Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Miracle on the Hudson

They are calling it "The Miracle on the Hudson." It happened when a plane carrying 155 passengers suffered a midair collision, forcing it down into the river. All aboard survived.

The pilot has since been proclaimed "a hero." To preserve his "hero" status, they are blaming the birds. That's right; the birds did it.

The pilot's story - which is the story - is that a flock of birds flew into the plane's engines, taking both engines out. If the birds could talk, they would tell you the pilot flew into them causing massive casualties.

Hey, the birds have air traffic control, too. (Have you ever seen two flocks of birds fly into each other?) They've been using these same air lanes for a million years. Then, along we come in the last hundred years, or so, and call them "culprits" for getting in our way.

Yes, Brian Williams of NBC News, called the birds "suspected culprits." That is what we need, you know - culprits. Culprits produce victims. There can be no heroes without potential victims. And that is what we need most of all - heroes.

Ask BBC news correspondent, Matthew Price. While covering this story, he described America as "...a country that so loves a hero." (Is that how the world sees us? Has Price been listening to the birds?). And if that is what we are, does it not suggest - from a foreigner's perspective - that we might twist a story or two to achieve that noble objective?

Back to the birds: Do you think they have heroes too? A couple of eight-pound birds taking out a ten-ton plane must be like a foot soldier stopping a tank. "Miracle on the Hudson"? Perhaps the birds are calling it the same thing.

Friday, January 23, 2009

Israeli Good, Palestinian Bad

The vaunted Israeli army has its quarry cornered on all sides. It is like shooting fish in a barrel.

At last count, over 900 Gazans were dead. If Iran were killing people on such a scale, America would dispatch an armada. But, alas, the dead, after all, are Palestinians, and these - our friends who are delivering the blows - are Israelis. Israelis good, Palestinians bad. That is the message we send; that is the paradigm wherein the U.S. formulates its Middle East policy. Business as usual? I'm afraid so.

Is it any wonder America's leaders across the board condone Israel's actions? They provide a mirror image of our own brutal treatment of Native Americans - taking their lands, restricting them to reservations, dictating what they could and could not have, and slaughtering them when they fought back.

We treated South Africa's apartheid regime with a similar favor. In fact, official U.S. policy was to not criticize the apartheid regime, but to applaud its stability. America did, however, criticize Nelson Mandela for inviting Mohammar Qaddafi to South Africa once Mandela became president of that country. Mandela responded that Qaddafi had stood shoulder to shoulder with blacks under apartheid when America was looking the other way. Today, 14 or 15 U.N. members have voted to end the killing in Gaza. Only America abstained, which, in effect, was a vote to continue the slaughter. Business as usual.

On his most recent visit to Israel, then-Senator Barack Obama said this of Hamas rocket-fire into Israel: "If someone were lobbing missiles into the home where my daughters slept, I would do all in my power to stop them." Ehud Barack, Israel's defense minister, stood directly behind Obama as he uttered those words. Later, he would quote Obama as Israeli shells rained down on Palestinian homes in Gaza.

Barack Obama says he want to change the way business is done in Washington. He is yet to make this statement: "If my daughters were forced to live in a concentration camp and denied medical care, food, and the basic freedoms to which all humans are entitled, then I would do all in my power to end that degradation at once." Until Barack Obama can make that statement as well, he can not be an honest broker in the Middle East. And the slaughter of innocents will continue.

Business as usual.

Sunday, January 18, 2009

What's Up Doc?

(a better late than never post)
Rush Limbaugh said of John McCain's antics at the recent Tennessee debate: He looked like Yosemite Sam after the dynamite failed to go off." Let's take that observation a step further: If McCain is Yosemite Sam - and the shoe fits - then Barack Obama must be Bugs Bunny. For who, of all cartoon characters, is cooler than Bugs. (And who, of all the presidential candidates has been as cool as Barack?)

In the simplest terms, this analogy captures the soul of these two campaigns - one man, desperate and cantankerous, and willing to try anything to win; the other uncannily self-assured, and in that way, reasurring, even in a time of financial crisis. Even so, the wiry Obama, just the other day, sent out this stern warning to McCain, and to the others, lest they take his mild-mannered demeanor for a weakness: "We will not throw the first punch, but we will throw the last."

And what does Bugs say when the dynamite does go off?
"Of course you know, this means war."

Monday, January 5, 2009

It Burns...

There is a reason why insiders write "tell-all" books once they are on the outside: The truth - it burns in them. That explains why so many people who serve presidents faithfully, upon their release, write books that contradict the times they lived as loyalists. Expected to toe an absolute line, every word out of their mouths is pro-administration, whether they believe those words or not. Then, they are set free.

Though they may have sounded like robots before, these people have always been human; they just could not prove it. Protocol superseded their humanity. Still, the fire burned - it will always burn until they do what they must do.

Governor Palin is about to be offered millions to tell the story of her failed vice presidential bid. Condoleeza Rice will soon be dong a "tell-all" of her own.

Let them; let them tell it all. And let us think differently of these people - they who must "tell" let they die on fire. Let us view these desperate souls in their better light, and not call them "traitors" like before, but call them "freed people."