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Commentary on the present and future of culture, politics, economics, and social values................... "At any given instant/All solids dissolve, no wheels revolve,/And facts have no endurance." W.H. Auden.
Monday, February 28, 2005
Has it occurred to you how the news media are enthusiastically, gleefully, and tirelessly pushing the candidacy of Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton (D-NY) for president in the 2008 election?
The media are still trying to select the candidates and the president for the country.
Friday, February 25, 2005
Since its founding in 1948, Israel has gotten unquestioned support from countries and people around the world. That is changing, as sympathy for the Palestinians grows.
The latest sign is from the World Council of Churches. From its headquarters in Geneva, the WCC has recommended to all its members that they seriously consider divesting from companies that aid Israel in its occupation of the Palestinian territories.
This move follows the decision of the Presbyterian Church USA to divest from such corporations.
Many fundamentalist Christians in the US still give Israel a blank check in all its policies. But other Christian churches are beginning to reject that stance.
Israel's blank check is ending.
Friday, February 18, 2005
President Bush has appointed John Negroponte as intelligence czar, a position created by the movement to reform and improve US intelligence gathering, production, and distribution. Senate confirmation seems assured.
Those who praise the appointment will stress Amassador Negroponte's forty years of service in the State Department with assignments worldwide, including his current assignment as ambassador to Iraq. Critics will complain that as ambassador to Honduras from 1981 to 1985, he helped direct a "dirty war" in Nicaragua and El Salvador against alleged communist forces.
The real issue about Negroponte is something quite different from what his supporters and his critics say. That is whether he can stand up to Secretary of Defense Donald Rumseld. Rumsfeld is on a single-minded mission to control US foreign policy and intelligence operations. In this pursuit, he is relentless, ruthless, insulting, arrogant, and fiercely aggressive. No one in the Bush Administration, including the President, has been able to stand up to him and say "no." No one in Congress has been able to do so either.
For Negroponte to be successful in his new assignment, he will have to fight -- and win against -- Rumsfeld. His first major opponent is not in Baghdad, Kabul, Damascus, Pyongyang, or Tehran. He is in the Pentagon. If Negroponte fails in the coming struggle with Rumsfeld, he will fail as intelligence czar.
Thursday, February 17, 2005
It was a first in US experience! Remember it!
Jason Giambi, overpaid Yankee baseball star, held a press conference in which he apologized but never said what it was he was apologizing for! Nor were reporters able to pry out of him what he had done wrong that required such an apology.
Look for Jason to have set a new trend. Public figures in the US can now apologize in public but never admit to any wrongdoing, never accept responsibility, nor face any consequences.
Politicians will love this. They can offer periodic public apologies without explanation. Then when are are later caught doing something wrong, they can dismiss the charge and explain that they have already apologized for it.
A generalized apology to cover all past and future acts!
Perfect in our age of talk-show weeping!
Oh, sincerity! How could we live without you?
Wednesday, February 16, 2005
The US government has withdrawn its ambassadors to Nepal and Syria in a snit. And, in explanation of these actions, has issued some huffy comments to those two governments.
Is the US entering a time when its foreign policy will be essentially scolding other governments, expressing outrage, shaking fingers of accusation, and denouncing? The answer is YES. It is a fulfillment of the Bush Administration's view of the US role in the world. And doesn't Secretary of State Rice play the role well?
But, such scolding and posturing only indicates that the US is impotent to act. It is a sign of weakness.
Friday, February 11, 2005
So, Carly Fiorina has been pushed out as the boss of Hewlett Packard.
Sorry to say "we told you so." But we did. When she was appointed we said it was a mistake. When she negotiated the purchase of Compaq in 2002, we advised everyone who owned shares in the company to sell them STAT. Buying Compaq was the wrong choice and indicated Carly did not know what she was doing. Old thinking in a time that required creativity and innovation.
Carly thought she could be safe by becoming a media celebrity. The only woman to head a super Fortune 500 company, etc. Well, celebrity status did not save her, though it prolonger her career beyond any reasonable point . Incompetence and failure finally trumped celebirity.
The only problem is that the HP board waited too long to dump her. Her damage to the company was total. While HP might stagger into the right decision -- specializing in manufacturing printers -- it is too late. HP will not survive. The rise in the share price of HP since Carly's firing is a false positive. HP is hurrying on a dowward trajectory. Its only hope for survival is to be bought by someone else (Dell?).
Wednesday, February 09, 2005
Have you been watching the whirlwind first-time tour of US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice?
Did it occur to you that she and Senator Hillary Clinton are much alike? Both are ideologues, cold, arrogant, self-important, condescending, self-righteous, and preachy.
Those who foresee a presidential election contest between these two in 2008 are warning us against nightmares!
Thursday, February 03, 2005
Senator Mel Martinez (D-FL) gave his maiden speech in the US Senate yesterday. Part of his speech was in Spanish, the language of his Cuban-American Miami-area community. It was the first time that any US senator has spoken in the chamber in a language other than English.
But it won't be the last. See this speech as a forecast of the future. Spanish is already the second language of the US, and the use of Spanish will increase in the country in the years ahead. Expect that one day the move will be made to have Spanish as an official language of the US. The senate will then become bilingual, and Spanish will be one of the languages of record.
Look at the parliamant in Canada. Its official business is conducted in French and English. A bicultural US will become bilingual.
Will a multicultural US become multilingual?
Tuesday, February 01, 2005
We understand that Robert Gates was offered the job of director of national intelligence and turned it down. This is the new position mandated by the post 9/11 frenzy over intelligence lapses.
Gates, currently president of Texas A&M, was Director of Central Intelligence under President George H. W. Bush.
Has it ever occurred to you that people who serve in appointed positions in the federal government are like baseball team managers? No matter how lousy a job they do, there is always another job waiting for them. Nothing succeeds like failure!
So, Senator Hillary Clinton (D-NY) fainted while trying to give a speech in New York.
Did it seem to you that the explanations claiming that the fainting was nothing serious came too fast and too much, an over-eager flood of diversion?
The problem is that as politics has become a cesspool of lies and spin, one is tempted to believe no quick explanation.