29 October 2006
In baseball when a batter doesn't back away from a pitch to advance his team's cause, we say, "He took one for the team." I think that that was old Rush's intent when he attacked Michael J. Fox the other day over his support for Ben Cardin, inter alia. I believe that this was a deliberate and calculated attack designed not so much to affect the stem cell debate as to follow up the media's stupid obsession with Madonna's adoption with a callous segueway designed to completely push the Foley-Reynolds-Hastert debacle from the public's view. And it's worked! Rush is a little more tarred, but he's taken one for the team and the patrons won't forget his sacrifice.
Beginning my 66th year
13 October 2006
According to the Associated Press, French authorities claimed that North Korea's test was so low yield, it must have been a failure. Other analysts tried to shoosh the French, worrying that North Korea might conduct another test. What???? Is everything knee jerk? Does anyone think these things through?
The whole Western world is tap dancing as fast as a frog on a frying pan to Kim Chong-il's tune. John Bolton, the most personable diplomat since Ghengis Khan is screaming for sanctions and wingnuts are coming out of the woodwork arguing we should put all the North Koreans out of their misery to get Kim. The Japanese want to starve the North Koreans into submission. China's afraid they'll all stream across the Yalu and eat the bark off their trees.
I say encourage Kim to run eight or nine tests to start! We estimate Kim only has enough plutonium for eight bombs, don't we? Kim can't pedal what he blows up under the Korean mountains to Al Qaeda or Iran!
But if we make things ever worse for North Korea with sanctions--cut of access to Japanese markets and blolckade shipping, we can almost GUARANTEE a high-priced sale of a nuclear device to some wealthy non-state actor or state-sponsored terror organization.
Negotiate with the jerk! Let him humiliate you from time to time. Make him look good with his people with food, health care, fertilizer, equipment, and energy. Make him dependent on and glad for inclusivity in the community of nations.
Encirclement/isolation didn't convert China and it won't convert North Korea.
Beating the crap out of kids doesn't improve their behavior. Starving and kicking dogs doesn't bring them to obedience. Ignoring their tantrums and rewarding their occasional good behaviors appears to be the way to go.
Chicken Littling is not the answer. Let's act like adults for a change. And let's rein in the bully boys.
09 October 2006
Chris Hill the State Department's latest empty threat-monger has put us in the enviable position of either being paper tigers (once again) or having to flex muscles we've wasted and bled away on the Bush-Cheney-Rumfeld triumph in Iraq--at least Congress has ponied up $20 mill to celebrate mission accomplished in 2007!
Kim Chong-il, the bouffanted rock-star Dear Leader of North Korea, must be cowering in his bunker waiting for our bunker buster to end his cowardice!
The Bush bully boys need to learn not to throw aound threats that we can't deliver on, don't have the stones to deliver on, don't have the friends to help us deliver on. There were those who argued that the Bush's planned misadventure in Iraq would leave us in just this state. And it has.
Korea specialists such as myself argued in the run up to Iraq, that North Korea and Iran were much more important and threatening states and Iraq, piled on top of Afghanistan would leave us impotent to deal with these threats! Ironic, isn't it, that in bringing about Iraqi regime change, we removed the only countervailing force/challenge to Iran in the region.
Then we sent that arrogant loose cannon, Bolton, to P'yongyang to insult Kim Chong-il out of dealing with us and it's been all down hill from there.
The queston prior to our invasion of Iraq which I raised then is the same I raise now--is Iraq or North Korea more likely to sell missiles and/or WMD's to non-state actors such as Al Qaeda?
Between my high school freshman and sophomore year, I was spending the summer at Woods Hole, Massachusetts, working as an assistant to my uncle Morris who was doing research to determne if the terminal pigment spots (so-called "eyespots") on the tips of the arms/rays of the common Atlantic starfish, Asterias forbesi, were, indeed, photosensitive.
In addition to various chores around my uncle's main lab which included a large tank with running seawater, I also had to do an extensive search of various biological and chemical abstracts for information adenosinetriphosphotase (ATP) another research interest for physiologist uncle. Finally I regularly did counts on the starfish in a second lab with running seawater whih was in a darkroom. Half the starfish in the tank had had the "eyespots" removed. A light was shone into one end of the tank and counts of the starfish in the lighted half of the tank were made hourly to see if there were any difference in the attraction to the light by the starfish with eyespots and those without.
I first became aware of John F. Kennedy in 1956 when he ran for the Vice Presidential nomination at the Democratic National Convention and almost succeeded in wresting the nomination from Estes Kefauver who, ultimately, was selected as Adlai E. Stevenson's running mate. Kennedy's speech caught the attention of many young people who rallied to his cause when he later ran for the presidency.
08 October 2006
Kokedera (Saihoji) Temple in Kyoto, Japan, has a world-famous garden comprised of a "carpet" of 22 species (one source says 120 species) of mosses. This idée fixe, this monomania, this single-mindedness of moss gardening has created a unique 4.5 acre patch of earth. It has become such a popular place to visit that, even though it is open to the public, one must write and coordinate a date for his visit.
Idée fixe, monomania, single-mindedness is not solely the provenance of Japanese Zen gardeners. A certain kind of idée fixe has been in operation here in America the last few years. It seems as though Osama (Usama) Bin Laden appears ever in his Saddam costume.
The 19 names of suspected hijackers released by the FBI don't point to Iraq. They come from Saudi Arabia, Egypt, United Arab Emirates; however, most of the actual identities and nationalities remain controversial.
"President Bush had wondered immediately after the 9/11 attack whether Saddam Hussein’s regime might have had a hand in it. Iraq had been an enemy of the United States for 11 years, and was the only place in the world where the United States was engaged in ongoing combat operations. As a former pilot, the President was struck by the apparent sophistication of the operation and some of the piloting, especially Hanjour’s high-speed dive into the Pentagon. He told us he recalled Iraqi support for Palestinian suicide terrorists as well. Speculating about other possible states that could be involved, the President told us he also thought about Iran. " [The 9/11 Commission Report: 10.3 “PHASE TWO”AND THE QUESTION OF IRAQ] This "might" became the idée fixe of the so-called "war on terror."
Was Iraq Dubya's idee fixe? Was it rather an Oedipal manifestation of some urge to best H.W. and to complete the job he thought dad had left unfinished? Or was it, again, rather, about the reelction coupled with Cheney's guilt about Halliburton's asbestos settlemnet?It wasn't about WMD that they tried against al odds to convince us were there. It wasn't because of Saddam's being connected with Osama despite how many times they said otherwise as they finally admitted.
It certainly has cost America a ton of treasure and provided an incredible opportunity for graft and corruption.
But, then again, maybe it was just to steal the Iraqis' oil?
06 October 2006
An epiphany: Could it be that our "covert" support for the Mujahadeen against the Marxist regime in Afghanistan 1978-1990 helped to fuel the growth of the fundamentalist Islamic worldwide Jihadist movement and of the repressive Taliban regime in Afghanistan--both of which so plague us today? Could it be that our former ideological obsession with the Soviets and the "Red Menace" has returned to us seven fold? Do I smell an irony here?