Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Obama Fades To Black

Why President Obama interjected himself into the middle of a Black Man vs. White Cop local fracas in Boston is inexplicable. He did it at a national press conference after first admitting he did not have all the facts. It is a first-class gaffe, made as his poll numbers are eroding steadily. To use the word he used to describe the Cambridge police – the president acted stupidly. The president has since publicly regretted his use of the word.

Obama is up to his ears in black love; his problem is with white peoples' trust. His misguided attack on law and order finally gives Republican opponents a meaty issue to attack his administration. Issues such as abortion, gay marriage and stem cell research are all wrapped in a moral/religious component which winds the watches of 30% of the white population, mostly from the religious right. Law & Order is a broad white man's fixation that meshes with the frenzied and powerful gun lobby. The impact on whites is overwhelming as they view a crime and prison population which is disproportionally black.

Professor Gates behaved badly as he reacted to Police Officer Crowley who was doing his duty. In this case, he was responding to a possible burglary of Gates’ own property. Google has the police report as well as a civilian's witness report on the affair. Reportedly there are audios of the affair. It is clear Gates over reacted with a Boston variation of a howling war dance when confronted by the police in his home instead of expressing a civilized appreciation for police efficiency.

There is also an indication that there was a previous attempt at break in at the Gates property that earlier jammed the front entrance door. Gates' ugly conduct insures that future police protection of his property will be circumspect and bureaucratically delayed as all reports are carefully double checked and verified; by that time the crook will be long gone as response time is compromised.

During the arrest Gates hectored the police with the specious celebrity defense, DON'T YOU KNOW WHO I AM? Yah, Gates has 50 honorary degrees, is a member of prestigious executive boards, passes out Harvard scholarships to black applicants and is a tenured professor at Harvard University. He even has a hamburger named after him at Mr. Bartley’s Burger Cottage. It is called the Professor Skip Gates Burger - it is topped with pineapple and teriyaki sauce.

So what? More reason to behave properly. His resume will now have a footnote about his misbehaving. Apparently the creepy professor shamelessly wants to make a documentary of the affair. A squalid attempt at self vindication or to recast the affair as an episode of racial profiling? Worst part is Obama stuck his neck out for the embarrassing professor who is appearing as a black agitator.

In less than a week the disorderly conduct charge was dropped against Gates. The Cambridge Mayor, the Governor of Mass and the US President are black, so draw your own conclusions – or maybe it was the influence of Mr. Bartley’s Burger Cottage trying to protect the integrity of its product that exerted the pressure.

Much to Obama's chagrin, Gates is defended, in the main by black media, and criticized by white media. The best most white journalists say is that the police and Gates are both guilty. This is a cop out, a politically correct absurdity. There is no evidence of racial profiling in this case, despite civil rights hacks' claims otherwise. Limbaugh is in his glory. He has a solid issue on reverse discrimination and already waved the bloody shirt of the Duke lacrosse team travesty as an analogy.

The day after his mistake, Obama again went on national TV to make amends by stating he called the professor and the police officer and that his use of the word stupid was a poorly calibrated choice of words. He wants to sit down at the White House over a beer with both men, lamely referencing the occasion as a teaching moment. Good luck! Even if the professor and the policeman bury the hatchet, the President expended trust in his bad judgement and now brought serious lingering questions on his ability to unify the country on race issues.

Obama may succeed in walking back the tension he helped to create. But he will be unable to put the racial cat back into the bag. As far as Officer Crowley, KEEP UP THE GOOD WORK. Recommend Professor Gates find a new address in Cambridge.

Next time I prepare a hamburger at home, I will put a slice of pineapple on it with a dash of Teriyaki sauce. Thank you professor for the recipe... and for one of those so called teaching moments. Colonel Robert E Bartos USA Ret.

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Hello Sotomayor – Goodbye Senators

After the US Supreme enabled GW Bush to execute a coup d’état to seize the US presidency in 2000, my cynicism over the conduct of US Supreme Court went unbounded.

This was reinforced recently by the state of Minnesota's successful recount of the votes for a one of the US senate seats. If Minnesota could do it for a senate seat, why was Florida Governor Jeb Bush unable to perform one for the President of the US? At the time GW Bush's opponent had a plurality of popular votes that was over 500,000 nationally, so there was an imperative for a recount in Florida that never happened; the Supreme Court’s decision effectively blocked it and tossed the presidency to GW Bush.

The recent Senate Judicial Committee's interrogation of Judge Sonya Sotomayor as an Obama nominee to the highest court in the land, revived bad memories. Senators involved in the committee from both sides behaved like jackasses, preening for national attention.

Sotomayor had two issues the Republicans seized on: one had to do with an off the record comment indicating a wise female latina judge could make decisions better than another judge. The other issue had to do with legally supporting a New Haven Conn. City government decision by tossing out a city firemen’s test used as a basis for promotion to supervisory positions. The same questions were recycled daily and hourly. Both issues were answered ad nauseam with the same repeated replies. The process was an absurdity.

The zapped-out Republicans even reverted to ad hominem, hearsay attacks on Sotomayor such as: WE ARE TOLD YOU ARE A BULLY ON BENCH BY LAWYERS. ARE YOU A BULLY? After such interrogation by the Republicans, the Democratic senators on the committee should have blocked and gone to her aid – in the main, the wimps did not.

Sunday on CNN, two days after the hearings ended, Senate Democratic Judicial Chairman Senator Patrick Leahy called Republican Senator Sessions a racist to his face for his over the top questioning of Sotomayor. Leahy's too late amends probably stemmed from left wing criticism of his ineptitude at the hearings.

The Republicans called two firemen to testify who were denied promotion until reinstated by the Supreme Court decision. One was Hispanic; the other was Italian American. When the Italian American, challenged by dyslexia, read his testimony, he relentlessly followed the lines with his fingers.

I am certain that I would not want that troubled guy to command firefighters into a burning building; so, that would argue against a test to be determinative in promotion. Affirmative action yes or no is irrelevant in this case. Moreover, it demonstrates that the Wise Latina Lady's judgement on the firefighter was more on the ball than the majority decision of the US Supreme Court that insured his promotion.

Sotomayor is not main stream American. She is even not mainstream Puerto Rican from which stems her ethnic background. She is a Newyorican: a Puerto Rican born and raised in NYC. So she is a minority born within a minority; the fact she achieved her extraordinary level of success without major lobbying forces or old boy network behind her makes her exceptional.

As the membership of the US Supreme Court now stands, she will add some needed brain power and patience. She should drive the other judges crazy with her Wise Latina Lady sophistry. She came across uninteresting during the hearings; let us hope that this was due to caution or an over briefing by the White House.

My theory is that the best lawyers in the US are not in the US Justice Department, Attorney General's office and, most definitely, on the US Supreme Court. May we hope Sotomayor will be an exception. Colonel Robert E Bartos USA ret

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Obama Returns to Work

Our president has now returned to Washington to save America after going overseas to save the world. He visited Russia, and Italy to include the Holy See. He polished off the trip with a one-day pit stop in Ghana to try to lift WHITE MAN’S BURDEN off the African continent. The dust is settling from his visits; let us make some judgements.

On Russia, the concrete agreements on strategic arms treaty framework, transit rights across Russia for the Afghanistan/Pakistan war and other national security agreements were pre-negotiated prior to Obama's visit.

Obama was surprised by the Russian indifference to him. His key speech in Moscow was not broadcast on state controlled TV. His effort to accent the importance of Medvedev over Putin flopped. Medvedev even tightened up the language on the Russian objection to US ABM deployments in Poland and the Czech Republic after our president's departure.

By Obama's admission, his meeting with Putin was cold and business like – no mawkish GW Bush sentiment looking into Putin's soul. Obama's unfortunate characterization of Putin as a cold war warrior immediately prior to visit pre-set the personal antagonism between the two of them.

Putin still remembers the US/Israel buildup in Georgia before the Russian invasion and US efforts to penetrate the Ukraine; he remembers VEEP Cheney's speech in Vilnus, excoriating Russian democracy. Putin is convinced the nutty Neocons are still making US strategic policy. Current US policies in Iraq and Afghanistan convince him of this.

His intelligence apparat historically seemed to function, at least on the HUMINT level, better than ours – Russians penetrated key elements of the CIA and FBI for example. And they have a big pile of sophisticated US/Israeli weapons, to include drones, recently taken as war booty in Georgia.

It was not a coincidence that Medvedev went to breakaway South Ossetia near Georgia about the same time Obama returned to the US. The Georgians called the visit a provocation; the South Ossetians called Medvedev a liberator; the Obama administration was silent.

If Obama can detune the tensions between the two countries, he has to deal with Putin who knows where the bodies are buried. If Putin considers Obama weak, he will take advantage of it.

Obama's trip to the G-8 meeting in Italy was mostly pro forma. He did promise over 50 billion US aid to Africa. He brought consensus deploring Iran's suppression of rioters. Iran responded to this by attacking the Italians for suppressing anti G-8 demonstrators with tear gas. He pressured the group to condemn Iran's pursuit of nuclear weapons; it responded dutifully. This intended curb on Iran's nuclear weapons would have a better chance of success if the US could eliminate the Israeli nuclear stockpile coincidentally.

Obama with his family visited the Vatican and met with the Pope. After his election bout with Rev. Wright, I was surprised he would involve himself in formal religious links; anyway, he and his family presented themselves with dignity. Unlike GW Bush's visit when he appeared diminished and uneasy, slouching, sitting, legs splayed in the Baroque Italian high-backed gilt Papal armchairs.

Perhaps, ironically, the most permanent impact on Africa of Obama's short visit was the fresh white wash job on the 17thc colonial fortress he inspected. His overall visit was characterized by the rapture of the local population of Ghana. He called on the Africans to reform their corruption and take responsibility for their fate. This plea to African leadership, as many of those before, will go in one ear and out the other. Once the charity checks from the G-8 are cashed, Obama's concerns will be dismissed by the Africans.

The black enthusiasm for Obama surpassed even that of Bill Clinton's visit when he played African war drums and smoked cigars in tents in the evenings. Bill is apparently so peeked by Obama's popularity among the natives that he recently had himself installed as the first white honorary member of the all black fraternity, PHI BETA SIGMA. He is now there in the pantheon with Al Sharpton, Al Roker and Stevie Wonder, having the same honorary status.

Former President Clinton, still smarting from from his faux pas comparing Run Jesse Run Jackson to Obama winning the Democratic primary in the South Carolina, lost his darling status among blacks and with it Hillary's bid for the nomination for the Democratic presidential candidate. Do you think his next step is to confer with Michael Jackson's dermatologist to reengineer himself as a black?

In an interview with CNN's Anderson Cooper while in Ghana, Obama linked the horrors of slavery to that of the Holocaust. The last time I focused on that strained analogy was at a debate between super black Republican Catholic conservative Alan Keyes and super American Jew Alan Dershowitz, on 27 September 2000 at Franklin and Marshal College at Lancaster, Pa.

If you want to view a self indulgent pity party over victimhood, watch it – C-Span carried it. In all fairness to Keyes, Dershowitz, the author of CHUTZPAH, cynically brought up the subject and Keyes demolished him. Dershowitz is a Harvard Law professor and Keyes ran against Obama for the Illinois senate seat and most lately was arrested at Notre Dame protesting Obama visit there.

During his absence overseas, Obama lost control of the domestic debates on unemployment, health care, stimulus, energy and the overall economy. Summers and Biden, guarding his White House, were no help as they were both crepe hangers. Emanuel continues to fumble, sending up lead trial balloons.

Obama's Afghan/Pakistan war heated up with record NATO KIA. Recently assigned US General McCrystal is already requesting more troops... Thought he was assigned because of his economy of force and special operations prowess. My sense is if he could not get the friendly fire Tillman affair straight under his command, his chances of success in the Hindu Kush are problematic. Perhaps the Army should consider removing stars as quick as it awards them.

President Obama, stay home; send VEEP Biden or Hillary overseas. They cannot do much damage since no one pays attention to them. Colonel
Robert E Bartos USA Ret

Photograph: Atropos by Francisco Goya

Wednesday, July 08, 2009

Dog Days of Summer USA 2009

Dog Days of Summer start in the first week of July and extend to August – it is the hottest, muggiest time of the year. The dog star constellations are the brightest at this time and it was believed by the ancients, erroneously, that this was the cause of oppressive weather in the continental climates.

One thing for certain, this first part of July 2009 has brought a heavenly firmament filled with gaseous, exploding clouds; it is due to stars but not the dog heavenly bodies, Canis Major and Minor. Try such celebrities as Michael Jackson, Sister Sarah Palin, Barrack Obama and VEEP Joseph Biden. These gas bags are going off serially, like fireworks, making our environment hot, sticky, and noisy – the citizens are irritable and angry.

VEEP Biden spent three days of the Fourth of July holiday in Iraq. He visited his son whose reserve unit was called up to deploy there; he visited the servicemen to boost morale; and, he wanted to confer with the Iraqi leadership over some things that got under his skin.

In accordance with the status of forces agreement signed by GW Bush, US troops were to redeploy from the cities to the outskirts. Most did, that is except about 20% who now have been re-designated as combat support for Iraqi forces and military assistance personnel. (TURN ON THE GREEN LIGHT THE MAN WANTS TO BUY A GREEN SUITE.)

In addition to 130,000 US troops in Iraq, there are still over a 100,000 paid US contractors inside Iraq. Last figure I had on Iraqi detainees held by US was about 10,000. Despite these encroachments on Iraqi independence, the Iraqis declared 30 June as Sovereignty Day, joyfully celebrating the end of US occupation.

Apparently, Bush has not taught the the Iraqis much except how to misrepresent victory with their own version of MISSION ACCOMPLISHED.

Another bone Biden had to pick was that the US had been outbid on oil field development in the first officially Iraqi open bidding. Chinese won contracts to develop fields south of Baghdad as well as the important Rumala fields as part as a UK/Chinese Consortium. US Exxon was as much as 100% under bid and was not even close to competitive.

Has Exxon lost a competitive edge even with over 4000 US KIA and over 700 billion in pump priming during the pointless war? It is a wonder Biden does not have a stroke when conferring with Maliki – no respect for imperialism anymore?

Biden as a senator voted for the invasion of Iraq. As it became more apparent the war was a strategic blunder, he became a strong advocate for a very loose confederation of Shiite, Sunni and Kurd. Except for Kurdish aspirations, there is no political settlement on the horizon which would foster such a solution. As US troops draw down, the possibility becomes even more remote.

Biden dressed for his visit in a Khaki cotton suit, an embroidered baseball cap and wearing rough suede issue desert boots; he looked like a cross between a pizza delivery man and a UPS driver – he will always be remembered as a variation of both.

He just popped off that Israel has the right to bomb Iran. The guy does not even have a high school sense of national policy – BOMB BOMB BIDEN! Obama had to correct him immediately explaining that the US is not green lighting bombing Iran. The President should keep Biden in a straight jacket and duck tape the VEEP'S mouth.

Last Thursday and Friday 97% of cable news focused on Michael Jackson. There was finally a memorial spectacular this Tuesday. He really is going to be buried... for a while I thought maybe a band of angels would lift him to paradise in some sort of apotheosis... or he would travel the world in a Barnum and Bailey like spectacle, so he can be perpetually adored by the public at 20 dollars a pop.

Sister Sarah Palin got out of her hot kitchen and resigned as governor of Alaska and eschewed a 2nd bid for reelection. I listened twice to her abdication speech; she was either a Pentecostal talking in tongues or it was pure stressed out gibberish. Menopause in a 45 year old woman? Levi Johnson will eventually explain why Sarah really abandoned the ship of state. He appears to be the shaman of the Yukon.

Whatever happened to normal protestants like Methodists, Presbyterians, Lutherans, Shakers, Quakers and Mennonites? All the Republicans seem to offer up as candidates are strange Mormons and cavorting Evangelists with their herd bloc voting and collective mega churches; or whatever cryptic denomination Bomb Bomb McCain was at his last opportune moment.

Obama the Socialist has gone to Russia to meet Putin the Communist. It is meeting of two demons in Hell, if you trust the wacko judgement of fervid Right Wing sky-is-falling pundits. It is true Obama has never had a lemon-aid stand nor was he a newspaper carrier – he has sold a couple of big ticket books and with his higher education, and he can adroitly sing for his supper anywhere.

As most members of the Democratic party, he likes big government to solve problems. We will find out soon whether the GW Bush model of big business/Government economic fascism with permanent war as economic stimulus worked better for the US than Obama's form of government intervention.
Perhaps both are equally destructive. Both are a different process, but in the end moved by self interest and greed. In the end Goldman Sachs always wins.

Putin has graduated or evolved from his Communism – his pockets and bank accounts filled with money and his net worth at this period in his life could buy and sell Obama over and over. Despite Obama's naivete, Putin is the locus of power in Russia. Obama should light his cigarette before Medvedev's if our president has a choice.

Seemingly unaware of this Russian reality, prior to his trip to Russia, Obama characterized Putin as still stuck in the Cold War. The White House has tried to walk back the characterization; so did Obama at a press conference in Moscow on the eve of his meeting with Putin.

Putin will be flattered that Obama is supporting his client Chavez in the Honduran cat-fight. Is Obama making amends or is he just foolishly and wholeheartedly supporting leftist Latino regimes? If Putin gives Obama an antique KGB dagger as a presentation gift, the president should have his security make certain it does not transmit signals.

Obama has come away from Moscow with a frame work for another unverifiable strategic arms treaty and other national security agreements. Obama has also promised to review the GW Bush missile defense system planed for Poland and the Czech Republic.

He has also a Russian agreement for transit rights across Russia to support operations in Afghanistan. For this permission, the Russians may operate economically in Afghanistan; it also can witness how NATO bleeds and spends in the war. And they are paid for the show to boot. What a deal.

Dog Days of Summer are here. Prepare for the Dog Days of Fall, Winter and Spring. They are a'comin. Colonel Robert E Bartos USA Ret

Wednesday, July 01, 2009

The Great American Freak Show

Let us define freak as follows: a person, animal or plant that is markedly unusual or deformed. Years ago this definition applied mainly to side-show curiosities or things preserved in formaldehyde in laboratory jars. There were, for example, cows with two udders, calves with two heads, and bearded ladies; even remember a mummified Chicago gangster with his chest riddled with bullet holes. There were human fetuses in lab jars that were half fish. Now instead of finding these oddities in carnivals or packed away in medical specimen collections, we live among them.

Poor rich boy Michael Jackson was a highly successful talented song and dance man who had a flair for producing entertainment extravaganzas. He recently died at the age of 50, apparently rehearsing for a final world-wide tour that already had sold out tickets at a minimum of a hundred dollars each – a lot more than the 14 cents I used to pay as a kid to observe the freaks at a sideshow.

Jackson pushed the boundaries of his showmanship. On one occasion, making a soft drink commercial, his hair accidently caught on fire. But apart from his talent, the public seemed equally fascinated by his freakish behavior. He was a black man who managed change his cast white and his nose operations gave him a skeletal visage; he was five foot 11 inches tall and weighted 125 pounds or less at death.

He had been knee deep in court cases involving child molestation; throughout his life he spent millions on a flamboyant self-indulgent life style, yet on his death, it is rumored that he owed a 500,000 million which included a $100,000 pharmacy bill in LA, California. Given the controversy at his death, we wonder whether it will take longer to bury the King of Pop than it did the late black artist, King of Soul, James Brown. Jesse Jackson and Al Sharpton are in the mix, so expect a circus.

Celebrity freaks are expected, as the one recently found hanging nude in a closet in swanky hotel in Thailand with his genitals tied to a string on his hand; these people, dismissed a weirdos, are damaged by too many strobe lights. If you take any entertainment celebrity seriously, you may wish to re-inventory your value system. And I include the metamorphosis of actor to President Ronald Reagan in this wide net.

Another category of celebrity who reeks even more havoc on society is the politician. A sub-category is the Christ-crazy religious freak who works his way into power elected by a like-minded constituency. These mostly evangelical sects use their position to proselytize their beliefs. If they had their way, every billboard would advertise: Jesus Saves; abortionists would be shot on sight, and Charles Darwin's books burned to be replaced with Bible stories. This gun-smitten section of our society also would push for a hand gun in every lunch box.

Still in a democracy you have the power to vote to limit their power. And with the recent presidential election, there is evidence that Religious Rights Power is weakening. Part of it was the stupefying conduct of born again GW Bush. Another is the Republican leadership problem of preaching one thing and doing the opposite.

Islam, Mormons and Confucians have tried to curb man's innate lust by polygamy, allowing him a certain number of wives, if affordable. Turkish and Chinese harems brought this regime to a refined social order. Catholics devised confessions to rid themselves of guilt once they felt sorry for the sins of the flesh. Hence, Europeans mostly in Catholic tradition, appear unfazed by the dalliances of their politicians.

But fornication and adultery were strictly banned by born-again Christians in the US. By preaching family values, the evangelicals believed they could chase the illicit sex demon away. They of course were wrong as many of their heros slipped into that sweet honey pot of sin.

Look, pitiful Barney Franks, Bill Clinton and Elliot Spitzer let the wrong part of their body make their squalid decisions; unlike the evangelists, none professed a purity of soul. Clinton used Jesse Jackson to promote a half-assed redemption; he denied he had sex with that women; but, Monica's blue dress with Clinton's DNA made him a lying fool.

Edwards was just a horny guy with a sick wife who followed his lolly. You make your own moral judgement. For me he was just too smarmy and his paramour was a hag; but as Kipling said: She was rag, a bone and a hank of hair, but she was his lady fair. Edwards was to betray many people who believed in him.

All these errant demos are creeps who betrayed public trust; the Republicans who commit sexual transgressions are freaks because they professed religious beliefs and publicly castigated those who did not bend to their credo. Foley, Craig, Ensign, Vitter, Gingrich, and now Sanford were spawn from the Religious Right – used their religion to promote themselves, but once they sinned, fell to earth like blazing comets.

Sanford's wife recently had an interview with reporters at the Sanford beach house and explained her devastation over her husbands affair. Stacked on the coffee table in front of her were devotional books. Time has come for the Republican Party to put their religion on a shelf and focus on the kingdom of man.

As far as Sanford's mistress in Argentina, there is no way to determine whether she is worth the destruction of his political career and possibly his marriage. But I will tell you one thing... there are many senoritas with that flair and allurement a lot closer to his home in South Carolina... in Orlando, Miami, and Puerto Rico; for certain, the carfare is a lot less than to Buenos Aires. But no one claims Holy Rollers have judgement. Colonel Robert E Bartos USA Ret

Photograph: Painting Saturn by Francisco Goya