Saturday, October 31, 2009


I’m not much for computer slang, but every now and then, I pick some up from my daughters. The title of this post is certainly an example. So often these days, in so many domains of life, I find myself asking the question, “What the ….? Today, I will share a few examples.

On The Only Jew Who Has Ever Been on a Major Party Presidential Ticket: Here’s the background:

--In 2000, Joe is a mainstream Democrat who is running a relatively progressive campaign.
-- In 2002, and for years thereafter, Joe’s face on TV is ubiquitous, as he relentlessly defends the Bush-Cheney-Rumsfeld axis on their decision to wage war in Iraq.
--In 2006, Joe runs as an Independent against the man who defeated him in his state’s Democratic primary, and yet, when Joe wins that election, the Democrats in the Senate open their arms to Joe like he’s one of their own, giving him a committee chairmanship (Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs).
--In 2008, Joe goes on TV once again and takes gratuitous shots at candidate Barack Obama’s patriotism, while openly supporting GOP nominee John McCain for President. Yet after the election, Joe is allowed to keep his committee chairmanship and stay in the caucus. According to such colleagues as Chris Dodd, Joe is a “mainstream Democrat,” who just happens to disagree with the party on a few issues, like the Iraq war. Lord knows, that on domestic issues, he’s still a progressive. Right?
--Last week, Joe announces not only that he will oppose any health care reform bill with a public option but he will join in a Republican-led filibuster if necessary to prevent such a bill from coming to the Senate floor. He says this despite the fact that (a) his state’s polls show overwhelming support for a public option, (b) this is an issue in which progressives on domestic issues virtually all agree, and (c) he has been an outspoken opponent of filibusters for years. WTF?

Does he not feel ANY sense of gratitude to his President and the Party that has supported him over the decades? Does he not care at all about those who lack health care insurance? Does he not realize that this looks like a brazen attempt to pay back the insurance companies in his state – major donors to his campaigns – at the expense of sacrificing various principles that he’s stood for over the years? Finally, does he actually think that the Democrats would allow him to tank health care reform and still keep his committee chairmanship? Hmmm. As to that last question, maybe he could count on the Dems standing by their man. After all, aren’t the Democrats the party of “turning the other cheek” (and I do mean “cheek”). Given what Joe’s gotten away with to date, what’s one more kick in the butt among friends?

On the Idea That in an Obama Presidency, The Whole World Would Share in the U.S.’s Burdens of War: Man was I naïve. Remember before the election, when a number of us were suggesting that if Obama won, he would be very popular internationally, he would not be associated with that God-awful Iraq War, and this would increase the willingness of other nations to share with the U.S. the burdens of defending the world against terrorists and other enemies of peace? Well, our President is certainly popular. He’s even won a Nobel Peace Prize. But as a peacemaker, he hasn’t yet achieved any tangible accomplishments. And as for the idea of international support, here we are in Afghanistan – the “good war” that virtually every nation supported – and who is doing all the dying? You guessed it: American troops, and American troops alone. WTF?

OK, so I exaggerate. Here are the actual figures of “coalition” deaths: 904 Americans, 11 Australians, one Belgian, 223 Britons, 132 Canadians, three Czech, 26 Danes, 21 Dutch, six Estonians, one Finn, 36 French, 31 Germans, two Hungarians, 22 Italians, three Latvian, one Lithuanian, four Norwegians, 15 Poles, two Portuguese, 11 Romanians, one South Korean, 26 Spaniards, two Swedes and two Turks, for a total of 1486 troops. By my count, that means that for a country with less than 5% of the world’s population, our troops are supplying 61% of the corpses in this war that virtually EVERYONE supposedly agrees is for the best interests of the world.

It just doesn’t seem fair. And yet where is Barack in appealing to the world that it is time to fight “just” wars equitably, and not simply on the backs of the United States military? Lest I sound jingoistic here, maybe it would help the politically correct out there in cyberspace to put it another way: why should African and Hispanic Americans have to die in disproportionate numbers to keep the people of East Asia and Europe safe?

On the Idea That Anyone Could Possibly Believe that Benyamin Netanyahu is a Man of Peace:

Last weekend, the Washington Post ran an op-ed in which Israeli Prime Minister Benyamin Netanyahu made some valid points. He spoke about how Israel should not have to give up all its bargaining chips until the Arabs come to the table. He spoke about how the Arabs continue to refuse to deny Israel’s right to exist as a Jewish state, and the implication was clear and persuasive: as long as the Arabs stop short of recognizing that right, why should Israelis trust that the Arabs will make peace until all of pre-48 Palestine is under Arab control?

Sounds like a man who deeply wants peace and is simply pragmatic? Sounds like a sincere advocate of a two-state solution who is understandably concerned that his people get a fair piece of the pie and cannot allow them to make too many concessions unless the other side makes equally profound concessions of their own. Right?

Think again. When Barack Obama called for a freeze of West Bank settlements, Netanyahu would have none of it. This was the opportunity to jumpstart the peace process under the auspices of an American President who is uniquely equipped to appeal to the Palestinian people. And yet, on some of the very land that Netanyahu wants us to believe he’s prepared ultimately to deal to the Palestinians, Netanyahu tells Obama to pound sand and authorizes the settlers to build more homes. WTF?

Netanyahu says one thing to the American media in the form of published words, and says something very different in the form of actions. In that sense, he’s no different from Nobel Laureate Yasser Arafat. They both have come across to me as less interested in peace than they are in a win-lose solution. And they both think the American public is REALLY stupid. The sad thing is, like Arafat before him, Netanyahu just might be right.

On the Idea That All Drug Use on the Part of Athletes Is Equally Reprehensible:

You may have read this week that Andre Agassi admitted that in 1997, the year when his tennis ranking drastically plummeted, he was taking crystal meth. But did you read that the indignant Martina Navratilova with furious with Agassi, claiming that by taking that drug and then denying what he did, his conduct was no different from Roger Clemons’ steroid use? WTF?

Am I missing something, or was Clemons taking a performance enhancing drug, and Agassi taking a performance detracting drug? In other words, didn’t Clemons prove himself to be a cheater, whose victims include baseball players throughout the minor and major leagues who needed to abuse their bodies in order to keep up with the Rocket? And in Agassi’s case, isn’t the only victim an eight-time Major Championship winner who has to go to bed every night with a 22-time Major Championship winner and wonder what more he could have done with his career had he, like his wife, Steffi Graf, given 100% effort throughout his prime.

Don’t be so self righteous, Martina. And leave your old rival’s hubby alone.

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