Thursday, December 28, 2006

A Return to Normalcy

Christmas is over, the boys have started to calm down, I can almost see the living room floor again, and I can still smell my new cologne even after wearing it all day. Now if I could just start feeling like I'm not so tired...

Who's the Third?

It has been an interesting week in the world of who died. James Brown, the godfather of soul, is no longer the hardest working man in showbiz, at least not on this planet. Gerald Ford, 83rd President, and the only one with the dubious distinction of not having been elected to the Vice-Presidency or the Presidency died at age 93. While it was sad to see the loss of an ex-President who retained some dignity and decorum in retirement, rather than pissing on our flag and nation to any hostile government willing to grant a podium (are you listening Dhimmi Carter?), the guy was old, and served the country with distinction for decades. Godspeed to him, and condolences to the Ford family. Now, the question that remains is : "Who's next?" These things seem to come in threes. Who is the next public figure to die before the new year?

Returning to President Ford, I have heard a lot of carping in the past 24 hours about his pardon of Nixon. I've thought a lot about it myself. I was only 4 when he granted the pardon, so as you can imagine, i wasn't really paying attention at that time. In the interim, I have voratiously studied American 20th Century History, and my first degree was in Political Science. When I earned that degree, I had more intellect than wisdom (what 20 something doesn't?) and I roundly condemned the pardon. As I have picked up the mileage and years, I have thought again and again about this. It isn't that I've mellowed. Not really. I have learned to pick my battles, and if I turn a blowtorch in your direction, I'm not going away. He's my current analysis: Nixon was a jackass. I'm not so naive to think that he is the only president to engage in election chicanery. But he did get caught, and he lied about it. No mea culpa. No apologies of any sort. Just denial, and manuvering. The damage he inflicted on the public's perception of politics is incalculable. No quarter, and none asked for. His actions gave rise to the cynicism that dominates the political process today. His actions turned off an entire generation to politics. People who might have let their better natures take them into public service stopped caring and paying attention. Actual involvement became unthinkable. As a result, elements that have always been present, but rarely dominant in politics came into control. A government meant to serve the people ended up serving its own officials and the people who put them there.

But Ford's pardon of Nixon is a diferent matter. Would justice have been served by letting an investigation, indictment, and trial of Nixon? It is hard to say. While it would have demonstrated that not even the President is above the law, it would have impaired our country's ability to pay attention to anything else. If you asked me ten years ago if I thought the pardon was wrong, I would have said "YES!"

Now I can see the value of shutting the door on a process that would not have any positive benefit for the country, and surely cost Ford the next election. Doing it let those who wanted blood unsatisfied, but in no uncertain terms kept the country moving forward, rather than allowing it to linger over a period that we would rather forget. That took the conviction of a true public servant. Thank you Mr. President, for the example. Thank you Mr. Brown, for the music.
*exits to 'Funky Drummer'*

Friday, December 22, 2006

Another Christmas

Another year has sped by, and here we are on the cusp of Christmas again. The good news is that those who seem to hate Jesus and all he stands for are have been pushed by to the fringes, rather than being allowed to call the tune and denounce any foolish enough to call the holiday what it is for a majority of Americans. Even better, these wild-eyed fanatics are not happy about it. Boo-Hoo. Atheism and rock-worship both suffer from the same flaw: each stamps its foot and howls and moans when it doesn't get its way.

Things are ramped up high in the Blackiswhite household. The children are all tweeked out of their minds for the big day, and the eldest has displayed several emotional outbursts that would make any 13 year old girls proud. At work, 'tis the season to sue, and at home, anxiety of the youngest's speech difficulties, on top of the usual Christmas madness make it a less than restful place.

So without further dithering,




Sunday, December 17, 2006

Pali Pres Calls for Early Election, Ham-Ass Squeals At Unfairness of it All.

Say this headline at the Globe and Mail this morning:

Hamas rails against early vote(69)
Hamas denounces president's decision, calling it a 'coup' against the will of the Palestinian people 11:15 AM (69)

For all of Ham-Ass's screeching about thwarting the will of the people, we can look past the bullshit an get right to the TRUE nature of their complaint:

"But we have not had time to consolidate our party's resources." which means "We have not yet had the chance to kill all who oppose us."


"We have not had an opportunity to do any campaigning." which means "We haven't killed any Jooooooos in at least a week. Let us launch a string of high-profile terrorist attacks before you hold the election."

And they think we don't understand middle east politics. Mheh.

Wednesday, December 13, 2006

I Broke My Own Rule

I broke my own rule. I underestimated the stupidity of a would-be revisionist.

I was over at the playground (Bareknuckle Politics-Home of the Stupidest Trolls on the Planet!) when I was greeted with the following statement:

"treaty of tripoli was a founding document however, and it CLEARLY states that we are in no way a christian nation. "

A moment of breathtaking stupidity, from a clue-challenged knuckledragger who refers to himself by the misappelation "the Truth" or as I lovingly refer to him, "Truthless".

The Treaty of Tripoli:

Treaty of Peace and Friendship, signed at Tripoli November 4, 1796 (3 Ramada I, A. H. 1211), and at Algiers January 3, 1797 (4 Rajab, A. H. 1211). Original in Arabic. Submitted to the Senate May 29, 1797. (Message of May 26, 1797.) Resolution of advice and consent June 7, 1797. Ratified by the United States June 10, 1797. As to the ratification generally, see the notes. Proclaimed Jane 10, 1797.
The following fourteen pages of Arabic are a reproduction of the text in the original treaty book, first the pages of the treaty in left-to-right order of pagination, and then the " receipt " and the " note " mentioned, according to the Barlow translation, in Article 10. Following the Arabic and in the same order, is the translation of Joel Barlow as written in the treaty book-the twelve articles of the treaty, the "receipt," and the "note"; and after these is the approval of David Humphreys from the same document, which is fully described in the notes. Following those texts is the annotated translation of 1930.
Treaty of Peace and Friendship between the United States of America and the Bey and Subjects of Tripoli of Barbary.
There is a firm and perpetual Peace and friendship between the United States of America and the Bey and subjects of Tripoli of Barbary, made by the free consent of both parties, and guaranteed by the most potent Dey & regency of Algiers.
If any goods belonging to any nation with which either of the parties is at war shall be loaded on board of vessels belonging to the other party they shall pass free, and no attempt shall be made to take or detain them.
If any citizens, subjects or effects belonging to either party shall be found on board a prize vessel taken from an enemy by the other party, such citizens or subjects shall be set at liberty, and the effects restored to the owners.
Proper passports are to be given to all vessels of both parties, by which they are to be known. And, considering the distance between the two countries, eighteen months from the date of this treaty shall be allowed for procuring such passports. During this interval the other papers belonging to such vessels shall be sufficient for their protection.
A citizen or subject of either party having bought a prize vessel condemned by the other party or by any other nation, the certificate of condemnation and bill of sale shall be a sufficient passport for such vessel for one year; this being a reasonable time for her to procure a proper passport.
Vessels of either party putting into the ports of the other and having need of provissions or other supplies, they shall be furnished at the market price. And if any such vessel shall so put in from a disaster at sea and have occasion to repair, she shall be at liberty to land and reembark her cargo without paying any duties. But in no case shall she be compelled to land her cargo.
Should a vessel of either party be cast on the shore of the other, all proper assistance shall be given to her and her people; no pillage shall be allowed; the property shall remain at the disposition of the owners, and the crew protected and succoured till they can be sent to their country.
If a vessel of either party should be attacked by an enemy within gun-shot of the forts of the other she shall be defended as much as possible. If she be in port she shall not be seized or attacked when it is in the power of the other party to protect her. And when she proceeds to sea no enemy shall be allowed to pursue her from the same port within twenty four hours after her departure.
The commerce between the United States and Tripoli,-the protection to be given to merchants, masters of vessels and seamen,- the reciprocal right of establishing consuls in each country, and the privileges, immunities and jurisdictions to be enjoyed by such consuls, are declared to be on the same footing with those of the most favoured nations respectively.
The money and presents demanded by the Bey of Tripoli as a full and satisfactory consideration on his part and on the part of his subjects for this treaty of perpetual peace and friendship are acknowledged to have been recieved by him previous to his signing the same, according to a reciept which is hereto annexed, except such part as is promised on the part of the United States to be delivered and paid by them on the arrival of their Consul in Tripoly, of which part a note is likewise hereto annexed. And no presence of any periodical tribute or farther payment is ever to be made by either party.
As the government of the United States of America is not in any sense founded on the Christian Religion,-as it has in itself no character of enmity against the laws, religion or tranquility of Musselmen,-and as the said States never have entered into any war or act of hostility against any Mehomitan nation, it is declared by the parties that no pretext arising from religious opinions shall ever produce an interruption of the harmony existing between the two countries.
In case of any dispute arising from a notation of any of the articles of this treaty no appeal shall be made to arms, nor shall war be declared on any pretext whatever. But if the (consul residing at the place where the dispute shall happen shall not be able to settle the same, an amicable referrence shall be made to the mutual friend of the parties, the Dey of Algiers, the parties hereby engaging to abide by his decision. And he by virtue of his signature to this treaty engages for himself and successors to declare the justice of the case according to the true interpretation of the treaty, and to use all the means in his power to enforce the observance of the same.
Signed and sealed at Tripoli of Barbary the 3d day of Jumad in the year of the Higera 1211-corresponding with the 4th day of Novr 1796

Now understand, Truthless was using this to say we aren't a Christian nation. Considering that there is no official state religion in this counrty, unlike others, say...theBarbary Coast states???, he is correct. However,Truthless, it cannot be truthfully stated that this is in any way a 'founding' document. He/she/it did not explain the basis for such a silly assertion, but there are some interesting events surrounding this treaty.

At that time in history, we were a fledgling nation, still unable to discourage hostile parties from preying upon our shipping, and along the northern coast of Africa, the 'Barbary Coast', the islamic nations there supported pirates who went out onto the shipping to do what pirates do best: murder and steal. All in the name of Allah. For a time, our ships could count on the aid and protection of the English and French ships who plied the waters. However, with the rise of Napoleon, the English became obsessed with blockading the French, and the nations who allied with them. As time passed the needs of manpower to keep the blockade in force lead the English to board American ships and kidnap American sailors. This practice, known as impressment, was one of the causes of our second conflict with the Britsh Empire in less than a half a century. Without this protection, our shipping was an easy target for the muslim pirates. We soon sought a treaty, (think neogotiated extortion) to relieve the threat against our ships. Hence the treaty.

Now the clause Truthless got him/her/itself all stirred up about, Article 11, was in the copy of the text translated from the Arabic by the diplomat in the region. Let that sink in for a moment.

It was translated from the arabic text.

That means that it could not have been a statement authored by elected representatives of our government, meant to be a statement by us, about what we are about.

All communication at that time was subject to the limitations of travel, which meant it was nearly two years before this copy got to the Senate. The records of the time indicate that it was read aloud on the floor before the vote to ratify it was held. Personally, I find the record dubious, if only because today's Congressional Record frequently publishes entire texts of speeches never said aloud in Congress.

What is more noteworthy is the fact that the treaty renewed eight years later did not contain the Article. It would be unusual to delete something so 'formative', something that nimwits like Truthless' so fervently cling to as conclusive proof that Christianity wasn't the elephant in the room during our nation's formative years, and our law wasn't an extension of the judeo-christian values and mores that were embodied in the jurisprudence of western civilization.

'Founding document', my great-aunt Hattie.

Memo to all would-be revisionists: If you are going to rewrite history to fit your spiritually-stunted agenda, don't rely on a document 'negotiated' at gunpoint, that was changed to remove your weak-kneed justification at the earliest opportunity.

And Truthless, use your head for something more than a place to hang your dunce cap. It is getting tiresome correcting your stupidity.

Thursday, December 07, 2006

More Guests Are Coming

We now have an office at the Dept. of Domestic Affairs over at the Rott. If you came here from there, please make yourself at home. Just don't barf on the furniture. I just had it cleaned.