the talking dog


September 2001 Postings

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The Left-Leaning Dog Says:

The Rabid Dog Says:

Brooklyn, September 26, 2001.  As I write on the eve of the Jewish Day of Atonement, your LLD wonders what crimes against the universe he has committed to find himself locked in his battle of wits with the RD over the mundane question of the "consequences to the United States if the State of Israel were to cease to exist- tomorrow".  Your RD has, however, in his inimitable mocking tone, actually demonstrated the import and significance of this discussion. Renewing the Zionism is Racism debate is the first step toward the attempted marginalization of the Jewish people (and, of course, the now democratic and free state populated and run by Jews).  It was no accident that the marginalization and dehumanization of the Jews in 1933-1939 Germany was the necessary first step before mass murder.  Your RD makes light of Yasser Arafat's, and Saddam Hussein's, possibly O(U?)sama bin Laden's and probably Hosni Mubarak's fondest dream: the destruction of the Jewish state.  How would it impact the United States?  If the United States were in any way instrumental in that process, or failed to use all of its moral, financial, diplomatic and military force to stop it-- then the moral basis of our existence as a nation will end-- and we might as well be France.  Of course, the RD will doubtless find THAT funny too.

Anyway, the RD was pretty close to prescient (there's nothing more dangerous than an INTELLIGENT rabid dog, I suppose!) on the seemingly irrelevant mayoral race.   I say seemingly irrelevant because we will know tonight if his Rudyness will decide to toss aside these irritating elections by evading term limits laws to ensure himself a third consecutive term (one scenario has him resigning around Halloween-- so that technically, he will not serve a full term- making Mark Green the incumbent!).  We will see:  like Michael Jordan -- we just wish some people would go out on top -- and STAY OUT!


Brooklyn, September 25, 2001.  Despite questions as to your LLD's, manliness -- or as I like to think of them, the cheap shots of a smug, self-satisfied Rabid Dog --  (you know: the pussy), yesterday your LLD, together with our unseen editor, visited the site of Ground Zero.  (What follows is standard solipsism about my observations- you may wish to jump to the third paragraph.)

At this point, the closest available vantage point is an obstructed view from about a block away: but one can still see awful, twisted, devastated rubble.  The burning smell (which was visited upon Brooklyn with a vengeance a week ago) is greatly reduced apparently - but is still omnipresent.  The scene- of blocked streets, fenced in, surrounded by police and fatigue-wearing national guardsmen- remains surreal.  ‘Nuff said, I suppose.

Recently- besides unwarranted cheap ad hominen shots at your LLD -- the RD tried to make light of recent tragedies in Israel by noting that Israel had not suffered 6 or 7 thousand casualties at the hands of terrorists.  Of course, Israel HAS suffered dozens- if not hundreds- of casualties THIS year - not to mention previous years-- and Israel is 1/50 the size of this country!  In context, 120 Israelis represents a similar proportion of casualties as 6000 in the much larger United States.  That, certainly, IS a number close to ACTUAL Israeli casualties (as if this subject were appropriate for the smug dismissiveness of the RD in the first place!).  Interestingly, the uniqueness of an attack on the WTC resulted in casualties of  almost 2,600 FOREIGN NATIONALS.  While only further demonstrating the horror and indiscriminateness of this outrage, in this gruesome calculus set up by the RD, it further reduces the "national impact" to the United States which now appears to have "only" lost about 4000 of its citizens (and its two largest office buildings)-- not to mention, the illusion that its largest cities are actually defended.

Of course, your LLD -- unlike your RD or apparently, our national government - has a definitive response to these outrages- calculated to rid the world of these terrorists, and reduce to near zero the chance of further similar attacks.

That response does NOT include selling out the United States' greatest friend and ally in the world -- a State nurtured into being with the help of our greatest 20th century president (Harry Truman)-- the State of Israel.  Several sources - such as Mickey Kaus, for example, are asserting that somehow - Neville Chamberlain is the British prime minister we should now be emulating, and calculating a plan to  sell out the Israelis!  (This would seem to be in sympathy with the views of the RD-- though he is welcome to dispute this.)  Note, of course, that Osama (Usama?  He' IS just like Qadaffi! ) bin Laden hates Israel (and indeed, like most of the Arab world, Jews in general).  Assuming that he alone - and not with the logistical, financial, tactical, intelligence and "moral" support of Saddam Hussein - was responsible for these atrocities, then that tells us that the current Israel- Palestinian intifada is absolutely irrelevant!

The "evidence" being gathered by our law enforcement shows that the terrorists were in this country FOR YEARS -- years before the current breakdown in the so-called Mid-East peace process-- planning this very attack!  It might go back to the USS Cole, or to the embassy bombings, or Khobar Towers-- but these bastards were here planning this for a long time!

Whatever their reasons -- when this shit was first being planned, Barak was in power- and it looked like the Palestinians were going to get everything they wanted at the negotiating table (before Arafat still found away to TURN DOWN an independent  Palestinian state with sovereignty over the entire West Bank and Gaza with Jerusalem as its capital and Israel reduced to its 1948 borders!)

Blaming the Israelis for this (as opposed to OURSELVES- who financially prop up the corrupt Egyptian and Saudi regimes-- which spawned virtually ALL of the hijackers, at least by nationality) is counter-factual.  Most importantly, it is morally reprehensible: we should NEVER give in to the demands of terrorists (to the extent we can figure out what the particular demands of these particular maniacs are) -- and REWARD their evil.

So let me say this about Israel and the evil movement to resurrect the "Zionism is racism" sloganeering: if supporting the sole bastion of  freedom and democratic values in the Middle East constitutes racism, then call me a racist -- I will bear that title proudly.


Brooklyn, September 23, 2001.  Let me take this brief opportunity to I to start railing my anger at the effete and cowardly Europeans:  the BBC was harping at the "sloppy FBI" for "releasing the names of the hijackers" (unlike the "sensible British and their official secrets acts -- which "protect privacy" -- other than the right to hound and chase royal celebrities to their deaths while trying to photograph them naked, I suppose) -- evidently, some of the hijackers stole Saudi national's identities (can you believe that?  those bastards!) and the REAL Muammar ben ibn Saddam-Jew-hater, or whatever his name is -- is alive and well in Morocco and is pissed at having been "dragged through the mud by the Americans".  To the BBC -- who specialize in asserting the moral equivalence of Palestinian maniacs murdering crowds of unarmed civilians with Israel's retaliating bulldozing of empty buildings - that's a story!  The STORY is that this convenient identity theft -- with real authentic looking (because they are real!) Saudi passports and identity papers- proves almost without doubt that these bastards were doubtless aided by "a state" -- probably even the sadistic SAUDI government -- a so-called "moderate" state-- who, whether our friend or not (not being the answer), we have American troops on site to defend.  As well as, of course -- the REAL state behind this...

For another story you won't find reported in the European press (the smarmy and hypocritical European left makes your LLD sick -- even if he IS an LLD) -- check out The New Republic for an article by former CLINTON CIA director Woolsey on the strong possibility that the perpetrator of the original WTC bombing in 1993 was none other than our old friend (and first TRULY worthy adversary of this nation since Ho Chi Minh), Saddam Hussein, who, via ingenious identity thefts (see above), placed one of his agents in the role of "master terrorist" Ramzi Youssef.  Saddam, who, unlike even the psychopathic Taliban-- is (aside from the Palestinians) the only world figure to OFFICIALLY applaud the WTC bombing- has proven over and over again- after playing the more powerful Ayatollah Khomeini's Iran and the Untied States and its original Gulf War coalition to draws-- that he is a formidable force for evil.  Of course, while there is no picture of any of the hijackers talking to bin Laden- but there IS a picture of at least one of them speaking directly to the head of IRAQI intelligence (which seems a whole lot smarter than American intelligence these days, doesn't it).

Oh, that and Saddam almost certainly just arranged to blow up the World Trade Center, and the Pentagon, and will probably get away with it, unless the president plans on (I HOPE he is!) simply using bin Laden and the Afghans as a misdirection and correcting his father's mistake- by ACTUALLY removing Saddam from Iraq, and preferably, from the planet (over Saudi and French protestations).  Sure, bin Laden is a menace and it is unquestionably necessary that HE be removed from the planet as well (preferably violently -- the only way the Arab world seems to understand-- and he will NOT become a martyr in a region where martyrs are famously a dime a dozen)-- but removing him and leaving Saddam almost guarantees further domestic civilian casualties-- not to mention the senseless and endless suffering of the Iraqi people.  Sanctions having caused that: Saddam has.

We will see.  Our LAST president, who our current president seems to worship as a role model (his chief adviser being a TV NEWSWOMAN, for God's sake) has put us in our current position with endless short-term, politically expedient pandering (like launching missiles at medicine factories and mud huts in response to the Embassy bombings-- like the events of 9/11/2001 -- ACTS OF WAR AGAINST THE UNITED STATES!) instead of the hard stuff-- like a ground war in Iraq.  I hope our current president- unlike our last TWO presidents (yes, I MEAN 41) is up to the job that needs to be done.  God bless you all, and God Bless the United States of America.


Brooklyn, September 21, 2001.   Today, your LLD finally surveyed the economic wreckage that is mid-town Manhattan (he still hasn't had the heart yet to visit downtown; that wrenching moment is set for Monday morning, when the pursuit of justice will take him to the courthouse 4 blocks from ground zero) with your esteemed invisible editor (even more mysterious than the mystery man, or should I say, the Godless pussy.)  Hey America-- flags are nice.  If you give a hoot about this country-- leave your flags and ribbons at home and get your tails into the City of New York  (pretend you're not really scared for your lives) and spend some damned money!  You can get a great table now!  You can see just about any show you want-- there are great seats (as long as you don't want to see The Producers or The Lion King).

Our man of mystery - who, like the terrorists themselves, chooses to remain nameless and faceless, like a good lemming, joins in the 95% approval rating of our president, and gives him high marks on his speech.  Of course, as our invisible editor notes- just because a C- speech is GOOD for George Walker Bush does not mean it is a good speech for an America that needs an A at minimum, if not A+; the Clintonian "personal flourishes" are not welcome at a time when substance is needed over style.  But then, the Bush presidency has been the triumph of Clintonianism over substance, at least so far.  (Actually- for a TRUE hagiography of our still untested, though no one will argue, not very articulate- president, I direct you to - the right man for the job.)  Whether our president is up to the job remains to be seen.   I hope he is.  I hope I am proven wrong.  (I am -- occasionally).  Your LLD voted for Al Gore, and would obviously be much more comforted if Al Gore- or John McCain- both with more worthy records of service to this nation than our current president whose resume consists of "being 41's son, then handed baseball team, governorship, and presidency" - were now in charge.

Right now, of course, no one- and certainly no one capable of decisive action- appears to be in charge of our country (the "reasonable" and "cautious" Colin Powell- the man who is largely responsible for Saddam Hussein still being alive- and keeping Iraq a menace to all civilized peoples- is hardly confidence inspiring as he talks of "coalitions" consisting of our enemies-- i.e. Arab states- because a moderate Arab state is about as oxymoronic as military intelligence of Congressional ethics -- to "combat terrorism").  The crappy speech highlights that.  Frankly, I want specifics.  I want better than trivializing "homeland security" by creating a "cabinet level White House Czar"-- which should damned well already be the most important – hell -- the ONLY -- job of the Department of Defense -- which has been a cabinet level department since 1789.

And I want our enemies named.  I want names besides the cryptic bin Laden -- if he even really exists as a real, independent entity (other than as a creature of central casting for the bogeyman of state sponsored terrorism by countries (or groups) we actually fund and refuse to put on the list of "terrorist states"-- Egypt, Saudi Arabia, the Palestinian Authority-- or states we officially acknowledge as terrorist sponsors-- Iraq, Iran, Libya).  I went names besides the crazy, yet, when you get right down to it, pathetic,  Taliban.  Ten days after the most horrific act in the sorry history of terrorism inflicted civilian casualties on this country over double those of the MILITARY casualties inflicted at Pearl Harbor -- I want our president to explain to me why New York continues to burn-- while Baghdad, Tripoli and Damascus, and  Gaza and Nablus, and even Kabul, continue to laugh.

Because the coming war -- if it is to be anything more than the Clintonian spectacle for domestic consumption that your LLD thinks is all that will be waged by the "cautious" Bush administration and its (save Wolfowitz) uninspiring national security team-- has got to be vicious, nasty, lengthy, and once and for all, ridding the world of the REAL ROOT CAUSE of the current round of terrorism that plagues us:  despotic Arab states, who have transformed the energy that should be directed at their own reform instead into insane and vitriolic levels of anti-Semitism and hatred of the United States -- as well as also directly financed, harbored, encouraged- and cheered at the handiwork of- terrorists.

Your LLD acknowledges that the United States is probably too squeamish -- too weak, at its soul -- to do the expensive, bloody and time consuming (we may have to occupy the Arab states FOREVER) work necessary to ACTUALLY WIN the "war on terrorism".  Too much bloodshed  (unfortunately, of course, more innocent American civilians will die if we DON'T do this-- but that's the way it is).  Too many military casualties.  Too much loss of oil-related profits.  THAT is why your LLD believes the only viable SECOND option is simply to get out of that region altogether-- put a fence around Israel -- the only democracy in the region-- to which the world has a moral obligation after the Holocaust-- even as the world makes an Orwellian mockery of everything that is good with the "Zionism is racism" mantra invented by the very Arab despots whose states we should be committed to destroying-- and quarantine the rest of the bastards.  Hey- as far as oil goes-- if the price of oil actually included all of its costs-- if the price of money and blood spent prosecuting the Gulf War and maintaining a standing army all over the middle east (heck - all over the world- though not, of course, on the East Coast of our "homeland") and a navy to keep the world's shipping  lanes clear for supertankers-- renewable energy sources would be so unbelievably cost effective. 

But look: a country in desperate need of a national rail system instead squanders 15 billion dollars to reward an industry for mismanaging itself (not to mention treating airport security as a bottom line expense to skimp on -- making last Tuesday's horrific acts all to east).  Take that to our president, who you now worship, you rabid dog!


Brooklyn, September 20, 2001.  Our president has addressed a joint session of Congress (Gentlemen-- we've got to protect our phony baloney jobs!  Lieberman-- I didn't get a harrumph out of you).  The upshot: a series of the same types of reasonable demands on Afghanistan that reminds one of those we imposed on Serbia before bombing it.  I love the reasonableness of our diplomacy!  Oh-- and we get a national office of Homeland Security at the Cabinet Level.  BUT-  will it get the same funding as the ministry of silly walks -- or the Drug Czar?

Your LLD understands the anger of an angry nation.  He too is angry-- along with grief stricken-- at the loss of 6,000 souls-- including his client the unfortunate fireman.  He is angry about watching the trajectory of an airplane crashing into a building that killed so many-- which, but for the temporary structural integrity of the South Tower of the World Trade Center, would have left your LLD a dead dog.   He is angry that the destruction has -- aside from giving him the lifelong horror about having to live with the sound of planes hitting the neighboring WTC and exploding, being close enough to watch poor souls jumping to their deaths, or the tears of fellow escapees on the Manhattan Bridge watching the fall of the mighty towers-  left him temporarily on the dole.  Your LLD is mad too.  But...

But having listened to our president, who, frankly, allowed our national defense and intelligence services to be asleep in the first place (as he contemplated gutting them and decimating their morale in the interest of funding an absurdly regressive tax cut), now proposes a war on an unnamed enemy (except, perhaps, strategically untenable AFGHANISTAN!) -- the only thing we know for certain is that Americans--  I suppose MORE Americans -- will die in ground combat-- somewhere.  As to our enemies:  No names, of course (except panderingly, individual names-- a la Bill Clinton).  No mention of, say, Yasser Arafat and the Palestinian Authority, the world's currently most active terrorists, or its supporters in Damascus and Cairo (Egypt- home of several of the hijackers!) , or Saddam Hussein and Iraqi intelligence (whose chief is seen in a photograph with the head hijacker).

Unfortunately, we will not be erasing Papa Bush's mistake-- Saddam can continue laughing.  Yasser can continue snickering.  'Cause a bunch of Afghan shepherds and goats are going to die, thanks to our tough talkin', wanted dead or alive president.  Unfortunately, so will more innocent American civilians.


Brooklyn, September 19, 2001:  Your LLD took a jog halfway over the Brooklyn Bridge – and, cliché notwithstanding, the New York skyline is missing something – even if many people, LLD included, always thought the WTC twin towers to be somehow aesthetically lacking in their own right.  Still, I guess the skyline is now in a "missing man" formation -- over 5,000 actually.  Unthinkable.  But speaking of missing man formations --

Let's hear it for America's airlines: having demonstrated their business acumen through a combination of brilliant management, fabulous foresight and strategic employee overpayments and underpayments (such as to security staff - insanely a function assigned to the profit-driven airlines themselves - resulting in you-know-what last Tuesday!), now deliberately overreact to a coming fiasco of their own creation – and ask for a massive corporate welfare infusion -- which, "lockbox" and "tax cut for the rich" be damned -- is being promised to them!!!  I guess its too much to note that the airlines cutback will help solve a great number of problems: global warming, (dangerously) overcrowded skies and overworked air traffic control, delays.  Needless to say, high speed rail in the United States is evidently one of those jokes (another being "military intelligence”, as demonstrated last week).  Warren Buffett once quipped that if he were at Kitty Hawk in 1903, he would have shot Orville down -- as a service to investors.  And to the taxpayers, evidently!

Well, perhaps your LLD's employer -- who included your LLD in its "temporary layoffs while the office is off limits because it was a block from the World Trade Center" -- will figure out a way to get on line for its share of governmental largesse; your LLD will just have to settle for $405 per week from the State's Labor Department.



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!!!

September 28, 2001.  Freddy Ferrer's going for broke.  Knowing he'll never get enough of the white vote to beat Green in the run-off, he's attempting to boost the turnout of his Giuiliani-hating black and Latino base by giving the finger to Rudy's perfectly reasonable proposal to extent his term for a few months.   It's a trick he learned from the (now forgotten) Vieques controversy -- even after Bush agreed to stop the bombing on a reasonable schedule, he roused the crowds by demanding it be stopped right NOW.

It's probably his only hope, but it probably won't succeed.  I don't doubt it will bring out his supporters, but it will also outrage the 40% of Democratic voters who said they would change their vote in favor of Rudy if he ran.  Ultimately, Green will be the main beneficiary of the strategy.  Having accepted Rudy's proposal, Green will come out looking much more palatable than he truly is.  Voters may well carry their newfound affection for him (as the anti-Ferrer) into the general election, leaving the lackluster Bloomberg in the dust.

There's an outside chance that Ferrer will win the run-off, though, in which case Mike prevails in the general election. In fact, a Ferrer win might even give Rudy four more years, since there would likely be a groundswell for the complete repeal of term limits.


September 27, 2001.  I have scoured the United States Constitution in vain for any support for the LLD's contention that the "moral basis of our existence of a nation" is the preservation of a Middle Eastern Jewish state. Much of the document seems devoted to matters implicating the nation's domestic welfare. To the extent it deals with religion at all, it seems to say that the government isn't supposed to support or discourage any particular sect. Judaism, like Christianity, Islam, Scientology and every other religion, is an incoherent, false, mystical, sky-god crackpot baby-talk ideology that perpetuates itself through early-childhood brainwashing. The preservation of a group of people based on their adherence to such an ideology can be the moral basis of nothing.

Moving on the the much more important and relevant issue of this City's upcoming election, the LLD once again exalts false and abstract principles of ideology over the general welfare. I don't think anyone in their right mind doubts that Rudy is the man most experienced and qualified to rebuild and protect New York City. At a minimum, we know that what he has done over the past two weeks (not to mention the past eight years) demonstrates his competence. What have Ferrer (Sharpton) and Green (Dinkins) done or proven? Does anybody have the SLIGHTEST idea as to what they would do? Did either one offer the slightest inkling as to their plans as to security and rebuilding during the two weeks leading up to Tuesday's primary? The idea that flipping a coin on Election Day this November for one of those two will lead to a better New York is just insanity.

The only argument I have heard against permitting Rudy back on the ballot is that it would be "anti-democratic" (despite the foregone conclusion that he is the people's overwhelming choice and would be re-elected in a landslide). The premise of the argument is that the people voted for term limit laws in 1993 and 1996 and that their will must be respected. Putting aside the fact that the laws themselves are anti-democratic (and were crammed down our throats through false advertising sponsored by a millionaire cosmetics heir), there is nothing anti-democratic about repealing the laws. The law allows the the state legislature to repeal them, and the state legislature was elected by the people.


September 26, 2001.  Looks like your RD was just 3 or 4 percentage points off the mark in his prediction of a total Ferrer-Sharpton primary victory.  However, having failed to achieve the necessary threshold, Fernando is of course doomed in the run-off. That being the case, my forecast of an easy Bloomberg/Giuliani victory is out the window, or at least tottering on the ledge. In New York politics, a self-made millionaire with substantial business experience like Bloomberg will always lose to a dilettante with inherited wealth like Green.

A Bloomberg/Giuliani mayoralty is still possible, though. The outcome is entirely in Giuliani's hands. The safest course would be for him to preserve his rehabilitated legacy by simply retiring a hero. If he does that, and just sits back without endorsing or actively campaigning for Bloomberg, Green will romp.

If Rudy enters the fray, however, either by supporting Bloomberg or offering his own candidacy, Green will face a serious problem. Green could never survive a direct public debate with Giuliani. Green can offer a lot of "fresh ideas" for the reconstruction, a lot of ten and fifteen-point plans, but they'll just look like a lot of cheap gimmicks given his complete lack of meaningful public service. In contrast, everything Giuliani says will have instant credibility in view of his proven track record over the past eight years and during the present crisis. Green will look ridiculous attacking Giuliani's proposals, particularly if he does it in his usually mouthy, obnoxious, know-it-all style.

I think Giuliani's hate for Green is sufficient to propel him back into the arena. So my prediction stands: Bloomberg for Mayor.


September 25, 2001.  One of the self-evident principles that America is built upon is that all men are created equal. In other words, a life in heavily populated California is exactly equal to a life in sparsely populated Alaska. The value of a life is not adjusted in proportion to the percentage of the population that the victim represents.

With this principle in mind, I can confidently declare that 6,000 American lives are fully equal to 6,000 Israeli lives. Not 10 Israeli lives, not 100 Israeli lives, not 5,999 Israeli lives. So the "gruesome calculus" (actually, it's only multiplication and division) belongs to the LLD, who assigns values to individuals according to their nationality. Under his theory, the new American priority should be deploying traffic cops to the Vatican, where a single fatality is equivalent to 319,000 American lives.

Israel has suffered approximately 20,000 casualties TOTAL since 1948--and that includes both civilian AND military deaths. The interests of 275,000,000 Americans simply do not lie in protecting Israel from a few crazed bomb-throwers. As to Israel being our "greatest friend and ally," I defy the LLD to explain how America would be harmed if that country were to disappear overnight.

And more...  

My prediction for today's New York City primary and the upcoming general election is as follows:

(1) Ferrer will win the democratic primary without a run-off, because only his supporters are hard-core Giuliani haters. The remaining three candidates will lose a significant portion of their support to Giuliani write-in vote.

(2) Bloomberg will win the Republican primary, with either nobody buying or having heard of Badillo's promise to give his slot up to Giuliani.

(3) A terrified electorate will raise an outcry against the candidates they selected for the general election, calling upon the Legislature to repeal term limits so Giuliani can stay on.

(4) The Republicans will make some deal with Giuliani to have a significant role in the Bloomberg administration, thus insuring a Republican mayor and avoiding the problems that a term limits repeal would raise.

Hence, our next Mayor: Michael Bloomberg.


September 24, 2001.  Unlike the LLD, your courageous mystery man was back in Manhattan the Saturday night after the tragedy, and returned to work near ground zero last Monday, the first day the area was open. Since I've already surveyed (and photographed) the damage, the LLD can spare himself further underpants-wetting by continuing to cower back in Brooklyn.

Because I write this column to communicate truth rather than prove my courage, the mundane particulars of my identity are irrelevant. Moreover, I don't see why the LLD associates, in this context, the publication of my name (which would mean nothing to anybody anyway) with bravery. In any event, I invite the LLD to further demonstrate his heroism by posting his home address, phone, social security and credit card numbers on this site.

The LLD believes that the WTC terrorists were "nameless and faceless" cowards? Men who died for their beliefs, and whose names and photographs have been published ad nauseum since the attack? Yes, their beliefs -- like all theological beliefs -- were insane, delusional and irrational, but the truth of the beliefs has no bearing on the courage of the men who held them.

Despite the LLD's insistence, I never said I approved of President Bush. All I said was that I could find no fault with his proposed course of action. Of course he's nothing but a puppet mouthing (and stumbling over) whatever words are placed in front of him. Nor did I express an opinion over whether he'll be able to make good on his promises to eliminate the terrorists. But it's clear that the administration has a fairly good idea as to who was most directly responsible for the attack-- Bin Laden and the Taliban -- and will pursue them vigorously.

I'm not sure why the LLD believes it is America's obligation to include all Arab states as targets for retaliation. Egypt, Saudi Arabia etc. have not attacked the United States. Whatever terrorism they have sponsored has been against Israel, not America, and as I have noted the total casualties in Israel over the last 50 years have been trivial compared to the American ones this past September 11. America's obligation is to its 275 million citizens, not to the fewer than 6 million residents of Israel. And neither America, nor the world, owes any greater moral obligation to Israel than it does to the descendants of the other 50 million persons killed in World War II.


September 21, 2001.  The campaign to combat terrorism has been dubbed "Operation Infinite Justice."  Yes, "infinite," as in never-ending, everlasting, and eternal.

Well, maybe not that long.  Apparently, infinity has been discounted from forever to about three days.  According to today's New York Post, "the name of the war will be changed, out of concern that 'Operation Infinite Justice' might offend Muslims, who believe only Allah can grant infinite justice" (emphasis supplied).  Officials have not yet agreed upon a new name.  How about "Operation Just Enough Justice to Please Allah?"  And why not shroud the troops with veils and mount them on camels?

The first prayer of the ceremony for last week's Day of Remembrance and Prayer was offered by a Muslim cleric.   Naturally,  President Bush had a few more Imams on hand last night as he praised the "good and peaceful" teachings of Islam, and contrasted them with the "discarded lies" which fill "history's unmarked graves."

I'm all for tolerance and freedom of belief.   I also understand that the majority of American Muslims are harmless and law-abiding, and deserve protection from unprovoked attacks by their fellow citizens.  But it's another thing altogether for the leader of a secular state to make pronouncements as to the truth and goodness of Islam.  Like most  religions, it is a collection of false, delusional and arbitrary assertions regarding the need for humans to submit themselves to desires of an imaginary, all-powerful deity in order to be rewarded in a non-existent afterlife.   It was the hijackers' literal observance of that sort of belief that is responsible for last week's disaster.  And while Bush condemned the oppression of women, television censorship, and unreasonable beard-grooming rules, his implication that only Muslims of the Taliban and al Qaeda stripe now condone such practices is ludicrous.

That being said, as much as I tried, I could find little fault in the President's proposed course of action.   He's targeting bin Laden, his network, and the Taliban leadership -- those most directly responsible for the recent devastation.   I don't see what else he can do.  He didn't say anything, as the LLD suggests, about killing innocent Afghan civilians, and virtually no American would feel any vindication from that kind of spectacle.

And yes, we do need a "war on terrorism."  The LLD's idea that we should just withdraw from the world, lock our doors and hide in the basement is insanity.  First, so what if the American presence in the Middle East offends some deranged Muslim crackpots?  We have the right to pursue our business anywhere in the world.  Second, it is our mere existence, our way of life, that offends the fundamentalist Muslims, so retreating into our shell wouldn't prevent an eventual attack.  And what does LLD mean by saying that we could "further radicalize the nuts?"  Further?? Further??  They knocked down the fucking Twin Towers!  The logic reminds me of the scene in the movie Life of Brian where an old man who is about to be stoned for uttering the word "Jehovah" repeats it again, and is cautioned that "you are only making things worse for yourself."  His reply: "HOW could it be WORSE? Jehovah! Jehovah! Jehovah!"

Finally,  I don't see what purpose would have been served by naming Saddam by name in the speech, absent any stronger evidence than they've got -- the generalized threat against all terrorist-sponsoring states is sufficient for now.  And as for Yasser Arafat and the Palestinians, it's not clear to me what threat they pose to American lives.  Have they killed 6,000 Americans in the last 50 years? Or even 6,000 civilians?  Or even 6,000 people?




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