Wednesday, December 31, 2008

The Score Abroad

In 2008, due to the troop surge advocated by Senator McCain at some political peril, planned by General Petraeus, and executed by the world's finest military force as it advances stability in Iraq, the US brought the insurgency down to manageable levels. Ironically, McCain's efforts brought the success that allowed national security to slip from the front pages and facilitated the rise of Obama. In Afghanistan, the US may be leaving the first round in a draw, an untenable situation exacerbated by the cowardice of and failure to engage by some of our NATO allies who if they permit their troops involvement at all only allow them in safer areas. The West must win even if it means confronting Pakistan which has continued her double game with support for Jihad but with hopes that the fanatics they sponsor will direct their wrath on India over Kashmir. India and Pakistan may be about to embark on a conflict of their own. The inventory of terrorist atrocity expanded with the madness in Mumbai, and India must be seen as stamping out the roots of this barbarism. If Pakistan closes training camps, arrests, tries, and punishes ringleaders and purges her intelligence service and military of bad actors war will be prevented and the world will be better off. Pakistani nuclear proliferator A.Q. Khan's mischief must still be confronted in North Korea and Iran. Iran is led by an end-time fanatic and like-thinking theocrats and continues to be the globe's main exporter of terrorist menace backing Hizbullah, Hamas, and the Iraqi Shia insurgency that still exists though the Sunni al-Qaeda threat has been largely vanquished. Hamas or its proxies pounded Israel and Israel finally responded to almost universal condemnation. The expansion of the Israel conflict is inevitable with Hizbullah likely to start trouble along the Israel-Lebanon border and Iran will back this to the fore and may try to use a nuclear weapon against the Jewish state. Hugo Chavez continues to export revolution in Latin America and tries to be the constant thorn in America's side. The Venezuelan villain is joined by Evo Morales in Bolivia, Rafael Correa in Ecuador, Daniel Ortega in Nicaragua,and the dying Castro brothers in Cuba in trying to thwart capitalist democracy in Latin America. Africa is riven with strife as the Congo bleeds, Zimbabwe starves, and Somalia turns back into a failed state and the home of sea piracy not seen since the Barbary banditry and receiving the notoriety of the Spanish Main. Dissent feeds street riots in Greece and destabilizes Thailand. Active Islamic insurgency ravages the Philippines, Thailand, Chechnya, and India where Maoists also ply their evil work. China, Burma, and Vietnam remain slave states. Kurds and Tibetans are not free. Iceland is bankrupt and the world economy on the verge of collapse. The world did quake in 2008 and more shaking is certain in 2009.

Summing It Up

America stumbled down a crooked path in 2008. We found our financial markets in the throes of what really was the worst reversal since the Great Depression, and not the fear-mongering rhetorical flourish Democrats trot out against Republicans in every election. We found conservatives have almost no home in the Republican party with the nomination of a fossilized moderate and the inclusion of a virtual unknown on the doomed ticket to placate real rightists. We found the faux conservative President continuing to push open-borders amnesty in the guise of comprehensive immigration reform and with the ascension of the Marxist-in-Chief, this is sadly a fait accompli. We have witnessed the boy-wonder achieve the highest office with untold cheating by ACORN and a complicit media that never bothered to mention to the public the fetid sewage that is Chicago politics until after the election. The media reports nothing remarkable about the Coleman-Franken contest with Franken now leading by forty-nine(49) votes in an election not-so-funny Al lost in November. We now find our nation being run by a party that will engage shamelessly in all sorts of chicanery to acquire and never relinquish power. We have no restraint in spending by either party with bailouts for bailouts, ineffective regulatory constraint, deliberate theft, and our oldest and most established companies either failing or essentially nationalised. We have instituted Western European socialism under a Republican President with ever more listing to the left promised by the new President who is beholden to a vast cabal of trial lawyers, homosexual activists, abortionists, gun-banners, dole-dwelling parasites, the campus cadre of communists and imbecilic idealists who are blissfully unaware of the dangers of our leftward plummet, and plain stupid folks who were convinced that all change (and we do need plenty) is in and of itself a good thing.

Tuesday, December 30, 2008

The Chattering Classless

I was trying to enjoy my nabe at a Japanese restaurant tonight when a group of five college -age social crusaders sat down beside me. One of the two females was wearing a sweatshirt emblazoned and I kid you not with a message extolling her "boobs" which in this case undoubtedly meant her four companions. These children began a diatribe against Israel as they scarfed their sushi. They spoke with outrage against the "Jews' atrocities". What are the universities teaching these days that young people can not make a moral distinction between a cop and a murderer? They don't have the slightest idea about the tenets of Islamism after all their professors whitewash the aggressive and intolerant portions of the Koran. These youngsters see a genocide going on and reserve all the opprobrium for Israel. The press reinforces the negative image and concentrates on the casualties among Palestinian non-combatants without reporting Hamas has deliberately jeopardized them. The thinking of this generation is testament to agitprop masquerading as education.

Snowing Down South

I had the opportunity to meet and briefly interact with Vanessa Redgrave when I was in my early teens. I attended a high school that used experimental teaching techniques and Ms. Redgrave was doing some sort of documentary about progressive education. While a reception committee was waiting to greet the Camelot star from the acting dynasty at the front of the school, Redgrave slipped in the rear. By coincidence I was entering at that exact moment and place from a class in the annex and the thespian asked little ole me to walk her to the front office. I knew who she was at that time and the anti-Israel position she had embraced, but I gritted my teeth and led her at some point actually by the hand (you can touch her, she only played a queen) to the welcoming throng who I suppose were beside themselves thinking she was not showing up. Much parental objection was voiced by University School's influential Jewish parents because of her PLO support and in the event, the school backed out on participating. What I remember most about the five minutes I spent with Guinevere was nothing in particular about her, but on the way to the office I had happened upon my favorite teacher at the school, Polly Fields, and had naturally introduced the ladies to each other. "Ms. Redgrave, this is Ms. Polly Fields, the most excellent instructor of Western Civilization in the Western Hemisphere. Ms. Fields, this is Ms. Vanessa Redgrave, formidable presence of stage and screen and certainly the greatest luminary to grace these hallowed halls today." The teacher, who was among the two most influential in my life and the actress exchanged their pleasantries and yes at thirteen, I really talked that way and said those things. Well, after depositing the star with her audience at the office, I went back to Polly Fields and she was nonplussed and unimpressed. She said, "Daniel, did you notice it was snowing down south?" I said no and asked Ms. Fields for clarification because in point of fact, I had no idea what she meant. She explained for me that snowing down south meant the performer's slip had been showing which I had indeed noticed. Perhaps, the Grand Dame of the classroom was just a tad disappointed that the belle of stage and screen was merely human.

Monday, December 29, 2008

World's Criticism Mounts

Israel continues to exercise tremendous restraint considering her overwhelming power. The IDF has not used saturation bombing or reduced Palestinian areas with artillery. The Israeli bombing has been surgical and measured. The world should be thanking Israel for showing vastly more restraint than any of her Arab neighbors would have. Even in the battle between the Lebanese authorities and al Qaeda sympathizers, the refugee camp in which the terrorists were hiding was eventually leveled with artillery with no consideration for the civilians who resided there. Isn't it rich that China, the authors of the Tiaenemun Square massacre and the slaughter in Tibet, have condemned Israel? Street demonstrations against Israel's actions have gripped London. Is this any wonder in a nation so in the thrall of or in fear of Muslims living there? Some British also still resent Israel as a former colonial possession that to borrow the Arab verbiage "threw off the yoke". Crowds in Greece against the Jewish state are no surprise in a nation gripped recently by riots and riddled with Marxists. Germans have reportedly gathered against Israeli action or more likely the protesters were largely Turkish and other migrant Muslim workers whose natural sympathy would be for their fellow Muslims. Europe is still rife with anti-Semites. Israel must do what is necessary to eliminate the Hamas threat regardless of what Communists or Jew-haters say about it.

No Moral Comparison

Much of the world is practicing moral relativism in the conflict between Israel and the fundamentalist Islamic terrorist group Hamas. The distinction that most differentiates the Jewish state from her genocidal opponent is this: Hamas tactics target Israeli civilians trying to maximize the carnage of innocents. IDF tactics try to minimize civilian collateral damage even though Israel's Hamas opponent does everything it can to locate rocket launchers, mortar teams, and other terrorist logistic and training facilities where civilian casualties are inevitable. The hue and cry emanating from the Jew-haters at the UN should be taken for what it is. Most of the nations condemning Israel are either Muslim or are nations that gladly aligned themselves with Hitler or actively collaborated with Nazi attempts to rid the world of Jews. It does greatly disappoint however when Deputy Press Secretary Gordon Johndroe feels compelled to lecture Israel on avoiding civilian casualties.Much of the international press has deliberately distorted the situation to blame only Israel and to harangue the Jewish state to give up her effort at self-defense. Israel has always prided herself on purity of arms and has sacrificed her own soldiers to prevent the loss of life among civilians who are in complete philosophical accord with Hitlerism. The only equivalency of which this author is aware is that all blood is red.

Israel Strikes Back

In attempting to understand any conflict, one must define one's terms. In the Israel-Palestinian dispute, the Jewish state is a democratic polity recognized by the United Nations in 1948,but placed under immediate assault as an attempted liquidation by the forces of all her Arab neighbors. Israel survived, but in spite of armistice, continued to face attrition attacks from said neighbors. In 1948, the so-called Palestinians left mostly of their own accord at the behest of the Grand Mufti of Jerusalem who in the era of World War II had been a confidant of Hitler and an honored guest of Nazi Germany. The Grand Mufti had called for the Muslims to evacuate the area, so that the combined Arab armies could unleash their might to sweep the Jews into the sea. Without Muslim civilians on the battlefield, the Arab Legion of Jordan, the Egyptians, Syrians, Lebanese, Saudis who sent a contingent, Iraq, which was among the most eager to see the Jews sent to their reward, the indigenous Arab Liberation Army, and even Yemeni killers could be as ruthless as they wanted to be in the eradication effort. Many of the Arabs forces had received British training, equipment, and were even led by British officers. Among the Arab officers and NCOs numbered some Nazis. Yes, local Arabs were displaced by the 1948 war but most left on their own volition so they would not be collateral damage of the slaughter and could return to claim the forfeited property of the Jews once the Arab military had annihilated them. Many Jews in Arab lands had no option but to leave or die and though their plight is largely ignored, were also made refugees. The difference is Israel made every effort to absorb them while the Arab states abandoned the Palestinians to live without passports, without legal status, and often in incredible squalor to have as a constant irritant and a bloody shirt to hold over the Jews and on which they could scapegoat their national deficiencies. For more on the Arab-Israeli conflict's beginnings and the expulsion of the Jews from Muslim states, I must commend to the reader the scholarship of Shlomo Alfassa and the more accessible work of Bernard Lewis. The Palestinian Liberation Organization was founded in 1964, three(3) years before Israel acquired the West Bank and Gaza in the 1967 War which preempted another attempted liquidation. Therefore, the Palestinian cause can not credibly be claimed to be the liberation of the lands Israel liberated in 1967. To define Palestinian aspiration is now necessary. As I see it, while the Palestinians have grievance, much of which could be held against wealthy Arab oil states who have done little to resettle Palestinians on a permanent basis, Iran which has done nothing as an Islamic Republic but give terrorists material aid, murderous inspiration, and military training to serve as gasoline on a fire to further inflame violence, and their own Palestinian leadership which was notoriously corrupt under Arafat whose close circle looted the aid meant for the destitute Palestinians and who rejected the permanent settlement offered to Palestine by Ehud Barak in the Clinton negotiations. The Palestinians now fall into two major camps:1.) The irridentist camp, by far the largest, which sees the only option as the complete destruction of Israel with the one state remaining being a Muslim entity governed under Sharia law. Members of Hamas, currently under Israel's counter-attack response to Kassams, the Popular Resistance Committees, the Islamic Jihad(Jihad Islami), and the al-Qaeda sympathizers including the Dogmush clan are rejectionists who will never accept a two-state solution.2.)The accommodationist camp of Palestinians including the Palestinian Authority and Abbas who believe a temporary accommodation of a two-state solution is possible to gain tactical advantage for an eventual strategic coup de main to achieve precisely the same goal as the irridentist camp-that is a one state solution with any surviving Jews as dhimmi. The only difference between Hamas and the Palestinian Authority is in the best method to create a one-state solution with the Jews dispatched. Only a statistically insignificant number of Palestinians want peace, and if they speak up for two states living side by side in harmony, they will be killed by their own neighbors. The only answer embraced by Muslims by in large is a "final solution".

Sunday, December 28, 2008

Lest We Hope

In 2008, times were less than great/ In 2009, pray times will be fine/ As the calender will turn/ With more calories to burn/ You do not need a life coach/ Just a new approach/ No matter what the media reports/ Don't let it get you out of sorts/ No matter what politicians do/ Don't allow them to damage you/ In America you are still free/ To shape your own destiny. May you be blessed in the coming year.

Saturday, December 27, 2008

Reflections on Celebrity

In my forty-two(42) years, I have had occasion to meet all manner of celebrity. My maternal grandparents had the first post-Prohibition legal liquor store in Nashville and my grandfather was particularly close to Roy Acuff, Brother Oswald, and frequent dinner guest Jimmy Riddle. I knew them all. I took my flu shot one year at the Harris Teeter grocery store in Belle Meade right after Chester Atkins who the administering nurse did not recognize as the country guitar superstar. I had known Chet at least peripherally for years as my godfather had a house immediately above his on a three terraced hill lot and my basketball would frequently have to be retrieved on Atkins' property. On one such foray, I met Mark Knopfler of Dire Straits who was evidently visiting. I dined with my grandfather at old Nashville institutions Flaming Steer and Marchetti's and sat immediately next to Dolly Parton and Porter Wagoner who exchanged greetings with my Grand-Dad. I was in the company of Art Garfunkle as a child as he flea marketed with our family friend, his now ex-wife. I saw Janis Joplin, Jimi Hendrix, and was actually in Kris Kristofferson's lap as an infant or toddler in clubs either co-owned or supplied with liquor by my father whose primary business was wholesale liquor. My family were great backers of Tennessee State University football under John Merritt and I met Ed "Too Tall" Jones and Claude Humphrey. I knew at least in passing all the Vanderbilt athletes when I was at University School of Nashville which abuts the Vanderbilt campus. I met one of the Everly brothers at USN. When I attended Vandy, I met Will Perdue and have known Clyde Lee and Bill Wade in the community. I have met all the Nashville mayors of my lifetime but the last two. I knew corrupt Governor Ray Blanton and was disappointed in a personal brush with Fred Thompson who sat near my date and I during Forrest Gump at the former Lion's Head Cinema. He wasn't driving his little pickup featured in his campaign ads but a Lincoln Towncar and even though he was in his initial Senate run left like the building was on fire when I and the other two people at the movie tried to engage him in conversation. The band I was majordomo to opened for the Four Tops and the Temptations at the War Memorial Auditorium. I happened upon Robert Redford while visiting Savannah while he was filming Bagger Vance and in spite of the massive per minute cost of making a picture, he permitted my traveling companion and I to take his photograph. And he had a reputation for being distant from his fans. I have known other stars but will save that for future postings. Generally, celebrities are like anyone else but I always have wondered if Kristofferson would have held me if he had known I would have grown up to be a conservative.

Miscalculations Cause Disasters

Saddam Hussein would never have postured a non-existent WMD program had he foreseen the cost. He was a vicious dictator no doubt and a Muslim, but he was no Islamist fanatic. He was interested in perpetuating his own power and self-preservation and thought Bush was bluster and bluff. The Hamas terrorists currently under devastating assault knew that they would not destabilize Israel with their nuisance rocket attacks; they would occasionally kill a Jew or a few, but they would not overturn the Jewish state by way of the Kassam. They did not conceive that the IDF would marshal sufficient force to cause many of their deaths over a rocket barrage. The Pakistanis do not believe minor troop movements will precipitate a great conflict. Miscalculations engender great conflagrations.

Red Dog's Battle

As an infant I am told I was cradled by entertainer Kris Kristofferson at a club whose location near the Vanderbilt University campus my father owned with a partner and leased to a music impresario called Red Dog. As a toddler I recall that either Red Dog or one of his employees was battling cancer of the face which rendered a rather unforgettable and somewhat disturbing appearance. To a child of perhaps three, this physiognomy reflected a hard-lived existence if not a horror. Today, I might wonder if the poor fellow had been a tobacco user. Put a pinch between your cheek and gum long enough and you might have a little oral cancer to show for it. But I digress. Here I was, a little tyke at one of my father's businesses one day when the health inspector showed up. I can vividly recall that a just vacated table at this lunch hour was about to be bussed, when the dutiful bureaucrat opened the door at this December time of year and entered with a gust of wind that caused one of the used and soon to be discarded paper napkins to blow to the floor. Keep in mind that Red Dog or his manager was already fighting against a severe and life-threatening affliction. The health department man immediately began to jot down a deficiency about the garbage napkin that had drifted to the ground on his clipboard and Red or his man exploded. I can still see the other workers and my Dad trying to calm him. My Dad saying he would call Dr. Joseph Bistowish (forgive any spelling error) and try to get things straightened out. Fortunately, the health department representative was a fast runner or the cancer patient might have put him in a hospital. The problem with some government people is not that they don't work, but as this case from the late 1960s demonstrates, that they work all too well. They dot every "i", cross every "t", and are so darn diligent that they make it next to impossible to operate a private business. And Obama will hire thousands of them.

Friday, December 26, 2008

Pakistan Versus India

Just as the schedule of mobilization ignited the engine of inevitability of World War I, so too could Pakistan's disposition of around a single division toward the Indian border. With India already rightly inflamed by the Mumbai massacre, it will not take much to send these two nuclear armed neighbors into the spiral toward war. Pakistani strategic planners will know their best hope to defeat India in a conventional war will be the Guderian tactic of Blitzkrieg where a quick strike might even elicit terms that would unite Indian Kashmir with her Pakistani Muslim brothers. Even the most optimistic generals in Pakistan recognize the futility of a nuclear exchange, but a quick devastating thrust might call forth ceasefire negotiations before Pakistan sustains irrevocable damage. A truce might even be developed under United Nations' auspices that would summon international peacekeepers to allow Pakistan to consolidate her gain. Let us pray Pakistani military minds are not thinking that way because something that seems perfectly plausible at a war college could be the start of World War III.

The Israel Nightmare

Israel whose creation and continued existence is something in the realm of the miraculous as a tiny Jewish enclave and bastion of Western Democratic values in a sea of Muslim dictatorship much of it dedicated to the totalitarian proposition of pushing the Jews into the sea, faces a stifling internal dynamic which even lacking an existential threat would be difficult to endure. There is a labor organization called the Histadrut which has prevented the implementation of much of the capitalistic reform that could have increased prosperity. School instructors at all levels even that of the university have recently routinely gone on strike. Students have struck in solidarity. Ben Gurion Airport workers in the past have staged strikes or wildcat walkouts that have caused visitors and travelers all measure of inconvenience. There is a pervasive mafia which of late has been engaged in a bloody gang war purportedly over recycling, Jew killing Jew over who can steal the most garbage. While there thankfully has not been violence to the level of the recent troubles in Greece, while travelers have not so far been stranded for days as they were in Thailand, and while organized crime does not seem to have quite the reach it enjoys in Sicily, the Jews have showed they are no pikers. From leading the world in the distribution of the club drug Ecstasy to having the former Prime Minister Sharon's son convicted and incarcerated, to having a legal cloud hanging over current Prime Minister Olmert, to allegations of Chicago- style corruption in almost every election, the Holy Land has been tainted enough that she might implode. Netanyahu must love the state and the people or be insane. Only a mad man or great patriot would want to clean this Augean Stable.

Good Time Party

Kadima, the corrupt governing party of Israel, is saber-rattling and may finally enter the Gaza Strip to end the ceaseless Kassam rocket threat that has plagued the border area, particularly Sderot. This would be a crass, cynical political manipulation of the Israeli electorate right before the coming national election in which the more conservative Likud party was expected to gain power. If the Israeli body politic does not recognize that Tzipi Livni is only hawkish now for political effect, they will empower this party which has made Gaza Judenrein, to attempt the same with the West Bank perhaps even parts of Jerusalem. A Zion free of Jews might be the ultimate result of keeping Kadima which is well-versed in political games in a position to negotiate the piecemeal disassembly of the Jewish state. Nor does Livni possess the Thatcherite iron to face down or actually remove the Iranian nuclear existential threat.

Draw an Audience

At times, I wonder if this blog serves any productive purpose beyond an avenue for me to vent. I hear of websites where trollops shows off their assets that get a million hits a day. I had supposed that every mammalian creature of the distaff gender had similar apparatus and hoped there was much genuine interest in ideas and ideals. I could offer my opinions on whether Van Halen was better with Sammy Hagar or David Lee Roth. I could speak definitively on how Ole Miss shockingly beat Florida in Gainesville. Is that what America wants? Bread and circus with the country falling in our midst-the new Rome. We, as the Chinese curse declared, "live in interesting times." Consequential and dangerous more than most can imagine. It is not our lucre alone at stake-but our liberty and our lives. As the Loyalists said as they struggled against Fascist Franco, "Vive la libertad, companeros!"

Thursday, December 25, 2008

Life Skills Class

For my parents' generation, deference to the educator was a virtue. They could not have conceived of a time, when instructors would subvert the family unit and try to warp the values of their charges. At University School, this dichotomy reared its head: listen to my parents telling me to listen to my teachers or listen to my teachers telling me to rebel against my parents. As a freshman, I took, at my parents' behest, a class called "life skills". My parents had been led to believe that the course was about balancing checkbooks and that sort of thing. In fact, we never discussed checkbooks. There was open advocacy for experimenting with drugs. A lesbian was brought to class, vibrator in hand, to advocate alternative lifestyles. At fourteen, I am being instructed that sexual orientation is a choice and I and my classmates needed to try all our options. We visited the Planned Parenthood abortion mill. Perhaps, the most damaging and age-inappropriate indoctrination we received was at the Vanderbilt medical school morgue. First, the director of the morgue, either British or Australian by his accent, met us in a conference room. His assistant, I believe a humpback but that may be my imagination, brought in a covered tray like those used in Chinese restaurants. This did not contain lunch but a formaldehyde-preserved anencephaly baby who had been born with no excretory organs and only a brain stem. Dr. Macabre asked us why the baby died. Someone said because she could not empty her bladder/bowel. Doc said surgeons could have made excretory organs for her, but she was allowed to die because of her underdeveloped brain. Reeked of murder to me. Then it was on to the real show. One girl opted out at this point but the rest of us, me included, visited the morgue proper. Here medical students were dissecting corpses, some donated, some indigent. A young female medical student is tying some poor woman's vein to her tendon in a braid fashion-I asked her why and am told because the future MD likes the color contrast of the blue and the red. I notice the green beans and carrots intact and undigested in the decedent's stomach. It put me off mixed vegetables for a long time. Shocking, nightmare-inducing but absolutely typical of a bunch of leftists trying to inculcate these children from affluent backgrounds to hate and disobey their parents who were paying large tuition, lawful authority, and generally lose the reverence for life that normal, moral people possess. At USN, you were taught to resent the very wealth that enabled you to attend. My time at University School was my first experience with contemporary American liberalism.

Daddy Save Me

While I may have been in philosophical accord with much of the instruction at MBA, the prejudice was intolerable. Football pep rallies would incorporate the "n" word and calling the opponent "faggots" was common at the time, as there were no black students, three Jews including myself in the seventh grade class, maybe ten in the whole school, one Pakistani classmate who I attempted to befriend as a fellow outsider, and if there were any homosexuals, they had to be darned discreet about it. If you left the closet there, you may have been opening your own casket. The Pakistani was to my knowledge the first Muslim I had met. After a cross country practice, I tried to engage him in conversation and perhaps a game of chess. He said and I will never forget, unapologetically, that he did not, and would never associate with Jews. So much for an alliance of the other. Throughout my school life, I had seen very wealthy families' children being given great latitude in their conduct. They could be caught with alcohol, tobacco, or pornography and not be expelled or face consequential discipline. The rich really are different. They more or less get away with it from the very beginning. I had a chum at USN who killed a CEO's wife by way of a traffic collision in a drug and alcohol induced stupor. His father was a developer and he got by with it. Of course, the enfant terrible is not entirely insulated from the repercussions of his actions. Two young brothers and their school friend from one of these schools wrapped their sports car around a tree three blocks from my house. All were killed. So many of these youngsters destroyed their health with drugs and booze or STDs. I knew two suicides. The only time I ever cheated on a test in my life was in Spanish 3 at USN. The daughter of a prominent attorney offered me a sexual favor if I let her copy my work. I obliged and got a 94, she did not oblige but copied word for word and somehow received a 98. These scions acted licentiously and for most, there was no cost.

The Golden Cocoon

Editor's note: The next few posts seem biographical in nature. The author generally regards such indulgences as pretentious, self-serving if not self-aggrandizing, and rather masturbatory and has assiduously sought to limit them. Our young President-elect of comparable age and to an extent, similar background, has not felt so constrained, already writing two autobiographies by his mid-forties. The point of these few posts is commentary about liberalism and privilege, not about the author. I attended the University School of Nashville from my eighth grade year of 1979-80, until I completed my sophomore session in 1982. I had also gone to elementary school at Harding Academy for several years and spent my seventh grade year at Montgomery Bell Academy. These, at the time, were the bastions of privilege in Nashville. Ensworth was perhaps in the mix as an elementary school for the elite here in that era, but nothing held a candle to the other two aforementioned institutions. MBA regarded as the conservative alternative in education for boys(Harpeth Hall was the girls' homologue), was to my experience overtly racist and anti-Semitic. I was consistently called "kike" and even "Christ-killer" by my peers in front of instructors who took no action on my behalf. A now prominent local high school championship level coach who was known as the smallest member of the football team at that time was one of my chief tormentors. He was 5-11, 145 and a senior, I was 5 feet tall if that and perhaps 90 pounds. Generally, one abuser was not enough, they worked in pairs, trios, etc. for their amusement at my expense. Two brothers who I had known since Harding Academy were among my worst persecutors. One was my classmate and the other a senior who went on to play safety at Vanderbilt University and who blew a game-saving opportunity at a tackle of an Air Force Academy fullback that cost Vanderbilt its last football bowl game. The main reason for my departure from this prep school was that after a full year of beatings, being spat upon, being thrown on top of locker banks that served the gym, and being unceremoniously tossed into the garbage, I fought back. During a pre-exam, pre-algebra voluntary prep session, the younger brother of the football player and his 6-2 red-headed friend who I'd also gone to Harding with, were flicking me around the ears with their fingers to the "Jew boy", "kike" refrain. I tried to ignore it and focus on Ms. Fairbarn but the nuisance assault continued. I moved, they followed. I turned after more taps and flicked back precisely the same way. Ms. Fairbarn could not have been oblivious to all the previous activity but had said nothing. When I defended myself, she immediately dressed me down-not them-me. I saw red and for the first time, adopted a disproportionate response, I turned after the next uncorrected little ear flip and stabbed the football player's brother with my pencil in the knee. He screamed, cried like a baby and he and his cadre of friends swore revenge. At the end of class, I had to run for my life. My bullies caught me near the area where non-driving students were picked up by their parents and started my pummeling only to be interrupted by my Dad who thankfully had just driven up to collect his somewhat battered seventh grader. He was and is one of the tougher people I have ever encountered and he quickly subdued the perpetrators and asked me what had happened. I gave him a brief synopsis, told him which one of the boys had been most responsible (the one I had poked in the knee), placed him in an arm bar because he was physically combative and was escorting us to the principal's office to sort things out. The older brother had been called by fellow students and a myth has arisen that he either beat my father up, that my father was attempting to molest younger brother, or that we were chased away in abject defeat. In the event, Mr. football did no such thing and we continued to the administrative offices where we realized that we would obtain no satisfaction, and had in fact, worn out my welcome at the school.
So, it was on to my mother's uber-liberal alma mater for eighth grade.

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Converter Box Controversy

With the cascade of advertisements warning of February's digital transition, there ought to be an outcry particularly from elder and poverty advocates. But the silence is deafening. This is as bad a time for digital transition for cash-strapped consumers as can be imagined. The nation is in the grip of recession if not in the early throes of depression and every dollar counts. The ads say the government is providing $40 coupons to facilitate transition. The government provides nothing; the taxpayer once again is burdened with having to rob Peter to pay Paul. The actual motivation for digital transition seems to be so the FCC can sell the analog frequencies again. They are said to be public airways so why should the government at this precarious time impose another expense on the public, particularly those who can least afford it? Delay the transition or allow broadcasters greater latitude to decide for themselves. Most are already transmitting both analog and digital signals and can easily continue. Or stagger the start and test a particular media market less affected by recession to see how seniors and the poor are able to handle it. If the date remains a drop dead certainty in February, many people will only have radio to rely on and many of them will rightly blame the politicians who lacked the foresight to anticipate this eventuality.

Under a Cloud

Just as the last Democratic administration entered office, with Clinton heralding the most ethical administration ever, so too does ethics crusader Obama. Not withstanding the Blagojevich affair tainting Chicago, Springfield, and Illinois, Obama brings the sunshine of change. How could Obama and Rahm Emanuel have made their bones in this corrupted atmosphere but not have been sullied by it or if their denials are to be taken at face value, not even have been aware of it? Could anyone that blind to what was going on all around them be trusted with any responsibility at all, much less the highest office?

Very Harried Christmas

Tis the morn before Christmas/ And I'm as busy as can be/ With excited young whippersnappers all around me/ They will be up past their bedtimes hoping for Santa to see/ When they drift off, I'm finally free/ To assemble the gifts for under the tree

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Suicide Claims Investor

A French mega-investor who lost a reported billion and a half dollars with Madoff took his own life in New York City. This is tragic but not unanticipated as dozens of magnates slew themselves after the October 1929 crash. Individuals suffering depression sometimes take up arms against themselves and victims of economic depression also sometimes feel there is no other recourse. Either way, dear reader, stay strong-a cure for what ills may be right around the corner, the Obama economic team could turn out to be centrist JFK-type tax cutters reviving the economy, and a spinster aunt you never knew you had might die, and leave you a million dollars.

Obama Declares Innocence

Obama today released information affirming his innocence in the Blagojevich affair. Obama says it, so it must be true. Mike Savage on his radio show says the prosecutor must give the President-elect a pass on this as not doing so would cause great national trauma in a time of crisis. What Obama will do to the country if he is unencumbered by scrutiny, will be far worse than having Fitzgerald conduct an exhaustive inquiry. Even his majesty Obama must submit to law, his word is not gospel.

Why Newspapers Die

The newspaper industry is in a state of precipitous decline. I am at least somewhat conversant with this business as my grandfather published a daily paper. In those days, radio was in its infancy, for all practical purposes, television did not exist except in labs, the Internet was not even a futurist's dream, and the extra was the basic means of delivering breaking news. This was in an era where the voice of the newsboy shouting "extra, extra-read all about it" was replacing the shouts of the town crier who some of the older readers of that day still remembered. Technology has superceded the newspaper as a means of delivering breaking news, and much greater in depth analysis of events is easily obtainable on the web than is offered in the few columns of newsprint devoted to any given story. As retailers retrench to attempt to survive recession, they buy less ad space, and there are less demonstrable results for the advertisements they do purchase as strapped consumers simply spend less. Classified spending has tumbled dramatically as online services such as (and particularly) Craigslist have given people a free widely disseminated forum to promote themselves and their merchandise. Ebay, Amazon, Yahoo and other online resources have hit traditional newspaper revenue streams as well. The single most important factor in my mind as to why the papers are failing is the gratuitous shot they consistently take at traditional values. Papers far from California deemed it appropriate to oppose Proposition Eight(8). This was a slap in the face to the most deeply held
convictions of many of their own readers who in any event had no say in a vote all the way across the country. On issue after issue, subscribers have seen leftist bias, much of it inserted into reportage, that should have been reserved for the editorial pages. They have read almost nothing that reflects their political or moral views. The economic downturn is bad enough, people are not going to pay a premium to be insulted.

Monday, December 22, 2008

Democrat Dollar Doldrum

Tonight's PBS Newshour featured Paul Solman interviewing amongst others New Jersey Governor Corzine and a Democratic US Representative who both agreed that massive New Deal style infrastructure programs are necessary to save our economy as demand has dried up. They agreed with a leftist economist that FDR had dropped the ball by not spending more on make-work programs to pull the US out of the Great Depression. They were followed by a female Washington Post reporter who concurred that the only way out for the country was massive Federal spending on roads, bridges, schools, and "green " investment. It is the taxpayer who will see his green (money) being confiscated to finance all this and history has demonstrated that this socialism has no prospect of returning us to prosperity. This is balderdash propounded by the power mad and accepted by idiots.

Take Threats Seriously

Law enforcement efforts met with some derision in the recent past. When a small group of black Muslims was accused in Miami of hatching a harebrained scheme to blow up Chicago's Sears Tower, the charge became fodder for jokes. Although the allegation, did not result in convictions, it had to be scrutinized, investigated thoroughly, and if it had turned out to be an authentic threat, prevented at all costs. A terrorist does not need to have attended a training camp in Pakistan or be a military veteran to pose a real threat. Some plots become successful because law enforcement thinks they are so improbable that they only make halfhearted efforts to investigate them. Even after flight instructors became suspicious of men of Middle Eastern origin who wanted to learn how to fly large commercial jets but showed no interest in learning how to take off or land them, officials at high levels showed little desire to ascertain why and that contributed to three thousand deaths on September 11, 2001. The Washington D.C. snipers, Malvo and Muhammad seemed more like blunderers than steely-eyed terrorists but proved to be quite deadly. Every threat must be divined, evaluated, and thwarted.

Muslim Fanatics Convicted

America should be heartened by the vigilance of law enforcement in preventing a potential bloodbath at Fort Dix, New Jersey. Five Islamists were found guilty of a plot against the army base and face up to life in prison. This is no doubt a serious punishment but might not serve to deter terrorists who seek martyrdom. Perhaps suffering the fate of Guy Fawkes might be sufficiently brutal to make potential attackers think twice and it certainly would be no more cruel than what Americans have suffered when they have fallen into the hands of Jihadists.

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Great Words Galore

There is no everyday Hemingway/ I must warn there can never be another Hawthorne/ There is often cold but no more Frost/ Poe did go far too fast/ All the greats seem to have passed/ Is there a great steward of the pen today/ Or did education steal them all away/ Has erudition seen its last/ Or will it return with a blast?

Morales' Literacy Lie

Evo Morales has declared universal literacy in Bolivia. This Castro wanna-be is simply not credible and is posturing as Fidel and Hugo Chavez did before. This "accomplishment" will be heralded by members of the American educational establishment who readily embrace terrorist Bill Ayers in their midst. They will proclaim America needs to mimic this great educational outreach. In the first instance, Morales' claim is a self-evident lie. Universal literacy is not possible because a number of people have congenital deficiencies that can not be overcome. Morales' statement is mere braggadocio. It is akin to Ahmadinejad saying "there are no homosexuals in Iran". Communists have nothing to teach us except what to be wary of and what not to do.

Biden's Loose Lips

In the past, our future Vice President has been known for his bluntness, some incredibly poor choice of words, and a notorious episode of plagiarism. Did Biden make a verbal misstep once again by saying the economy is in "much worse shape than we expected"? I believe his statement was calculated, deliberate, and tactical. Biden accomplishes three goals by this utterance.1.) He immunizes the incoming administration from any of the responsibility for recession. The Bush administration is held solely culpable for the chaos and dislocation to come. 2.)Biden provides a rationale for Obama's Marxist ambition to attempt his Utopian cures for our economic ills. 3.) When Obama fails to restore financial prosperity and further destabilizes the market, his remedy is found faultless by the leftist lackeys in media and academe as Bush left the unrecoverable dire situation in the first place. Every conservative must contest this strategy and fight Obama's plans in order to preserve the capitalist and democratic nature of our Constitutional republic. There can be no era of good feelings, no crossing the aisle in the interest of the "new tone", no "kinder gentler" outreach to a man and his party who are at war with liberty and who intend to impose a self-perpetuating socialism from which there is no escape.

Saturday, December 20, 2008

Tentacles of Misfortune

There is corruption at every turn/ Will the people ever learn/ Their leaders get away with everything/ Congress votes itself a raise/ It's the common man who pays/ Madoff made his/ Who'll feed your kids/ Senate seats up for sale/ Governors always make bail/ For them, there's never a cost/ For us, everything is lost

Israel's Active Capitulation

Hamas ends its so-called truce and pounds the Jewish state with a Kassam and mortar barrage. Terrorists hurl missiles, Israel returns rhetoric. Israel's leaderless leaders have allowed puny Islamist murderers from Gaza and Lebanon to claim victory for far too long. A state with the resources but not the national will to use them to defeat this threat is likely doomed to the greater existential threat of Iran. Even if Iran is stopped, Israel may fall to pan-Islamism under the weight of her own corruption. President Katsav, Prime Minster Olmert, and even Minister Hiam Ramon have all come under criminal charges. A country as small and vulnerable as Israel even lost some of the small amount of international support she enjoyed due to the Madoff scandal. A nation that readily dispossesses Jews from near Hebron's Tomb of the Patriarchs, but permits a sustained terrorist bombardment from Gaza will soon perish.

A Political Promenade

"I am guilty/ In a condition of constant contrition/ I must confess I should have done less"/ Are words you'll never hear a politician say/ "I am innocent"/ But the laughter won't relent/ "I never bent the rules a single day/ This isn't farce/ My words I don't parse/ So, please don't put me away"/ "I'm just an honest man with the perfect plan"/ (To take your money and make you obey)

A Blessed Time

There are none starving on the street/ They still have shoes upon their feet/ The stars still shine/ We're doing fine/ We're not behind bars/ We still have our cars/ And gas is cheaper than water/ So smile and sing/ And hug your son or daughter

Cronyism Run Amok

Some commentators have suggested whether a company receives the beneficence of the Federal bailout or not depends on who they know. Was Lehman Brothers allowed to go under while other investment banks were spared because Lehman had no particular connection to the Bush family? Did the Cerberus ownership stake in Chrysler with its chairman John Snow being Bush's second Secretary of Treasury militate toward the company being saved? Did it help that the chairman of global investments for Cerberus Capital Management, L.P., was the first President Bush's Vice President Dan Quayle? Michael Savage suggested it had everything to do with it on his font of information radio show last night. I can't say with certainty, but close connections to the Bush family sure don't seem to hurt.

Friday, December 19, 2008

Can Chrysler Survive

Chrysler may not survive even with the bailout money. It could be absorbed by another company. Speculation was that GM might be interested in merger, but GM denied any interest in consolidation. One unique solution might be for Chrysler to become an employee-owned corporation which has proven fruitful for a steel company and airlines. I wonder if the new employee-owners if this happens will be as concerned with the generous pension and health care benefits of their retirees as they demanded the company be in its previous incarnation. Will there be a large labor pool where laid off employees still collect 80% or so of their salaries? Not if the new owners want to stay in business.

Bad Management Practices

Obama reveals himself once again today to be the enemy of the capitalist economic system that has allowed America to flourish. He said he supported the $17.4 billion bailout of GM and Chrysler but wanted them to reform "their bad management practices". This places the entire onus of the companies' difficulties on management. The executives running the car companies have certainly not been sterling, but Obama, who has absolved labor which commands a much higher salary and benefit package than their foreign-owned competitors and who have demanded and received (some might say extorted) pension and health care benefits which simply make the companies unsustainable, is not credible. Obama will be the greatest ally labor has ever had in the White House, but measures like the Card Check Bill which will end the secret ballot and create nothing but closed shops will be the death knell of industry and cripple private enterprise in the US. Open shop and right to work states will have no meaning and unemployment will soar. Walmart which has advanced prosperity and literally saved consumers billions will be forced to unionize which will engender enormous increased cost of operation which will have to be passed on to the customers. Obama's economic plan will take America from recession right into depression.

Thursday, December 18, 2008

ACLU Banishes God

The ACLU can't chase God from the public square or schools, nor do they have the ability to ban prayer, but they certainly are a darned expensive nuisance. Children will beseech the Creator before a big test and for any number of things and the whole cadre of ACLU attorneys won't ever stop this. They will win their share of court cases in front of atheistic, elite jurists, but faith will enjoy the ultimate victory.

Dodo Darwin Drops

Even a wastrel and a jack-a-nape/ Did not descend from a great ape/ The earth is not a billion years old/ As public school children are told/ A scientist who mocks creation/ May be free in this nation/ But he will find his fateful hour/ Where he must answer the Higher Power

Donkey Play Nice

Virtue became a vice/ The day a dead man voted twice/ But ACORN always plays it straight/ Illegal voters have to wait/ But need no ID in many a state/ If a election official has a doubt/ They'll never throw the ballot out/ For it is better to cheat/ Than face certain defeat/ There are illegal aliens in the election line/ But they know who to vote for just fine/ Democrats are the so-called elite/ But they're not above a little deceit

Profound Public Perfidy

J. Edgar Hoover ran the FBI in such a way that his agents, the G-men, were deemed to be beyond reproach. The truth of this was debatable, but though the FBI was Hoover's fiefdom and used for political purposes, the agents were mostly on the up and up. Today, a report emerged that FBI agents serving in Iraq billed the government (read taxpayer) $45,000 apiece in overtime for three(3) months work. They even had the gaul to bill the taxpayer for attending cocktail parties, calling it "liaison work". If this isn't criminal, it should be. How can these abuser of the public trust and squanderers of our money keep their jobs?

The Chosen Path

I was adrift/ He became my anchor/ I felt I had a great burden/ He made it light/ There were bars against every door/ Then He opened the universe for me/ I was and am unworthy/ Yet His blood has cleansed me and I was welcomed into His house/ He saw the warts, the feet of clay/ Yet, He did not turn me away/ He lifts me up each time I fall/ And He will do it for you all 

Country's Crime Capital

For years, debate has raged over whether East St. Louis, Washington, D.C., Chicago, Philadelphia, or Camden, New Jersey, for felons not concerned their Pennsylvania peers would think they were slumming, was the nation's crime capital. The recent collapse of the economic structure would suggest that ne'er-do-wells are liberally distributed across the lower forty-eight, with a deeply embedded vein as rich as oil in Alaska and almost surely a surfer's tide of them rolling onto the verdant shores of Hawaii. The recession was not brought forth by sub-prime loans, labor-management rifts, mark to market accounting rules alone or in combination but as Bernard Madoff seems to have aptly illustrated, quite a bit of raw criminality. George Will, I believe coined the term "cleptocracy" to describe the mercantile machinations of malignant African dictators (see Mugabe). These petty thugs have been surpassed in avarice and impact by a group of confidence capitalists who would have made robber barons blush. Their manipulation has gone a long way toward bringing down the world economy. The government agencies charged with oversight were either populated by naifs who would have made Twain's Innocents Abroad seem like jet set sophisticates, which meant they were ill-equipped for their positions and should never have been hired, or they had become so cavalier that they would keep their positions no matter what, that they did not bother to do their jobs (there must be a way to terminate an employee this blase'), or they thought their compensation package as a Federal employee was meager, and they may have been sharing the benefits of the endemic graft to supplement it. A public official would never seek an inducement or accept a bribe-(Blago) would they?

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

No Nolan Ryan

Iraq's legend-in-the-making shoe tosser evidently gave his cameraman a martyrdom note before he wound up for his antics. He did not think he would survive his enterprise. He was trying to commit shoe-icide for the greater glory of Allah. Maybe, the Yankees will invite him to training camp next year. He would probably be popular in parts of Manhattan. The Secret Service can retain Ivan Rodriguez for the Presidential detail in trade let us say for the Maine Senate delegation. I understand Olympia Snowe can really block the plate.

My Modest Proposal

Two high-recognition seats are available in the US Senate, Hillary's New York seat and Obama's up for bid vacancy. The movie Strangers on a Train suggests a solution Jonathan Swift would have been proud of. Let Caroline Kennedy, who has not been touched by a dint of scandal, fill the Illinois seat. The Kennedys had long standing ties to the Windy City through the ownership of the Merchandise Mart from 1945 until 1998 -much deeper ties than the Clintons ever had to New York before Hillary became their carpetbag Senator. Caroline could be appointed or could win a special election by virtual acclamation, and the Republicans would trot out a milk carton candidate like Rick Lazio to oppose her, never heard of before or since. Then Governor Paterson could appoint someone who actually has some experience in government to fill Hillary's ample seat. Perhaps, the former President, Bill could fill this role, surely the first time he has performed this onerous duty in years.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

The Poet Speaks

I have plenty to say/ But nothing to sell/ I have so many tales to tell/ Of sophistry and sadness/ Of mirth and madness/ Of bread and salt/ But not a recipe/ If anyone cares to hear from me

Mississippi's Still Burning

Billey Joe Johnson could run like the wind. He could have been another Walter Payton, but he had the great misfortune of running into a sheriff's deputy in Lucedale, Mississippi while driving while black. This young man, full of promise, was one of the most sought after football recruits in the South. He had absolutely no reason to kill himself as law enforcement contends he did. It is a common practice among less scrupulous police to carry a throw away gun often seized from a suspect but not reported to plant on or near a criminal suspect in the event the officer shoots him. Mississippi was notorious for this and similar racially motivated abuse or arbitrary cruelty by authorities. This suspicious death did not occur in the civil rights era of the early 1960s but Monday morning. It is incumbent on Federal authorities to investigate this as a civil rights violation, and in this instance, I am almost certain they will. With a President-elect Obama, there will be no more Goodman, Schwerner, and Chaney. Editor's note:Illuminate, the author of this blog, reveals himself for the first time as a Goodman in the interest of full disclosure.

Conservative Pipe Dream

Several conservative commentators have speculated that Tony Rezko and a Blagojevich aide who just pleaded guilty are singing like birds and may implicate Obama. Why in the world would they do that? Obama has the power to pardon them if they just keep cool and quiet until inauguration. They can talk or threaten to and end up like Vince Foster or they can follow omerta and be free like Susan McDougal. Sean Hannity and his compatriots may hope for someone to crack and spill the beans, but no one wants to be defenestrated.

The Unrepentant Politician

Stephanopoulos this morning commented that our Vice President Cheney was "unrepentant" about water boarding Khalid Sheikh Mohammad and the Iraq invasion. You're darned right he's unrepentant about liberating twenty-five million Iraqis and removing a tyrant in a league with Pal Pot and just a gradient less dangerous than Stalin but who had already attacked Iran, conquered however briefly Kuwait, and gassed the Kurds. This Saddam was commissioning suicide terror against Israel, harboring terrorists who had murdered an American on the Achille Lauro, and his minions were firing ground to air missiles (SAMS) at US planes in the no fly zones. Not to mention that Hussein had slaughtered the Shia swamp Arabs and was posturing that he was still developing WMD as a hedge against Iran. Any of these casus belli would have been adequate justification to remove Saddam Hussein. On the torture of enemy combatant front, Cheney has to be commended as there has been no major terrorist attack carried out on US soil since 9/11 due to the information garnered by these techniques. I don't recall Stephanopoulos being concerned if perjurer-in-chief Clinton was repentant about his under the desk antics with Monica or more importantly, the slaughters at Waco and Ruby Ridge, and the failure to provide adequate air and armoured cover to his nation building exercise in Somalia that portrayed America as weak, defeated, and retreating, and invited 9/11. Brave men deserve better.

Minding the Minders

Microsoft has announced that a flaw exists in Explorer, easily the largest browser platform by several magnitudes, that allows passwords to be stolen by hackers, no small thing as many people conduct all their financial transactions on a computer using Explorer. Bernard Madoff made off with an astounding sum yet according to one report, had his corrupt practices exposed to regulators by a whistle blower nine(9) years ago. Madoff's niece even married a regulator. Talk about conflict of interest! How can this be permitted? And how can anyone have confidence in the value of any stock if the SEC is this lax and compromised? Are your local officials rushing to remedy your artificially high property tax based on pre-recession home values that have diminished nationally over twenty percent(20%)? The tax assessors were always glad to raise the value of your home for tax purposes and spin it as a good thing-"yes, you may be paying a little more in property tax but look at how much more your home is worth", was their claim. Now, basic fairness and easing the burden of recession-strapped families would dictate that the assessors lower our taxes now. This will never happen as city governments want our money now more than ever as they are receiving less Federal and state funds and expect a slew of Obama unfunded mandates to be coming soon. Don't look for a helpful writ of mandamus to compel municipalities to lower property tax. It's not going to happen. The collapse of the domestic car companies would be bad but survivable. The country did not go out of business when covered wagon makers closed. The failure of financial institutions, banks and the major insurers, would have left the nation unsustainable. They underpin every other industry and really are too big to fail for America's sake, but who can have any confidence left in those minding the store?

Monday, December 15, 2008

Mischievous Misanthrope Madoff

Bernard Madoff adds fuel to the who can you trust fire. This former head of the NASDAQ allegedly bilked wealthy clients and even philanthropic organizations of billions. He allegedly even stole from charities of his own religion. There is a special place in hell reserved for those who seek to plunder God's coffers. Madoff was not Puckish but down right disgusting funneling stolen money to charities-some of which have now been forced to close their doors. Can you trust Obama not to pardon Madoff who has been a large contributor to the Democratic party? You can't trust an investment manager with the most basic fiduciary responsibility, you can't trust a priest with an altar boy, and you can't trust a politician with anything. Can you trust any aspect of the bailout plans for the US economy? Illuminate Sr. thinks not. The crisis began with home values, mortgages, and mortgage defaults and was predicated in large part on homes being sold as an appreciating asset. Many people based their future on the presumption that real estate values only go up. Realtors and mortgage brokers reinforced this misconception and now consumers in many cases are left upside down in their mortgages. They do not even enjoy the tax code benefit of depreciation that a business would have, nor are municipalities running out to reassess the homes to reflect their true recently diminished value. Do you trust your local property tax collectors to do the right thing?

Thick as Thieves

Do you think Governor Blagojevich is an anomaly? He is an extreme, but politicians of both parties are ethically-challenged. Randy "Duke" Cunningham and Ted Stevens are not the face the Republican Party wishes to project, but they are not the only bad apples.Tennessee, my home state, has been notorious from the end of Reconstruction, as a Democrat-controlled den of iniquity with demands of pay for play common in many state-regulated industries. The good government crowd could not claim much success in Tennessee until they brought down Democrat Governor Ray Blanton in a pay for pardons and liquor license scandal in the late 1970s. Neither donkeys nor elephants have a monopoly on graft, and it is feared that honesty is the rarest commodity.

The Other Shoe

President Bush was greeted by one of the practitioners of the welcoming religion of peace in Baghdad yesterday. His press conference was disrupted by a journalist who threw his shoes at our President. The reporter is being questioned by the Iraqi President's guards, but thousands of Iraqis have rallied demanding the shoe tossers immediate release. He merits no consideration or special dispensation because of his status as a member of the fourth estate. Did the absolutely innocent Daniel Pearl get favorable treatment from the Allah akbar crowd because of his press card? The sabots were thrown at the US from conservative hawks who pushed for war, at Quaker pacifists, at crazed Code Pinkers, at our very ideals of tolerance, pluralism, and liberty. Almost everyone in the Muslim and Arab worlds despise us. The only place where there is consistent gratitude and respect for America and Americans is the Kurdish area of Iraq. Even Iraq's oil minister called for $80 a barrel oil to demonstrate the true desire of the Iraqi government to punish America for Iraq's liberation. The Mumbai murderers were reported to have demanded British and American passport holders come forward for what no doubt, if any had complied, would have meant their deaths. In the first Gulf War, President Bush's father liberated Kuwait and earned mostly the admiration of the al Sabah family, but that has not stopped Kuwatis from joining jihad against the West with two Kuwatis numbering amongst the suicide murderers of September 11, 2001. In Afghanistan, virtually any US-inflicted casualties are called "innocent civilians" often engaged in "wedding parties" by their treacherous, ungrateful Afghan mates. Harry Truman said if you want gratitude in Washington, "get a dog". America can no longer afford the cut-throat loyalty of our so-called Arab and Muslim "friends". In the Dar al-Salam, they think Americans are all dogs. But remember out here in the Dar al- Harb, we will never be your dhimmi. We have canine teeth, and we bite back.

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Events Overtake Us

It doesn't help to cuss/ The nation's gone bust/ Don't know who to trust/ When events have overtaken us/ Politicians lead us astray/ Bankers take life savings away/ No place left to stay/ Those who raise expectations high/ Disappoint in the blink of an eye/ Don't place your faith in Obama/ The world is sadly due for great drama and unimaginable trauma.

Foreign Interventions Redux

While Obama will orchestrate a hasty draw down in Iraq, it is quite possible that he will deploy US forces in Africa to the Republic of Congo, Zimbabwe, and perhaps back to Somalia. Will the Congress which demanded votes on Bush's adventures be such sticklers when in comes to Obama and military deployments? Democrats have threatened to invoke the War Powers Act should President Bush feel compelled to use force to thwart Iran's nuclear ambitions. The Congress will grant Obama great latitude to deploy our forces where the US has no particular strategic interest. He will be able to enter unending African involvement unhindered. His unfettered reach will not solve the continents problems while Iran will arm up and Chavez will export insidious insurgency throughout Latin America. You can only keep your eye on the ball if you know where the game is.

Saturday, December 13, 2008

Presidential Prerogatives Piqued

You'll never hear the President preach/ That you must support your local leech/ But that's just what his plans will do/ He's bound to make a monkey of you/ If you work for your money/ He finds that quite funny/ And if you drive, strive, or like your babies alive/ He'll be deft practicing theft and promoting abortion/ You'll find he's strikingly similar to Governor Extortion.

Job One Bankruptcy

President Bush is evidently directing Secretary of Treasury Paulson to forestall the collapse of the US automotive manufacturers and allow Obama to ultimately solve the problems of the Big Three with a socialistic rescue of the UAW. Our Republican President has embraced the socialist tactics of French or Swedish leadership. At least there are enough capitalist Republicans left in the Senate to have prevented a bailout that would not have solved the structural deficiencies of the companies with their overwhelming legacy costs. There is a widespread misconception that all the jobs would cease to exist if GM or Chrysler took bankruptcy. Under Chapter 11, many of the positions would have been preserved and the corporations could have negotiated new labor contracts that would make their operations more sustainable. Chrysler may have been absorbed by another vehicle manufacturer. The court(s), judge(s), and receiver would not simply have padlocked plants and denied hundreds of thousands their income. As it is now, Obama will, probably in conjunction with a car czar, act by fiat and direct these companies to produce enviro-friendly compacts that few people will want and large families will find impractical. Tariffs and trade barriers will be imposed to prevent the importation of more desirable foreign models. Older vehicles will be legislated off the roads by strict emission/pollution controls that will force drivers to buy the new gas-savers or into mass transit. Fossil fuels will be saved, but freedom will be sacrificed.

Friday, December 12, 2008

Drink It Down

Young Harper got old way too fast/ Don Bacardi just did not last/ Captain Morgan's boat was sunk/ Jack Daniels was clubbed by a pink elephant trunk/Seagram's lost four of seven/ And life in a bottle won't get you to heaven.

Babes in Ritaland

They put a chemical straight jacket on the next Buddy Hackett/ And tied him into Don Knotts/ When he most needed hugs/ He was given just enough drugs to warp his growing brain/ The events that should last/ Go by in a blast/ So fast and with such pain/ Slow things up with speed in a cup/ And keep a boy in line/ He's the teachers' and doctor's pride/ Even though he's dying inside/ She could be another Mary Cassatt/ But they've turned her bright colors gray/ The pill pushers stole her creativity away/ This is the bildungsroman of the sedated generation whose imagination was medicated into submission each day.

Vacation Time Winners

The chic and tony/ Have their options every day/ Biarritz or San Tropez/ They should wonder how the season is in Sodom or Gomorrah/ The athletes in white at Wimbledon/ The snowboarders in parkas/ Should seek their pleasure in the pew and show proper contrition/ For the Lord knows not Mark Rich-You can't fight His extradition/ If partying through the night is your drunken tradition/ You will find yourself in an eternity of hell or atoning in perdition.

Truth Is Power

Obama and particularly Kerry repeated the "speak truth to power" mantra throughout their Presidential campaigns, a meaningless turn of phrase for two who have enjoyed the immense benefits of privilege, both graduates of Ivy League institutions that only legacies, those from enormous wealth, or affirmative action admissions recipients who have displaced the more qualified ever are able to attend. In John Kerry's case, marrying two women with a collective net worth of half a billion dollars would never confer its own power. These politicians assert influence over our day to day conduct, but they do not recognize the Truth. The Ultimate Truth is a Power that power mad politicians can not even begin to contemplate. Torah, Testaments, the Gospel are the key to success and satisfaction in life, in eternal life. The secular masters who have facilitated forty-five (45) million plus abortions since Roe hold not only no monopoly on truth-they can't even see it. They take some momentary grievance or contrived crisis and use it to separate people one from another and from their reason. A system of indoctrination has removed prayer from the classroom and is reinforced by a mass media and even video games that pump visual sewage into our living rooms corrupting the eyes of the innocent and weakening their minds while making false gods of singers, rappers, actors, and politicians (especially mini-Messiah Obama). The current cause celebre of homosexual marriage is a great example, as is euthanasia, of the prevalent media culture and political manipulation of five thousand years of Judeo-Christian morality being turned on its head. The prodigal son who turns from his sin and makes firm purpose of amendment may return to the house of his father, but a society that revels in its own iniquity is doomed to economic catastrophe and natural cataclysm. And it will have earned it.

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Diabolically Demented Definitions

Politics: the practice of the dishonest separating the honest from their money. Income tax: a method of stripping the productive of their incentive and assets to fatten politicians and throw enough crumbs to parasites for politicians to keep power. Gun control: an insurance policy for felons that assures they conduct their profession without risk. Socialized medicine: the rationing of treatment to facilitate a speedy end of life with less cost incurred by politicians. Politicians: a group dedicated to perpetuating themselves at the expense of others without regard to social welfare or moral constraint.

Life's Crooked Casino

Today, the Nashville media announced that median home values had fallen $15,000 on an annualized basis here. Our 401Ks seem to be melting away with every statement. Government securities may provide safety but yield virtually nothing. So what is the prudent investor to do? I asked a wise man, Illuminate Sr., who supported his family doing backbreaking labor as a child of the Great Depression, who began working eighty years ago, and who has owned and operated a variety of businesses and invested consistently mostly buy and hold throughout his life, what should be done now? He replied with the story of his friend Gordon who was an inveterate small town gambler. Gordon would lose the bread and milk money of his young wife and growing family almost nightly. Well, Sr. asked him if he knew the tables were rigged? "Why yes", Gordon replied, "of course I know the game is fixed but it is the only game in town. " We have all staked our futures on sticky-handed croupiers. The winning hand may be held by a derivative player in an alternate universe. The safe bet is there are no more safe bets.

The Jackson Jive

Jesse Jr., me thinks thou does protest too much. Whatever his involvement or lack thereof in the Blagojevich scandal, don't expect Jesse to be thrown out by his voters. Marion Barry was elected even after his criminal conviction by Washingtonians. Kennedy's little body in the car problem did not disqualify him in the brilliant minds of Massachusetts. Even leaving more than a thousand city and school buses idle as Katrina bore down did not dissuade New Orleans from re-electing Ray Nagin. There is some blind spot among Democratic voters that permits some politicians negligent or criminal behavior and yet, they can still be elected for life.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

All Knowing Congressman

Is it not wonderful to know that our Congressmen are beyond capable and scrupulous, why in Jesse Jackson's case, they're omniscient. After all, the wind driven snow Representative from the flawless family and Honest Abe state knows no one would ever approach Governor Blagojevich offering inducements on his behalf. Perhaps nothing was offered at Jackson's behest, but there is no way anyone on earth can account for the moment to moment actions of everyone else. Even a real son of a reverend can't do that.

What It Takes

This morning Diane Sawyer bantered with Stephanopoulos that Blagojevich had to be delusional to discuss Presidential aspirations in his secretly taped conversations. Why delusional? The US just elected a junior Senator who had ducked tough votes in both the Illinois legislature and in the Senate with numerous "present" votes except on infanticide where Obama stood for denying medical care for infants who had somehow survived abortion attempts. Hillary's parley of taking a few dollars and turning it into $100,000 in the cattle futures market has become legend but never raised eyebrows as a possible payoff and did not disqualify her from seeking the highest office. The Resko scandal and Obama's criminal cronies did not slow him down. Was Obama more deeply involved in the septic malfeasance in Illinois or simply oblivious like Hogan's Heroes Sargent Shultz? Neither is very heartening in a nation's leader.

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Sweet Cesspool Chicago

Yet another politician has been implicated in the endemic corruption of Illinois politics. With today's charges against Governor Blagojevich, another Presidential pardon will soon be forthcoming. Rats of all stripes, Republican and Democrat alike, have emerged from Chicago sewers. I fear that the largest rodent of all may have crawled out and is about to raid the White House cupboard. But today some good news appeared at a Cracker Barrel in Tennessee where a woman found $97,000 and actually returned the cheese to its rightful owner. Diogenes would have been proud and that cash would never make it into the Cayman account of an Illinois politician-would it?

The Media Mullahs

Reporters at local, national, and international stations broadcast the Blackwater "massacre" story with evident glee. They and the prosecutors have to know that it is a common tactic of insurgents to hide in civilian crowds to cause innocent causalities as has been a ploy used against the US since the Korean Conflict. The BBC, Al Jazeera, and American networks can't wait to run stories showing our force's conduct as anything but exemplary. The lambasting of soldiers and private security guards who have volunteered to place themselves in harm's way to advance human liberty and our values is especially astounding in a world where Einzatsgruppen members still attend SS reunions basically unharried while collecting German pension checks. These were the perpetrators of the worst deliberate slaughter spree in history, but I have seen all of one story years ago about said get-togethers in my lifetime. The leftists and apologists for terror will never let America forget No Gun Ri, Calley, or that Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, the self-described mastermind of 9/11, was waterboarded. But octogenarian Nazi war criminals can hoist a beer and sing Horst Wessel more or less unhindered.

Monday, December 8, 2008

For the Birds

Homing pigeons, honing skills/ Soaring sun ward with all the thrills/ Visions of vistas a mile below/ And always knowing just where to go/ The carrier pigeon has a steady job/ Unlike the murder of crows, that unruly mob/ A parrot may speak but that makes a liar/ A peacock won't know if its tail is on fire/ I don't really think that the owl's all that wise/ If he were a human, he'd ask "Do you want fries?"/ The turkey's name says it all/ Not so clever when it answers the hunter's call/ The eagle is our national bird/ But I doubt he understands a single word/ Does anyone understand the messenger's task?/ Well find a pigeon, then go ask/ Yes, the glory belongs to the simple pigeon/ But no one is the least bit aware, not even a smidgen.

Trial by Travesty

The pending charges against two members of the 101st Airborne are part of a disturbing, and I believe unprecedented (at least since the summary justice-injustice, of trials of soldiers during the American Civil War) trend. Blackwater contractors also face charges today. During Vietnam, William Calley and a literal handful of others faced charges similar to the allegations all too many of our troops are facing or have recently faced. What possible reason would the Blackwater employees have to shoot up an intersection except the ambush they described that they faced? If they wanted to massacre innocent Iraqis, there were plenty of more discreet ways to dispatch Iraqis, had that been their desire. These prosecutions have a chilling effect on combatants on the ground. A moment of hesitation in a life or death situation may cost US forces their lives or the lives of their comrades or even innocent Iraqi lives. A soldier, marine, or State Department bodyguard holding his fire out of concern for what a court may later determine may cost hundreds of lives as in the case of a truck or car bomber or dozens of lives in the case of a terrorist armed as in Mumbai with an AK-47 or AKM. President Bush, in the interest of preserving innocent life, should pardon these brave men now and ensure that other US contractors and troops never face the family breaking expense of litigation of this sort and its accompanying jeopardy. After all, Bush's decisions sent them into the line of fire in the first place.

First Fatality Bank

You placed your trust in us/ But now we have gone bust/ We have traveled to a tropical locale with no extradition treaty/ We're sorry we foreclosed and left you among the needy/ Our practices were just a little seedy/ We won't come back no matter how you plead/ You've been captured by our greed.

Sunday, December 7, 2008

Rose Colored Glasses

Rice and Obama featured on the punditry programs this morning. In Rice's case, she continues to promote the virtues of what has to be regarded as the worst Republican administration since Hoover (if not ever). But what else would she tell Chris Wallace? Perhaps the blood and treasure expended were justified, but even so, they helped drain the coffers of the nation and put the opposition party in power. The new socialist leader also propounded his Utopian vision of New New Deal a la FDR. I just can't wait for the bureaucrat to arrive at my door with my energy consumption meter. This is something that would have made Stalin "green" with envy. How much government intrusiveness will formerly free Americans be willing to take? And don't look to weak as water Republicans like my own Senator Alexander to stand in Obama's way. On reducing carbon footprints, Lamar agrees with Barry. They will have a love fest and an era of good feelings at the cost of our liberty. Perhaps it is time for a third party, one with only conservatives in its ranks.