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Sunday, December 03, 2006

 

Another Sunday night's musings

When it's not golf season, I'm stuck watching Meet the Press Sunday morning - and that usually leaves me pretty exasperated and amazed. This morning was no exception as viewers were treated to the reliably zany views of Dem. Sen Levin (Mich), and also the comments of Sen. Warner (VA), in tail - between -his - legs mode as befits Republicans these days. With Sen. Levin moving into Warner's Chair this January (yes, large Democrats have returned to roam the earth), his views will have more currency than in the recent past, and if this morning is any indication, we know what to expect. In answer to Tim Russert's "relentless" questioning concerning what the heck is the Dems plan for Iraq anyway, Levin responded that we should tell the Iraqi government they have 4-6 months to solve their "political problems" and establish security, because that's when we are going to begin redeployment (i.e phased withdrawal). If I was serving there, and my country adopted that strategy after me and my buddies broke our butts there for a year, I'd sure as heck want to be in the first phase.

This "brilliant" strategy was then echoed in the next segment by former President Jimmy Carter, who also lamented our failure to pursue and wipe out the rest of Al Queda, which presumably would have been easy if we hadn't been distracted by Iraq. I don't recall either the Afghans or the Pakistanis requesting several hundred thousand US troops (in alternative to the current deployment) to help them remove Al Queda, but Mr. Carter is not one to be questioned on mundane tactical issues. Of course, Mr. Carter is the same outstanding strategist and Commander -in - Chief who allowed our hostages to be held in Iran for years, attempted a completely inept and catastrophic "rescue mission" in the desert, and suitably punished the Russians for their Afghanistan adventure by ...boycotting the Moscow Olympics. That strategic masterstroke so impressed the Russians, they boycotted the LA Olympics 4 years later!

Since his failed Presidency was ended at one excruciating term by Ronald Reagan's election victory, Mr. Carter has cemented his postion in the left wing pantheon by his work in auditing international elections. This has given his organization the opportunity to bless the elections of Chavez in Venezuela, as well as other quasi-Communist throwbacks, in the face of the most obvious fraud committed by those candidates. Thank goodness Mexco had the good sense to not invite the Carter organization in to assure AMLO's election.

Carter has also written a new book accusing Israel of "apartheid" policies in the occupied territories. In answer to Mr. Russert's questions, he defended his thinly veiled anti-semitic comments in the book by claiming that US politicians and government officials have been "intimidated" concerning making any negative comments about Israel. He blamed the current tensions on US and Israeli reaction to Hamas' election victory, especially the cutting off of humanitarian aid to the Palestinians.

Mr. Carter's prescription for peace in the Middle East includes resumption of humanitarian aid, Israeli withdrawal to the 1967 borders, and the formation of a Palestinian State. Somehow, missing in this menu was the simple agreement by Palestinians (as well as their Islamic allies in the region) that Israel has a right to exist as a Jewish state and that there will be no more intifada, no more lobbing of missiles and rockets into Israel, etc. This echoes the Carter view of the world that negotiations are a matter of giving the other side all that it asks for until they understand that we are really good guys and they should just make peace with us. History shows this is a recipe for disaster when dealing with despots and terrorists. They merely pocket what you give them and add to their demands. Even Abbas announced yesterday that he has been unable to come to any agreement with Hamas. So what makes Jimmy think they will negotiate in good faith with us?

But what else should we expect? Carter was certainly the least effective President since Harding, and arguably the worst of the 20th century. He was elected in an anti-Washington reaction to the Nixon scandals, and we should always be wary when the crusaders for ethical whatever take charge. Before this latest episode is over, Dems will wish they had never heard of him or his new book, you can be sure of that.

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On an equally frustrating note, the Press is having a field day with the leaks showing that the Bush neocons were not always one happy united family on Iraq after all. Rumsfeld is quickly being transformed from the fall guy to "the guy Bush should have listened to." Make no mistke, Bush 43 has always been the demon that the left and its media friends have been targeting. And to be fair, I must note that the Bush strategy of "staying the course" now has no meaning, since he has not recently and effectively defined what the "course" is. The Bushies better get busy, because the USA in the 21st century lacks the intestinal fortitude of previous generations, however brave and effective our military might be. The country won't have the patience to see it through, if we can't understand the mission in more specific terms. One Bush weakness has always been in the area of communications - a major problem when it now needs to be its strength.

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The internet sports blogs are all riled up again tonight about the BCS polls which result in Ohio St. versus Florida for the NCAA football champioship. Besides my usual reaction (I really don't care), I think if any team has a gripe, it's not Michigan - it's Wisconsin. The Badgers also lost only one game this year and most of the games I saw them play were pretty one-sided routs. They were number 7 in the BCS, and get passed over for a major bowl by teams with two losses, including #11 Notre Dame (surprise, surprise, TV ratings carry the day again!), probably getting in on the strength of walking over Navy for the 40th straight year.

Personally, I liked it better when the bowls competed with each other, and bid for the teams participation directly, and we called the National Championship "mythical." That kept things in a little better perspective. The bowls were fun for the teams and their fans, and their relative importance was less a matter of concern. You won a bowl, or played in a bowl, that was its own reward. I guess I'm just a free enterprise kind of guy.

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Speaking of free enterprise, on 11/27, I sold another 500 shares of CNRD from the taxable account at 4.70 (400 shares originally purchased at 2.19 on 8/23/04 and 100 at 1.95 on 10/4/04). Then on 11/29, I bought 100 shares of GWR at 25.70 for the taxable account. This is a new position, and the first railroad I have bought since I paid $200 in monopoly money for the Short Line RR (a long time ago).

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