Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Dear General

We haven’t heard much from you since that last piece of performance art at the United Nations. Now it seems that we hear from you once a month. First there was that endorsement of Obama and then, after the election, there was the condemnation of Republicans, Sarah Palin and, of all people, Rush Limbaugh. Let’s start with the Republicans.

You jumped ship at the eleventh hour before the election. And now you give Republicans advice on how to get well? This is a little like Colonel Arnold giving war counsel to General Washington. You recommend that they dump Palin and stop listening to Limbaugh! You may lose your RINO card.

You also seem to laboring under the illusion that the ‘community organizer’ won because he was a better choice, more accomplished than, or had a better program than McCain/Palin. Bravo Sierra, sir!

Any honest observer would have to admit that Barrack’s only concrete accomplishments to date are two books – about Obama. Now granted he has a good rap. But it’s not like someone hasn’t said it all before. The only difference between B.H.O. and Jesse Jackson is that Obama doesn’t patronize us with rhymes. And by-the-by, should you ever decide to counsel the president, you might want to point out that hope is not a strategy and change is not an objective.

The Republicans could have run Pericles and still lost. The Republicans lost because Hilary blew the primaries. The Republicans lost because the economy fell into the crapper just before show time. The Republicans lost because a left-leaning congressional circle-jerk successfully, if not fairly, hung the affirmative action mortgage debacle on Bush and by implication, McCain.

‘Twas unfair to link Obama with Wright and Farrakhan, but somehow not unfair to claim a McCain victory (guilt by association) would be a third term for Bush. The Republicans lost because a vote for Obama was a vote against Bush. The Republicans lost because McCain looked and sounded like yesterday.

But why do you have Sarah Palin in your cross hairs? By any metric, she is an accomplished lady; athlete, wife, mother, business woman, volunteer, municipal and state-wide office holder. Unlike the usual political groupies and bimbos inside the beltway, she’s also a babe. Ms Palin favors and actually does justice to a skirt.

She is ridiculed for her performance on the gas bag circuit. Compared to whom? Surely you can’t be thinking about Joe (“I’ve forgotten more about foreign policy than most people know”) Biden.

Biden’s singular accomplishments are tenure and an overwrought ego. He is an inside baseball, inside the beltway diva. His only qualification to be chair of anything is 35 years at the Senate trough. Change my ass! Let’s put aside for the moment his hair plugs, teeth by Steinway, plagiarism and chronic foot-in-mouth problem and look at his grip on history and current issues. He doesn’t know when Roosevelt (D) served or when television began! Entertainment is the only value added that Senator Malaprop brings to this administration.

His one recent foreign policy initiative was to suggest we divide Iraq into ethnic and religious cantons! Such a policy would reinforce not eliminate the divisions that fuel conflict in the Levant. Such nonsense would also torch relations with at least four other nations in the region. As we used to say in boot camp; “this guy doesn’t know shit from Shinola (an excellent shoe polish I might add)”.

The real difference between Palin and Biden deserves a hockey analogy; good prospect versus no prospects. Before I leave Sarah, one more thought. If we compare you, Obama, Biden and Palin, we can say with certainty that Governor Palin has reached her high station without benefit of political tenure or an affirmative action tailwind. You will note that my remark about you and the President is conditional, yet if the shoe fits, I’m sure it’s a size ten.

Let’s move on to Limbaugh. You suggest that Republicans need to stop listening to El Rushbeau? Whatever for? He is their most caustic critic;
flailing the flaccid on an equal opportunity basis. Take the McCain case. Limbaugh may have lost several million votes for Republicans before the recent election by suggesting that McCain was a political hermaphrodite.

You must appreciate that the Left makes Limbaugh and talk radio possible! Newspapers and networks are loosing clients while conservative talk radio is growing. There is only one possible message here. Talk radio is providing facts and a point of view that “mainstream” outlets, including CPB, are unable or unwilling to provide. The issue here, sir, is bias and in too many cases “cooking (Janet you know who you are) the books”. The mainstream keeps telling itself that it is loosing ground because of technology. Their real problem is integrity. Readers, viewers and listeners are literally not buying crap anymore - or corvettes, it seems.

Just a few examples would include Mike Wallace, Janet Cooke, Stone Phillips, Dan Rather and Jason Blair. We might even throw in Woodward and Bernstein now that we know that their source for Watergate was a highly placed FBI fruitcake with an ax to grind. Cooke and Blair, you may recall, were two investigative “journalists” caught lying for the Washington Post and NY Times about conditions in black communities – as if the truth were not bad enough. Old school editors like Ben Bradley (WP) Hal Raines (NYT) underwrite questionable journalism with bad conduct medals. Cooke received a Pulitzer Prize.

But your personal favorite should be Mike Wallace. Do you remember how CBS tried to smear Danny Graham and William Westmoreland on their Vietnam era order-of-battle assessments? CBS and Wallace had to be taken to court before the truth was told. Blaming soldiers for an unpopular war is a little like blaming crime on cops.

Conservative media is a growth business because they put their politics and their agenda up front. The so-called mainstream is committing suicide (no offense, Mr. Wallace) in slow motion because they continue to lie about their agenda and cook the books in an era when such duplicity is quickly exposed. Leftist, liberal and socialist journalists never admit to an agenda or admit who they are. Say what you will about Limbaugh’s politics; you don’t have to take him to court to know from whence he comes.

In the interest of full disclosure, I must say that like you, I‘m a product of the Bronx, a proud graduate of Cardinal Hayes High. Indeed, I was also born into the Democrat Party. As a youth, I was a big fan of Tip O’Neil and Pat Moynihan. I lost my progressive cherry when Moynihan was thrown under the bus for telling the truth about welfare and affirmative action hustles. Since then, my misgivings about liberals have been validated.

Today, the Democrat Party is led by a botox bimbo, a sin city shill, a hysterical sodomite (who ran a boy’s bordello out of his basement) and two philandering boozers, one of whom may be a homicidal drunk. Please fill in any names that fit. The governor of California recently characterized legislators as girlie men. Here in Washington we actually have three types; there are women who want to be men, men who want to be women and the rest don’t seem to have the giblets to make either team. Calling this crowd a “parliament of whores” (thanks PJ) is an insult to honest hookers everywhere.

Not that any of this drove me into the arms of Republicans. In my Bronx neighborhood we thought Republicans had died off with Teddy Roosevelt, if not Lincoln. I had a short hot-flash of deja-vu during the Reagan years, but I recovered. Yet the real problem isn’t Party; its propriety.

So I was more than a little concerned the other day when you trashed the good lady from Alaska because you thought she had slighted your “Bronx values”. I applaud your concern with values but let me say a few words about the use of “Bronx” as an adjectival salutation.

The Bronx is a place people come from, not a place people go to. Even when New Yorkers talk about “the city”, they mean Manhattan not the Bronx. If you were to go to the Bronx today there a five things you would not bring; your wife, your kids, your wallet, your watch and certainly not your automobile. If you were to ask citizens of the Bronx where they would like to live, 75 percent would say “anywhere else” and the remainder would be unresponsive due to mind numbing chemicals. Let’s be serious, neither of us would go back there to vacation, buy property or to retire. Just as surely, the best day of our lives was the one when we saw the Cross Bronx Expressway in the rear view mirror.

They say you can take the boy out of the Bronx but you can’t take the Bronx out of the boy. As a soldier and citizen, I tried to refute this canard daily. You shouldn’t be defensive about the Bronx and I don’t think Governor Palin ever mentioned your values or lack of them. Yet I think she has a point about small state, small town values. And she always makes her point with gentle, humorous Thornton Wilder aplomb.

Considering recent political values on display in New York, Connecticut, New Jersey and now Illinois, we should all worry. Yet, you say that big cities are where the votes are. So what! Does this mean its OK to sell a Senate seat if enough like-minded idiots agree?

Seeing that you have brought up this values thing, let’s talk about them in important venues like a president’s character - the economy and in national security matters.

People like us who grew up in the Bronx can’t afford to believe in guilt by association. Good folks should be willing to overlook those unsavory characters that dog Obama’s character. At the same time, you know that were he a GS-6 looking a security clearance, he wouldn’t get past hello. Nonetheless, he should be judged on his contemporary associates.

The first that come to mind are the Clintons - the last pair of breeding lawyers in the White House. You may recall how that played out. Now Obama brings this circus act back to the national stage under the flag of “change you can believe in”. Hello, general, are you still there? Good, let’s continue the values chat.

We now live in a single-trade oligarchy, a culture where almost all elected and too many appointed officials are lawyers. The law trade is like the psycho babble business. Their ethic is the game – keeping the ball in play, not unlike scoreless soccer. Lawyers and psychiatrists don’t care who wins or looses as long as they get paid or laid (sorry Bill). In Barack’s old neighborhood it’s called pay to play. Do you think it’s an accident that even judicial pay raises get pasted into unrelated bail-out bills?

So when I think about the economy I’m having another hot flash of deja-vu. Plan Obama calls for massive spending to be followed by a fiscal diet at a date uncertain. Seems to me that massive spending is what got us here in the first place. Using deficit and debt and to stimulate the economy may be a little like having Maynard Keynes diddle your furnace to heat the house.

Politicians never see any problem that can’t use more money. That’s where the votes really hang out. Conversely, they never have the stones to end programs that don’t work. I live in a town where health care, education, housing and policing receive massive taxpayer support. If any of these programs were dependent on values or effectiveness, they wouldn’t merit another nickel. A century and a half after Lincoln’s death, too large a part of the nation’s capital is still a dangerous slum. Values for lawyer/politicians, sir, are about arithmetic not ethics.

Barney Frank and Chris Dodd couldn’t manage a trip to the toilet without staff assistance. Yet we have to watch Obama’s Hill colleagues lecture Wall Street and Industry on accountability. This may be change you can believe in. I’m still stuck on the hope thing.

And finally, there is national security. I’m concerned that a guy who thinks his grandfather liberated Poland doesn’t have a firm grip on reality or world history. You know, those Nazis, fascists, communists and like-minded totalitarians in the Muslim world. When he meets Putin, Obama may have to apologize to Marshal Zuchov’s memory. Nonetheless, today’s war is more to the point. Not once in the recent campaign did I hear Obama say the word Islamist. Is courage one of those values that concern you? Does he plan to beat the bad guys by never speaking their name?

When you chat with the commander-in-chief you might also point out that we are not fighting “a war on terror”. Nobody makes war on a tactic. We are fighting Muslim fanatics. You might also disabuse him of the notion that we have two wars; a bad war in Iraq and a good war in Afghanistan. There may be two major theaters and numerous minor fronts but the war is singular and it’s world-wide. Does Mumbai ring a bell? If he thinks he can jawbone this growing movement of religious crazies, I suggest he hang onto those smokes and one of your flak jackets. He’s going to need them.

You know, general, the beauty of democracy is that sometimes we get the kind of government we want and sometimes we just get what we deserve. Back in our active duty days an SOS (save our ship) was a distress signal. But for troops in the mess hall it also meant chipped beef on toast (shit on a shingle). For bored grunts in the barracks, it simply meant “same old shit”. So I’m thinking that Jeremiah Wright might be right no matter how you read the SOS. The chickens have come home to roost.

Before I wrap this up, let me apologize to you on behalf of George Tenent and the Intelligence Community. Yes, I’m a twenty five year Intelligence veteran. Old George hung you out to dry. Guys that work both sides of the aisle don’t have values. But they get medals too. That Iraq speech CIA wrote for you to deliver at the UN could not pass muster at a cadet beer bust. But you gave it anyway. So we all understand how you might be in the mood for a little pay back.

But lay off Sarah Palin! She has already been slapped silly by the deficit side of the values spectrum - for trivial reasons in most cases. She is a role model for any American girl. And compared to Caroline Kennedy, Sarah Palin looks like Elizabeth the First.

And it’s not like you didn’t shoot yourself in the foot at the UN. At the time, you had 50 thousand gofers that could have done some Iraq fact checking or a little in-house analysis at the State Department. But that’s another story. Until next time, let me leave you with a few lines of poetic consolation: “Of all the words to come from mouth or pen, the saddest are these, what might have been”.

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