Author Archives: boris

Iraq Is Free! Rejoice!!

· Geopolitics

Hooray!! Iraq is now a free, sovereign nation! Let me repeat that because it just sounds so sweet…
Iraq is free!!!
What a blessed day! I woke to the news yesterday morning and ran out into the street, heart and bathrobe aflutter, waiting for the throngs to join me in spontaneous celebration…
Hmm. Well, it was early, so maybe the neighbors hadn’t heard yet. I went back inside to watch the spontaneous celebrations that the free, democratic Iraqi people clearly must have been enjoying and the news channels must have been broadcasting…
Well, maybe al Jazeera is suppressing it or something. Anyway, you all must be as totally PSYCHED as I am that Iraq is now free and sovereign!
Three cheers for the newly Democratic, Sovereign, Iraq!
Hip hip….hooray!!!!!
Hip hip….hooray!!!!!
Hip hip….hooray!!!!!
IRAQ ROQS!!!!!
C’mon people! What the hell’s wrong with you all? This is a glorious day! The beginning of world democracy and the beginning of the end of evil as we know it!!!
Get hyped you bastards!!!!
Oh, forget it.

Reagan, Gorbachev and the End of the Cold War

· Geopolitics

I feel that someone in this space needs to comment in some way on the Reagan legacy, so I guess I will.
The two biggest things that will linger in memory are clearly the end of the cold war (good) and Iran-Contra (not good). The Cold War ended on his watch, and he certainly deserves some credit for it. Though his bluster concerned many liberals and skeptics, the fact is that he continued the reasonable policy of containment and diplomacy and eventually won the war of attrition. And possibly the bluster helped soften up the enemy, if you will.
But the main reason the Cold War ended was that Mikhael Gorbachev came to power on the other side, a forward-thinking man who was ready and willing to make a change. He represented a new generation of Russians who cared more about personal liberty than holding together an empire, and dared to begin the shift away from the command economy and back into the free market. Reagan was smart enough to realize this, work with him, and wait it out. For that, and his charm and aura that, like it or not, he had, I give the man credit.
On a personal note, I was in the Soviet Union on a student study program when Chernenko (Andropov? I keep forgetting which forgettable term came last) died and Gorbachev came to power. The fact that they didn’t prop up another old cold warrior really generated some positive feelings. It was also one of the rare times in my life I found myself defending Reagan, over the “Bonzo Goes to Bitburg” fiasco. I fielded a number of questions from concerned Russians and other European students, and my take was basically, no, I’m sure he isn’t a Nazi sympathizer – it must have just been a public relations blunder. Can’t say I ever learned for sure what happened there.
So here’s to President Reagan, a man who helped end the cold war. Iran-Contra … nah, don’t feel like going there right now.

Air Fair

· 2004 Election

My buddy Sean Hannity loves to talk about John Kerry’s private plane and multiple SUVs as a way of blowing smoke over any sort of talk about environmental or oil issues. In fact, his smoke screens alone have probably added significantly to global warning, but I digress…
In today’s Chronicle, there is an article I’ve been waiting for, about the President’s use of Air Force One for political campaigning. I was interested in this before it was ever related to campaigns. Every time I hear that he flies to Crawford for a weekend getaway, I think about the cost in fuel, security and other matters, and I wonder how much it cost me. John Kerry’s private plane costs me nothing. I just learned that Air Force One costs taxpayers an estimated $56,800 per hour to run.
George, could you please spend less of my money running away from Washington, and a little more of it running Washington responsibly?

Abu Whaa???

· Geopolitics

How do you pronounce “Abu Ghraib”? I’ve heard a few different variations. I use a long “A,” as in the word “brake.” Regardless of what is most correct, anyone who has discussed the prison abuses there has by now settled on a way to say it.
So why was the President still trying to figure it out in the middle of his nationally televised speech the other day? This may seem nit-picky, but if you think about it, it’s yet another disturbing indication of how frighteningly detatched this president seems to be.
Salon referenced the audio and if I find the URL I’ll append it later. But I heard it live, and I was amazed to hear him stumble over it. It was not an inadvertent stumble or spoonerism or using the wrong word, which can happen to anybody. The man was trying to sound it out on the fly!
How can this be the biggest issue of the last few weeks and possibly the biggest embarrassment of his administration to date, helping to drag his approval rating to an all-time low with an election looming, and the guy still hasn’t even spoken the words “Abu Ghraib” enough to feel comfortable saying it? We already know he doesn’t like to read. But doesn’t he even like to speak about the issues? You know, like with his advisors? Or hadn’t he heard the phrase hundreds of times before giving his speech? Or didn’t he at least run through the speech once and find the offending term and bother to ask someone, ‘Hey, what’s this here Ay-boo Gr.. Gray-ib thingie here?”
Is the guy really that detatched, or just really lazy, or what? I repeat for emphasis: the President of the United States of America was sounding out “Abu Ghraib” as if for the first time in a live speech to the world after everything that has happened. What reasonable explanation could there possibly be for this?

Sheriff Woody Reaches Out to the Iraqi People

· Geopolitics

“Iraqis will write their own history and find their own way. As they do, Iraqis can be certain a free Iraq will always have a friend in the United States of America.”
– President Bush, May 25, 2004
I’m reminded of Robin Williams years ago describing doing an impersonation of then-President Bush, Sr., saying you just do John Wayne and tighten your ass. Well, here’s his offspring, President Woody, singing as he rides off into his make-believe sunset.
By the way, has anybody yet commented on the irony that “stay the course” has become the desperate mantra of both Presidents Bush? I call dibs on it for the title of my book on the tragic legacy of the Bush family dynasty!

This is my show, so shut up!

· The O'Reilly Sphincter

Former U.S. Ambassador to the UN Richard Holbrook was on Hannity & Colmes Laugh-In last night, and provided for us a classic Hannity moment. I forget exactly what point was being made, but Holbrook was questioning something about Bush’s speech and policy and of course, midway through making a salient point, Sean tried to shut him up before he could get any further. Holbrook held fast and insisted on continuing to speak, saying things like, “You invited my on the program so let me finish making my point.” Sean answered, “No, I’m not going to let you do that.” In an attempt to get Sean to understand why he should be heard, Holbrook started making the point, “You asked me to come on this show. I was an ambassador to the UN….”
Sean: “That’s too bad.”
Holbrook was visibly taken aback by this rudeness.
Earlier in the day, on the Radio Factor, Bill O’Reilly had just finished going off on the ACLU for not wanting to allow any prisoner abuse, including sleep deprivation. He then introduced a guest to take the other side. The guest made a tactical mistake when he started out by questioning O’Reilly’s bias, calling it propaganda. He didn’t make it fifteen seconds before O’Reilly gave the order to cut his mic and announce that the man will not be on his show ever again. I forget who the guest was and the audio isn’t available on O’Reilly’s web site yet. But Bill, showing that tough love, voiced his regret that he was forced to ban this guy who he respected. He didn’t want to have to do it, but he stands by his principles. Very admirable, Bill.
These people sure have thin skin these days. I wonder if it has anything to do with the frustration of having to defend an increasingly untenable position. I’m trying to have faith in the American public to think beyond what these bullies are ramming into their minds. I guess the polls show that some people are beginning to get it. Half full, baby, Half full!