The further to the left or the right you move, the more your lens on life distorts.

Thursday, May 28, 2009


I apologize to regular readers for my long hiatus. The press of both business and family matters didn’t allow time for blogging over the past few months.

I think a good way to ease my return is to comment briefly on a number of important issues that have absorbed news coverage over the time I’ve been away.

The Economy. Our national recklessness will not be solved overnight. Maybe the spending championed by the Obama administration was necessary to avoid a catastrophic failure of our economy, but it appears that no one really knows.

Ironically, the young—his most ardent supporters—will feel the brunt of the multi-trillion dollar debt throughout their lives.

My prediction: We’re approaching a time when hard—very hard—decisions will have to be made about the entitlements that the current administration holds so dear. If we continue on our present path, we’ll become the government equivalent of GM.

The GM Bankruptcy. Why is anyone surprised? For decades, GM management has done just about everything wrong. It maintained too many redundant products; it came to recognize the importance of product quality about two decades too late; it created and then subsidized a bloated dealer network; it repeatedly capitulated to irresponsible union demands, putting both the company and its workers in jeopardy; it failed to innovate; it failed to recognize the trend toward green vehicles and then resisted the trend when it was too obvious to ignore … the list is long.

It is a travesty that US taxpayers have spent tens of billions of dollars propping up this failed company. I just hope that the “managed” bankruptcy will result in a viable corporate entity. I doubt it.

The “Torture” Scandals. We live in a dangerous world populated by dangerous people, some of whom want to do us great harm. To combat them, we need information, and in the aftermath of 9/11 (you remember that event, don’t you?) we expected additional attacks.

It was necessary—no, it was mandatory—to extract information from the very bad people we captured. To do that we used some very unpleasant techniques, but no one was maimed or killed. As a consequence, we extracted much useful information, which in their politically motivated wisdom, the Obama administration has refused to release (afraid I suspect, that the public might just shake its collective head, and say, “Yeah, it actually did work, didn’t it?”)

Now that we’ve redefined what “torture” is, it appears that any unpleasant interrogation qualifies a “torture.” The moral preening crowd takes its typical sanctimonious position, lamenting a loss of “American values.” I guess using extreme measures to potentially save thousands of lives must take a back seat to salving their warped sense of conscience.

Nancy Pelosi and the CIA. Sanctimony is the stock in trade of the U.S. Congress, and no one exemplifies that more than the Speaker of the House, Nancy Pelosi. To say that Pelosi is a poster child for the Peter Principle is to understate the matter entirely.

Her outrageous accusations against the CIA and her claim that she knew nothing about “extreme interrogations” doesn’t pass the smell test. She is either a liar, or she is incompetent. If she heard the phrase “extreme interrogations” it would seem that a competent official would ask what they were.

Worse, her support of a “truth commission” is so McCathyesque that it’s laughable. But no matter, if a “truth commission” ever is formed, Nancy Pelosi should be the first person to sit before the inquisitors.

Israel and the Obama Administration. It appears that the Obama administration has decided that building houses in “settlements” is the moral equivalent of launching rockets into civilian population centers. Why am I not surprised?

With furrowed brow, Hillary Clinton this morning suggested that Israel must stop all housing construction as a precursor to a broad peace settlement.

Let’s see, in 2000, under the guidance Clinton administration, the Israeli’s offered the Palestinians a state, a capital in Jerusalem and 95 percent of all their demands. Not enough, said the Palis, as they initiated a violent “intifada” that killed hundreds of Israelis. In 2005, the Israelis unilaterally exited Gaza. The result—chaos, Hamas, and 7,000 rockets.

But not to worry, all we need is for the Israelis to stop building houses and the Palestinians will come around, just like in 2000 and 2005. And here I thought that Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton were really smart people.

North Korea, Iran, and the Obama Administration. In talking to those who vociferously supported Barack Obama in the Presidential elections, I get the feeling that they’re mildly surprised that countries like North Korea and Iran don’t see the light. After all, it was the incompetent, evil Bush administration that caused all of these problems, labeling the NoKos and Iran part of an evil empire. How crass, how unfriendly, how lacking in nuance.

But Barack Obama took a different path with an outstretched hand of reconciliation. His elegance and brilliance would calm our enemies (wait, we have no enemies, sorry, only folks that react negatively to our many, many sins). The old ways were no more …

Back to the future. The NoKos just conducted a second Nuclear test, threatened South Korea and the US with war, and seem to be … well, not entirely ready for an outstretched hand. And Iran … same ol, same old, but they’ve offered to debate Obama at the UN. Real progress, no doubt.

And so, the world continues to spin. More later.