HUT to steal his shmatta from?
With all your money, Yasir, you could BUY
SOMETHING NICE for your head!
And what's with the beard?
Either grow it out, or shave it.
With $1.4 billion, the man can afford a barber!
Am I right, ladies and gentlemen?
I mean, the Ringo look looks good on Ringo, and
Ringo is a friend of mine.
Yasir Arafat, you're NO Ringo Starr.
and gentlemen, Ray is a NATURAL for this business.
He's the only guy I know to work the Vegas Strip,
the Sunset Strip, AND the Gaza Strip!
So, what's with Saddam Hussein? I hear he's a
Ray, what's this I've been seeing with those horrible
pictures of little Palestinian kids with bombs strapped
I saw one, the kid's shirt said "Mom and Dad
went to Jenin and all they brought me was this lousy
I mean, with parents like that, does the kid have
I say we accuse those parents of collaborating
with the Zionist entity!
Ray, I know you want to go back stage and wash the camel
shit off yourself, and make plans to blow up my
synagogue, so let's give him a big hand!
Ray Hanania, folks, he'll be here all week except
for Friday and Ramadan!
Back to Home Page