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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.


TD 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 Galt.  Welcome to the best damned links section on the Internet (perhaps if I say that enough, it will catch on like "Elite

Republican Guard" or "Saudi bastards").

The President has 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.


September 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.

Kudos to Greenspan
His honorary knighthood
Does honor to us.

Well, I'm not sure of that, but the Fed Chairman joins ex-mayor Rudy Giuliani in this distinguished British honour.  Note:  both men are (or at least were) married to attractive female journalists.  Coincidence, or conspiracy! 

Condoleeza Rice
Sees Some Chemistry Between
Iraq and Qaeda.

Well, 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...

Senator Daschle
Demands an apology
from the President.

Well, 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 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 "legs").

Finally: do we all still love Dick Armey?


TD 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.


September 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 today.  So go for it!

Richard 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 celebrities...

And 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 warmongering efforts.  (Pause for TD to cringe at the thought that Mr. Daschle is ALSO polticizing the issue by accusing acting-President Cheney of same.)

Well, 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 debate".  O.K.:  we have the debate.  Now what?  That's 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 ignored).  Instead, 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, the GOP...will win (at least control of the Senate).


The Talking Dog Book Review EXTRA

The Trial of Henry Kissinger by Christopher Hitchens
Your Talking Dog has previously placed Henry Kissinger in a significant category:  one of the five most evil men of the twentieth century, and the only one of the five (the others being Hitler, Stalin, Mao and Pol Pot) to be not only still alive and free, but often sought for "a-list" parties.  In The Trial of Henry Kissinger by Christopher Hitchens, a point by point bill of indictment is presented against Kissinger, in a manner described by the Literary Review (and noted on the back cover of the paperback version) "This book is so studiedly defamatory that if Kissinger values his reputations, he really must sue".   Quite so; this thin volume, derived largely from articles Hitchens published in Harpers, pulls no punches.

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 violations.  To 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.

The 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 international potentate.  The  signature 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."

We 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.

While 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.

Hitchens 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.

Though 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.


September 24, 2002, TD Afternoon "Toogood To Be True" Extra.  Well, its back to Madeline Toogood (whose actual name is apparently Madelyne Gorman Toogood) as this 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 worked out.

Other comments come to us from Talkleft, and (for those who want to read the story in Spanish).

Well, lookit:  your 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 siblings).  I 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 handed interventions?


September 24, 2002, New York, New York.  Tony Blair has 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.

So 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.

Nukes?  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 capabilities.

Lookit:  I'm going 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 interest:  it 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.
In San Francisco today, Al Gore said (inter alia):

"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.

"That 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.


TD Still Later Afternoon Extra, 9-23-02.  Welcome to Marc's Blog, or Quit That  to 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:  Paul 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 Donkey.

In 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 co-communitarians.  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. 


TD 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 III).

Meanwhile, 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.


September 23, 2002, New York, New York.  Let's give a hearty welcome to Ravenwolf and Scrappleface 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 them.

So, 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 for Saddam.

Alas, 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 ME.

On 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 think?  And in this item, the Jerusalem Post reports that the White House has termed the current siege of Arafat...get this..."Unhelpful".  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 will tell...


Another 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 success.  And to think that that country is GERMANY!  (Yup:  I too was thinking "France"; but we're wrong!)  Mr. Gorbachev -- PUT BACK THAT WALL!!!  

TD 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 criminals.  We 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.

Also 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.


TD Mid-Morning Extra, 9-22-02.  Our unseen editor has directed me to this from the New York Times (with thanks to Matt Drudge), 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 point.  I 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.

Of further interest is this report 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...


September 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" leader.  Let the games begin -- as apparently, Ariel is trying to drum up support for an early election to outmaneuver Bibi!  Oy vay.

Perhaps 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 place.

But 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.

Well, 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 WMDs?).

Maybe I just think the naturally secretive Bush Administration is just too into this type of conspiracy?  Maybe...


September 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 of The Illuminated Donkey, Sasha Castel, Paul 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 Bloggers, The 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!)

Well, 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".  Read the article, you won't be disappointed.

One 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 this result:

Some of my favorites are this from Todd’s Atomic Page, or this from Plans and Kits Unlimited (they're MORE than just nuclear weapons), or this site with Portuguese directions, but English details.

Hey, 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.

So, 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.


September 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:

The 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.

This 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 Jersey) call for a commission to investigate the 9-11 events.

As 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 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!!!

Of course, although the support for a war with Iraq is diminishing over time, it is still strong (I won't deny that).  The 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 term.  So, 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 NATION, unlike...Iraq).


September 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 murder.

So, 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.

Here are what appear to be the "semi-official" accounts of that conversation, from the Iraqi side (neither the 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 ).  These versions include:  this from; this as supposedly recounted in the New York Times, and this from the Christian Science Monitor.

The money lines seems to be:

Saddam 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 happen.  But if we are unable to find a solution, then it will be natural that Iraq will not accept death.

U.S. Ambassador Glaspie
:  What solutions would be acceptable?

Saddam Hussein
:  If we could keep the whole of the Shatt al Arab - our strategic goal in our war with Iran - we will make concessions (to the Kuwaitis).  But, if we are forced to choose between keeping half of the Shatt and the whole of Iraq (i.e., in Saddam s view, including Kuwait ) then we will give up all of the Shatt to defend our claims on Kuwait to keep the whole of Iraq in the shape we wish it to be. (pause) What is the United States' opinion on this?

U.S. Ambassador Glaspie
:  We have no opinion on your Arab - Arab conflicts, such as your dispute with Kuwait.  Secretary (of State James) Baker has directed me to emphasize the instruction, first given to Iraq in the 1960's, that the Kuwait issue is not associated with America. (Saddam smiles)

On August 2, 1990 four days later, Saddam's massed troops invade and occupy Kuwait.

If 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.


TD Afternoon Conspiracy Extra 9-18-02.  Well, with reports 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 theory.  Just what the hell was 9-11 about?  Your TD, as always, says "first, follow the petro-dollars!"

Well, 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...).

So, 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 one.  Bin 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 hijackers)?  I have...

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.

Obviously, I think Omar from Kandahar is a nut-job, but on the other hand...


September 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 QANTAS"?  That 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 upon it.

The 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 dollars.  Hey look:  Saddam is a bad guy.  No less a figure than myself had called for his ouster continuously in the immediate post 9-11 maelstrom (you know:  back 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 concern.

So 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 going:  if 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 lot.  Hell, 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".

Reports out of Israel are coming on...a suicide bomber.  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.

Finally, 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

Brooklyn, 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).

The 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!!!

Well, that's all folks...


September 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.

Meanwhile, 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 moratorium).

Though, 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.

We're getting there.

And 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 days earlier!


September 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.

Anyway, 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.  Just try.

Finally, 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 power.  The problem is assessing which is more important (in his mind, or at least the minds of those who control his actions):  holding power on 21 January 2005 in Washington...or in Riyadh.  I made my call; the President remains free to prove me wrong.


September 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 Guard").  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  HUGE development).  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?

Of 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 themselves.  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.  So?  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.

Obviously, 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.)

So, how does the TD reconcile these seemingly conflicting developments?  RIGHT AGAIN!  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.


September 14, 2002, Brooklyn, New York.  A hearty welcome to our new affiliate, station WASP in Greenwich, Connecticut...actually, we ARE pleased to welcome Amish Tech Support and William Burton.

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 lying.  Hey, 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, 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 Michigan!  Ah, there's the rub!

Speaking of rubs, why don’t you get a massage after that workout, Mr. President.  You've earned it.


September 13, 2002, New York, New York.  The word of the day is triskaidekaphobia  according to  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).

Of 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).

Still, 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.

Oh 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 NATIONAL JOKE.)

Am 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 election?  Ya think?


TD Afternoon Extra (9-12-02).  Welcome to our newest links, Shot Over the Bow and Gedänkenpundit.  Check 'em out!

Well, 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.

Your 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.


September 12, 2002, New York, New York.  So how's this for the unsatisfactory nature of "closure":  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 course!).  Anyway, 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.

Meanwhile, 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)!

In 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 happy!  So 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 hands:  the 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 quickly.  Couldn't happen to a nicer guy.

Finally, the President addressed the UN General Assembly today talking tough about Saddam.  It 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 over at Unqualified Offerings.

In 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!

And 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.)

We used to call that sort of thing "diplomacy". Back when we had ) Presidents who could spell "diplomacy".

Well, 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.

It 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.

It's seemingly all falling into place that way now; a UNSC veto seems extremely unlikely.  But why has this been SO HARD to fathom for Dubya?  Regardless 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.

So 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.

September 11, 2002 , New York , New York.  God bless you all. This space is intentionally left blank.














September 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, anyway), so 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 Kippur.  This 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.

Democracy in action:  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 win.

Finally, 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 2001 archives.  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”).

And 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).

So, 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.


September 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 Chris 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.

And 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 approve).  Chris writes purtier than I do: read his screed.

Meanwhile, 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 Against TerrorTM”, and not just Brent Scowcroft, Norm 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 Against TerrorTM.  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.)

Which 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?  Let’s hope…

By the way, the First Lady doesn’t want parents to let their children watch 9-11 commemoration coverage.  Although, 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 in mind.


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.


September 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 non-binding. 

I 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. 

Meanwhile, 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?

Finally, 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.


TD Evening Big Apple Blogger Bash III EXTRA
September 5, 2002

For those who care about such things, according to this link (with thanks to NYC Bloggers), there will be a Big Apple Bloggers Bash on Friday, September 20th.  Your TD plans on attending.


TD 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.

Anyway, 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).

The 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:

In a REAL litigation, the first question is "who is liable"?  The 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 it!  The Saudi government?  Good luck overcoming THEIR sovereign immunity and more importantly, their political influence here (you thought the ISRAELI lobby was powerful?  LOL!!!)  My point?  A 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).

But, 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?


September 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.  Oops.

Speaking 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 gunfire, almost simultaneously with an explosion in Kabul that killed 15.

Well, 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 country.  Note 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 chaos.  Obviously, 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!

Which takes us back to a question of the "seriousness" of that Texas country club softball game committee otherwise known as the Bush Administration:  blowing 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 Kabul.

Further, 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!)

And 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.


September 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 win (as

reported here 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.

Meanwhile, 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.

Finally, in the "making the case" department, submitted by the prosecution: Lisa Beamer is the new Kato Kaelin.  Obvious distinctions:  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.

Finally, 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.


September 3, 2002, New York, New York.  Well, as the great Will Rogers once said, no citizen is safe now that the Congress is back in session.

The 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.

Obviously, 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, etc.).  Your 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.

To 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 echelons.  If, on this basis, the President still insists on vetoing a "homeland security" bill, that is his privilege.  But on this issue, as on the (coming, I guess) attack on Iraq, he has not "made his case".


September 2, 2002, Brooklyn, NY.  Well, 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.

We 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 Administration.  But, 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.

Meanwhile, 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!

Afternoon Extra, 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.  (Go figure).

It 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 money.

September 1, 2002 , East Hampton , NY .  Welcome readers, to September, 2002, the month that contains the one year anniversary of you know what.  As an all too close eyewitness, your TD finds himself agreeing quite a bit with this from The New Republic.  Better that 9-11 be commended with either borrowed words, as the New York City commemoration will be, or BEST OF ALL, a unique 90 minutes of national silence from 8:45 until 10:15 on that Wednesday morning  (church bells peeling only).  But we know better:  this is America , and in the end, even that occasion will be co-opted by the self-aggrandizement of those in power, be it political, media or commercial power.  Too bad.  Another missed opportunity, kind of like the opportunity for national sacrifice and service that the President had available to him, instead choosing to tell us to shop.

A welcome to our new featured links, Cooped Up (it's been up for a few days, actually) and Dodgeblog (and thanks to Dodgeblog for the kind words).

In 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).

Anyway, the current top 5 (with my only stipulation being that DEMOCRATICALLY ELECTED HITLER is ALWAYS Number One) are:

Henry Kissinger
Pol Pot

The next 5 are harder, so I will suggest picking 5 from this list of 10 (or suggest your own):

John Mitchell
Richard Nixon (YES- I hold Americans to a higher standard -- and the collective actions of the Nixon-Kissinger group led to the suffering and deaths of untold millions worldwide)
Idi Amin
Kim Il Song/Kim Jong Il
Haffez Assad
Slobodon Milosevic (yes -- a LATE 20th century leader can make the list with a far smaller total number of atrocities, and Slobo can include his friends Karadzic and others)
Saddam Hussein (yes, he makes the list -- though not by consensus)
Ayatollah Khomeini (he makes it too)
"The Rwandan Hutus"  (a committee effort)

The 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).


August 31, 2002, East Hampton, NY.  Well, another bad day for the Indonesian Chamber of Commerce, as a gunman kills 3, including 2 Americans, near a copper mine in Indonesian New Guinea.

We're sorry to hear about the loss of musical great Lionel Hampton as well, at age 94.

And 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 Iraq invasion.  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 my tongue...

Finally, 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 moustache".  My 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.

MY 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 incident.

Similarly, 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:

In 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 Gradstein.  (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 like fact.  And, each lie adds to the impact of the subsequent lie.  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.

So 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 appreciate.  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!

Unfortunately, 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.


August 30, 2002, New York, New York.  Wow.  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.

Your 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).

Worst 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:

Ladies 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.  Whheeeww.  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 tonight!


Hey-- 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!


Ray-- how about that Yasir Arafat -- what, with the 1.4 billion dollars.  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.


Ladies 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 gas!


And Ray, what's this I've been seeing with those horrible pictures of little Palestinian kids with bombs strapped on.  I saw one, the kid's shirt said "Mom and Dad went to Jenin and all they brought me was this lousy exploding belt!".  I mean, with parents like that, does the kid have a chance?  I say we accuse those parents of collaborating with the Zionist entity!

Well, 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!

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