Monument Valley color study

Monday, April 13, 2009

Shiver me timbers


The repubs must be positively seething right now after the successful conclusion to the Maersk pirates affair. I can just picture Fred Barnes pacing across his vestibule, gnashing his teeth, "that charmed sonofabitch, how did Obama pull this one off." Make no mistake the contributions that a relatively minor event such as this can have on the national gestalt. Americans felt the same surge of pride and testosterone when Bush made his first "Clint Eastwood, make my day speech" - but Obama preferred to defer the false bravado and histrionics and just kept a cool finger on the trigger. Contrast the national mood with the misery inflicted on Jimmy Carter and Ronald Reagan during their respective catastrophic bouts in Iran and Lebanon. Yes, we owe much to luck and providence, and brave action by our military, but we cannot underestimate the positive impact on the american psyche after a successful campaign against the forces of, cough - ahem, darkness.

More news today that the new CNN poll shows that contrary to Dick Cheney's protestations, a whopping majority of 72% of Americans do not agree that the actions of President Obama have put the country at greater risk of terrorist attack. This poll was taken before the Pirate saga began. I have never understood why we cede national security position to the conservatives, Bill Clinton did an able job with our military in the Balkans. Few presidents, of any political affiliation, are lucky enough to leave the position without a few black eyes. Same sense of wonder when you look at the success of democratic administrations in balancing budgets as opposed to the republicans. Yet we give the redstaters this free pass as being fiscally conservative.

The Somalians are threatening to kill the next American hostage they capture as retribution for the killing of their comrades and our impact on their chosen vocation. This brandishing of swords and big mouthed swagger might be ill advised. America is still more than a little pissed off about Blackhawk Down and Mogadishu. Although we lost eighteen soldiers there, it was a fraction of the Somalis taken out. Next time we might not be so hygienic. They were talking really big in Iraq before the invasion as well about the sand awash in American blood. And long term, I guess they have a point. But I don't think we are talking nation building here, we are talking about protecting poor defenseless merchant seamen who should be free to ply their trade on the waters without fear of misery and death. I would think that the best solution is to have a multi - country task force including Russia and China come in with the Americans, French and Brits and sweep the Somali coastline. Look for swank hillside palaces, nice mercedes, satellite antennas and clean out the hornet's nests. Waiting on a nascent and emasculated Somali government, probably rife with corruption and links to the buccaneers, is foolhardy.

The poll also says that 71% think that restrictions on Cuba should be lifted, something I have long advocated and that most think the first lady has boosted the American image internationally. Yet the conservatives choose instead to dwell on "did the President bow to a Saudi King, did he improperly touch the Queen, does he really have a United States birth certificate ( the State of Hawaii says yes), is he a socialist waiting for the call from mother Russia to open up the gulags?" The letters to my local North County Times are ridiculous.

Old Clarence Thomas, who hasn't spake a word publicly at work since 2006, weighed in to a bunch of students this week and yearned for the good old days when they had crucifixes on the walls in his schools and people didn't talk about rights but instead obligations. Oh, to be back on the plantation! He made the casual observation that Law Professors knew a hell of a lot more about his job than he ever did. People that never vote are responsible for electing people who appoint people like this - so bitter and so obviously unequal to the challenge before him.

Count me in as a centrist who is disappointed in Leon Panetta's and the administration's decision not to at least investigate Bush era torture questions. I also have to question the reversal on mountain top mining prohibitions. I can understand Obama wanting to resonate with the vast middle who call themselves independents but think that he needs to pay attention to the issues he ran on and his base. The country voted for a clear break with the past administration.

We lost both "The Bird", Mark Fidrych today and Marilyn Chambers, the Ivory Snow girl with the taste for sensual pleasure. Phil Spector, he of the incredible hairpiece and wall of sound, finally has received comeuppance for his bizarre, murderous behavior.

It is amazing that the country which only weeks ago was at the economic death's door, has managed to rebound so quickly, at least in the markets. Goldman Sachs and the rest of the Barbary Pirates on Wall Street are all getting in line to pay their TARP funds back so that can go after more unrestricted swag and booty. Although I must empathize with those financial institutions that were forced to take money and then had the terms of the deals changed. Hope we don't have to send the Seals to New York. And go after the real brigands.




1 comment:

shawnintland said...

Love the Dr. Doom artwork Rob!