Tuesday, April 27, 2004

Darwin Works: You're not going to believe this one... According to Ireland On-line and Scotsman.com, two Palestinian robbers tried to steal the bomb off a suicide bomber, what Charles of LGF calls a splodeydope. Only splodeydopes don't have anything on these guys. Natually...

A Hamas suicide bomber blew up two armed Palestinians who tried to rob him at gun point in the Gaza Strip. Hamas claimed the “stickup men” worked for Israeli intelligence, while Palestinian security forces said the two were ordinary thieves. Rather than give up his explosives, the bomber detonated them, killing himself and the two robbers near the border fence between Gaza and Israel...

And these guys think they can run a state...

Denial Watch: Steven Spielberg has announced that he intends to direct a feature about the Munich Olympic Massacre of 1972. According to al-Reuters:

Spielberg plans to start production in June and is eyeing actor Ben Kingsley for a role in the upcoming drama, which will chronicle the Summer Games marred by the kidnapping and slaying of Israeli athletes by Palestinian militants, a DreamWorks studio spokeswoman said Wednesday.

In all, 11 Israelis lost their lives in the bloody 1972 tragedy, including nine hostages killed in a botched rescue attempt at a military air base outside Munich, all while Olympics officials carried on with the competition. Five of the gunmen and a German policeman also died. Three of the militants were captured alive.

The specter of the massacre 32 years ago has haunted authorities in Greece preparing security for the upcoming Summer Olympics in Athens amid heightened concerns of potential attacks by extremists linked to the al Qaeda terror network...

Notice that the al-Reuters jerk calls those who kill Jews militants and those who may kill others in Greece part of a terror network? And that it doesn't actually say who killed them? It's just during a "botched rescue attempt."

It's not an accident that they did it this way. Here's how al-BBC ran the same story:

Director Steven Spielberg is to make a film about the kidnap and murder of 11 Israeli athletes at the 1972 Olympics. Spielberg is looking to cast actor Sir Ben Kingsley in the drama, which will begin filming in June, a spokeswoman at his Dreamworks studio said. The Israelis died after being taken hostage by Palestinian activists at the 1972 summer games in Munich

Notice how the Palestinians were activists, and that the Israelis simply died. Maybe at the hands of the Martians? Like the Reuters jerk, the BBC mamzer couldn't actually say that Palestinian terrorists killed them. Against the rules.

This is a real problem for me, as a terrorism survivor. Teorrorists are terrorists. There's also another issue: The terrorists said that they belonged to a "group" called "Black September," but there never was an organization of that name. It was a front for Fatah, and was directly controled by the Prince of Evil himself, Yasser Arafat.

Previous films on the subject, including the recent Oscar winning documentary "One Day in September," avoid this issue. ("Gasp! You can't blame Arafat! Think of the peace process!")

Will Spielberg do the same? I hope not, but my guess is that he will.

Wednesday, April 21, 2004

Ghoul Watch: Here is the late Dr. Abdel Aziz Rantisi rambling about the Jooooos, in English, to an Australian Islamist site (via Damien Penny and others):

Q: "How do you interpret the cowardly assassination attempt on your life, and the assassination policies of the Israelis in general, whose latest victim was Al-Qawasimy commander in Hebron?"
A: "Firstly, this is the custom of the Jews, for they are the killers of prophets, and the killers of the preachers who enjoin justice. Their criminal nature will never change. ...The Jews have designs and ambitions in Palestine and in surrounding countries, and they utilize terrorism to materialize their plans and accomplish their holy prophecies."

("So much for that "people of the book" crap, eh, Rantisi?" -- Damien says)

"As for us in Hamas, our charter states Palestine is a Muslim land that falls under the category of Waqf in Islamic Law. Hence no leader, group, people or any generation is permitted to surrender a single hand-span of it to a non-Muslim. This is why we do not recognise the sovereignty of Jews on a hand-span of our country. We have stated clearly the ‘Road Map’ is a conspiracy against the Palestinian cause and the Palestinian existence."

Q: "How can the Intifada survive in light of the truce with the occupying enemy, especially considering the known Zionist cunning and deception for this nation since the time of our Prophet Muhammad (saw)?"
A: "Certainly the Intifada is continuing and shall not stop. Truce may actually be a cause for stirring up the Intifada not weakening it. The Zionists have nothing to offer to our Palestinian people, and time will prove this Inshaallah. As for the truce, it is our opinion that truce is an exceptional, temporary case, and its main aim is to maintain the choice of resistance."

In other words, no peace, ever. Find the rest at "The Call to Islam," which claims to be Australia's leading Islamic site.
Fiend Watch: Unsatisfied with putting nails laced with rat poison in their bombs, the Palestinians are now using AIDS tainted blood, or at least trying to. According to the following, in the New York Post and elsewhere:

Israeli security foiled a plan by Palestinian terrorists to detonate an AIDS bomb - a powerful explosive charge contaminated with HIV-tainted blood, authorities said yesterday. The diabolical plot during Passover - thwarted by the arrest of at least two suspects - was one of 10 terrorist attacks stopped during the holiday, which ended yesterday, officials of the Shin Bet secret service said.

They said members of the Palestinian Tanzim terrorist outfit planned to obtain the tainted blood from Palestinian hospitals and add it to the explosive belt of a homicide bomber who was to attack in an Israeli city. But the cell members were arrested before the plotters got as far as obtaining the blood and the plan collapsed. Israeli medics have long feared the use of an "AIDS bomb" and routinely wear gloves when handling victims of terrorist attacks.

The Arabs see no limits, they can justify anything. Perhaps the problem is that, for the purposes of this war, neither Arabs nor Israelis are considered human. Unlike a human, an Arab is not responsible for his actions. And killing an Israeli is not murder.

Just a thought.

Monday, April 19, 2004

Your slip is showing Dept. The following is a real headline in a real Asian financial site: Misys gives Pecker head job. Misys is Rudi Pecker's employer, not his wife, but neither of them will ever live this down!

Sunday, April 18, 2004

Whistleblower Watch: It's not easy coming forward. Sometimes you get interviewed on 60 Minutes. Usually you get fired and your life is ruined. I know, I was a big time whistleblower myself. I even had to leave the city I lived in. So I was a bit disturbed by the following report that the U.S. Special Counsel, the office that specializes in protecting whistleblowers has an official gag order policy in place, meaning that it doesn't like its own whistleblowers:

The U.S. Special Counsel, the principal protector of federal civil service rights, has sent what appears to be an illegal gag order to his own staff, according to a letter of protest filed today by three national whistleblower watchdog groups.

Scott Bloch, recently appointed by the Bush Administration to serve a five-year term as the U.S. Special Counsel, began his tenure by suspending agency policies protecting federal employees from discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation. Last week, in an embarrassing rebuke, the White House announced a reversal of Bloch’s self-imposed suspension.

These are policies that REALLY encourage people to come forward...
Palestinian Red Paste Watch: Of all the peoples in the history of the world, none have been more in love with war than the Arabs, and for the last thousand years, none have been so relentlessly bad at it. And so the killing goes on, they never advance a single inch against the Israelis, and they never, ever, learn why. Cragg Hines of the Houston Chronicle offers the following observation about the Palestinian national habit: They never miss an opportunity to miss an opportuinity:

As Abba Eban once observed, Palestinians never miss an opportunity to miss an opportunity. And yet again, Palestinians have been presented an opportunity that their leaders seem determined to let pass them by.

An Israeli prime minister is unilaterally withdrawing from the Gaza Strip. A U.S. president has reaffirmed his commitment to a Palestinian state.

The initial Palestinian response has been the usual fulminations. The most obvious reason is that Palestinian leaders do not handle reality very well. What part about best current opportunity don't Palestinian leaders understand?

President Bush's statement of two regional realities — the existence of sizable Jewish settlements in the West Bank and the inadvisability of allowing Palestinians to settle in Israel — are points that tacitly have been acknowledged to varying degrees by previous U.S. administrations, but to no great effect within the splintered Palestinian hierarchy of aging leaders and raging terrorists. That there is little that the Palestinians can do to change these realities is one reason that various peace processes and negotiations and road maps have not gotten very far — or at least not to final agreement and implementation...

What's so hard to understand? Israel is there, it's going to stay there, and as long as you blow up restaurants, you're going to live in filth. Hines concludes with the following quote from an Islamic Jihad dork on PBS's Frontline:

"We will have no cease-fire, and we will not put our gun aside until the liberation of Palestine, with its capital Al-Quds Ash-Shareef, holy Jerusalem. This is our legitimate right. Palestine from the river to the sea, that is our legitimate right in this homeland."

"From the river to the sea." With that kind of sentiment, no wonder Arafat and friends so reliably miss so many opportunities.


Gas Tax: Best Way to Stick It to the Saudis Nobody likes to pay taxes. I don't, I'm a working writer and taxing anything hurts like hell. But there's a war going on, and we have to pay for it. The best way I know is by taxing the stuff the enemy produces, so maybe people won't use so much of it.

And that stuff, as all of you know, is petromium, oil, black gold, Texas tea. We suck it up like addicts needing a fix, and we like it as cheap as possible so we can waste even more of it in bigger and heavier imitation armored personnel carriers we think we need.

Andrew Sullivan has this to say in this week's Time:

Gas prices are too low. There. I said it. Even when they peak this summer, as most analysts predict, they will be too low. And they're too low in large part because gas is woefully undertaxed in this countrya state of affairs that is bad for the economy, bad for drivers and bad for our foreign policy. In fact, one of the simplest and best things any Administration could do right now would be to add a buck per gallon to the federal gas tax, which is currently just 18.4¢. Now that I have alienated almost every reader of this column, allow me to defend myself.

The worst knock against a gas tax is that it is, well, a tax. Who likes that? But with soaring deficits and a war to pay for, taxes are not an option — they're a necessity. The only relevant question is, Which taxes? The case for a gas tax is a straightforward one. Gas prices are strikingly lower in America than anywhere else in the world; such taxes are relatively easy to collect; since an overwhelming majority of Americans drive, few avoid the tax; and by adding a cost to the wanton consumption of gasoline, you actually encourage conservation, accelerate fuel efficiency, reduce pollution, cut traffic and help wean Americans off the oil that requires the U.S. to be so intimately involved in that wonderful cesspool of rival hatreds, the Middle East. So what's not to like?

The idea is so obviously a good one that in their recent absurd bickering over who is responsible for higher gas prices, neither George W. Bush nor John Kerry has gone near it...
(Find the link to his blog at the right.)

Our fellow Middle of the Road Extremist, Damien Penny also chimes in:

I've been a subscriber to Car and Driver since 1987, when I was still four years away from getting my licence. I watch American Muscle Car on the Speed Channel every week. I even mused about wanting one of these Hemi Dodge Ram pickups on this blog a few months ago. But I still think Sullivan has a point.

Sullivan makes some outstanding points about why a gas tax is, in many ways, more fair than the income taxes we're already forced to pay. Certainly, I'd be willing to pay more for gas in exchange for being allowed to keep more of my paycheque. Why should people who don't drive at all effectively subsidize the rest of us?

And, really, I don't think there's any contradiction in being a car enthusiast and supporting this proposal. I just got back from Great Britain, where gasoline is more than twice as expensive than it is here in Canada (where gas is already more expensive than in the States, though not by the margin it used to be). It certainly doesn't seem to have dimmed their enthusiasm for the automobile. In fact, the British market is saturated with tremendously entertaining little sports cars, roadsters and hatchbacks considered "too small" for the North American market...

He finished with this: "And yes, I am prepared for some absolutely vicious criticism in the comments section. Fire away." They did!

Monday, April 12, 2004

Busy, Busy, Busy: Gentle readers, this blog may be read by only you and God above, but I really am a professional writer. This means that I actually write for a living, mainly articles in magazines, but some fiction as well.

For those of you unfamiliar with the art and craft of writing, it is damned time consuming. It eats you alive. You sit at the screen and stare, and stare, and stare. Finally the words burst forth, and precisely at that moment, the wife and kid need you for something that has to be done RIGHT NOW. Which means that the turn of phrase for which you have been searching all morning has disappeared into smoke.

We have two assignments pending. Not difficult ones, just work. Which is why, Gentle Readers, we are not blogging as much as we should like.

Mad Mullah Watch: It now appears that Iran is controlling events among the Shiah of Iraq. The funding and leadership of Muqtada Al-Sadr's "Mehdi Army" comes directly from the Islamic Republic of Iran. Wretchard of the Belmont Club blog has been following this horror better than anyone else. Debka's reportage is particularly depressing, while Michael Ledeen of National Review wins the "I told You So" award for 2004.

Saturday, April 10, 2004

Iraq Disaster Watch: There is no point to occupying Iraq anymore. That doesn't mean I don't believe in destroying enemy regimes, it's just that the Bush Administration really understand the two overarching principles of Arab thought: 1. Everyone is my enemy. 2. Those with whom i have a blood or national relationship are my allies against those with whom I don't.

In other words, the moment the Sunni Baathists of Falluja were able to unite with the Shia Theocrats of Sadr City, all was lost. We may never be able to control the situation again. Certainly, there will be no democratic Iraqi government to receive the keys of sovereignty in June. The Washington Times.

That doesn't mean that we should pull out right now. First, we have to capture the Mad Mullah Muqtada al-Sadr. After that -- and this will upset my Turkish friends -- we will have to detach Kurdistan, with both Mosul and Kirkuk -- and set it free. The Kurds can take care of themselves, and their oil may pacify the Turks. Whatever the case, they've had enough of central rule from Baghdad. Third, if this war is proven to be an Iranian setup -- as it appears to be -- we give the Mullah regime some payback, shock and awe. Humiliate the mullahs, their army, and their Republican guards. And blow up their nuclear sites.

Sorry about the rant. Doesn't sound very moderate of me, but this is war, a war the Bush Administration started. If our army had three more divisions, I would say "stay the course" in Iraq, but it doesn't, so I can't. The Iraqis are going to get angrier, and angrier whatever we do, and they won't care about the consequences until it's too late.

Wednesday, April 07, 2004

Iraq Watch: Gentle readers, If there was ever a nation that deserved the limbo of the deep blue sea, it is Iraq, that misbegotten child of Imperial map pencils. Consisting mainly of three Ottoman "Vilayets" or provinces, plus a western "ear" reaching to Jordan, Iraq is an ethnic nightmare, a recipe for either tyranny or anarchy.

When the war first loomed, I screamed to all that would hear -- "Conquer the place and restore the only government the Iraqis will tolerate, the Hashemite monarchy, which to them represents their golden age, before the Nasserite and Baathist revolutions. All that would have been required was a division of ruthless Jordanian troops, their former Crown Prince Hassan , a highly respected man, and 200K Iraqi prisoners of war, who would have been given a rest, new cap badges, and the job of rooting out Baath remnants and Shiah fanatics.''

Free of American scruples, and with loads of experience dealing with fellow Arabs, the Hashemites would have made quick work of the devils that now plague us, but no... it made too much sense. Americans are not trained to understand Arab ways of thinking. They are a tribal culture, Monarchy is the only form of government they understand, whether it is called monarchy or hereditary republic.

We should have then ruined Baby Assad, thus ending the Middle East wars once and for all. And we wouldn't have needed a UN resolution -- the Beirut bombing that killed 300 Marines was all the declaration of war we would have needed.

Instead we are definitely in a real quagmire, with no end in sight, and no way to leave. Unless we want to carve that stupid country up into bite size ethnic pieces, and walk away.

Letter from America: In all the recent excitement, I forgot to notice the passing of a legend, perhaps the last of the great masters of the essay, the gentle giant of broadcasting, Allstair Cooke. His weekly "Letter from America" was the longest running program in history, lasting over 55 years until just this winter. For those who don't know him, go to your local library and rent the video of his television history of the United States, called, simply, "America."

It is trite to say that he will never be replaced, no individual can ever truly be "replaced," but given the intellectual climate at BBC, it is doubtful that a young Alistair Cooke, should he magically appear on earth, would ever be given work.

Tuesday, April 06, 2004

While the Palestinians Moan and Complain: According to the Jerusalem Post, the Israelis are beating the US to high-speed rail:

The Transportation Ministry on Sunday published the first tender for construction of the Tel Aviv-Jerusalem high-speed railroad project. By 2008, it is expected to shuttle commuters and travelers between the nation's two largest cities in 28 minutes.

Perhaps the Arabs are doing something wrong? Like throughing dust on their heads and complaining that they're dusty?

Bill-ionaire Watch: Poverty is Good for You, announced our great benefactors, the gentlemen who have been exporting our jobs. They have released a "study" from a group they control that "proves" that outsourcing, unemployment and low wage jobs are really good for you. And the idiot, sorry, Associated Press is eating it up:

Outsourcing white-collar jobs to low-wage countries such as India and China has thrown some Americans out of work, but a new report predicts that the trend will ultimately lower inflation, create jobs and boost productivity in the United States. The Information Technology Association of America, in a survey set for release Tuesday, acknowledges that the migration of tech jobs to low-paid foreigners has eliminated 104,000 American jobs so far, nearly 3 percent of the positions in the U.S. tech industry...
A more sober view comes from Computerworld's Patrick Thibodeau, who wrote:

But the report's conclusion in support of offshore outsourcing drew much skepticism. Richard Ellis, the principal researcher on an IT workforce report completed for the Commission on Professionals in Science and Technology last fall, said the Arlington, Va.-based ITAA "has been a consistent mouthpiece for the industry" and its studies "have a consistent tendency to reach predictable conclusions."

If you believe that the spending power of the American Middle Class doesn't drive the economy, then outsourcing is just a trifle, the complete ruin of three percent of IT families. If you do, then you understand that economies seek equilibrium, and that it won't stop until the standard of living of the average American worker equals that of the average Indian or Chinese, doing the same job.

Enjoy the future, gentle readers, rent Blade Runner, and don't have children.

Sunday, April 04, 2004

Iraqi Demon Watch: In an article in the Wall Street Journal, former leftist Christopher Hitchens writes on the Fallujah massacre in an article called "What's at Stake -- Fallujah: A reminder of what the future might look like if we fail." In it, Chris (I met him once, we went for a walkabout at UCLA) describes the horror in Mephistophelean terms:

There must be a temptation, when confronted with the Dantesque scenes from Fallujah, to surrender to something like existential despair. The mob could have cooked and eaten its victims without making things very much worse. One especially appreciated the detail of the heroes who menaced the nurses, when they came to try and remove the charred trophies.

But this "Heart of Darkness" element is part of the case for regime-change to begin with. A few more years of Saddam Hussein, or perhaps the succession of his charming sons Uday and Qusay, and whole swathes of Iraq would have looked like Fallujah. The Baathists, by playing off tribe against tribe, Arab against Kurd and Sunni against Shiite, were preparing the conditions for a Hobbesian state of affairs. Their looting and beggaring of the state and the society--something about which we now possess even more painfully exact information--was having the same effect. A broken and maimed and traumatized Iraq was in our future no matter what.

Are Iraqis inherently evil? No. Certainly my college friend from Baghdad wasn't. But we can't live by exceptions. Iraqis are Arabs, indoctrinated from youth to hate everyone in concentric circles of ever increasing hostility. Family, then clan, then tribe, then nation, then everyone else -- "my brother and I against my cousin, my cousin and I against the world."

What do we do? They aren't worth ruling, and frankly, they aren't capable of ruling themselves. They hate each other as much as they hate us. AQllow me to float a balloon: Let's divide the place into five or six different ethnic states, make a formal alliance with our friends the Kurds, and perhaps the Assyrians and the Chaldeans, and let the rest stew in their own demonic hatreds.

Comments Not Getting Through: Marc emailed us to complain that Holoscan isn't recording his comments. Actually, that's a relief. I thought this blog was under lock and key! I'll have others try. In the mean time, please email me with your comments. The addy is over at the right, just insert the ampersand in the right place, and remove the spaces.

Saturday, April 03, 2004

Kofi Beaned: The UN's defunct Iraqi "Oil-for-Food" program keeps getting curiouser and curiouser. It seems that a vast network of bribes paid to government officials in France, Russia -- and the UN --allowed Saddam Hussein to divert more than $10 billion from to his own pocket. There is speculation that Secretary General Kofi Annon won't survive the inquest. According to the NY Post:

Is the clock ticking on Secretary General Kofi Annan's merry pranks at the United Nations? Could be. The rank corruption of the body's Iraqi Oil-for-Food program is bubbling slowly to the surface - promising to ensnare scores of European politicians and businessmen, as well as a gaggle of Annan's Turtle Bay colleagues. An upcoming audit being prepared by a firm that successfully traced stolen Holocaust-era assets is expected to confirm the names of some 200 people and companies around the world who allegedly were bribed by Saddam's regime. The list, found in Iraq's Oil Ministry, was first cited by an Iraqi newspaper, al Mada, at the end of January. Meanwhile, the General Accounting Office estimates that Saddam Hussein skimmed as much as $10.1 billion from the $47 billion program - originally established in 1996 to buy humanitarian supplies for ordinary Iraqis.

And according to the Associated Press, Annon promised that the investigation will have access to all documents:

... The panel -- whose members will be named later-- is directed to comb through any United Nations documents and records it wants, and interview whatever U.N. officials it believes necessary. The details of the investigation were contained in a letter Annan wrote to the Security Council president, French Ambassador Jean-Marc de la Sabliere. (The French were major recipients of Saddam's largesse -- ed.) Annan's letter says the panel will investigate companies that contracted with the United Nations in the oil-for-food program, but its authority with them will be far less. The allegations of corruption first surfaced last January in the Iraqi newspaper Al-Mada. The newspaper had a list of about 270 former government officials, activists and journalists from more than 46 countries suspected of profiting from Iraqi oil sales. Among the names on the list is Benon Sevan, the U.N. official who was executive director of the program. He has denied wrongdoing. The claims have been a major embarrassment for the United Nations, and Annan wants to take swift action and clear the world body of blame.

But who will arrest Annon if he's found to have been involved? And will he be charged with the murder of all this gizillions of children that the pro-Saddam forces claim to have died because of the UN's worthless sanctions?

Young Hottie Watch: Unemployment rate among hot young women holding at zero percent! Just what is their secret?? The rest of us want to know! (Via Andrew Sullivan.)

Friday, April 02, 2004

Brown Noser Watch: This is sweet. Yasser Arafat gave the "foreign minister" of the extremist Neturei Karta sect of Jerusalem $55,000 two months before operation Defensive shield. According to Amir Rappaport of Maariv:

Arafat transferred funds to Neturei Karta Captured PA documents reveal that $55,000 given to leader of the anti-Zionist sect. Rabbi Moshe Hirsch, known as the “Foreign Minister” of Neturei Karta, has never hidden the fact that he prefers a Palestinian state in place of Israel - the Neturei Karta sect refuses to recognize the state of Israel until the coming of the Messiah. However, now it appears, from documents disclosed by the defense establishment, that Rabbi Hirsch has also been in the pay of PA Chairman Arafat himself.

The incriminating documents were captured in the Mukata, Arafat's headquarters, two years ago during Operation Defensive Shield. While looking for PA efforts to fund terror organizations, security officials discovered that large amounts of money had been transferred to the Neturei Karta sect in Jerusalem.

And who says that they are just a harmless bunch of pietists? The article also states that captured ducuments:

... include letters written in English by Hirsch to Arafat. The letters are addressed as to an eminent rabbi: “Dear Abu Amar (Arafat’s Arabic name), may you live a long and happy life."

Amen. (choke, cough, spit) It is interesting to note that the article contains an ad from "Operation Enguring Traditions," an Orthodox organization that supports American Jewish servicemen and women throughout the globe. Their illustration is shows stars and stripes flying proudly in a storm, guarded by of a Chabad rabbi in military uniform -- apparently the one who serves as chief chaplain of New York's national guard. God bless 'em. It's not how long your beard is, it's what you do with it.

We love this one: From Ha'aretz, we learn about 12 suspects caught in Bethlehem hospital. Actually, the Fatah men hid out in a looney bin. Interesting. Fascinating. Enlightening: Psychiatrists define insanity as an inability to see reality. Fatah is an organization that still thinks that it can drive Israelis into the sea. Ergo, they were in the right place. As Charles would say, "Bwa-ha-ha-ha!"

Medical Watch: Gentle readers, the following is a personal rant.

Notice the creedos over to the right? There is nothing that annoys the Ultra Moderate than those who think that things don't need fixing. And we are most sincerely annoyed. I just spend an entire day trying to get a potentially life threatening medical condition treated, but after 20 months, my health insurance has been unable to provide a competent specialist. I won't even bother trying to explain the details, but it appears that they want me to have an obsolete -- and violently destructive -- procedure without the slightest medical reason. On top of everything, this bloody thing costs many times more than the new FDA approved procedures that do not even require a hospital stay. That's right -- my insurance company wants to spend extra to perform a procedure that only a doctor too old to learn anything new would want to do. The reason? They have only three specialists signed on to their plan, all of them apparently over 60 years old. If I were a woman, however, they would give me a choice of 30 specialists. "But that's different!"

In no other country in the world, would a person face a choice of this kind -- pain and potential death, or needless mutilation. The reason is that only America maintains a baldly stupid private medical system. Yes, I know that Canada's system, entirely nationalized, also has serious problems, including delays in treatment. But Australia's mixed system does not, and it costs about one third less than ours. Australians laugh at us.

In America, there are a number of things that are really most sincerely broken -- the budget, immigration, outsourcing, ballooning demand for foreign oil, etc., etc. -- all of which could be fixed by legislation. I know this because other countries have fixed them. But our political system has become so hopelessly polarized that nothing is done. Repub and Dem leaders are both so far off the center that they can't even agree on the agenda, much less a solution.

So we lurch on, year after year, losing our edge to those who know how to get things done. And a gang of creeps wants me to endure a procedure they cringe at when I describe its gory details because they won't sign on another doctor. Now that I've put a human face on the medical mess, my own, next time the issue isn't war and peace -- don't vote Republican.

End of rant.