Sine Qua Non Pundit

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Friday, June 21, 2002


I was wondering when someone would get around to linking the activities of the the various factions out to destroy Israel with the Assassins of ancient times. There are a lot of parallels. Lileks hits on one of them today. And the rest is pretty damn good as well, but you knew that.

DOWNDATE: Martin Devon noted that Steven Den Beste had in fact wrote about this 5 weeks ago.


Too Late

According to the Washington Post:

Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat is prepared to accept a Mideast peace plan put forward by then-U.S. President Bill Clinton in December 2000

There are so many, many movie references one can make for this turn of events.

So the blood of how many Israelis and Palestinians is on Arafat's hands for not accepting this 2 years ago? I know, I know, it's on his hands anyway -- but this makes it absolutely clear that he cannot shed the responsibility for it any longer.


Secret Carnivore

Mac Thomason over at War Liberal linked to this story:

A WCS scientist working in southeastern Tanzania has rediscovered a carnivore that has remained undetected for the last 70 years. Photographed by a camera trap on the eastern side of Udzungwa Mountain National Park, the Lowe's servaline genet - a three-foot-long relative of the mongoose family - was previously known only from a single skin collected in 1932.

Considering N.Z. Bear has me listed as a large mammal playing hard to get, he could have just linked to me instead.


What the Hell is Wrong With These People?

I hope the FBI and NSA are snooping the Internet. I've been hit with the following Google queries today:

josh wolf jewish soccer world cup

bed cobi jones

Brad friedel's wife

Brad Friedel Jew

Jeez! Who knew the World Cup was part of ZOG's plan?


The Scourge of Richard Cohen, Vol. XXXIV

(Ed. -- The following is a bit of mean spiritedness that will be an on-going feature of this blog. Normally the author will endeavor to be reasonably fair, but this is an exception.)

Short and bitter. Even when Richard is really trying to be a decent human being, he struggles pulling it off in Window on the Enemy:

Some years ago, commenting on the trial of William Kennedy Smith, I wrote a column urging newspapers to lift their ban on revealing the names of rape victims. As is often the case, a TV show called -- would I come on to discuss the issue? Yes, I said, but only under one condition: I would not debate a rape victim.

This really bugs me. Richard seems to be – strike that -- is a bit of a coward and lacks the courage of his intellectual convictions. I don’t know what the rationale for naming rape victims is, although I’m willing to admit that perhaps there is some cosmic rationale for doing so. But typically, Richard cannot justify his preferred action. I would lean strongly towards protecting the innocent victims because of the psychological scars of rape. Why should these women who have been made victims against their will be further subjected to any comments, stares, or rumors by uninformed or stupid people, just so Richard can have satisfaction about a journalistic principle?

In somewhat the same vein, it is with the greatest reluctance that I take issue with Judea Pearl, the father of Daniel Pearl, the reporter for the Wall Street Journal who was lured to his death this year in Pakistan. A video of his murder is now available on the Internet.

I’m struggling with the analogy Richard is trying to draw. Even I am not mean spirited enough to actually write what I’m thinking right now.

I cannot recommend it.

So bold.

I will not even tell you where it can be found, although it is easy enough to locate. It is a gruesome piece of footage, and it is understandable that Mr. Pearl would protest its circulation. He did precisely that in a New York Times op-ed article. It is an unemotional essay and makes no plea for special consideration for the Pearl family. Nonetheless, it breaks your heart.

Is Richard implying that Judea Pearl’s request for “censorship” of the exploitation of his son’s murder is somehow not right, even if it does break his heart? Is it only being protested because it is gruesome? After all, by Richard’s own admission, there is no special consideration asked for the Pearl family in this request.

Ironically, it was that article that piqued my curiosity -- that and the suggestion of a colleague that I view the video.

This seems like a sick variant of blaming the victim. If only Judea Pearl hadn’t written so eloquently to censor this gruesome videotape, Richard never would have watched it.

I did so with trepidation, and I will tell you that, last night, when someone asked me what I would write about today, the images of the murdered Pearl came back to me. I am pretty good at denial. Last night, my gift failed me.

I just cannot summon the will to be humorous, despite Richard’s target rich environment.

Maybe that's because I, too, am a journalist who has traveled in the Islamic world. Maybe that's because I, too, am Jewish -- and Pearl was made to say that he was a Jew, that his parents were Jewish and that he has familial connections with Israel. This, clearly, was by way of explaining to the audience why he was about to be murdered. Shots of him are intercut with scenes of the intifada. We see violence in the West Bank. We see Ariel Sharon.

We see the severed head of Daniel Pearl.

I’m not a journalist, I’m not Jewish, and I’m never traveled in the Islamic world. Maybe being human is enough to be revulsed and angry about this.

But the video shows something else as well. It shows that Daniel Pearl was a human being -- not a name, not a headline, not this impersonalized entity we call "a victim." We hear him talk. We hear the sound of his voice and when, quickly, we see his head being held by some unknown hand, horror and anger and pity and sorrow and revulsion well up within us only to be followed by a sickening realization or reaffirmation: Oh, so that's what we're up against.

We need a video to know this?

I mean that as an indictment.

Me too.

The video was made not for me or you but to recruit others in the Islamic world to the anti-Israeli, anti-American, anti-Jewish cause.

Probably both, actually.

It has reached a wide audience, we are told, and an approving one. The New Republic called it a "commercial," and it is right about that. The product being sold is hate and the murder of innocents by people who think no Jew, no American, could be innocent.

When Dan Rather first aired non-graphic portions of the video, CBS was criticized by the State and Justice departments. Now that others -- the Boston Phoenix, in particular -- are offering links to the entire video, they too are coming in for criticism. The most poignant, of course, came from Judea Pearl. He argued that "displaying this murder undermines efforts to fight terrorism and anti-Semitism."

I’m not watching it, but I’m not going to argue for censoring it either. It’s an individual choice, and censorship is futile.

Not for me it doesn't -- and probably not for you, either, if you view the video. Instead, you will sense the presence of the enemy -- an unseen but keenly felt evil. You will appreciate the nature of this war and the enormous cultural gap that leads to the production of a video that sickens us and yet thrills others. I do not mean to generalize. I am speaking now of terrorists and their sympathizers, not the entire Muslim world.

Naturally, the rest of us automatically assume that the entire Muslim world is to blame. Right, Dick?

With rape victims, I did not want a debate because I knew the journalistic conviction in disclosure, in specificity, in how one fact can lead to another, would be no match for the pain of a victim. With Daniel Pearl's family and his colleagues at the Wall Street Journal, I feel a similar constraint.

Kinda makes me glad I’m a blogger and not a journalist.

But for someone who never met Daniel Pearl, who knew him as a picture, a name -- a victim among the several thousand since Sept. 11 -- he has now emerged as a human being. The video, both on the Internet and in my memory, has had its effect. Mr. Pearl, I will never forget your son. Nor will I ever forget those who killed him.

Did I read that correctly? Richard had to watch Daniel Pearl die in order for him to emerge as a human being, rather than just another victim of 9/11?

Have I completely misread this column or is Richard implying some twisted variant of Malcolm’s speech about the Thane of Cawdor in Macbeth?

… But I have spoke
With one that saw him die: who did report
That very frankly he confess'd his treasons,
Implored your highness' pardon and set forth
A deep repentance: nothing in his life
Became him like the leaving it; he died
As one that had been studied in his death
To throw away the dearest thing he owed,
As 'twere a careless trifle.

But doesn’t this seem to apply more to Daniel Pearl’s killers, the genocide bombers and all those who actively encourage them or their goals? Except for the begging of forgiveness and the repentance, of course.

Wednesday, June 19, 2002

I've Got Mail!

I received a nice note from Barry Glendenning regarding my not-so-nice posting from the Guardian about the US 2-0 Mexico match. He's much nicer and complimentary towards my screed and my person than he needed to be.

First off, I wish to apologize for implying that Mr. Glendenning (Ireland) or Mr. Murray (Scotland) might be supporters of England. Heaven forfend!

We may have to agree to disagree about a few things, but there can be no doubt that a buyer of the Guardian would be more likely to want to read what either of these gentlemen or Mr. Cunningham wrote than anything I might write. Bums on seats, lad. Bums on seats.

I'm as honored by his kind words as he was honoured to have made it on my humble site.

Tuesday, June 18, 2002

The Scourge of Richard Cohen, Vol. XXXIII

(Ed. -- The following is a bit of mean spiritedness that will be an on-going feature of this blog. Normally the author will endeavor to be reasonably fair, but this is an exception.)

In an apparent homage to the new Scooby Doo movie (I have been lucky thus far that daughter #1 hasn't even asked to see it -- must be the hormonal induced confusion of her dodecitude), it's time to get out the virtual Ouija board again as Richard Cohen conjures up the spirit of his grandfather to lay down some conventional wisdom on us homeys. Word. You down wit dat dog?

I’m back now. Woo, I was channeling Biggie there for a minute. Either that or I had a momentary delusion induced by the vast number of Captain of Industry™ children's fingers covered with Laissez Faire™ sauce I've been munching on, washed down by mass quantities of Sweat of Their Brow™ suds, the favorite of all of us capitalist, bourgeoisie, pig-dog exploiters of the proletariat, or so the bastards here would have you think.

You see, I am a dedicated, dyed in the wool, free market, libertarian-minded capitalist – and I make no apologies for believing in the power of the invisible hand. Big Dick Cohen, on the other hand, is back to parroting Little Dick Gephardt and his class warfare nonsense, wanting the great unwashed masses to swallow that being successful is all about luck. Being rich just means that you won life’s lottery, so there’s nothing wrong with the government taking it all back when you die, or preventing you from getting it in the first place.

I guess I missed the Good Citizen of the World™ memo that changed part of the Declaration of Independence from “life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness” to “life, liberty and happiness.” In Richard Cohen’s illiberal utopian state, there are no risks that the government cannot, nay, must not, mitigate! And without risk, there is no need for reward, hence any recompense above the “average” wage is sinful and counter to the needs and society! Under these circumstances, it will be much easier to justify passing laws taking away the freedom of men and women to charge what the market will bear for their services. By fiat, Richard and his merry band of illiberal utopian statists can raise everyone to an average wage, thus eliminating the wage disparity between men and women, majorities and minorities, the short and the tall, the abled and the differently abled, the inexperienced and the experienced, the good and the bad, the great and the awful, the hard-working and the slothful, and they will love Richard for it!

Or not.

I only wish I had the knowledge and skills of Elizabeth Spiers or Megan McArdle to properly roast Richard’s hoary chestnuts. But since I stopped as an Economics major as a sophomore so many, many years ago (looks like it's the University of Illinois!), play along as I do a few riffs on Risky Business, a concept Richard Cohen struggles mightily with in Casino Capitalists:

I can feel it comin' in the air tonight…

As always, there was a slight breeze, a stirring of the curtains and an eerie glow in the room.

Maybe it was just gas.

I awoke with a start and sensed instantly that my long-dead grandfather was paying me yet another of his periodic visits.

These periodic visits seem to coincide roughly with Richard running out of ideas for columns.

"Grandpa, is that you?" I asked.

If Richard can’t trust his own senses, why should we?

I heard the window open wider.

A spirit needs to open the window wider to get in? Richard must have had a lot of trouble meeting the length requirement for his column this week. There are a lot of short sentences/paragraphs ahead.

"You were expecting maybe Dennis Kozlowski?"

Thank God it wasn't another intruder at 3 AM that might force Richard into another momentary wish for a gun!

"That's it, isn't it? You're here to discuss pay packages, severance and other technical matters you probably don't understand… Kozlowski's the former chairman of Tyco. He just got fired by his board."

Maybe it was just gas and Richard is standing in front of a mirror.

"Fired? You should get fired like that. Maybe a million dollars a year for ruining your company?"

Is this Freudian slip where Richard is acknowledging his role in the decline of the Washington Post Op-Ed page? And he expects a million dollars for it?

"Let me explain," I said patiently. "Kozlowski and others like him are so valuable to their companies that they can negotiate severance packages. Otherwise, they would take their immense talent somewhere else. It's called the market economy."

A moment of clarity, but somehow, I just know Richard doesn’t really believe in what he just wrote.

"It's called highway robbery, hotshot. This Kozlowski got a package that would have paid him around $135 million for being fired."

No doubt, Tyco’s board of directors prepared Mr. Kozlowski’s compensation package with an addendum that said something like, “if you ruin the company for us, we will fire you and pay you $135 million.”

"His board voided the contract," I said.

Or not.

"It was in the papers."

It must be true!

"It also says he's negotiating a new package."

I’m not sure I really want to know any more about Mr. Kozlowksi’s package.

"How can you negotiate when you've been fired?"

By opening your mouth, moving your lips and blowing air through them to make sounds recognizable as linguistic constructs, so as to convey abstract ideas that permit communication and understanding between two parties?

"I don't know."

Well, that’s an understatement.

"You don't know.”

No, he doesn’t.

“You don't know.”

I told you Dick would be padding wherever he could since his column was a few inches short today.

“This board paid Kozlowski last year about $30 million?"

Perhaps the board was honoring their word and commitment to Mr. Kozlowski.

"The stock went from $60 to $14. That's worth $30 million?"

Maybe. Perhaps he kept it from falling to $5 a share. But this really isn’t the point. Perhaps the real point is that when Mr. Kozlowski’s performance did not measure up against the board’s expectations, he was fired. Notice that he will not be collecting a salary next year, or the year after that, or the year after that. Unfortunately, Richard Cohen will still be producing his illiberal tripe next year, and the year after that, and the year after that …

"These things are complicated," I said. "The man built the company."

Yes they are complicated rather than all simplisme, but they do get sorted out in the long run. Unless, of course, the government comes running to the rescue and props them up and imposes some set of rules that perverts the free markets and starts producing all kinds of unintended consequences defying the best laid plans of mice and illiberal utopian statists.

"The man ruined the company." He paused. "Okay, take this Bernie Ebbers of WorldCom. Another genius. The stock went from $60 to $2. The company's been firing workers -- "

Well, that would seem to be part of what must be done if a companies value falls by 97%. Must have something to do with sales, revenue, margin, cash flow, return on investment, cash flow return on investment, day sales outstanding, and a dozen other metrics that seem to matter to people who decided WorldCom was more than a little overvalued at $60 a share. But what was WorldCom worth when Bernie Ebbers took it over? Is Richard Cohen carefully selecting dates so as to eliminate the positive and accentuate the negative? And would Richard Cohen prefer a French solution that forced the government to subsidize WorldCom so as to avoid firing workers? I wonder how Lucent, AT&T, Sprint, Verizon, Southwestern Bell, and a dozen other companies would feel about that prospect.

"Laying off," I corrected.

Richard must be politically correct, as always.

"Don't play word games with me, Mister Hotshot Columnist.”

Damn. For a minute there I thought that Richard’s grandfather was talking to me.

“You get laid off, you get no paycheck. You get fired, you get no paycheck. At the grocery store, they don't see any difference."

But what has this got to do with the price of tea in China?

"Good point."

Thank you, Richard. Now you want to try and answer it?

"This Ebbers is getting $1.5 million for life. This is not bad money for failing."

I guess not.

"He had an agreement."

Again, a moment of clarity as clear as a sky of azure blue. But storm clouds are building on the horizon.

"I remember when you had to work to earn money in this country."

And you had to walk 8 miles through the snow, uphill, both ways!

"Well, mostly you still do."

I think I'm gonna be sick. I think I'm gonna be sick on you Richard.

"Who? Not the big shots.”

Richard is seriously deluded -- so what else is new? Your humble narrator is a middle manager, and I can attest to the fact that each level up the ladder gets harder and harder, and it takes increasing levels of skill and commitment to be successful. Some of these guys rose too far, too fast, providing living examples of the Peter Principle. Or the markets moved faster than there companies could react under their leadership. Or the companies were wildly overvalued in an exuberant run up in value that was beyond their control. Or maybe even all of the above!

“They fix it so that whether they succeed or they fail, they succeed."

Or maybe the companies had to commit to these compensation packages as incentive to lure them into taking the jobs to begin with. This kind of talent is scarce and it comes at a great cost. I’m always amazed that Richard and his friends never complain that Jack Nicholson may get $20M for 6 weeks work, while 99%+ of all actors in the Screen Actors Guild work for scale, when they are working at all. It’s the same principle at work, the same Bell Curve that applies to all populations in nature. But I won’t hold my breath for Richard to write about the pay inequities created by the likes of Alec Baldwin and Susan Sarandon. After all, their motives are pure. And let’s not even start on what Steven Spielberg makes, even though I doubt that he works any harder than the stuntmen he employs, and Steven sure as hell doesn’t risk life and limb like they do for scale. Hey, I don't mind that they can make this money, but Richard seems very selective about who can earn vast sums, without even taking great risk!

He shook his head. "The head of Lucent gets fired and he gets $12.5 million just to walk out the door. And he gets $870,000 a year for life for not working. Maybe he takes out the garbage at home."

Wrong, you a-hole. A-hole? A-hole? See previous comment.

"I kind of doubt it," I said.

Richard doubts that he takes out the garbage or that he gets paid $870,000 for doing nothing? One makes sense and the other is, well, willfully dishonest.

"From where we are we hear these guys talking. They denounce welfare. They scream bloody murder about union work rules. They talk about lazy workers.”

Cue Bob Seger music... Do do do do do do do do. Do do do do do do do do. Just take those old records off the shelf...

"They worship risk-takers.”

Sometimes you just gotta say what the #&@!. Actually, they reward risk takers. Even when they fail.

If I wasn't already dead, the hypocrisy would kill me. This is the market system?

Spare me. It may come as a surprise to an illiberal utopian statist, but the market doesn’t guarantee a perfect outcome with every roll of the proverbial dice. In the long run, the good win out and the bad fall. It is true that some perturbations occur from time to time, but they don’t last, as evidenced by these firings, the failure of Enron, and the coming demise of Arthur Anderson. Whatever evils enlightened self interest engenders are vastly preferable to the evils spawned by illiberal utopian statists who believe a select, elite group of autocrats can successfully and morally direct what everyone should do, earn, and enjoy. Naturally, if Richard Cohen and his utopian statists had their way, those that do not fit into this master’s master scheme will have to be reeducated until they learn to love Big Brother. George Orwell was right, people like Richard Cohen wouldn’t be happy just being your master, they wouldn’t be happy until you love them for being your master. Bastards.

It's a con game.

When the male cattle finish with Richard’s straw men, all we are left with is bullshit.

"Now, this Arthur Andersen," he continued. "The government convicted it of altering a document."

Arthur Anderson could use a man like Richard Cohen, or Paul Krugman, for that matter. I understand his schedule is free since Enron no longer has him on a retainer.


No, it’s very, very wrong. Not that Paulie would have noted this until after the $50,000 check had cleared.

"This is like convicting Al Capone for tax evasion.”

Well, it did get Scarface off the streets. And why exactly was this a bad thing?

Arthur Andersen audited books that were fairy tales about profits. People lost their jobs, their life savings and now, you tell me, the company is going to pay a fine?"

No, they have been convicted of destroying evidence and will be denied the opportunity to conduct audits, effectively putting them out of business. All those Arthur Anderson partners throughout America that had nothing to do with Enron now have an equal share of nothing. Way to go.

"Believe me, Mister Know-It-All, nobody's going to jail. They're probably going to get a severance package and use the money to scream about how bad the minimum wage is. Write that!"

Sorry, nothing to pay a severance package with any more. You hear me! No future!

And the minimum wage is very bad, even if it is completely irrelevant to the discussion at hand.

"Okay, Grandpa."

"Remember, July 4th, your mother's birthday. She's going to be 90."

"We're taking her to a casino. She loves to gamble."

Me too! I love to take Harrah’s money whenever I get the chance! But, I’ve never confused the sheer luck of being successful there with the skill, hard work, and perseverance necessary to become the CEO of a large company.

"With her own money?"

Time of your life, eh kid?

"Of course."

Funny, this never bothers Richard Cohen when it comes to the rigged game of Social Security.

"No wonder she never became a CEO," he said.

See, it’s all random.

And then -- with yet another breeze -- he was gone.

And yet, the stench remains. I think it was just gas.

And I never did find a way to work in the two best lines: "Richard, get off the babysitter!" and "Who's da U-boat commanda?"


Happy Birthday Juan

Hey everybody, it's Juan's birthday! Go over and say hi.

But Juan, after seeing your picture I don't want to see you do anything else for The Children™.



Can anything be more disturbing to our "friends" in Europe than beating them in the World Cup ... and still not giving a damn about soccer!

Monday, June 17, 2002

More Futbol Anti-Americanism

Boy, Matthew Cunningham and Barry Glendenning are so clever in How Did They Rate:

Brian McBride, United States
Held it up, chased it down, hit the channels and, to cap things off, stuck one in. Very much an old fashioned centre forward's performance; he even played for Preston once, and you can't get any more old-fashioned than that. Took his goal with the kind of calm precision which gave the fleeting impression that the Yanks may not, after all, have got this far on luck and running around alone. Thankfully this passed when the realisation of just how rubbish Mexico were had dawned. 8/10

Good to know that it really was just the US being lucky, after all.

Claudio Reyna, United States
Played up the right rather than through the middle, commissioned to keep an eye on Braulio Luna. The Mexican is still feeling his unstinting stare. On those occasions he did get forward, he did so with understandable relish, but his discipline in defence was most impressive. Did his bit to ease Sunderland fans' discomfort after the performance of team-mate "Killer" Kilbane for Ireland yesterday. 8/10

Oooo, that almost sounds positive, even if it does only rate an 8/10.

Brad Friedel, United States
The Bradster once again played a massive part, not only in the continued devaluation of Fifa's biggest cash cow, but also in keeping the United States' first finals clean sheet since 1950. Can't remember who that was against, though. Looked a little flustered at times, tipping a dipper onto the bar when it would have been wiser not to, and punching plenty of catchable stuff. Flung himself around his goal with usual aplomb to shut out everything Blanco, Borgetti and co could throw at him. 7.5/10

For those that don't know, it was England 1-0. A shutout, but still only worth 7.5/10.

Pablo Mastroeini, United States
Rock-like display at the back, although that applies as much to his touch as his defensive talents. Did the job on Jared Borgetti which Alessandro Nesta palpably failed to do and didn't stand on ceremony in possession - and I'm going against the footballing-centre-half grain to say that's a good thing in these circumstances. A couple of tidy challenges in the area in the first half, dominated the airways in the second. Alrite!!! 8/10

Woo-hoo! Another 8/10!

Cobi Jones, United States
On the thorough going-over he took from his opponents during his 12 minutes on the pitch, it seems safe to say the former Coventry star is not welcome down Meh-ico way. Put in the sky by Garcia Aspe after 20 seconds and sent rolling three minutes later by Carmona, he was just being softened up for Marquez's aerial kidney-kick/headbutt combo. The Portuguese ref even got in on the act, awarding a freekick against Jonesy for getting hacked down by two defenders in the corner. Must be a Leicester fan. In keeping with that, then -3/10


Cuahtemoc Blanco, Mexico
Was among the more lively Mexicans and often seemed frustrated by his team-mates lack of support and general enthusiasm. Stung Brad Friedel's palms with a good first-half effort from 20 metres and was quickest to take advantage of a subsequent blunder from the Blackburn keeper. Unfortunately for him, his rasping point-blank drive was tipped over the bar. Was relieved of free-kick taking duties after blasting a great opportunity into the American wall, but was one of very few Mexicans that never stopped working. 6/10

Perhaps less hand-stinging and more goal scoring would have been better.

Luis Hernandez, Mexico
It was just one of those days for poor old Luis, and you get the feeling the veteran Axl Rose tribute striker could have played all day and not scored. The substitute huffed and puffed, but ultimately proved incapable of blowing a shaky American defence down. Was denied by an outstanding Gregg Berhalter tackle on one occasion, and the illegal use of defender John O'Brien's fist on another. 6/10

Couldn't let O'Brien's hand ball go unmentioned.

Rafael Marquez, Mexico
Mexico's best player by far, the Monaco man rounded off a tidy performance at the back with an act of savagery that was almost as comical as it was vicious. It would be childish to laud the two-pronged assault on Cobi Jones that earned the Mexican captain a straight red card, so that's what we'll do because, to be honest, it merited two straight red cards. What with his silly hair and face that's made for kicking, the Mexicans didn't appear to like the cut of young Master Jones' jib too much and concentrated on causing the American substitute as much bodily harm harm as possible when it became apparent their World Cup number was up. Their skipper led by example, launching himself through the air, planting his foot in Kobi's backside before following through with a spectacular Guadalajara kiss into the side of the head. An outrageous challenge. Well, it would have been if he'd done it to anyone else. 10/10

Yea, that Cobi deserved it for being an American. Imagine how funny it would have been if his head-butt had knocked him out!

Unbelievable! But there's more!

Scott Murray takes his shot at humor with a rolling take, at least I think he's trying to be funny:

8 min: GOAL Mexico 0 - 1 USA. Here we are for another shock? The States cross the halfway line for the first time in the match, Reyna pelting down the right wing. He makes the byline and cuts the ball back; it's deflected into the path of Brian McBride who, with Perez in the Mexican goal totally stranded, sidefoots powerfully into the net. That's one soccer football point to no score!

Woo Hoo!!! But I can't figure out whether he knows anything about non-futbol sports or not.

22 min: We're on the back burner at the moment. Ilan Caron is still convinced I've got the score wrong. "The USA leading? This is absurd. A country that completely doesn't appreciate soccer shouldn't be allowed to get this far. When Tiger Woods was asked about the World Cup, his answer was: 'Not familiar with it. I've never been asked to participate.' For this alone, the US team should start all games with a deficit of two football points."

Apparently not.

First period shutdown: The US are worth their one soccer point advantage at the 50 percent stage, but can they hold out after the directional switcharound? We'll find out soon, but now it's time for the half-time show. It's time for me to have a luncheon hour, so grab me a dog and a root beer for sippin' on your way back from the can, will ya?

You wouldn't think the US was ahead now would you?

59 min: Earnie Stewart, he of the mis-spelt first name, comes on from Josh Wollf, which is the sort of name only an American jock would have. Still not the most American US footballer's name of all time, though: Shep Messing still holds that award.

Stupid Americans.

62 min: Flag! Kicking violation along the face of the US zone by O'Brien. Luna's free-kick is high and, like George Bush, far too far to the right.

Well, this is the Wanker.

64 min: GOAL Mexico 0 - 2 USA. Two soccer points to no score! Eddie Lewis makes a cross-pitch play from the left zone, finding Landon Donovan alone in the danger area. He top-bodies the sphere into the score bag, and Mexico have a double-negative stat!

Woo Hoo!!!

71 min: Perez miskicks wildly to give away a corner. From the angle, Lewis swivel-kicks against the stanchion. If that had gone in, a place in the semis of the Summer Soccer Kickabout would have surely been theirs. Nick Walsh opines: "With such a narrow lead and the clock running down surely the USA will be bringing on a closing pitcher any minute."

Ha ha ha.

74 min: Mexico aren't creating much at the moment; the US have taken the sting out of the game. Time for respect again, I think: the States deserve their lead at present and are making the Mexicans look very ordinary indeed.

Sucks, doesn't it?

76 min: Stewart fires in a shot from nearly 40 yards. It's wide, but the space the States are getting in the centre of the pitch is amazing at present. If only there was an organist who could play a few verses of Take Me Out To The Ball Game.

I wonder how long it would take for our friends in England to field something better than a AA baseball team if they tried really hard.

89 min: The US are closing this one out. Their fans - and there are plenty in the stadium - have started to sing. Altogether now: Take me out to the ball game, Take me out with the crowd, Buy me some peanuts and Crackerjacks, I don't care if I never never get back, Let me root, root root for the home team, If they don't win it's a shame, For it's one, two, three strikes you're out at the old ball game!

He get's paid for writing this?

90 min +4: Should have been a third soccer point, but Jones's wingplay is wasted when Donovan, free in the zone with only Perez to beat, kicks less accurately than a Norwood in a Super Bowl.

Football!!! Not futbol!!!

End whistle: Mexico 0 - 2 USA. It's a berth in the last eight of the World Series for the States, and you can't say these jocks haven't deserved it after a superb offensive display. Germany await: there'll be a hell of a lot of towel-flicking in the locker room tonight. Actually, despite my tedious riffing, this needs to be said: the US have been worthy winners today.

Don't worry, Matthew and Barry will pick up the anti-American slack for you Scott.


And You Thought You Had To Be Smart To Be Rich

Courtesy of the Wanker (who else?):

Ted Turner, the billionaire founder of CNN, accuses Israel today of engaging in "terrorism" against the Palestinians, in comments that threaten to lead to a further decline in the news network's already poor relations with the Jewish state. "Aren't the Israelis and the Palestinians both terrorising each other?" says Turner, who is vice-chairman of AOL Time Warner, which owns CNN, in an exclusive interview with the Guardian. "The Palestinians are fighting with human suicide bombers, that's all they have. The Israelis ... they've got one of the most powerful military machines in the world. The Palestinians have nothing. So who are the terrorists? I would make a case that both sides are involved in terrorism."

Do you ever think that when Ted gets amongst friends, this is what goes through his mind?

His remarks were last night condemned by Ariel Sharon's government, which called them "stupid". Andrea Levin, director of the American pro-Israeli media watchdog Camera, said the comments were a "reprehensible" attempt to "blur the line between perpetrator and victim".

At least somebody can see the light here.

In his first British interview since the September 11 attacks, Mr Turner - who broke philanthropic records in 1997 when he donated $1bn to the UN - argues that poverty and desperation are the root cause of Palestinian suicide bombings.

And what would be the root cause of Ted Turner's painful imbecility?

Mr Turner is moved to tears at one point in the interview by the "depressing" combination of conflicts like that in the Middle East and the state of the environment, which he says demands massive global attention - "or, you know ... it's goodbye".

Say goodnight Ted.


Hello Sailor!

I'm sorry but I can't resist this headline: Marines, Sailors Return to Calif.

On Monday, ... 4,000... aboard the USS Bonhomme Richard and two other war ships return to California after nearly seven months... Members of the unit participated in Operation Anaconda... Many aboard the returning ships are looking forward to the simple comforts of home. ``Don't misunderstand, the Navy has done an excellent job in providing for the comfort and needs of all the Marines and sailors aboard,... There's just something about a home-cooked meal and your own bed.''

What would Beavis and Butthead make of this?

DOWNDATE: I'm disappointed I have to be so blunt, but this should in no way be interpreted as a slam on our men and women in uniform. They have nothing but my utmost respect and heartfelt thanks for the tasks they have voluntarily chosen to perform defending our nation from those who wish to harm us. No one deserves a home-cooked meal and their own bed more than these folks.


Genocide Bombers Are a Race?

According to one man's painful rectal itch:

Arafat rejected Monday scathing comments by U.S. national security adviser Condoleezza Rice that his Palestinian Authority is corrupt, supports terror and is no model for a future state. The Palestinian leader also condemned as "an act of racism" Israel's building of a security fence along its porous West Bank border which it said is aimed at keeping out Palestinian suicide bombers.

There are so many places I could go with this one, but I had better not.


Anti-Americanism at the World Cup

Click here, scroll down to 4:35 PM and read about the blatant anti-Americanism by the foreign press at the World Cup. Michael Davies, who is a proud Brit and not anti-American is disgusted by it. You should be too.

Way to go USA!!!

Next up on Friday -- Germany! But, don't mention the war. James Taranto mentioned it once, but I think he got away with it.

Sunday, June 16, 2002

The Scourge of Richard Cohen, Vol. XXXII

(Ed. -- The following is a bit of mean spiritedness that will be an on-going feature of this blog. Normally the author will endeavor to be reasonably fair, but this is an exception.)

Reading something like the following venom from the keyboard of Richard Cohen, I cannot figure out why the adjective “mean-spirited” is associated with Republicans. Sure, there are mean-spirited people on the right who take every chance they get to issue the most hateful accusations imaginable at anyone to the left of them – not just on the left – but these people are generally on the fringe of the Right. On the other hand, the kind of downright distasteful vituperative vitriol Richard Cohen spews towards those on the Right is virtually mainstream, as we hear it every single day from the op-ed pages of the Washington Post, the New York Times, ABC, CBS, NBC, CNN, the DNC, etc.

I’ll do my best to try and point out the oft-repeated groundless slanders from Richard Cohen in Thursday’s column. I will be the big bad wolf, as Richard mimics the first little pig, using straw for construction of his thesis in …And the Building:

My lonely campaign to wipe the name of J. Edgar Hoover from the FBI building may yet bear fruit.

Remember the old saying that if you think everyone else is crazy, perhaps you should revisit your assumptions. I hold no brief for J. Edgar Hoover, but there are probably more grains of sand in the positive side of his scale than on the negative side. Richard falls into his usual illiberal cesspit of judging past historical figures by today’s standards. Let’s not forget that the FBI was founded in 1908, when standards of public behavior were a little different than they are in today’s climate where it seems to be unacceptable to recognize that the perpetrators of some crimes are not uniformly distributed amongst the population according to politically correct groupings.

And what’s with the fruit metaphors in Richard’s columns lately?

It is not, alas, that Congress has finally recognized Hoover for the racist and scoundrel that he was…

And those were his good points, right Richard? I'm still waiting for Richard's columns on Senator Byrd's membership in the Ku Klux Klan or Senator Hollings raising of the confederate flag over the South Carolina statehouse when he was Governor.

…it's rather that in one respect at least he has met his match. Someday the FBI building, or maybe the Justice Department across the street, will bear the name of John Ashcroft.

Oh. Some day some Democratic President will make a magnanimous gesture toward the memory of John Ashcroft like President George W. Bush made towards the memory of Robert F. Kennedy. Sure. After all, there was so little resistance to merely renaming National Airport after Ronald Reagan. And all he did was to restore America’s faith in America, revive the economy from the Carter malaise, and win the Cold War.

Not since J. Edgar has Washington seen such a publicity hound.

Puhleeze. Hoover was a publicity hound? Has Richard ever heard of Senator Chuck Schumer? It’s widely rumored that the most dangerous place to be in the United States is between Chuck Schumer and a television camera.

With Hoover, there was nothing the FBI could do that was not announced in the director's name.

I’ve often wondered how much it costs the taxpayers of each state to change the signs on the billboards as you cross the borders from one state to another announcing the Governor whoever welcomes you. I’ve also wondered why it is that my property taxes are made out in the name of the Tax Assessor, rather than in the name of the county. Tell me again what public official doesn’t do everything possible to put their name in front of the public every chance they get?

Yet from somewhere -- and I have my guess –

Nice to know that Richard won’t speak ill of the dead. Don’t forget to drop in when you get there Richard.

…Hoover must have watched in absolute awe as Ashcroft announced that the government was holding an ex-con named Abdullah al Muhajir, the former Jose Padilla of Chicago, for allegedly plotting to detonate a radioactive bomb.

Awe? Perhaps respect?

Ashcroft did it all the way from Moscow, in a hastily arranged video hookup that shows the government can act fast when it has to.

Well, I would hope that with the enormous funds the government takes from us (but not enough according to illiberal utopian statists like Richard) that they can arrange something that any local TV station can manage. John Ashcroft is guilty of having a tin ear and cold feet when it comes to public relations, but honestly, what does Richard expect? Who wouldn’t get defensive when everything they do (and don’t do!) is criticized so frequently and vociferously?

In both form and substance, Ashcroft was merely doing what Hoover did back in 1942, when four German saboteurs landed on a Long Island beach (four others landed in Florida), buried their explosives in the sand and were instantly discovered by the Coast Guard. The Germans were not immediately detained, but one of them went down to Washington and tried to turn himself in to the FBI. It apparently took some doing but the Bureau, after what we now know were SOP delays, made the arrest.

No doubt sixty years of hindsight makes it so much easier to discern right from wrong.

Hoover dashed to New York to make the announcement. Somehow he forgot to mention the Coast Guard. Somehow he forgot to mention that one of the Germans had come to the FBI -- and not it to him. Somehow he left the impression that the FBI was waiting for the Nazis on the beach, and somehow he failed to consult with military intelligence, which wanted to wait until two more teams of saboteurs were expected to come ashore.

Yep, if it wasn’t for cross-dressing J. Edgar Hoover, WW II probably would have been over in 1943. And how many acts of sabotage happened because Hoover jumped the gun? None? Is that possible?

It was this World War II incident that served as a precedent for President Bush's Nov. 13 order authorizing the government to establish military tribunals to try terrorists.

Richard seems to have confused the sort of free word association I use in the Scourges with guilt by association – which he is quite fond of.

Such a tribunal did try the eight Germans, and six of them were promptly executed.

I wonder if the French withheld evidence for fear the saboteurs might face the death penalty?

It was the outcome that President Roosevelt wanted.

Well, then that’s alright then. If President Roosevelt (or Truman, or Kennedy or Clinton) did it, that it must be ok. (Not even Richard can cover for all of LBJ’s or Jimmuh’s sins.)

These are dicey times. The United States has suffered a grievous wound by terrorists. In New York, in particular, the psychic dust from Sept. 11 has not yet settled -- and, for many it probably never will.

Psychic dust?

Clearly, we face a new threat, and we have to have new ways of dealing with it.

Except arresting suspected terrorists before they act? Is there a point in here somewhere?

For that reason, I try to give the government the benefit of the doubt.

Unless, of course, Richard gets a note from Terry McAuliffe and the DNC to throw something else up against the wall to see if it will stick.

But Ashcroft's incessant grandstanding makes me wonder if sometimes some of what goes on is more about politics than national security.

Let’s be honest, shall we? If John Ashcroft found a remnant of the true cross before breakfast, cured cancer before lunch, solved the radioactive waste disposal problem in the afternoon, and then called a press conference in the evening to announce that the FBI had stopped the detonation of a nuclear device in New York with thee seconds to spare, Richard Cohen would still wonder if this had something more to do with politics than national security.

I had to endure years of the St. Louis Post Dispatch dispensing Bill Clinton's wisdom every single day on the front page of the newspaper. You want to talk about someone who took credit for everything? John Ashcroft shows up maybe one or two days a week on the front page, and it's not as though there isn't some reason for it. If I ever get a time machine, I’m going to want to go back and read Richard Cohen’s columns lamenting the racial profiling that led to the arrest of Mohammed Atta and 18 other men for conspiracy to commit terrorist acts after I tipped the government off and prevented this from happening.

He personifies the suspicion that terrorism alerts, even arrests, are being timed and manipulated for the nightly news.

And where might he have learned how to do that? Next thing you know, Ashcroft will be trying to launch cruise missiles at an empty tent to hit a camel in the butt to take the heat off of him, or something like that.

It seems every revelation of some FBI or CIA screw-up is followed by yet another terrorism alert of one color or another.

What are their successes followed by? Oh, sorry. I forgot that there are no successes by a Republican administration in Richard Cohen’s world. Anyway, it helps people feel safe, whether they are or not. Richard ought to understand this. People continue to read his columns because he’s supposed to be an astute observer, whether he is or not.

It was supposedly sheer coincidence that the testimony of FBI agent Coleen Rowley was virtually obscured by the announcement that the new homeland security Cabinet post was being proposed. Maybe so, but the announcement was clearly rushed and made with insufficient consultation.

Probably. But sometimes, a cigar is just a cigar. Why is it that Richard believes that John Ashcroft can do nothing well unless it is somehow tied to a conspiracy to take away our rights?

My problems with Ashcroft go back to when he was a Missouri senator and distorted the record of a judicial nominee to block his confirmation.

Judge Ronnie White again. Heaven knows Richard wouldn’t stoop to misrepresenting Ashcroft’s beliefs or actions.

Ashcroft's agenda was purely political…

Exactly. It was a political decision. So why is that bad again?

…he was up for reelection in what was looking like a tight race with Gov. Mel Carnahan.

Senator Ashcroft had a lot of reasons to oppose Judge White’s confirmation. Nonetheless it didn’t stop Richard Cohen and a lot of other people from trying to smear it all as racism. When everything is caused by racism, then nothing is caused by racism.

(In the end, he lost, in effect, to Carnahan's widow, Jean.)

Wrong, deceitful and fundamentally dishonest on Richard’s part. Absolutely everyone regrets that Governor Carnahan died. Aside form the usual humanitarian reasons, Mel was headed to defeat. Somehow I don’t think Jim Jeffords would have jumped ship to make it 50-50.

He showed, there and then, that for all his piety he can be cynical and mean-spirited.

Richard is such a jerk. Not one mention of how graceful John Ashcroft was in not campaigning against Mel or Jean in the last few weeks and then not challenging the results, despite the widespread fraud perpetrated by the local Democratic machine in St. Louis.

So, I wonder about a detention policy that has kept a former Boston cabdriver -- once touted as an important terrorism suspect -- in jail for eight months for what turns out to be a minor immigration offense.

Keep wondering Richard. It is entirely possible that the government has information that not even Richard Cohen is aware of.

I wonder, too, why al Muhajir was busted at O'Hare International Airport and not followed to see what he did and whom he talked to.

Wouldn’t this be like waiting to see who Mohammed Atta and friends were going to meet after they landed?

(He was a long way from getting a bomb of any kind.)

(Maybe, maybe not.)

I wonder, too, why as an American citizen he is being held on a military base and not able to see his attorney.

I’ll go with what the pros write about it, rather than Richard’s wonderment.

These questions of mine -- the product of a naturally suspicious mind -- might not arise at all were it not for Ashcroft's déjà vu quality.

Just because Richard is paranoid, it doesn’t mean I’m not out to get him.

In his tenacity, his conviction that he is in sole possession of the truth and his compulsive need to hog the spotlight, he reminds me of J. Edgar himself.

Sole possesion of the truth? No, that is the exclusive purview of illiberal utopian statists. Sorry, I had to take a break and reach for the meclazine. The room started spinning as I tried to keep up with Richard’s logic. But try as I might, I still cannot connect the dots. But that guilt by association thing works pretty well for Richard.

In Washington, such behavior is almost always rewarded. Among other things, you get your name on a building.

Like John F. Kennedy or Robert F. Kennedy?


The Scourge of Richard Cohen, Vol. XXXI

(Ed. -- The following is a bit of mean spiritedness that will be an on-going feature of this blog. Normally the author will endeavor to be reasonably fair, but this is an exception.)

Richard Cohen wants to have his cake and eat it too. While he ostensibly wants to indicate that he agrees with something somebody on the “Right” says he can’t quite bring himself to admit it outright or to say roughly the same thing himself. He wants to play ventriloquist with Bill Kristol with his right hand and let Bill say some of the things that he believes without having to take the heat from his friends about it. At the same time, Richard wants to play ventriloquist with Europe with his left hand and let the Europeans say some of the things that he believes without having to actually stand behind these sentiments himself.

Does this mean that Richard is talking out of both sides of his mouth?

I retort. You decide with Kristol's Unwelcome Message:


Dateline: some place fashionable and chic that you can’t go to, where Richard Cohen can hobnob with the A-list crowd. And you can’t.

Kristol's War, as it will henceforth be called, was declared after dinner here at the splendid Villa D'Este hotel on Lake Como.

Cohen’s illiberal utopian statism, as it has been called for some time now, was declared in Scourge XX from my humble abode in Kirkwood, MO.

He announced a vast U.S. foreign policy agenda, beginning with a war against Iraq and ending with replacing the monarchy in Saudi Arabia.

I guess I missed that WaPo notice that Bill Kristol has been part of any U.S. administration since he was Chief of Staff for Vice President Dan Quayle. Bill Kristol is a smart guy and entitled to express his views, but I think it would be more correct to announce that this was a vast Weekly Standard foreign policy agenda. But let’s not forget that Bill Kristol is a force behind the weirdness that is John McCain.

His audience of mostly Europeans at first gasped and then reacted with irritation. "Very provocative," many of them commented -- a polite way of saying that he, and by extension the Bush administration, was totally mad.

Very provocative = totally mad. Like, totally. Of course, Richard would never say this himself – not when he can put the words in someone else’s mouth.

And what’s with “mostly Europeans?” Does that mean that the audience was composed of African-Europeans? Asian-Europeans? Cablinasion-Europeans?

And yet much of what William Kristol, a former Reagan and Bush I administration official and now the editor of the influential Weekly Standard magazine, was saying is nearly commonplace in the United States.

Or at the very least, Georgetown.

In Washington, in particular, it is a given that sometime around January America will eliminate Saddam Hussein and his weapons of mass destruction one way or another.

Washington, where all power flows from the barrel of pork.

Kristol's audience, however, was having none of it.

Perhaps they were filling up on the chilled monkey brains.

Assembled by the Council for the United States and Italy…

The what? Google for this and see if you can find it. I can’t. included diplomats, Cabinet officials, academics and business leaders from across Italy and America. The Europeans viewed Kristol as a virtual spokesman for the Bush administration -- not a government official, certainly, but someone who shares the government's thinking.

Especially on Campaign Finance Reform, for instance. This is more than a little wishful projection on the European’s part, if not on Richard Cohen’s. I’m quite certain that Bill Kristol will never be asked to speak on behalf of the Bush administration. Is the European (and Cohen’s) understanding of the complex interrelationships between the various factions of the Right beyond the capacity of their simplisme view of America?

In my capacity as devil's advocate…

Excuse me. That is my job as the Scourge and I have not relinquished it to Richard Cohen.

…I asked Kristol why Iraq and not Iran.

Uh, because Saddam is the President of… wait for it… Iraq?

After all, Iran clearly fosters and supports terrorism in the Middle East and is considered by Israel to be more of a threat than Iraq.

Multiple response: A) As Abraham Lincoln once said, “one war at a time.” B) Who said they aren’t on the list? C) Israel’s list may not be ordered the same as the US’ list, though they likely have the same suspects. D) All of the above.

Very subtle insinuation there that US policy is driven by Israel as well. Classic Cohen crapulence.

What's more, nothing but the thinnest of circumstantial evidence links Saddam Hussein either to terrorism in general or al Qaeda in particular. Why strike at Iraq?

OK, one more time. The problems with Saddam, indeed with many other bad guys, do not necessarily spring from a connection to 9/11. Typical utopianism, looking for a single root cause to anything and everything.

The reason, Kristol said, was that there are indications the Iranian regime is moderating.


No one can say that about Saddam Hussein. He ruthlessly rules a nation that has twice gone to war against a neighbor -- first Iran and then Kuwait. He has been developing biological and chemical weapons, for sure, and probably nuclear weapons as well.

None of which were used on 9/11. So, I guess he should get a free pass, eh Dick?

America, not to mention the world, cannot tolerate weapons of mass destruction in the hands of a sociopath.

Highly debatable point. The world has tolerated weapons of mass destruction in the hands of sociopaths before with Stalin and Mao, presumably because of realpolitik. Is it necessary that we wait for Iraq or Iran to develop these weapons so that we are again disinlcined to act out of fear? Maybe we’ve learned from these mistakes. We’ll see.

It is a convincing argument and the reason I support the toppling of Hussein -- when the time is ripe.

I’m tempted to torture the low hanging fruit analogy, but I’ll pass.

January, though, may be too soon.

Hopefully, it won’t be too late.

The Middle East is now roiling, and our moderate friends there -- Egypt and particularly Jordan -- might be endangered by yet more instability in their region.

And naturally, all this instability is, or would be, the US’ fault.

The Arab street may be more myth than reality, but with one-sided coverage of events in the West Bank, popular sentiment cannot be discounted. It is now strongly anti-American.

I think popular sentiment within the Arab community has already been heavily discounted down at the “Everything’s a Riyad” store. I’m curious, when was Arab sentiment ever pro-American and which Republican President was responsible for turning Arab public opinion against the US? After all, much of the Arab world was with the US in the Gulf War during the Bush 41 administration. And we know that Bill Clinton had nothing to do with it since he was focused like a laser beam on the economy.

And isn’t this a strong anti-CFR statement, if you think about it long enough?

No one I talked with after Kristol spoke necessarily dissented from what he said about Iraq.

And if Richard didn’t talk to you, well, you’re a nobody.

Yet for the most part, they could see neither the urgency nor the necessity for dealing with Saddam Hussein. He poses no immediate threat to them, and Europeans are not, as opposed to Americans, much concerned about Israel.

So the European’s inability to see beyond the end of their noses should inhibit our actions? European lack of concern for Israel? That’s got to be the understatement of the month.

George Bush clearly has his work cut out for him. Much of Europe still sees him as a unilateralist, the president who came into office determined to abrogate this or that treaty and who, either in word or manner, considered Europeans to be wimps.

It must be nice to be able to put your less than popular or reasonable sentiments into the mouths of others, so as to avoid having to defend the indefensible yourself.

What's more, the Continent is suffering from an inferiority complex.

Inferior is as inferior does.

Still, Europe cannot be ignored.

Ignored? No, not ignored, but neither will someone who has not anted up be allowed to dictate the pace of play either. But we shall not forget quickly the cooperation of the French and Germans vis-à-vis Zaccarias Moussaoui.

Whether formally constituted as NATO (with the Russians?) or merely as a community of nations that shares our values, it has a role to play vis-à-vis Iraq.

Somebody has to lead the anti-American charge.

Bush will never be able to assemble the alliance his father did for the Gulf War, but if only for appearances, America must not be seen as going it alone.

Nor does he need to. Ever seen High Noon?

Kristol outlined a proposed American agenda that amounts to ridding the world of regimes that are either developing scary weapons or, even inadvertently, supporting terrorism -- first Iraq, then Iran and North Korea and even the House of Saud in Saudi Arabia.

But, 400 words ago, Iraq wasn’t even on the list. But I’ve known that consistency is not one of Richard’s strong points for quite some time. And what’s with the “inadvertently supporting terrorism?” Does Richard think this is merely a random occurrence?

His was yet another "axis of evil" speech, somewhat similar in style and reach to Bushian rhetoric, moralistic and America-Israel centered -- and it does not travel well.

As if that mattered.

But if the case is made for action against Iraq on purely practical terms -- a very bad man has some very bad weapons -- then, probably, much of Europe will go along.


This is George Bush's task.

No, this is Richard Cohen’s view of what he believes is George Bush’s task.

He'd better get started.

I guess Richard missed all those speeches before Congress, the press conferences, the travel itineraries of the President and his Cabinet, and maybe even the Weekly Standard for that matter.

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