Office of the Independent Blogger

“Independent” in the same sense Ken Starr was. Meaning “not very independent, indeed.”

Spooky Shenanigans

What we need to prevent genocides is a Genocide Prevention Unit in the military, a “Peace Corps with guns.” Perhaps. I don’t oppose this. But in my view, the United Nations and NATO need a peace corps with guns. You see, if America had a “peace corps with guns” then anything done by this division would inevitably lead to charges of colonialism and accusations of conquest whenever America entered the Sudan, for instance. The Global Left and Isolationist Right would charge, like they would if we entered the Sudan, that there are nasty motives involved. Ultimately, the UN and or NATO need their own peacekeeping force with teeth. For anything that America does in this regard, there will be many who allege that there are spooky shenanigans going on.

Let me be the first to say that there were spooky shenanigans going on at Porter Goss’ CIA, and that is why he lost his job. Those spooky shenanigans include but aren’t limited to silent coups involving senior intelligence officials and general bumbling by Goss, along with a possible love for prostitutes. Time has the story, or at least it does involving the silent coup committed against Goss by the Bush White House and John Negroponte, and Newsweek writes, that the struggles will remain even with Goss gone. The talk is that Bush has allowed John Negroponte, the Contra loving Director of National Intelligence, to take over by cutting off the CIA’s power, and his Deputy will be installed at the CIA.

Sadly, the Bush White House has an intense animus toward the CIA because the CIA is said to have leaked a ton of material to show the world that Bush was a bumbler during the election campaign, and he took it personal. I wonder how the CIA is supposed to take it when a man attempts to circumvent the agency using the Pentagon and then by blaming them for the Administration’s analytical inaccuracies?

Turf wars, kids. They lead to spooky shenanigans, and that’s what we’re seeing here.


Entertainment and social media are not as good a mix as they are thought to be

The love for gaming consoles has turned into an obsession for kids of this age. The xbox contributes most to the madness. You can find kids on their cozy sofas with their wireless xbox remote controller in hands and shouting and yelling while playing mutiplayer, in the summer holidays. Their was a time when summer holidays were meant to pay a visit to granny's home but thanks to gaming consoles not anymore.

What has made xbox more addictive is the online connectivity with a large pool of gaming enthusiasts via xbox live and the availability of free xbox live codes on internet makes the effort not too demanding.

Moreover, its not just other guys with similar interests online that keeps the children (even adults) busy but with more and more features being bundled in the gaming gadget, people can even be connected to their social media accounts, obviously when they are mot playing call of duty. Their are so many things to waste time afterall and social media platforms stand second to none. The craze for more instagram followers provokes students to do bizzare things these days. I have seen 15 year old ones standing on the edge of a rooftop for a selfie that could potentially get them a few more instagram followers and can also potentially physically disable them.

Are these materialistic objects really worth risking your real interests like health and family? Do give a thought. This is where our education is failing and the modernization seems to take us a step back.

An Unequivocal Notion

The headline to this article is one of the stupidest ones I’ve seen since “Dewey Defeats Truman.” What is it? “Sudan, rebels agree to deal ending strife in Darfur: Diplomats note pact only small first step toward bringing peace to troubled region.” Incredible. It ends the “strife,” but doesn’t. Excellent word choice, but not.

In 2003, this whole crisis began. 180,000 dead innocents and two million refugees later, the Sudan claims that it’s ready to truly end the war against its own people. Not only that, but they say that they’re open to the deployment of US troops. Places that have been ravaged by civil war shouldn’t be allowed to make demands over whether or not peacekeepers can be deployed there. It should be mandatory that, upon signing on as a member of the United Nations, you concede that in the event of a civil war peacekeepers will be allowed in your country.

There are membership fees to joining every club. There’s no reason that the UN shouldn’t be able to make its own demands of members. To get into College, you need a certain GPA at each university. Why should the United Nations be different for countries? Sure, they pay their dues. But their should be other requirements, too, requirements that will get you booted from the club if you don’t meet them. Like don’t kill your own citizens or, if you feel that you must, that peacekeepers be allowed, no ifs ands or buts about it.

Regardless of that, I’m not convinced that peace is coming. I’m not convinced at all, and this article backs me in its cynicism. The Sudanese government is a totalitarian tour de force, which flaunts the United Nations, supports terrorism and kills its citizens willy nilly. I don’t expect them to keep their end of the bargain because they don’t have an incentive to. America isn’t willing to do anything about it, and neither is the UN.

All that America has done is equivocate about the International Criminal Court and the “lack of soldiers available” due to Iraq, both equivocations being utterly and absolutely off the mark. The United Nations has equivocated over whether or not a genocide was occurring and then took a wishy washy response to the aftermath — a cheap, pathetic act of equivocation that is still going on and will continue to cost lives. Let’s assume, for a moment, that the Sudanese do stop killing each other. They’re still going to be starving, because the UN can’t get its members, aside from America and Italy, to give a damn. It’s pathetic, and it’s wrong.

How’s that for an unequivocal notion?

Bodies Hit The Floor

This morning, Fred Barnes writes that George Bush is a “politician, not an ideologue,” and then writes that, “This explains why Bush sometimes does things that aren’t conservative. He does so to survive and, if all goes well, to prosper politically. Or he does so because he actually favors some nonconservative policy or position.” I’d say that, with Bush, it’s the latter, as if he’s really operating to survive politically, he’s doing a heckuva job. It’s worth keeping in mind that Barnes has also said George Bush is a “rebel,” and so Barnes doesn’t quite have it all figured out.

Bush is a political hack of hungry shark evolution game more than anything else, and certainly moreso than he is an ideologue. When Joe Lieberman introduced the Department of Homeland Security, it was clear to the White House that it was a bad idea, and I thought so too. They fought it for months, but the idea became popular in the court of public opinion, and Bush said, “Oh, oh, it’s my idea, after all.” It’s not the first time he’s been caught flip-flopping, but it’s the perfect example of Bush’s refusal to be politically brave. It’s even a further example of his moral cowardice when it comes to dealing with issues. He’s afraid to confront his base. When Paul O’Neill wanted to reform corporate law for the better, Bush told him to go ahead. After “his base” bombarded the White House with letters from CEOs complaining that they can’t be bothered to follow the current laws, let alone tougher laws, Bush decided that the campaign coffers were more important than sound policy.

Much like Bush has decided that the financial well-being of his friends in the pollution industry need him to sacrifice the environment for that end, and he can’t ever bring himself to say no. Bush says no to everything except withdrawal from Iraq, and even when it comes to Iraq he can’t be trusted — his refusal to abandon poor policy in the form of Donald Rumsfeld is proof of that. Maybe he just thinks that he’s following along with the in-crowd, since it seems like the entire GOP is running on empty. Take Bill Frist as an example. The cat-killing charisma-draining Senator from Tennessee proposed we give Americans a 100-dollar itunes card rebate for gasoline.

How absurd. And it’s Socialism at its worst: wasteful and impractical.

Reports are out that Ken Mehlman, GOP Chair, is warning of disastrous consequences for impotent legislators in Congress if they continue doing nothing about illegal immigration. Unfortunately for the country, not to mention the vaunted Republican majority, building a Berlin Wall and making it illegal to “help” an illegal immigrant (read: do anything from selling him food to giving it, or talking to him) isn’t going to be the answer that saves their Party from drowning in the Rio Grande called the Mid-Term Elections.

Porter Goss’ tenure at the CIA was marked by turmoil and in-fighting. That is what happens when you enter the job and your first move is to fire established Spooks.

Porter Goss, Bill Frist, George Bush — they’re all hitting the floor and fast.

Bush’s Goss is Cooked

CIA Director Porter Goss has resigned as the CIA Director. There is speculation that it’s because he’s involved in a prostitution scandal, and additional in-fighting with other Bush appointees. My speculation is less convoluted: as he himself once said, he just wasn’t qualified.

CIA Director is the most important job in Washington aside from President and Presidential Chief of Staff, and here’s to hoping that Bush doesn’t cross the Porter-line again. Qualifications matter, particularly when you’re advising a man who needs the best advice he can get, and they matter moreso when you’re replacing a hack. If you are online shopping lover then use our online amazon gift card generator tool and see magic.

Energetic Politics

Leading up to World War II, the Empire of Japan pretended to be in pursuit of diplomatic relations with the United States. The Empire had representatives in Washington at the time of the Pearl Harbor attack who were intended to keep the Administration offguard. It was a military maneuver in what they believed the best interest of the Japanese nation, and it worked. Could Saudi Arabia be feeling not just the United States but the entire world, not with their intentions regarding war and peace but about their oil output? The Globalist urges that we re-assess the claims of petroleum peddlers, and it’s a particularly stirring article. It definitely asks valid questions, and makes you wonder why the petrol pimps in the President’s party don’t decide that the addiction to oil must be broken.

But then you remember that they’re petroleum pimps, and the question comes full circle.

Energetic countries need energy, and America, being a vital nation, needs electricity to pump its motor. Or is that oil? Brazil does it with sugar ethanol, but then again, they don’t have petroleum pimps and negligent mothers leading their country, or at least that’s the paraphrased point made most recently by Thomas Friedman, which led him to ask if a third party could solve the oil crisis. Surely it could draw much needed attention to it, with a serious candidate, but third parties aren’t fit to govern. That counts Ross Perot, as well.

In Massachussetts, there is a wind farm being proposed. Wealthy businessmen see it as a threat for one reason or another (perhaps they think it’ll harness too much wind for them to be able to ever go wind-surfing again?) and they’re trying to kill it. Their closest, strongest ally? Ted Kennedy. A shame when an energy proposal gets brought down by a Democrat, but he knows all about fighting energy proposals: he helped kill Carter’s proposals in the late seventies, after all.

Deadpan Policy Plans

Joe Biden has a plan for Iraq. It is, simply put, a completely counter productive and absurd proposition. Biden’s plan is to divide the country into three regions, one for the Shiites, the Sunnis and the Kurds. He proposes that each have its own military but that they all fall together under the jurisdiction of the federal Iraqi government. If the anti-war critics greatest argument today about the Iraq War is that it’s caused, or will cause, a Civil War, this is senseless remedy to that, increasing the prospect of War tenfold. But that’s not all that’s wrong with it, and I’ll let Dennis Byrne take it from here.

Biden pops up with this lunacy just as Norui al-Maliki, Iraqi’s new prime Minister is trying to put together a cabinet under a three-week deadline and form the long-sought unity government. Biden’s timing couldn’t have been more self-serving or destructive. Everything Biden does is self-serving, so no need to dwell on that. As for destructive: the Bush administration long has been pressuring Iraqi factions to work better together. Their joint decision now to replace an inept prime minister with al-Malik is a major milestone on the road to Iraqi independence and self-government, an accomplishment surely as significant as crafting its new constitution and holding successful elections.

This step toward overcoming centuries of hatred and bloody warfare apparently isn’t all that stunning for Biden, whose op-ed virtually ignored this accomplishment. Nor is it newsworthy for the American media, which suffered the indignity of having to mention it at all. Constitution, elections, unified government; skeptical politicians and media said none of it would happen. And after each happened, they quickly moved on to find the next thing “that’ll never happen.” For the Iraqis, this process requires huge gulps of pride, self-sacrifice and an admirable tolerance for danger. Every Iraqi participating in this process risks getting his throat cut. So, along comes Biden’s wrench in the works, as if just another form of American abandonment of Iraq is a serious and credible alternative. Iraqi unifiers now can only wonder if America will betray them.

Here’s hoping that they pay less attention to Biden then does our fawning media. […] [W]hat a proposal. Of course, it includes the threadbare progressive formula to “convene a regional conference,” so that everyone can to agree to “respect” Iraq’s borders. Be sure to pick up your Hello nametags at the registration desk and get to know your neighbors at this evening’s meet-and-greet. What is it with liberals that they see themselves as global event planners who believe that “if only” we can get Iran, Syria and other belligerents to “sit down together,” we can “work out our differences.” Okay, that’s just a small part of his proposal, which essentially would take apart a country that the Iraqis are trying to put together. Biden says it will work, just like it did in Bosnia.

Aside from Iraq not being Bosnia, the plan has a few flaws. Consider: He says Kurdish, Sunni and Shiite regions would be responsible for their internal affairs and each have their own “internal security,” i.e. army, I guess. Baghdad would become a “federal zone, while densely populated areas of mixed populations would receive both multisectarian and international police protection.” That’s such a fine solution, why doesn’t he propose it for, say, Jerusalem as well.

Actually, the idea of a federal zone, protected by an international force, sounds familiar: It’s what we’re already doing in larger Iraq, Joe. Or trying to do, but pretty much by ourselves, not that we haven’t asked for some help. So, what are we supposed to believe–that we could get a truly international armed presence to police violent Baghdad, any more successfully than we’ve been able to get a truly international force to protect the more peaceful hinterland? What do you suppose France will say when Biden comes knocking for 20,000 grenadiers to patrol Sadr City? If Bush’s strategy is fanciful, Biden’s is absurd.

Of course, I concur with the article. I thought Biden’s idea to be ridiculous, and filled with the logical holes that I abhorr. Logical holes, however, seem to be in abundance in recent days as sensical yarn seems to be out of stock at the local conventional wisdom stores. Ed Koch writes today that we should prepare for Iran. By getting out of Iraq.

Maybe I’m mistaken, but if there’s ever to be a war with the Iranians, it’s helpful for military purposes to be right next door to the Iranians. Does Koch expect a war to be waged against Iran using only air strikes? Perhaps he thinks we should strike the Iranians with nuclear weapons and let God sort them out. I don’t buy either case, much like I’m not a proponent of pre-emptively striking Iran. But if we’re going to “prepare” for Iran, then the first step is to stay in Iraq. Maybe Mr. Koch doesn’t remember the concept of “deterrence,” but it’s less likely, not more likely, that Iran won’t strike Israel if they know that retaliation is right around the corner. “Retaliation around the corner” means being in Iraq. It’s one of the many reasons to stay in Iraq.

If Biden’s plan is fanciful and Koch’s absurd, then USA Today’s is naive and blaise. The plan for Iran? A non-aggression treaty with Iran, in exchange for a no-nuclear weapons pledge from the Mullahs. Because that’s worked so well before.

Ultimately, I think containment and deterrence are the answers, although war shouldn’t be ruled out. “Containment” and “deterrence” don’t mean promising not to attack the Iranians or leaving their neighborhood lest they shoot at our soldiers. It means containing them with our army and deterring with it, too. Do Biden, Koch and Today take their own ideas seriously? If they were comedians, they’d be joking about their plans with a deadpan expression. As it stands, they’re completely serious, and that’s a tad disheartening.

Now, tangentially, let me direct you to this piece about Al Gore’s resurrection. I think there’s a Plan amongst some in the media to do everything they can to urge Gore to run again. If there isn’t, then by all means, read it to see the Al Gore plan to save the world from environmental ruin.

Logical Holes

Fred Phelps is the notorious right-wing nutjob who leads a movement that can be called the “God Hates” movement. Essentially, Phelps finds things he finds unpleasant morally, decides that certain people or nations approve of it, and declares that God hates them. Originally, he made a name for himself chanting “God hates fags” but since, he’s made a name for himself chanting “God hates fags” at the funerals of dead solders from Iraq. You see, his logic is that, because the military doesn’t round homosexuals up, soldiers deserve to die. Recently, some states have passed laws curbing these people from being able to protest at cemetaries and funerals, and now, the ACLU is joining the fight. On behalf of Fred Phelps.

I’m not a Civil Liberties absolutist, nor am I a strict constructionist of the Constitution. One of the things that I find quite ironic about absolutists and civil libertarians is the hole in their logic and an obvious lack of intellectual honesty. Let’s look at those who argue that the First Amendment is absolute and freedom of speech complete, those who would take their lawyers into court to argue that Fred Phelps should have the right to assail dead soldiers at their funerals because the First Amendment says so. These are the same people who would stretch the Constitution beyond its literal text in regard to things like, oh, the right to privacy. Don’t get me wrong — I am a supporter of Griswold. I just believe that none of the Amendments should be taken to their literal extreme. I guess that makes me more like David Souter than Ruth Bader Ginsburg or Robert Bork, and that’s fine by me.

Iran sent a message to rest of the world today, and it was clear, unequivocal and ridiculous, per usual. “America attacks Iran, and we will attack Israel.” From that, a quick question must be asked. What if Germany attacks Iran, would the Iranians then attack Israel and blame the violence on the Germans? Because that would be ironic and absurd rather than just absurd. It would be ironic because, regardless of who attacks them, it appears that the Iranians are intent on committing the Holocaust they deny ever happened.

A half-century year old woman is being deployed to Iraq to fight the War. It might just be a mistake to send a woman on the verge of retiring from the military to Iraq, but who am I to second-guess the decisions of the Donald (Rumsfeld)? For that matter, is it really in my place to criticize the Supreme Court for not only hearing Anna Nicole Smith’s money-grubbing appeal and ruling in her favor while ignoring plenty of valid cases? Maybe there’s a hole in my logical thought process, but I don’t think real cases should be turned down for this.

Unless David Suiter thinks he suits her and wants to use the Court to court her, then that suits me just swell! Actually, it doesn’t. The Supreme Court dropped the ball in taking this case instead of a different one. End of story.

Rushin’ Toward Reality

If history is our guide, the Russian nation will forever gather all the information it needs to make a decision only to make the wrong one. Sometimes it seems that the Russian nation is destined to be known for making the wrong decisions, like a geopolitical Inspector Clouseau. When presented with the end of Czar rule, they turned to the Bolsheviks. When presented with an end to Soviet Dictatorship, they turned to Boris Yeltsin. Deciding that Democracy and a form of capitalism weren’t good enough, they turned to a dictatorship again (in Vladimir Putin) and love it.

Now, faced with significant American aid to their economy, along with a sitting American government known for its love of the Russian state and admiration for its present leadership, they begin fearing “the West” (read: America) and thinking up a million reasons not to trust America. Russia’s always been an odd state with the character of a mutt, always searching for new territory to mark but backing away when another dog growls. When their leadership isn’t a barking dog, it’s a bear. When that bear hibernates for good, there’s always a badger lying around somewhere pretending that Communist Dictatorship is dead but bringing it back to power.

For years, the Russian state has rushed to do everything it can to court troublemakers and coddle dictators, whether that meant providing them air defense systems or assisting them in preparing for War with America. Now Russia talks of a “Values Gap” between the United States and the Russians. In a sense, he’s right and he’s wrong. There doesn’t appear to be much of a values gap between Putin and Bush, who both love fishing, guns and domestic spying. On the other hand, America isn’t a nasty Dictatorship. It all evens out.

Russians aren’t just happy to engage Iran and Iran under the cover of darkness and on soft sweet beds in Switzerland. They love the Chinese dictatorship. Whoever told you that opposites attract was lying, son. We can look to the nature of Iraq, China and Russia — the unsavory threesome that constitute the world’s greatest roadblock to international cooperation and the spread of human rights — to see that the eyes of a dictator rest best alongside gators.

Despite the Russian rush to hold hands with those who’d do Americans harm, George Bush spoke to Vladimir Putin today on the telephone about the need to prevent the Iranians from gaining nuclear weapons, among other things. Afterward, the Press Secretary told reporters that the two leaders are “united” in their goal of preventing Tehran from going nuclear. Keeping negotiations going is one thing, and to that end, it’s fair enough to temper one’s criticism of another nation in public. But what the Bush White House is doing and has done with Russia by refusing to be critical or acknowledge that they’re an impediment to the world’s security makes me think that, someday, George Bush will declare that he did not have sexual relations with that Dictator.

Until, of course, the Iranians show the world the blue dress, taken from Vladimir Putin’s closet, of course.

Perhaps I’m rushin’ to conclusions on Russia, but I find their political leadership and sense of politics to be backward, frankly. And the facts support that. A nation that goes from dictatorship to a reasonably liberal democracy to a dictatorship isn’t moving forward. A nation that refuses to support the free world against a third world theocracy hellbent on gaining nuclear weapons, joins the worst nations on Earth in supplanting American, English and French efforts wherever they appear, is not our friend. It’s too bad that Bush loves Putin more than reality, and would rather get soft than tough.

Lonely Editors and Famous People

Headlines in the newspaper don’t typically make me laugh. But I’ve gotta admit, the Chicago Sun-Times’ article, “Tony’s New Job? That’s Snow Biz!” made me smile. It’s a good piece, and it gets it right on why Snow is a good choice to be the Press Secretary.

Time magazine today let loose its list of a hundred influential Americans, and in several cases allowed guest writers to pen the profile. In some cases, like with Sandra Day O’Connor writing about John Roberts, it’s cute and fits. In others, like the fellating of John McCain by one Ralph Nader, it isn’t quite as fitting. To be pithy: McCain loves war, supports Bush, and is Conservative on everything except his stance on the regulation of automobiles and campaign finance reform. Because of the last two, Nader loves him.

This is akin to a vegetarian Frenchmen calling Hitler a good man because he happened to be nice to his dog and didn’t eat meat.

George Bush’s profile is here, and there’s one on Al Gore here. Tell you the truth, Gore’s piece annoyed me because it focused so much on the fact that George H.W. Bush used to call Gore “Ozone Man” instead of writing about the fact that, oh, Al Gore is doing big things. The article I found myself most looking forward to reading was about Ehud Olmert, the Prime Minister of Israel. Alas, his piece is nothing special. Angela Merkel’s is nice enough, and I’m glad to see that she’s successful.

I’ve been critical of Time in the past. My relationship with the magazine soured a couple years ago when they ran a cover of Ann Coulter and also a big piece on her. I was quite annoyed by it because there didn’t seem to be a single reason to have run it and, frankly, the piece seemed to be made to blow smoke up her notoriously short skirt. After thinking it over, I decided that someone on their editorial board had a desire to date the dottering dunderhead. Ever since, the magazine has bothered me, and today, with their list of influential people, they sure made it up to me by counting the Dixie Chicks, all three of them as one person (perhaps they decided to combine their IQs?) in their 100 list. It’s not 2003 anymore, and there’s no reason to have counted them. Aside from, perhaps, a lonely Editor?

Dinner Sets the Tone

Briefly, I apologize for the lack of posts yesterday and if you’ve had any problems with the page loading. The site’s undergoing some maintenance, but will be okay soon. To business!

Saturday night was the White House correspondent’s dinner, the annual event where the press throws a party for itself and the President is expected to make jokes about himself before someone else gets to make jokes about them. The dinner has a delightful history of offending the President, something which happened as recently as the Clinton years when Don Imus devoted an hour to making jokes about the President’s wife. The next year, Al Franken quipped, “Here’s my impersonation of Don Imus at FDR’s dinner: ‘For those of you listening on the radio, the President is a cripple.’” Last night was Stephen Colbert’s chance to call the President a cripple, and he sure ran with it. Among his jokes were these gems: ” I believe that the government that governs best is a government that governs least, and by these standards we have set up a fabulous government in Iraq.”

Truth be told, I saw the comedic value of most of his jokes except that one. I thought that was a classless joke, and from what I can tell, it seems to have been the one to offend Bush most, hopefully for the same reason it bothered me. You see, when the country’s at war, I want the country to win. And when the military is rebuilding a nation that has been devastated by war, I want the military to succeed. When a country is made better off, and children now have schools, and people now don’t worry about being gassed by their government, I want that to be praised, not ignored or belittled as too little — as nothing.

I thought Colbert’s jokes were good, and I especially enjoyed the wisecracks about the Valerie Plame affair. That is something worthy of satirical jabs, like it would be if Bush were caught drinking vodka out of a coffee mug in a meeting with the Swiss Ambassador. But Colbert cracked jokes about reality, such as this one which came after advising the President to ignore his low poll numbers after saying they were based on reality, adding, “reality has a well-known liberal bias.” Sadly, there’s no “reality basis” in Iraq’s case, because Iraq is a mess, and we should pull out with our M-16s between our legs because we’re fueling terrorism and we’ve turned Iraq into but a shell of its former great self.

Bush’s comedic input last night was restricted to talking with a stage double. At least it wasn’t Laura Bush’s “my husband masturbates horses because he’s dumb” routine from last year. I thought last year’s event was symbolic for the haplessness of the President’s situation, since no properly-functioning White House would allow the First Lady to tell an audience that her husband masturbates horses, even in jest. This year’s correspondent’s dinner was representative of the fact that the Presidency is occupied by a man with less political capital than Jimmy Carter in his darkest days. Could you imagine someone cracking these jokes about Iraq two years ago, three — last year, even? — to Bush’s face? Or can you see someone telling Bush that they’re ashamed of him and his leadership? Bush’s influence is at its lowest ebb, and that is probably the most meaningful thing to be seen last night.

Beatnik Politicians

Karl Rove is very concerned over Patrick Fitzgerald’s investigation and is sweating himself to sleep thinking about the indictment that some say is coming his way. Not only does he have Patrick Fitzgerald fogging his thoughts at night, he lacks the clarity that a handful of Congressmen have. These Congressmen are under scrutiny for taking bribes and hookers with good old Duke Cunningham. Rove’s worry is due to the uncertainty of his situation: “Will I be indicted and for what? Leaking the name? Perjury?” The Congressmen, on the other hand, have more knowledge about their predicament, and at least they don’t have to keep themselves up at night worrying about what they’ll be charged with, as they know full well that the utilization of prostitutes is not a provision of the Franking Privilege!

As I was writing this and reflecting on these scandals, I thought about the type of abuses that these men were guilty of. Rove’s abuse of power is linked to the inherent need to survive — the White House believed Ambassador Joe Wilson was a threat to their reign, and they did what all aspiring Monarchs do and went after his family, outing his wife. The Congressmen with the prostitutes and bribes, represented by Duke Cunningham, are linked to the ancient need to get as much of everything as you can — or, in other words, to greed. But I recently read On The Road, the famous Jack Kerouac novel, and it amused me how many politicians are, well, beatniks at heart.

In the novel, there’s a famous scene where Sal and Dean are conversing, and Dean says, “Sal, we gotta go and never stop going till we get there.” “Where we going, man?” comes the reply, followed by, “I don’t know but we gotta go.” To me, that’s the characterization of the Bush Administration, especially. People have, in the past, talked about Bush having a vision and an agenda (if you recall, Time made Bush its “Man of the Year” by writing about his “Ten Gallon Hat style of leadership”), but that’s nonsense. The fact is that this is the most disorganized White House in modern history.

On Iraq, they entered the War with a rush that would make Jack Kerouac blush, and Allen Ginsberg cry. Isn’t it easy to imagine the Neoconservatives in the White House saying, “We gotta go, man” and the Pentagon saying, “Where we going?” to be met by an anxious, grinning Rumsfeld: “I don’t know, man, Iraq or something. Bring the minimum. There should be a welcome parade somewhere!” Or how about Economics. “We’ve gotta lower taxes, man.” “On what?” “I don’t know, man, we’ve just gotta put those suckers down!” There’s a lackadaisacal, act-on-impulse approach to government illustrated in the Bush White House. The approach is even evident in Bush’s approach to the 2000 campaign, a campaign he entered to reclaim the family’s honor, with no other real focus or reason. His campaign was a sham of buzzwords in ways that would make George Orwell blush.

This brings us to the 2008 elections in which Hillary Clinton is hailed as the frontrunner by consensus among the pundits, and everyone else should either shut up or understand that they’re merely there for amusement. In regard to this, people have to ask what does Hillary stand for? Surely on the Right there’ll be the obvious “Nothing” or “Liberal excesses of the 1960s,” if they’re feeling feisty. And on the Left, there’ll be “Iraq” and perhaps anger over the 1990s from the Nader Left. These things aside, what does she strive for — what would she do if she came to power?

It seems, in its own way, that Clinton considers herself worthy of the throne because her husband sat in it. She hasn’t unveiled any policies as a Senator, nor has she ever been particularly vocal about her beliefs, since her advisors have told her to be “shrewd,” “stay low” and only throw symbolic scraps to the Left and the Right on abortion, Iraq and every issue under the sun and moon. This cautious approach to running for President is the thing that will ultimately cost her, and the talk of Al Gore being the man at the toll booth on the electoral superhighway is increasing.

Al Gore is a man who is crusading for his true love, the environment, with a zest that would make Romeo blush, and he hasn’t been the least bit “calculating” with regard to his opinions: on Iraq, the Patriot Act, the Congress’ pitiful refusal to confront Bush, Gore has been open about his views. It’s why the Beatnik Politicians currently in the White House and those being hailed as the second coming of Ghandi are in trouble.

Living in the Arid Zone Of

A brief note: this is a bit of poetry I wrote about John McCain and Barry Goldwater. Who says political commentary can’t rhyme?

Living in the Arid Zone Of

John McCain of Arizona
Lives in the Arid Zone of
Barry Goldwater’s Shadow
A place that glows like El Dorado
But all that glitters isn’t gold
And this space is bright and green
I’ve never heard it told
That McCain’s a weapon’s dream

People seem to be forgetting
The legacy they’d be getting
If they insisted on electing
The Senator from Arizona
Who lives in the Arid Zone of
Barry Goldwater’s Shadow,
A place called “Bald Bravado”

Some whisper that he’s mad
Driven so by the Vietcong
I say it cause he’s never had
A reason not to bomb
On Iraq — let us attack
On Iran — let flights run
On Kosovo — if it’s Clinton, No
On China — just give it time, duh

Years before Bush proposed invading
John beat the War Drums
His calls for War predating
Even the new Millennium
This is a Moderate Hawk?
He’s a man who can not talk
Without taking a Swipe
At Apples just not Ripe
For invading

McCain wants the form of Campaign Finance
I guess it’s from Saints that he’s Financed
John doesn’t know Jack! (Abramoff) (he does)
He only takes the Dollars of
“Good lobbyists” — at least he claims a nice stance!

Oh McCain — the man’s Untainted
What a way he’s been painted
By those with no need for acquaintance
With facts, who needs those
When a Senator is Sainted

McCain’s men so excel at Public Relations
That if his aides had been Stationed
In the Arid Zone of
Barry Goldwater’s 1964 Arizona
This would be a different nation

If you watch the Senate close
You might see Goldwater’s ghost
It’s over McCain that he hovers
Laughing at what the Media don’t cover

The subject of Goldwater’s Revenge
Is scarier than Stonehenge
But it’s hard to hear that story
When the press finds Itself adoring
The man from the Arid Zone of
Barry Goldwater’s Arizona

Goldwater called for us to Saw Off the Coast
If McCain said it, there’d be many toasts
To his wonderful charm
Because what’s the harm
In giving a ride to Goldwater’s ghost

McCain is a leader!
But I see him as addled
You see, my dear reader
Goldwater’s truly in the saddle

And Barry Goldwater never looked this good
Because Goldwater didn’t have a fawning press
And Goldwater never looked this good
While setting out to make a mess

To Those Whose Faith in God is Skewed

There is a

The Bush White House won’t take any action over petty differences with the rest of the world over whether or not the Sudanese war criminals should be charged by the International Criminal Court. The United Nations won’t do anything because they don’t have the ability or the nerve. Europe, a continent that might as well be incontinent for all the testicular fortitude it displays to the rest of the world, simply lacks the nerve. Were this not a real tragedy, this type of farce could be a Shakespearean tragedy. Since it isn’t, it’s a peace keeper’s worst nightmare and a child’s haunting ghost.

Today, the storyline became twisted to a point that ties the mind and tortures the conscience. The United Nations had to cut food aid to the Sudan because the rest of the world is stingy. Yes, the United Nations stopped giving food to the Sudan because the rest of the world wasn’t paying its fair share into the fund set up for that purpose. The United States had, as if in an attempt to make some form of apology for its pathetic, petty response to the crisis, giving 188 million dollars to the goal of keeping human beings from starving to death after being savaged to death. In Europe, the only major country to make a contribution was Italy, giving up over a million dollars. France and Britain, the Germans? Silent. Silence is a business that the world is making a killing on.

The lingering silence in Europe, the refusal of the Bush Administration to intervene — these are sounds that combine to make a sad, sorry symphony worthy of Rwanda, of the Holocaust, of every sick nightmare you could ever wish to have never existed, and in whose victims names’ you’d swear that you’d never allow it again. The German mantra in the era after the Holocause being “Never Again,” the American President’s promise being “Not On My Watch,” the Reality of the Situation being the antithesis of their word and of everything good and moral.

To break the silence, five Congressman staged a protest today and found themselves in handcuffs as a result. The worst thing, however, might just be that there are no handcuffs for those whose faith in God is so skewed as to allow hell to burn without giving those innocents caught in its fire so much as a prayer.

Don’t (Blank), Be (Blank)

John Kerry wants to be the President, and the articles urging him not to run are starting again, as are the attacks on his beliefs and priorities. I won’t lie or equivocate — I do not want John Kerry to run for President, and I’m sure he won’t win. Beyond that, Kerry’s a link to the past, and in terms of electoral politics, no more. He’s the same man he was in 2004 — the same man who appears wishy washy, calculating and fickle. As a man, Kerry’s decent and honorable, but he’s weak on the stump and aloof. Campaigning in Massachussetts isn’t the same as running for President, and losing the Presidency isn’t the same as winning. In today’s day, you only get one shot unless someone rescues you by making you their Vice President (or if you win the Popular Vote). Kerry doesn’t have the latter and can’t count on the former.

John Kerry, in 2008, is set to play two roles: a supporting actor in a major film, who can do a ton of good behind the scenes, or he’ll be a liabilty, dragging the Party in a Kerry-centric direction because that’s what Bob Shrum advises him to do. Don’t run, Senator — be a supporting actor. John Kerry isn’t Morgan Freeman — he’s Wesley Snipes.

“Don’t Hate, Be Taxxy” is Michael Kinsley’s message about oil companies, and it’s quite the message. Giving it a read, it’s hard to dispute the idea that raising taxes on that industry would be beneficial to the country at large.

Don’t Spin, Be Informative seems to be new White House Press Secretary Tony Snow’s view on the Press Secretary’s job, and he’s set to bring an informative, independent act before the Press Corpse every morning. Now, to shift focus a bit from one Secretary to a predecessor: Ari Fleischer, the former Press Secretary, is out advising Tony Snow: “Don’t Inform, Be Spinny.”

Actually, in reading Fleischer’s account on the Press Secretary position, I cringe a tad. His account is one of how the television camera has led to a decline in the quality of press briefings, and he writes about the combative nature of the modern press secretary position. My first thought? “And this is what some people want to bring to the Supreme Court?” The second: the press corpse and the White House need to wake up and understand that their jobs are to request information and supply it, respectively, or deny it. It isn’t to assault each other. That’s why God gave us editorials. And blogs.

Don’t Praise, Be Critical. What’s that mean? Rolling Stone has a piece, “The Worst President in History?” that’s worthy of a read. As is this rebuttal.

For my money, “Worst President Ever” is a relative matter that can’t be decided by any one person and it’s up to us all to decide who that one is for us. I don’t buy into the “Buchanan is the worst!” talk, and the man I lean toward — Warren Harding — had a handful of major successes in foreign policy, followed by millions of failures. It all depends on what you’re looking at.

The Credit Card Congress

The fine art of pork-barrel spending is not only alive and well in today’s Washington but also being taken to great new heights by the Senators from Mississippi. Essentially, they want seven hundred million dollars to move a few train tracks a couple of miles north. It’s the largest earmark in history, and that about says it all.

In other financial Congressional news, Arlen Specter is threatening to cut funding for the NSA’s wiretapping program. Maybe Specter should take the initiative on pork-barrel spending and tell his fellow Senators that he’ll introduce expulsion motions against those who support such extravagent pork as the one mentioned earlier?

I’m surprised no one in the Congress has ever asked to expel a Congressman for spending. Such an attempt wouldn’t succeed, but it would bring attention to the issue from the public and it would lead to embarrassment for those like Ted Stevens and Trent Lott. I’m going to write my Senators and recommend this, as the fear of the public has to be instilled into the Credit Card Congress before they bankrupt us all.