Monday, September 25, 2006
Well, well. It appears that we all get to finally see the beginnings of one of former President Clinton’s famous “purple rages” for ourselves. Fox News has the scoop and Chris Wallace (son of the famous Mike) does a fine job holding the interview together. Fox has posted details and clips.
Incoherent babbling aside, Mr. Clinton let’s fly with a few mis-statements and half truths that others have covered ever-so-well. I will let their comments covering the historical accuracies (and/or lack there of) and logical refutations suffice.
We all have our hot-buttons. I expect that every leader—and former leader—will have theirs. But as we watch Bill Clinton defiantly wag his finger at Chris Wallace and go about his self-serving tirade, I cannot help but transpose the image of his famous speech (referenced in an unrelated blog a few days ago) where he promises us, with great concern and firmness, that he “did not have sex with that woman, Ms. Lewinski. (And he) never asked anyone to lie, ever….” Deja’ vu all over again, I think.
If you have not read enough about this already, here are more links for your reference:
Little Green Footballs
Friday, September 22, 2006
The Devil Is In The Details
The most recent dust-up at the UN gives us pause. Hugo Chavez, the erstwhile President of Venezuela, calls our President “The Devil” to applause and school-girl giggles from the crowd. The day before, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad of Iran gave us his best Bill Clinton impersonation (“I do not intend to make weapons with that enriched uranium. I never lied about it and I didn’t inhale.”). President Bush takes his opportunity to speak before this world body to call for freedom and liberty for all of mankind.
Who are we to trust and believe—Hugo, Mahmoud, or George? Perhaps the details can shed light upon our choices.
Among certain circles George Bush is best known for having committed the crime of “Presiding While Christian” (the punishment for which stirs no debate among the otherwise anti-death penalty crowd as all lefties agree it is a hanging offense). He is also known for his dedicated prosecution of The War on Terror. There are those who disagree with his methods (some obviously believe that saying “War on Terror” is sufficient and actually conducting a War on Terror is disproportionate and unfashionable). It is reasonably allowed that some reasonable folks might be able to arm-chair quarterback mis-steps and plausible improvements as the rear-view mirror allows. Other rather extreme lefties concoct theories that Mr. Bush or his alleged “cronies” are profiting by the whole mess, though none has been able to demonstrate a financial or economic tie.
Hugo Chavez is best known for being a Socialist rabble-rouser. Perhaps he is best thought of as Fidel Castro’s understudy—waiting in the wings for the star to become ill (or die) so that he can get his big break on the world stage. He is also known for suppressing free speech in his own country—not in the American media sense of suppressing free speech by snubbing at parties or (gasp!) criticizing the press—we’re talking about the threats, imprisonment, and mysterious “disappearances” kind of totalitarian suppression. Definitely “old school.” Where the George Bush Team is regularly harangued for having an understanding of the Oil Industry and having loosely defined “ties” to the companies that pump it up form the Earth, Hugo Chavez wields his country’s government-confiscated oil reserves as a political bludgeon—giving it away here, over-pricing it there, and generally using it to stay in power by exploiting the limited inherent wealth of the Venezuelan people.
Where do we begin? Mahmoud Ahmadinejad is well known for:
- Denying the Holocaust—definitely, partially, with equivocations, and then definitely again.
- Desiring Israel to be “wiped off the map” —moving it to Europe if we must. Since most of the rest of us would at least marginally object to killing all of the remaining Jews, he has compromised into sort of a “no Jews in my neighborhood” anti-Semite. Perhaps he is worried about property values in the Middle East?
- He has what I would call an “unhealthy” affinity for calling for the end of the world during his tenure as leader of Iran and as an out-growth his brand of fervent religiosity.
- It is alleged by some of our former embassy hostages that Mr. Ahmadinejad was one of the hostage-takers back in the day. I do not consider this to be a resume’ enhancement or qualification for civilized international diplomacy.
- This is getting far too long for our Blog format so the above listing will have to suffice.
My opinions are made plain. But any attempt by reasonable folks to sift through the details should help us easily determine who the Devils at the UN are.
Thursday, September 14, 2006
Intelligent people of good character are free to quibble over details and incidentals. But now, five years after 9/11 and four years into armed conflict with Afghanistan and Iraq--amongst all off the rancor and rhetoric--reasonable people should come to one conclusion:
The invasion of Iraq was a clean shoot.
Let me explain by analogy.
When a police officer approaches a suspicious person, the officer will order the suspect to "show his hands" or something to that effect. The officer may give further directions to the suspect to provide reassurance that there is not an immanent threat. If the suspect makes threatening gestures; if the suspect conceals (or reasonably appears to conceal) something in his/her hand; if the suspect makes statements that cause the officer to believe that the danger is mounting; if an innocent is coming into supposed danger; if the suspect commits further crimes or other actions that escalate the situation: any or a combination of these circumstances may cause the police officer to use force--even deadly force. This use of force is justified under these circumstances.
Bush lied? Come now. The word lie infers conscious intent. We can reasonably agree that the minds within the administration were wrong (whatever your estimation of the quality of those minds). However, we have much to say that the Bush Administration made a call based upon the information that they had at the time and came to a conclusion--one that was shared by most of the free world at the time--that Iraq posed a WMD threat. Saddam was evasive, brash, had used WMDs previously, and there is evidence that he himself believed that he had some WMDs at his disposal (he may have been deceived by corrupt scientists and military men within his own government).
Think that America is prosecuting the war poorly? Let's talk. Think that the whole affair was the wrong call to begin with? Fair enough--your opinion is as good as mine. Think that the police analogy I have constructed is apt and we should not be the police force for the world? OK--I can understand your argument. Want to spend your time as the Administration's perpetual "armchair quarterback" second-guessing every move from the intellectual safety of hindsight? Not fair.
You may not like the call made by the Bush team and you may dread the result, but in the dim light, stress, and trauma of the seedy back-alley that is the Middle East--the Iraq invasion was a clean shoot.
Sunday, September 03, 2006
It may be a bit too much to ask, but couldn't we have found a journalist? I am not a "Katie Basher" per se. But how does a cute, hair-bobbed, cherubic, dilettante go from cooking segments and good morning wishes (which she did arguably very well) to anchoring the evening news? Even the word "Anchor" implies a sense of weighted intellect, experienced judgment, and even-handed repose sufficient to form the nucleus of serious journalism. For all of Katie's talents--real, supposed, or imagined--there is little to convince us that she has the right stuff.
Well, the answer is an easy one and a common lament--ratings. Katie has been an early morning ratings juggernaut and the brass at CBS are hoping that Katie's debut at the helm of the evening news--long after the effects of morning coffee have worn-off the bleary-eyed viewing public--will drag a subset of her loyal followers into CBS's prime-time lineup. Actually, this is pretty good marketing. But it is not good journalism at all.
There will be unending hype and a slew of underappreciated "producers" who will serve as her galley-slaves--rowing the ship of serious news (or as close to serious news as CBS can muster) while Katie wears her new string of serious pearls, a new "do", and a wardrobe of carefully chosen "grown-up" clothes which still feel and look a little foreign on her. Maybe she will even succeed. But the measure of success is not likely to be taken in real journalistic achievement. Rather, it will be measured in rating-book basis points and market share.
All of those folks doing all of that rowing--and so the word "anchor" takes on a whole new meaning.
I cannot resist one parting dig before I sign off: It is not that Katie Couric and CBS look at the world through rose-colored glasses. It is that their glasses are missing a lens on the right side--and the left one needs to be cleaned. Good luck Katie.