Tag Archives: Obama

Eating poop. Bon appétit.

As the media storm over David Petraeus’ sex scandal with biographer Paula Broadwell begins to subside, I find myself looking over all the blogs, YouTube videos, magazine articles, tweets, and gazillions of Facebook comments. So why get all riled up about this recent tawdry affair and its related biography? I mean, the fact that the Director of the CIA had (big air quotes) an affair is hardly novel. Get it? Novel … Biography…? (dead silence).

Sigh.

Part of it must be the sheer joy of spanking the monkey grin from (what little remains of) Broadwell’s reputation. I can’t say she doesn’t have it coming. Think about it: She’s great looking, has the bod of a Navy Seal supermodel (if there is such a thing), a toffee-nosed Harvard graduate, and (to top it all off) a New York Times bestselling author of a book she had ghostwritten for her. Jumping jealous Jehoshaphat, Batman! If you could have stepped into her shoes one day before the scandal broke—would you? Don’t lie! This was the kind of person that made every man, woman and child kowtow in respect: It was something we all dreamt about. Well, at least you did, I wager.

But as soon as the scandal broke, didn’t you want to just slug her? Oh, right. It’s not sporting to hit a lady. Well, didn’t you want to send her a nasty anonymous email? That’s perfectly acceptable, right?

Right?

But what about Petraeus? The same will not be said about him. Don’t get me wrong: things will be said, but he was at the top of his game, and has hordes of affluent (i.e., people who can make you disappear) supporters who will defend his reputation. In fact, given his status just before his book of revelation was, err, revealed, the ones most motivated to tar and feather him were his immediate family. With the news breaking just a week before thanksgiving, I’m sure they stuck in enough quills to make him look like Gobbler the Turkey. Though unlike that lucky bird, Petraeus was not pardoned by President Obama.

Maybe Gobbler and Petraeus could have switched places? Nah…

Anyway, if history is any indicator of the future, my money is on a quick comeback for Petraeus. No? Take President Clinton’s example. He’s in the same league of (cough, cough) extraordinary gentlemen, someone who needlessly screwed up his life. But look at him now. Other than making himself a top brand name, I see no long-term damage. Sadly, I predict for same jaunty future for our good General.

But the issue in the end is not infidelity, morality, honesty or even imbecilic career suicide. Nope. It’s about simple transparency. See, it’s like this. Young folks out there (you know, generation couch potato) don’t much value a person’s moral character. If you want to be promiscuous or squander relationships willy-nilly, go right ahead. They don’t care. In fact, they’ll jump right in and help you screw things up faster. Just one itsy-bitsy thing is required: you must share your exploits on the Internet. The whole shebang; the whole nine yards; the full metal jacket!  Uhm…you know what I mean. And if you can do that, well, no matter how bad your behavior is, the public will eventually forgive you for being human. Because in the end, you are just that: human.

That’s what our older generation of leaders don’t get (and, by the way, I think Broadwell’s Harvard groomed ego lets her see herself in that class). They want to be human, but portray themselves outwardly as Herculean gods, who don’t even poop like wee little mortals. What, you think you’re some kind of gift to mankind? Sorry, you two, but you’re not. And the public is going to make you eat your own poop over it.

Bon appétit!

Drones On and On…

So now Iran claims that they’ve recovered data from an American RQ-170 Sentinel, our super-secret-squirrel drone that dive-bombed into Iran late last year while monitoring their military and nuclear facilities. I think few people doubt the basic claims. But considering all the other shenanigans the US has engaged with Iran over the past 60 years, this is a fairly low-key embarrassment. In technical diplomatic terms, just a paltry imbroglio a go-go.

Do keep in mind that both US and Iranian relations are based on well-tested method of underhanded diplomacy: Namely, the best cock ‘n bull story wins. So on this occasion, it’s Iran’s turn to squat down and pinch off a steaming pile that would make any axis-of-evil government proud.

So what are the Iranians claiming? Well, for starters they say they dismantled our drone to its raw wing nuts and are in the process of building their own improved version (camel leather trim, gold wheel rims, and factory-installed air, all standard). Assuming they have some good measuring tape and at least one working handheld calculator, everyone expects them to cobble something together that looks pretty much like the original. The greater concern, though, is that they might reverse engineer the chemical composition of the drone’s radar-deflecting paint. Apparently this special formula (which ironically is available in a non-military grade version available at Home Depot, called Bavarian Cream 340E-3)  has anti-radar properties that America would prefer to keep a secret. It’s sort of like the formula to Coke syrup, which for some bizarre reason seems to be uncrackable. Anyway, we can only hope the engineers thought about this situation in advance, perhaps with the assistance of experts from the Coca Cola Company. I mean, duh! It’s not like this is the first time a military asset has plopped itself into unfriendly hands, right?

Iran seems also to be waxing quite vocal regarding the drone’s encrypted data. They claim the data shows it was used to spy on Osama bin Laden weeks before he was killed. The US military hasn’t commented on the vehicle’s past record (not that one would expect them to hand out the Carfax report), but doesn’t this sound like one of those stories you get from used car salesmen? “Yessiree-bob! This here little number was owned by, er, Michael Jackson himself. Yeah, you heard me. He bought it while, uhm, trying to keep a low profile on vacation here…in beautiful Bayonne, NJ. Yeah, that’s the ticket! It would have gone to the Smithsonian if we hadn’t gotten to the auction early that morning!” (Big, evil smile.)

Who knows? Maybe our little drone was used to spy on Bin-Laden taking a lavender cream sponge bath. Who cares? I’m not sure what that gives the Iranians other than bragging rights. Perhaps they want to put our drone in a museum and charge more for tickets. I suppose it could shore up some cash for their failed economic policies. Your guess is as good as mine.

For the record, Washington’s request for the drone’s return was officially rejected. What a shocker that was, eh? Even so, I would have liked to see Iran’s internal meeting regarding their enthusiastic response. Did they consider using international legal frameworks such as “finders-keepers-losers-weepers”? Or was it more like, “You can have it back when camel’s grow wings and crap on the White House lawn during flyovers”?

Sen. Joe Lieberman, who chairs the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee, said that he views the reports with skepticism. I’m with that chochem all the way. (For all you Yiddish-challenged folks out there, the term “chochem” means genius or idiot, depending on how you feel about Joe Lieberman.) But even though we could invoke a “liar liar pants on fire” response to their hype, it might pay to let things play out a while longer. I mean, even though we’ve been caught with our Darth Vader Underoos pulled down, some media reports claim that Iran has rejected Russian and Chinese requests to have copies of Iran’s findings on the drone. At least so far.

Thus proving once again that no matter how fakakta-up the situation is, there’s always room for things to get worse.

Service Corn Dogs

The story on every news correspondent’s lips these days seems to be a scandal involving the President’s Secret Service employees and some members of the armed services who have been accused of schtupping prostitutes while preparing for a summit meeting in Cartagena, Colombia.

So if I’m listening to those news correspondents correctly, this is how things stand: Both the President of the United States and the respective spouses of the agents involved are ready to fire and/or divorce the accused.

Wow, that sucks! All guys would have to admit that a double whammy like that just ain’t fair. I can’t imagine what’s going through the minds of the accused. Honestly, I feel a bit sorry for those poor schmucks.

Of course, a lot of people will feel differently (and by “a lot of people” I mean every married woman on the planet), but I can’t help it. That’s just the way I am.

Now I’m aware that any number of presidential security matters could have been compromised during a moment of, um, less-than-clear thinking. But come on. Is that really the issue? If we cared mainly about security matters, I think the course of action for such infractions would be a no-brainer: Instant job termination (which has already happened to some degree) and public hearings in a televised courtroom. And while we’re at it, public floggings are an effective and time-tested way of dealing with sloppy job performance and could easily be revived. Problem solved. See how simple that was?

Many pundits are trying to put this story into perspective, though. The Secret Service is, after all, an organization that rarely finds itself in this kind of pickle. Their behavior up till now (at least in the public arena) has been pretty good. And even if the accusations are true, prostitution is legal in Colombia. Assuming no compromising secrets were divulged, we should be able to chalk this up as a minor infraction. In technical terms: No biggie.

But there’s one thing that gets me a bit riled up. It’s the way every sanctimonious bureaucrat responsible for investigating this matter talks about how shocked and disappointed they are to hear about this rumpus. They wonder aloud if this indeed is the first time it’s happened. Are you kidding me? These are, after all, both law enforcement and military organizations we’re talking about here. How could anyone, in all honesty, be surprised? You would have to be either laughably naïve or pathetically dimwitted to be shocked by this (though I suppose a combo of the two would also do the trick).

So how did the Secret Service get swept along with these other gents to the local brothel? Even though details are still forthcoming, let me use my amazing powers of imagination. Ah…there it is! An image is coming into view. I see a bunch of manly men, getting drunk at a Colombian saloon, slurping up every umbrella drink known to South American bartenders, when quite suddenly – from out of the blue – they decide in unison (Go team!) to dip their corndogs in the local batter.

See? I could be the next flipping Nostradamus given my uncanny powers of clairvoyance.

Frankly, I don’t think lax security protocols and cheating really are the issues here. Sorry, folks, I know we all want to put the blame on those schlubs, but deep down it’s about America wrangling with the farcical double standard of its society. Everyone pretends that carnal activities are neatly penned up by strict adherence to moral codes, even though such codes are ephemeral in the best of times. The truth is, our real lives don’t match the sanitized ideal we profess to uphold.

Is that too fancy a way to say it? Okay, then, in simple terms: we’re a nation of hypocrites.

Let me expound upon few more truisms. Is this the first time this has happened. No! Can we enact rules to stop this from happening again? We could try. Will it happen again? My Magic 8-Ball says: Yes!

With that in mind, let’s be more grown up about all this. No matter what euphemism you use — bounce the pogo stick, do the horizontal hustle, vulcanize your whoopee post, ride the baloney pony, or park your Ferrari in the garage of love — it’s all the same.

It’s human nature. It’s been around since they invented butt-scratching, so maybe it’s time we got used to it.

Iran…Iran so far away….

According to the objective and well-meaning press, Iran is one of those countries that is hell-bent on state-sponsored terrorism, the destruction of pesky geopolitical opponents, and the eradication of American influence over the egalitarianly challenged Middle East. In other words:

The Iranians are asking for it.

And by “it,” I do mean some action deemed in military terms as unsympathetic, like a therapeutic dose of shock and awe up the old wazoo.

However, all this rhetoric got me thinking. See, I’ve often found that when finger pointing begins, it pays to look at the history leading up to the kerfuffle. Anyone with kids knows this instinctively. And though a good many of you may already be familiar with the history of American diplomatic relations with Iran, let’s take a quick hippety-hop down memory lane for those who think the Middle East is somewhere between New Jersey and North Carolina.

April 1951: Mosaddeq Elected Prime Minister of Iran – Mosaddeq was of course democratically elected by the Iranian Parliament, but why should we let something as petty as that get in our way? Mosaddeq was dubbed a Communist pig faster than a Texan can whip up an all-you-can-eat barbecue (dry rub). His intent to nationalize Iran’s oil industry might as well have been a cattle call to every CIA agent east of the Mediterranean looking for a fat bonus check. Looking back over our misguided McCarthy-istic goof-ups in this period (and, believe me, “goof-ups” is the polite way of phrasing it), I can’t imagine we could have done a better job of kick-starting a classic cold war cluster-flub.

1952: Mosaddeq Nationalization of Iran’s Oil Industry – You can almost see it coming, can’t you? Mosaddeq might as well have painted a big red target on his buttocks and pranced around singing “Do It Now” by The Clash. And one should interpret the “‘It” part of that title to mean elaborately orchestrated CIA chicanery involving generous servings of propaganda, choreographed public protests worthy of a Bollywood dance number, minor acts of terrorism, and a surprise visit by a tank regiment just to say “Howdy-do, pahdnuh!” By the way, to be fair to my fellow Americans of a bygone era, it looks like the British were more interested in saving their soon-to-be-lost oil interests than the US was. See? We’re not the only ones who consider the Middle East our private oil reserve. And in those Eisenhower-era days of anti-Communist hysteria, John Bull quickly received our benevolent cooperation. Locked and loaded!

August 1953: Iranian Government Overthrown by Rebels and CIA – Iranian rebels with just a wee bit’o help from the CIA succeeded with operation Ajax, a coup planned by CIA operative Kermit (no relation to the frog) Roosevelt. Don’t you just love these names? Various US oil companies soon found themselves – as lady luck would have it – owning a large chunk of Iranian oil production and, before you can say “politics makes strange bedfellows,” a marriage was arranged between anti-Communist warmongers and the petroleum industry. Isn’t it wonderful when love blossoms into something special?

1952 – 1975: Iran Considered a Friendly Ally of the US – Sure, there was some occasional killing of US military personnel, but in the grand scheme of things did it matter? The Shah’s US-trained SAVAK secret police kept things under control using a smorgasbord (not to be confused with a waterboard) of persuasion techniques, mostly of medieval vintage. As long as the oil flowed (think of the spice export industry on Arrakis here) and Commies were kept on the run, it was all good…right? (Sound of crickets chirping in the background.) Right?

1975: US Administration Backs Iran’s Nuclear Plans – How times have changed! It’s hard to believe that there was a time when we were practically wetting our chainmail panties out of eagerness to give Iran nuclear capabilities, but that’s exactly what happened. The primary reason to give the Iranians nukes was to free up more oil for export to the West. And you could almost smell the US oil industry protecting its home market from a new energy source. Who cared if the Middle East glowed like a plutonium-enriched jack-o’-lantern? It’s a barren desert! No spotted owls to worry about there!

November 1978 to February 1979: US Officials Begin Supporting Radical Muslims, Leading to the Shah’s Ouster – Ouch! Once again, in hindsight, it’s amazing to think we actually wanted this. But Radical Islam looked like a crafty way to destabilize Communist advances in the region. I guess this is what you get when you can’t attack a problem the good old-fashioned way, i.e., by sending in the troops. Intelligent minds actually suggested letting right-wing fundamentalist screwballs turn the whole Middle East into a pure crap-storm of diplomatic idiocy. It’s not even clear if this was planned or if we just let a Ouija board determine our foreign policy. Personally, I go with the Ouija board.

November 1979: Alliance with Khomeini’s Iranian Government Ends – A lot of euphemisms come to mind, but from a technical point of view, the expression “we screwed the pooch” seems most apropos. Quite frankly, it’s laughable that the US would have considered the Khomeini regime to be something it might conceivably have been able to control. It was like expecting an elephant to let you hold it by its schlong. President Carter’s administration became a laughingstock for Republican hawks as radical Islamic students stormed the US embassy and took hostages in a fiasco that led, shortly thereafter, to a similar Republican takeover of the White House.

I could go on and on – well, I already have – but starting at this point one could sum up American relations with Iran as the vilest, most belligerent game of tag any group of overgrown children has ever played:

  • September 1980: Start of Iran-Iraq War with support of US for BOTH sides – Tag! You’re it!
  • 1980 – 1984: Iran begins to sponsor terrorism – Tag! You’re it!
  • March 1984: US fights UN condemnation of Iraq’s use of chemical weapons – Tag!You’re it!
  • 1984: More Iran-sponsored terrorism and kidnapping to wrangle arms from the US – Tag! You’re it!
  • 1986: The Iran-Contra scandal – Tag! You’re…it?
  • 1989: US provides more support to Iraq – Tag! You’re it!
  • 1990s: Numerous acts of terrorism are linked to Iran via Hezbollah – Tag! You’re it!
  • January 2002: Bush labels Iran part of the “Axis of Evil” – Tag! You’re it!
  • December 2002: Iran constructs two nuclear facilities – Tag! You’re it!

Tag! You’re it! Tag! You’re it! Tag! You’re it! Tag! You’re it! Tag! You’re it!

Oh, sorry. Had a flashback to the first grade for a moment there. I may need a time-out for milk-and-cookies.

 It goes on and on even today. Who’s the bad guy? Who’s the good guy? Who is Taylor Swift dating…oh, never mind. You can argue until you’re blue in your burqa, but the real question may be: Is the US really innocent in all this? Now that’s a question.

Tag! You’re it!