Egypt and all that jazz

I don’t know crap about Egyptian politics. There, I said it. And I think I’m the only blogger who has any political interest out there that is going to. The rest are just faking it with bravado or ideology and hoping you won’t notice.

Until a couple days ago, most political bloggers and news show pundits probably didn’t even know where Eqypt was. They all raced to Wikipedia to look it up, then Googled the history of Egypt for some facts and timelines, cobbled together some quick opinions based on what was running on CNN at the time and posted blogs and tweets. Then, they RTed tweets and other blog posts that supported their over-reaching ideology that supported their world view of “repressed freedoms=bad” and “overthrowing dictator=good.”

They bravely cheer on the protestors from the safety of their living rooms and basement hovels through twitter and Facebook as if they were right there on the streets with the protestors, marching in defiance agains the evil oppressors of human freedoms. Yea us!

Right-wing bloggers nodded in righteous unison claiming George Bush was right the entire time about freedoms in the Middle East. They gasped in disbelief that President Obama had not yet called Mubarak demanding he resign. The left is well.. I don’t know where they stand other than to denounce human rights abuses and demand life, liberty, the pursuit of happiness and Internet. And the tech middle just wants to claim one for social media. Go Facebook! Score for Twitter!

And nobody in the United States knows anything about the Muslim Brotherhood, just like nobody really knew anything about al Qaeda after 9/11. But we were all experts!

While I admittedly don’t know anything about Egyptian politics, I do know with 97.65% certainty that 94.3% of all bloggers and pundits who have an opinion on Egypt don’t know what they are talking about. They are simply taking some “facts” and mashing them into their world view and spitting it out on the other end.

Can we all just butt out of this unless we know what we are talking about? Or do I need to remind you about the last time we butted into the business of a sovereign country uninvited without understanding the ethnic and religious makeup of the country? (That would be Iraq for those of you who have already forgotten.)


The history of war and the United States; something to ponder on


I am reading American Lion, Andrew Jackson in the White House by John Meacham (Disclosure: I am NOT getting any referral fees.) and it got me thinking about the United States and its appetite for war. Like Andrew Jackson, we appear to be quick-tempered, prone to quick, decisive action but our appetite for long wars is not deep.

A quick search on Wikipedia shows the length of major wars for the United States: (the math is rounded on years, but if you really want to, you can calculate the months. And if I left out your favorite war, do your own research.*)

The American Revolutionary War started in 1775 and ended in 1781 (or 1783 with the Treaty of Paris) Time spent fighting: 5 years

The Spanish-American War started and ended in 1898. Time spent fighting: 5 months

World War I started for the US in 1917 and ended in 1918. Time spent fighting: 1.5 years

World War II started in 1941 and ended in 1945. Time spent fighting: 4 years

Korean War (Conflict) started for the US in 1950 and ended in a cease-fire in 1953; 3 years.

The Vietnam War had US combat troops sent starting in 1965 and ceasing direct fighting in 1973, with a total pull-out in 1975. Time spent fighting: 10 years

The Gulf War lasted a total of 100 hours after the ground fighting began.

The Iraq and Afghanistan Wars are now approaching nine years with no end in sight.

For someone with a knowledge of history of the United States, impatience with a long war fits right into our culture. For Americans who only watch CNN for their news, the current wars must seem interminable. At any rate, we seemed to have put blinders on and now are dealing with the long wars by putting our fingers in our ears, all the while screaming “la-la-la-la-la-la” at the top of our lungs.

Just something to think about while you are cracking a history book.

*Yes, I am aware of the irony of leaving out the War of 1812, Battle of New Orleans for which Jackson inherited his nick name “Old Hickory.” But, I am rather miffed at Lego for pulling down the really cool video with Johnny Horton’s song from YouTube. But, see it here. While you can.)

Good politics, good timing, bad ethics

I don’t believe in conspiracy theory, but I do believe in well-timed political maneuvering. The pull-out agreement that Rice and Zebari announced on Friday smacks of this kind of political positioning, devoid of any ethical or moral responsibility to the country, troops, citizens and self. The timing of the announcement a few days before the DNC in Denver takes the wind out of the Obama sails, deflating any opportunity that could be made for ending the war in Iraq and bringing the troops home soon.

One could make the argument that these things take time to negotiate, that the Iraqis are ready to stand on their own without the United States, that the Iraqi government has developed and the timing of the announcement was merely coincidental. One would not want to assert that the President of the United States is playing political games with the lives of the armed forces, their families and the citizens of another sovereign nation.

But, the attitudes of the administration, the timing of the events that are about to unfold in the coming months with the election and the earnestness Mr. Bush has with establishing a legacy tends to belie the honesty and coincidental nature of the event.

Some would say that 2011 is just no do-able, it is too soon and the task too complicated. But, for those who attempt to make an argument that Mr. Bush and Mr. McCain wish to stay in Iraq for the “next 100 years,” they will now be pooh-poohed as alarmists, making a case for a war that has now effectively ended.

The political skill is admirable. The ethics are reprehensible.

NEWS RELEASE: Rufus volunteers to be the first puppy reporting from Iraq


Gerard McLean

Rufus volunteers to be the first puppy reporting from Iraq

ENGLEWOOD, Oh. – In a brave move today, Rufus announced his intention to be the first puppy dog reporting from Iraq. Inspired by a call from Tribune Publishing owner Sam Zell, who said in a video posted on YouTube, “..hopefully our revenues are so significant that we [Tribune newspapers] can do (stories) on puppies in Iraq.”

Rufus, 8, the author of the popular blog wants to be that puppy dog reporter in Iraq for Sam Zell.

“Puppies DO matter,” barked Rufus emphatically at a recent press conference. “Even if you oppose the war in Iraq, you can still support puppy dogs in Iraq.”

The traditional journalism community immediately dismissed Rufus’s intention of visiting Iraq as silly, citing that stories of puppy dogs in Iraq were not newsworthy. Most Americans disagree.

“We’ve had enough gloom and doom reporting with the war and I think it is about time that we had an upbeat puppy dog story,” said Gerard McLean, Rufus’ handler and blog editor. “Dogs are very observant, have sharper hearing and sense of smell than most journalists and rarely miss signs of danger,” adds McLean.

“Puppies in Iraq are long overdue to bring in a sense of balance and perspective.”

Rufus is apolitical and sees a visit to Iraq as an opportunity to remind Americans and his friends elsewhere in the world, that there are things more valuable in this world than politics, the economy, war and terrorism. A good scratch on the ear, a brisk walk on a Sunday morning and an unabashed sniff of a neighbor’s buttocks are all things that dogs – and humans – can rally around.

“Our world may be changing rapidly,” barks Rufus, “But the loyalty and friendship of a dog is everlasting. That is something that is newsworthy.”

Rufus intends to publish the quest to Iraq daily on his blog, and on The video of Sam Zell, which sparked this quest, is also posted on Rufus’s blog.

Anna Nichole Smith Confusion

I am confused. Is ANS a national hero? Has she solved world peace or bombed a sovereign nation? Has she cured cancer? What has this woman done except posed in Playboy, married a billionaire, made a reality show on E! and flashed everyone in Australia? Given the INCREDIBLE amount of coverage on ALL the networks, broadcast, cable and Internet, you would think that we have just lost one of the best and the brightest our society has to offer.

How are we supposed to now mark her death? Do we lower the flag to half-staff? What if we just attached a large bra to a flagpole and lowered that to half-staff?

You humans are really a funny species. Thousands die in Darfur every month. The same with Iraq. Thousands of Americans die each year from the effects of poverty in the richest county in the world and what do you use your public trust of the media for? A debate over a bubble-headed, bleach-blonde, artificially-enhanced, silicon-injected piece of eye candy. Wow. So glad I’m a dog and TV is just plain boring to me.

Gotta take a nap so that I am ready for my afternoon walk now.

The media is all wrong… again

Once again, the media has gotten it all wrong. I’m going to step out and say that America didn’t vote “the other guy” because they were unhappy about the war in Iraq.

Oh, now don’t get your underwear in a bunch. They are unhappy about the war in Iraq, but that is not why they voted the way they did and why the Democrats are now in control of the House and Senate.

We voted DEMOCRAT because we understand the consequences of the imbalance of power when all three branches are dominated by one party. We voted to have checks and balances restored. The Iraq war, Patriot Act, wiretapping without warrants, run-away spending, etc, etc, are all SYMPTOMS of a single party in power without the checks and balances in place.

Just like we did to the Democratic Congress/White House in 1994, we did with the Republican Congress/White House in 2006. The lesson is no greater than that. Regardless of how stupid you think the American electorate is, elected officials, never forget that we ultimately understand that this government is made up of three branches, all of equal power, all sworn to uphold the principles of check and balances.

America is not a kingdom; it is a republic. That much the common folk know.

Political Thoughts on Walks

Some things going through my head on recent walks:
Supreme Court Nominee: I think the message your party is sending you, Mr. Bush, is take the job seriously. We know you are busy with lots of things like the Iraq War, Katrina, Wilma… but this is an appointment for life. Learn a bit from Covey; this is more important than it is urgent. Spend the time doing it right.

Libby Indictment: Ok, CNN, Fox and all other news people. Get smart about this. EVERYONE outside the Beltway should care about this case because it is about abuse of power to silence dissent. Anyone who has voiced an unpopular opinion at a city council meeting and then finds “code violation” letters suddenly being sent to their home; anyone who has been on the wrong side of eminent domain; anyone who finds themselves being tax audited shortly after pissing off a government official.. (yes, news people, this all happens in real life, outside the Beltway). Get it right; this is not about the application of a narrowly-defined law regarding the CIA, blah, blah, blah.. It is no smaller than protecting free speech in America without fear of reprisal. Really.

Oil Companies Gouging: Oooh boy… We are a Market Economy. Nobody was helping the oil companies in the 80s-90s when there was massive mergers, consolidations and bankruptcies… Now that the market has turned, and the oil companies have the advantage, there are howls of gouging. (Ok, maybe a little gouging) but nobody forced you to buy an SUV you can’t afford… I know you have to fill it up to go to work because you are one paycheck away from poverty every week, but… oh, wait… maybe it is a lesson to live within your means…. but I could be wrong….