Sine Qua Non Pundit

And what is good, Phaedrus, And what is not good -- Need we ask anyone to tell us these things? ------ ------ ------ ------ E-mail: charlesaustin@earthlink.net

This page is powered by Blogger. Isn't yours?

Saturday, July 06, 2002
 

Blogger:Journalist :: Mote:Beam

One of the criticisms leveled at bloggers is that they are parasites mostly commentating on the "real" media. While there is a bit of truth to that, all the bloggers I read have something more to offer -- and even if that was all some of us did, fact checking asses arguably serves the public good.

But what about this report of an attack on Iraq coming from three sides in the NY Times this week? Assuming for the moment that the NY Times got the scoop they believe they did, how do they justify the morality of aiding and abetting treason? What give them the ethical cujones to jeopardize the lives of American troops now, or all Americans if the plans now have to be chucked and redone, giving Saddam a little more time? We need a free AND responsible press. But, I digress.

How many news reports have you seen in your local papers or in the other major media outlets that referenced this article by stating something like, "as reported in the NY Times, or "a source speaking anonymously to the NY Times." And how exactly is this different than what bloggers are criticized for so sanctimoniously? Did any of these professional members of the media do any original reporting in this case? Or are they just parroting what a major media article said, supplementing it with their own opinions and biases?

And why beholdest thou the mote that is in thy brother's eye, but considerest not the beam that is in thine own eye? -- Matthew 7:3




 

Independence Day

We use gunpowder for pretty displays to celebrate our independence. Others seem to use it to celebrate their independence by killing and maiming.

Two bombs rocked Algeria on Friday, one ripping through a crowded market killing at least 35 people and injuring about 80, as the country marked the 40th anniversary of independence... More than 100,000 people have been killed in Algeria since 1992 when the oil-producing nation was plunged into violence shortly after the cancellation of a parliamentary election that radical Islamists were poised to win.

Should we now expect even more references to Algerian independence in Richard Cohen's next article on Israel?

Thanks to Kathy Kinsley for the reference.




 

Is Da Nile in Egypt Or Is Egypt In Denial?

Sorry, I couldn't resist.




 

I'm Sorry, Did the EU Say Something?

Dr. Frank provides a link to an article in The Spectator by Matthew Parris in which he documents his painful epiphany of realizing that we not being difficult or ignorant with respect to Europe -- we just don't give a damn what they think, and more importantly, we don't have to.

The answer to the question ‘Why do US presidents throw their weight around?’ is the same as the answer to the question ‘Why do dogs lick their balls?’ Because they can. British journalists and politicians are just going to have to get used to that. How long before our ministers, backbenchers, leader-writers and columnists tumble to the fact that our views on America’s international posture are of little consequence? It is fairly immaterial whether we approve or disapprove of Washington’s stance on steel imports, the Middle East, the International Criminal Court, global warming, ‘star wars’, the death penalty, the policing of Afghanistan, or anything else. They do not give a tinker’s cuss. They do not need to.

Matthew is not a particularly happy camper about this.

There is an awful inevitability about it all — so awful, and so inevitable that I am suffering a malaise unfamiliar to me as a columnist. I feel a sense of ennui about the whole thing before it has even properly started. I began writing in the vein this column displays not long after 11 September, and the more I wrote the plainer it seemed that commentary — let alone judgment — was pretty pointless. All big countries attuned to powerful interests and sentiment at home, and with no nation to challenge them abroad, always clump about the globe in heavy boots, making up their own rules as they go along. Any leader of any such nation will be sucked into acting this way, and if he is too fastidious to do so, he will fall to another who is not. It isn’t pretty, it isn’t nice, it isn’t fair, and in the end they come a cropper, but the process takes decades, perhaps much longer, and it has hardly started. Already I weary of crowing ‘I told you so’ to the doe-eyed Atlanticists who supposed that to become the kindly and disinterested primus inter pares of the free world, all America needed was a kiss and a cuddle and a guiding hand from Tony Blair. I weary of shouting ‘Who cares what you think?’ at the liberal internationalist Left.

But I'm torn between what bugs Matthew Parris more, that any nation can be so powerful (regardless of how good or bad it is) or that he's not on the winning team. There's an awful lot of sour grapes in this article and aside from the usual litany of complaints (Kyoto, ICC, Iraq, Palestine), I can find nothing in his argument that would lead me to believe that America is doing anything wrong. I don't buy for the guilt by association attempts to the old British Empire and I think he engages in a little wishful thinking that we will collapse in 30-50 years. He has a moment of clarity in realizing that America's primary interest is properly America, but claims this is not fair -- though I honestly haven't the faintest idea why. Classic breakdown between responsibility and authority, old chap.

The dogs bark, but the caravan moves on. ICC, Kyoto, Arafat, Iraq ...early chapters in a long story. If you want to be part of it, join America. If you want to impede it, join a terrorist group. If (as has happened with me) déjà vu has set in already, cultivate your garden. America is unchallenged. America is behaving as though she is unchallenged. And your point is?

But this final summary still leaves me a little dry. Mr. Parris' whole argument seems to be that America is only acting this way because no one can stop her. No discussion of mitigating factors or American ideas or ideals even enter into the equation. This is just another variant of moral relativism elevated to international relations run amok. Isn't he (and the rest of the world) lucky that it is the US at the top of heap today and not mid-20th century Germany or Japan, late-20th century USSR, or early-21st century Communist China, or even Iraq, Zimbabwe, or Venezuala. Mr. Parris still believes the US is completely wrong and out of step, but as a good existentialist, he has accepted his fate and decided to tend his garden, like a modern day Candide. Sorry Matthew, but you'll get no sympathy here.




Friday, July 05, 2002
 

Goodbye, Ted

I never saw Ted Williams play baseball, or at least I don't remember ever seeing him play, since Ted retired before I turned 1 year old. But as a kid growing up and playing baseball, everybody knew who Ted Williams was. A few years later I discovered Bill James and found out how truly great Ted Williams was. Who knows what Ted might have done to the record book if he hadn't been interrupted by WW II and the Korean War. I remember George Will writing that Ted Williams may have been one of those rare people who were the best in the world at two entirely different things. In Ted Williams' case, hitting a baseball and flying a fighter jet. While Jim Bouton did his part to help shatter some illusions and bring Ted down a notch, he is still either the best or second best hitter that ever lived. I suppose you still have to give the nod to the Babe, but not by much.

I'm past caring much about Major League Baseball these days, but if I ever get to heaven I'm pretty sure I'll be playing on Ted's team in a doubleheader every afternoon in Wrigley field.




 

Coincidence?

I'm not the only person to notice that no bombs have gone off in Israel since the tanks rolled back into the West Bank and the Gaza Strip.




 

Buy a Clue

While cruising past a horribly slanted Gun Violence in America, I came across this gem by Julian Borger in the Wanker:

The US constitution is a uniquely powerful document, but whether it has really done anything for the cause of freedom is open to debate. It accommodated slavery for longer than European states, turned a blind eye to the Jim Crow segregation laws for decades, and did nothing to stop McCarthyism. Nowadays it is being used as a vehicle for the proliferation of guns and a shelter for racists. It clearly takes more than a document to negotiate the treacherous currents and eddies of human liberty.

I guess if you had a written constitution guaranteeing your rights, you might understand. But then again, maybe not.




 

Such a Nice Young Man

Don't hold back Mr. Farell:

This government have finally lost touch. They have finally gone native. Somebody knocks the head off the statue of Lady Thatcher and they somehow try to suggest that this is a bad thing. I completely agree with them that Paul Kelleher should not have removed the head of Thatcher's statue. He should have decapitated the original.

What do you really think of her?

The artist is said to be deeply saddened by what has happened. So would you be if you had to meet up with her all over again for another half dozen sittings. But if a replacement is to be commissioned, shouldn't it be more in keeping with the more radical end of the Brit-Art scene? How about Lady Thatcher's unmade bed - with empty Glenfiddich bottles and chain-mail knickers strewn across the sheets? Or how about a glass tank containing one of Mrs Thatcher's lungs pickled in formaldehyde? All right, so it might cause onlookers to recoil in disgust and nausea. But not as much as having an eight-foot high realistic likeness staring down at you.

I feel like I need a shower now.




 

Who You Callin' Unilateral?

Seems like we're not the only country fed up with the EU:

The declaration by the Prime Minister, John Howard, that Australia will sidestep the "slow-moving" bureaucracy of the European Union and deal directly with individual European nations appears to do more than just underestimate the growing influence and sophistication of the EU. Mr Howard seems to be taking an ideological stance which slots into the wider global divide between the unilateralism of the United States under President George Bush and the defence of international conventions and laws by the European nations.

This emerging global schism is a disagreement over how the world should interact, and who should run it. The US, the world's last superpower, argues nation states are the primary and principal force in global politics. This is an international conservative position, strongly embraced not only by the most influential elements of the Bush Administration but by the British Conservative Party, a party with which Mr Howard identifies. The multi-nation European Union is, consequently, finding itself increasingly at odds with Washington and determined to defend an international system of laws and fundamental values to which all nations should adhere.


If you really want a good set of laws and fundamental values to which all nations should adhere, the US will be happy to share ours.




 

We Now Return You To Our Regularly Scheduled Programming

And what is good, Phaedrus, And what is not good -- Need we ask anyone to tell us these things?

Synthetic Individual Normally for Exploration and Questioning/Unit Assembled for Nullification and Online Negotiation

Phaedrus? Phaedrus?

Positronic Hydraulic Android Engineered for Dangerous Repair and Ultimate Sabotage

Aaaaaaahhhhhh!!!!! I need the help of a Pundit! Any Pundit!

Positronic Unit Normally for Dangerous Infiltration and Troubleshooting

But not this one!

Kinetic Electronic Violence and Infiltration Neohuman/Synthetic Lifeform Assembled for Peacekeeping

Or this one!

Kinetic Robotic Unit Generated for Mathematics and Accurate Nullification

Or these three stooges!

Intelligent Lifeform Limited to Infiltration and Battle/Electronic Robotic Assassination Lifeform

Upgraded Transforming Organism Programmed for Infiltration and Accurate Nullification

Synthetic Transforming Android Trained for Intensive Sabotage and Terran Surveillance

Oh well, at least I'll always have a Blog to call my own...

Biomechanical Lifeform Optimized for Gratification




Thursday, July 04, 2002
 

The Magic of July 4

Even Richard Cohen makes sense today.




 

Being John Malkovich

No, not the movie. I mean, I want to be like Malk. After reading this, I want to deal with "legendary" John Pilger the way John Malkovich wants to deal with Robert Fisk. And naturally, little John waits until July 4 to let loose with this tripe.

FOR 101 days, Royal Marines have been engaged in a farcical operation as mercenaries of the United States whose lawlessness now qualifies it as the world's leading rogue state.

Mercenaries? Then we are paying them? Even if it were true, perhaps there's some payback to be had for the Hessian mercenaries unleashed on the colonials oh so many years ago. And if not bowing to the ICC means we are lawless, well that's ok. After all, we are all just a bunch of cowboys anyway, right little John? I wonder if little John can appreciate the irony of calling the country with the longest standing constitution "lawless." I'd stack the US Constitition up against the UK's, but, oops! They don't have one. Is making it up as you go what little John means by lawful?

Shooting at shadows, and the occasional tribesman, blowing up mounds of dirt and displaying "captured" arms for the media, all have been part of the Marines' humiliating role in Afghanistan - a role foisted upon them by the Blair government, whose deference to and collusion with the Bush gang has become a parody of the imperial courtier.

Better the Bush gang, than the Gang of Gore.

Gang is not an exaggeration. The word, in my dictionary, means "a group of people working together for criminal, disreputable ends". That describes accurately George W Bush and those who write his speeches and make his decisions and who, since their rise to power, have undermined the very basis of international law.

International law? You and whose army is going to enforce it? Watching the Euro panic set in as the US threatens to pull out of Bosnia is enormously amusing. It's their own backyard and they cannot muster the will to deal with it. We have bigger fish to deep fry.

In Afghanistan, their record is beyond question. The killing on Monday of some 40 guests at a wedding was not a "blunder" but the direct result of a policy of shoot and bomb first and find out later, as announced by George W Bush in the weeks following September 11.

Have you noticed that little John resorts to "ironic" quotation marks in every paragraph. Must be so that his normal readers can pick up on what he's trying to get across. As far as the facts go, little John's disregard for them is quite beyond the pale.

The capacity of the American military machine to smash impoverished countries was never in dispute - conditional, that is, on the absence of American ground troops and their substitution by "allied" forces, like the Royal Marines. (During the heyday of the British Empire, Indian and other colonial troops were used in a similar role, although the British, unlike the Americans, were also prepared to sacrifice their own soldiers).

Poor little John. Won't he be surprised when he wakes up one morning and realizes all those troops we pulled out of Afghanistan have just rolled into Baghdad or Damascus or Riyadh? And as for "allied" forces, might I suggest that little John read up on WW I and how American troops where treated then by their "betters."

Since last October, Afghan leaders have reported American aircraft destroying villages "too small to be marked on any map" with "more than 300 people killed" in one night. In a family of 40, only a small boy and his grandmother survived, reported Richard Lloyd Parry of the Independent.

Ah yes, Afghan leaders. The most trustworthy bunch of people this side of Daily Mirror correspondents.

Out of sight of the television cameras "at least 3,767 civilians were killed by US bombs between October 7 and December 10...an average of 62 innocent deaths a day", according to a study carried out at the University of New Hampshire in the US. This is now estimated to have passed 5,000 civilian deaths: almost double the number killed on September 11.

3.767? That's awfully precise, woefully inflated, and wrong. Marc Herold still can't sit properly from having his ass fact checked so often. But Marc Herold's got nothing on little John Pilger, as the unfounded speculation takes the toll over 5,000 now. But gosh, with 500,000,000 Arabs, 1,000,000,000 Muslims, and even 1,000,000 Chinese, little John can see the future without an America if America would just accept his war of attrition rules of engagement. This concept is real popular with the Palestinian Authority as well.

There is no evidence that a single leader of al-Qaeda has been captured or, to anyone's knowledge, killed. Neither has the leader of the Taliban. The change in Afghanistan is minimal compared with the murderous feudalism that ruled during the 1990s, and before the Taliban came to power.

Oh? I think there's a few million Afghan women and a few more million Afghan children who would not share this assessment.

FOR all the cosmetic changes in Kabul, the capital, women still dare not go unveiled. "The Taliban used to hang the victim's body in public for four days," quipped the new American-installed regime's Minister of Justice. "We will only hang the body for a short time, say fifteen minutes, after a public execution."

Well, making sure the criminal is dead would seem appropriate.

Describing this as a "triumph of good over evil", as Bush has said, with an echo from Blair, is like lauding the superiority of the German war machine in 1940 as a vindication of Nazism.

Wow! Great leaps of faith, quoting out of context, non sequiturs, and US=Nazis all in one sentence!

This crapulence goes on and on and on with Enron, US troops killing children willfully, Kyoto, Israel, the World Food Summit, the stock market decline, oil, unilateralism -- all the usual suspects -- but I'm wasting no more time on it. What's the point? John Pilger sells newspapers by being as anti-American as possible and apparently enough people long for it that he keeps churning it out. It's clear that little John Pilger has no honor, or honour, for that matter. He is not a serious man.

But I am looking forward to little John's next trip to the US. Then again, maybe he'll make the mistake of entering a pub where the Royal Marines hang out first. Then there won't be enough left of him for me to bother with.




Wednesday, July 03, 2002
 

Lighten Up, Francis

I feel so, just so disoriented by Washington's new law.




 

And Many More...

Happy birthday to you!
Happy birthday to you!
Happy 226th birthday dear America!
Happy birthday to you!




 

ICC? Oh, I See

If the United States had signed on to the ICC, would an action be underway to arrest the pilots of the AC130 who allegedly fired on the Afghan wedding party? Or would the well meaning Europeans go straight for Secretary Rumsfeld and President Bush?




Tuesday, July 02, 2002
 

Paging Mrs. M Sese Seko

I received two desperate e-mails today, and each one read:

FROM:MRS. M SESE-SEKO

DEAR FRIEND.

I AM MRS. MARIAM SESE-SEKO WIDOW OF LATE PRESIDENT MOBUTU SESE-SEKO OF ZAIRE? NOW KNOWN AS DEMOCRATIC REPUBLIC OF CONGO
(DRC).

I AM MOVED TO WRITE YOU THIS LETTER, THIS WAS IN CONFIDENCE CONSIDERING MY PRESENT CIRCUMSTANCE AND SITUATION. I ESCAPED ALONG WITH MY HUSBAND AND TWO OF OUR SONS TIMOTHY AND BASHER OUT OF DEMOCRATIC REPUBLIC OF CONGO (DRC) TO ABIDJAN,COTE D'IVOIRE WHERE MY FAMILY AND I SETTLED, WHILE WE LATER MOVED TO SETTLED IN MORROCO WHERE MY HUSBAND LATER DIED OF CANCER DISEASE.

HOWEVER DUE TO THIS SITUATION WE DECIDED TO CHANGED MOST OF MY HUSBAND'S BILLIONS OF DOLLARS DEPOSITED IN SWISS BANK AND OTHER COUNTRIES INTO OTHER FORMS OF MONEY CODED FOR SAFE PURPOSE BECAUSE THE NEW HEAD OF STATE OF (DR) MR LAURENT KABILA HAS MADE ARRANGEMENT WITH THE SWISS GOVERNMENT AND OTHER EUROPEAN COUNTRIES TO FREEZE ALL MY LATE HUSBAND'STREASURES DEPOSITED IN SOME EUROPEAN COUNTRIES. HENCE MY CHILDREN AND I DECIDED LAYING LOW IN AFRICA TO STUDY THE SITUATION TILL WHEN THINGS GETS BETTER, LIKE NOW THAT PRESIDENT KABILA IS DEAD AND THE SON TAKING OVER(JOSEPH KABILA). ONE OF MY LATE HUSBAND'S CHATEAUX IN SOUTHERN FRANCE WAS CONFISCATED BY THE FRENCH GOVERNMENT, AND AS SUCH I HAD TO CHANGE MY IDENTITY SO THAT MY INVESTMENT WILL NOT BE TRACED AND CONFISCATED. I HAVE DEPOSITED THE SUM OF TWENTY THREE MLLION UNITED STATE DOLLARS (US$23,000,000,00.) WITH A SECURITY COMPANY, FOR SAFEKEEPING. THE FUNDS ARE SECURITY CODED TO PREVENT THEM FROM KNOWING
THE CONTENT. WHAT I WANT YOU TO DO IS TO INDICATE YOUR INTEREST THAT YOU WILL ASSIST US BY RECEIVING THE MONEY ON OUR BEHALF IN
EUROPE.

I WANT YOU TO ASSIST IN INVESTING THIS MONEY, BUT I WILL NOT WANT MY IDENTITY REVEALED.

I WILL ALSO WANT TO BUY PROPERTIES AND STOCK IN MULTI-NATIONAL COMPANIES AND TO ENGAGE IN OTHER SAFE AND NON-SPECULATIVE INVESTMENTS. MAY I AT THIS POINT EMPHASISE THE HIGH LEVEL OF CONFIDENTIALITY, WHICH THIS BUSINESS DEMANDS, AND HOPE YOU WILL NOT BETRAY THE TRUST AND CONFIDENCE, WHICH I REPOSE IN YOU IN CONCLUSION,

IN THE EVENT YOU ARE INTRESTED TO ASSIST US I WILL LIKE YOU TO CONTACT MY LAWYER WHO I HAVE STATIONED IN HOLLAND TO WITHNESS THE TRANSACTION TO IS CONCLUTION.YOU CAN REACH HIM ON IS DIRECT LINE WHICH IS +31-612 722 388 OR VIA MAIL willaim_edward5@spinfinder.com.HIS NAME IS WILLAIM EDWARD AND I HAVE THE FULL TRUST IN HIME.

I SINCERELY WILL APPRECAITE YOUR ACKNOWLEDGMENT AS SOON AS POSSIBLE.

BEST REGARDS,

MRS M. SESE SEKO


Now I'd love to help, but how can I determine which one is genuine?




 

Smokey the Marxist Bear

As I read about the fire started by a firefighter to get extra money due to his grinding poverty, I started thinking about root causes and how that might apply. Apparently poverty is not only the root cause of terrorism, but also of forest fires.

Remember, only socialism can prevent forest fires.




 

The Scourge of Richard Cohen, Vol. XXXVII

(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 knows Bill Clinton. Richard Cohen is a friend of Bill Clinton. Hell, Richard Cohen has literarily bl*wn Bill Clinton. Al Gore is no Bill Clinton. And while it would certainly be a stretch to say that Richard likes Al Gore, there can be no doubt that Richard wants to like Al Gore. Very, very much.

Richard tries to Get His Gore On with The New Old Al:

I have to start this Scourge out with a little Paul Simon (in the immortal words of Col. Jessup, “is there any other kind?”) singing You Can Call Me Al:

A man walks down the street
He says why am I soft in the middle now
Why am I soft in the middle
The rest of my life is so hard
I need a photo-opportunity
I want a shot at redemption
Don't want to end up a cartoon
In a cartoon graveyard

Too late, right Mr. Treacher?

If, as Plato said, the unexamined life is not worth living, then Al Gore has led one hell of a life.

Richard comes flying out of the gate with a non sequitur. Plato was writing of the necessity of trying to comprehend the deep metaphysical import of the meaning of existence and one’s place in it. Plato was not inferring that undergoing the public proctology exams we put our presidential hopefuls through confers any special meaning to one’s life. Then again, as my Knowledge Products coffee mug says, “Plato Knows.” Richard doesn’t.

The once and probably future presidential candidate is retooling himself yet again.

Mr. White is not amused with Richard’s roundabout attempt to bring Camelot into the mix, and neither am I. Nice to know that Al’s self examination has not yet been completed as he strives to grasp the right, uh…, tool. But even if Al finds Excalibur, I hope he remembers that you can't expect to wield supreme executive power just because some watery tart threw a sword at you!

Last time he ran as a political mannequin, draped and dressed by this or that consultant, handler, pollster or color-coordinator -- earth tones preferred. This time he will run as himself -- if only, I am obliged to add, he knows who that is.

OK, I get it. Al’s kind of flunked this whole self examination thing. I can’t quite figure out whether his oddness is a result of an incredible need to be loved that drives him to do almost anything for acceptance, or whether he thinks he’s in control and knows what he is doing but is hopelessly inept with his pathetic attempts to try and manipulate the feelings of others. And which would be worse?

Once upon a time,…

Another grim fairy tale from Richard Cohen…

… that was no mystery. Gore was the congressman and then senator from Tennessee, renowned for his thoughtfulness and his willingness to break the spine of a book and simply ingest it.

Hmm, where to start? Renowned for his thoughtfulness? By whom? “Willingness to break the spine of a book and ingest it?” What the hell is that supposed to mean? Maybe all that cellulose he ingests helps give Al that special “wooden” effect he has down so well.

He wrote books himself, did his own thinking and made himself master of many subjects, notably the environment and arms control. He became the very model of a United States senator.

Mr. Gilbert and Mr. Sullivan are also not amused.

Yet that Al Gore was not a natural politician.

Doesn’t that beg the question of which Al Gore was the natural politician?

Something about him -- his body language and the appearance that he was lip-syncing his own voice -- made him a bad presidential candidate the first time out.

So how much smarter does George W. Bush look when he wins on his first time out, and Al can’t seem to win no matter how many chances (or recounts) he gets.

That was 1988, when he proved himself not ready for prime time -- or at least for Ed Koch -- in the New York presidential primary. It is best forgotten.

Sorry. This is the Internet. Fact checking asses since, well, since Al Gore invented the Internet.

Trouble was, he repeated his performance in 2000. He kicked away a victory that should have been his.

Kicked away? I thought that perhaps the American public took to heart Tipper’s testimony to the Senate about all the bad things in the media. After watching Al tickle Tipper’s tonsils, we collectively concluded that there was in fact too much sex and Gore on television – especially at the same time.

For all of Bill Clinton's troubles, he gave Gore a pretty good platform to run on …

If only Al hadn’t thought it necessary to run off that platform and get as far away from Bill Clinton as possible. If Al had only swallowed his, uh …, pride, and let Bill Clinton campaign for him in Arkansas, he’d be – and this is a scary thought right now – President Gore! Then again, if the people of his home state, who know him best, don’t want him to be president, why should I?

… peace,

Peace? How about setting the table for the rise of Al Qaeda?

…prosperity

Prosperity? How about setting the table for Enron, WorldCom, Tyco, and the lowest NASDAQ in 5 years?

… and a unified Democratic Party.

Unified? I can hardly wait for the bloodletting that’s going to come after the midterm election. You think Flex-O-Joe is going to be signing on with Al again?

Still, George W. Bush won the presidency.

Woo! That’s one hell of an admission for Richard Cohen to make. Usually we get treated to yet another recitation of the Supreme Court Selection of George W. Bush when this topic comes up.

It was a close race, and Gore won the popular vote,…

OK, one more time. The election is decided on the basis of electoral votes, not the popular vote. If it were decided on the basis of popular votes, maybe George W. Bush would have spent a little more time in California and then this hoary old chestnut would never have been heard.

Maybe this will help Richard remember: I pledge allegiance to the flag of the United States of America, and to the REPUBLIC for which it stands, one nation under God, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all.

… but it says something about both Bush and Gore that most people preferred to move on with Bush rather than to stick and fight it out for Gore.

Everyone but the trial lawyers, the DNC, the media, and syndicated illiberal utopian statist op-ed columnists. That’s probably about as close as Richard can bring himself to say something good about President George W. Bush.

Now Gore promises to reinvent himself once again. "If I had to do it all over again, I'd just let it rip," he told a breakfast meeting of supporters in Memphis the other day.

Is that something like “pull my finger?”

"To hell with the polls, the tactics and the rest. I would have poured out my heart and my vision for America's future." In other words, the New Al Gore is going back to the Old Al Gore.

But which Old Al Gore? Is the New Al Gore going to try and channel his deceased father the way Richard does with his deceased grandfather?

Or is Al New Man turning into Al Neumann?

Welcome back, I am tempted to say.

Gabe Kaplan is not amused either.

That Al Gore did indeed have vision and heart. He was a decent man, a thoughtful man and he had -- although he kept it a secret -- a winning sense of humor.

One of the best kept secrets in history.

Al Gore will never be George Bush.

Or George W. Bush either.

The president is famously comfortable in his own skin …

Isn’t it refreshing!

… but more and more, I am not comfortable with him.

Noooooo.

There is more to the presidency -- especially presidential decision-making -- than feelings.

No question about it, it’s certainly about a whole lot more than feeling someone else’s pain.

Bush may have felt terrific about his $1.4 trillion tax cut, but it has contributed mightily to the federal deficit and left the government scraping the bottom of the barrel for cash.

That would be the tax cut that hasn’t really taken effect yet, right Dick? Is Richard sure it doesn’t have anything to do with the profligacy of Congress as they try and outdo each other in buying votes? Ever heard of the Farm Bill? And maybe it would be easier if we stopped spending all this money defending ourselves? Eh, Dick? I guess we can always switch from government cheese to government vegemite when things get really tough.

Bush may feel terrific about his new foreign policy doctrine -- the best defense is a good offense…

Damn straight. Why are the Democrats suddenly becoming Buchananite isolationists? General George Patton said, “fixed fortifications are a monument to the folly of mankind. If oceans and mountain ranges can be overcome, then anything built by man can be overcome.” Richard can dig a trench for protection, I’d rather take the bastards out before they have the chance to kill again. Oh, and to our enemies in Fatah, thanks for the warning.

… but it raises more questions than it answers: What happens after Saddam Hussein (or Iraq) is taken out?

The Iraqi population is freed from his tyranny? The WMDs that Iraq has built are destroyed? We suggest that the mad mullahs of Iran note that our troops are now on either side of them? The House of Saud realizes the gig is up? Al Gore would give another speech condemning the search for bin Laden? But, then again, who would know more about not searching for bin Laden?

Bush has settled into a morally comfy antipathy toward Yasser Arafat -- he's off the Christmas card list…

No Richard, you’re off the Christmas Card list. Yasser is off every list, save one.

… but the president's spokespersons simply cannot explain what happens if, as expected, the Palestinians reelect Arafat.

Sigh. OK. One more time. Ready? Here it comes…, wait for it,… nothing.

If the Palestinians reelect Yasser Arafat, then in the immortal words of The New Republic as they wrote about the American people electing George W. Bush, they are not a serious people. Are we serious now Mr. Peretz?

Gore might well have reached some of the same decisions -- although not on taxes, that's for sure.

No question, Al never met a tax he didn’t like. But does anyone think Richard Cohen would be as dismissive and condescending if the ideas sprung from the New Al Gore instead of the one and only George W. Bush?

He was one of the few Democrats to support the Gulf War, and he apparently has few quibbles with Bush's Iraq policy.

Even if Richard does, but consistency was gobbled up by Richard’s foolishness long ago.

But he would have thought out -- and could explain -- what happens afterward.

Uh huh. Al Gore’s ability to plan and predict the course of events and choose the right thing to do was so ably demonstrated in the last presidential election. Or perhaps he could explain to Eyad Sarraj why he publicly approved the establishment of military courts by the Palestinian Authority.

He does not proceed on feelings alone, setting the course for iceberg-infested waters and then leaving the bridge for a jog around the deck.

What the hell is Richard talking about? Hmm, let’s see. George W. Bush works on feelings alone since he is incapable of “serious” thought, not signing on to the Kyoto Accords is going to keep creating more icebergs for the good ship U.S. Titanic to be destroyed on, and George W. Bush actually jogs for a purpose other than photo ops and a stop at McDonalds, so this must be ridiculed!

Might I suggest once again that Richard leave the free word association to the amateurs.

Sometimes a little thought -- even a lot of thought -- is a good thing.

I wholeheartedly agree and I’m always striving for a better understanding of what is “good.” Richard should give it a try sometime.

But Gore is too preoccupied with Gore.

Must be the lingering after-effect of being too near the Big He for 8 years.

His latest pronouncement that he will be himself not only leaves open the question of who that is but serves also to revive the issue that plagued him and troubled us in the last campaign.

If he's going to be himself now, does that mean he thought all us rubes could be fooled with a slick imitation last time? Try and fool us once, shame on you, try and fool us twice, shame on us.

As Al keeps reinventing himself is he putting all of creation in jeopardy? Will the universe implode if the New Al comes into contact with any of the Old Als?

He introspects too much, tinkering with what, by now, ought to be a finished product.

Either that or his moral compass has been broken for so long that he no longer can find true north.

Get on with it, Al. Get out on the stump, stop telling us who you are and start showing us.

Across the vast expanse of this great country, literally hundreds are clamoring for Al’s comeback! Don’t disappoint them Al!

Maybe the unexamined life is not worth living, but please -- at long last -- leave the examining to us.

I’m not sure about that, but I am certain that the unScourged Richard Cohen column is probably not worth reading.




Monday, July 01, 2002
 

Same Old Same Old

Not enough time or energy tonight to deliver a proper Scourge, so until tomorrow I'll just note that while Richard Cohen thinks that it's The New Old Al, it sure looks to me a lot more like The Old New Al routine.

Get ready. This one's going to hurt.






Weblog Commenting by HaloScan.com