Monday, November 22, 2004

Arnold for President? Iraqi "Prisoners" in a Mosque? The Basketball Fan is Always Right?

Safire proposes a 28th Amendmentto allow all citizens, not just native-born Americans to run for President. I am all for Arnold Schwarznegger running for President. In fact I am in favor of an Amendment that says, simply "Arnold Schwarznegger may run for President." But you well know, if the current Republican Party is for this amendment, that it isn't just for Arnold --- that there is an Arab oil sheik turned American citizen just so he can run for President lying in the weeds somewhere. This Amendment is being brought to you by the same people who were outraged --- outraged --- when Bill Clinton took some foreign agent money. Now they want to set the wheels in motion for a foreign agent President, forget the Manchurian Candidate, skip the middle man. There is no end to the cynicism, the anti-democratic, pro-imperialist impulse of these people running our government.

Do I think that you need to grow up here to understand what is fully going on here, in the manner required to be President ---- absolutely. Do I think it is unfair that some people don't get the chance to be President? Hell, I voted for Gore and Kerry.


Some of the most cynical propaganda I have ever read is contained in Errol Morris's Saturday op-ed piece on the American soldier who shot the Iraqi in the mosque. He keeps on referring to the Iraqi as a "prisoner." Prisoner? Prisoner? You can't find baser manipulation of words out of the mouth of Karl Rove. In a country lead by people without shame, I can't expect my newspaper (I subscribe) to do anything except follow their lead. However, giving up even op-ed space to someone calling the Iraqi a "prisoner," as if the spontaneous act from a frightened, wounded American soldier in a combat situation comes from the same people and mindset that brought you Abu Gharib is the basest form of slander. The anti-war guys do not need friends like that, although the anti-Americans can use all the friends they get. We actually do know what we need to know about the mosque shooting. We know that the American soldiers did not break up a prayer service. We know that the mosque had been used by the Iraqis as base from which to kill Americans. It's not like the Americans securing the mosque had never been in a situation of ambush. I appreciate that anti-warriors want to make hay, but when you are in the cross-fire with Bushies, you have to be doubly careful of your own characterizations. You have be in the neighborhood of the facts. Errol Morris has his experiences, too, and he is entitled to them. After making his movie about Robert MacNamara, after getting a load of Donald Rumsfeld, I can't blame him for thinking that all American Secretaries of Defense are unspeakably evil. You will never get me to follow that premise to conclude that all Americans soldiers are evil, or that that all American wars are. Clearly, Morris has a readership that disagrees with me. It is a shame if the New York Times feels that its readership is receptive to Morris's message. It would be a deeper shame if the Times was right.


You can not go into the stands during a sporting event to attack the paying customers, and it is fine by me if you suspend Ron Artest for 8 games, or 80 games (which is what happened) or forever. However, when your customers pay for your work, they have the right to criticize you, but they don't have the right to throw beer at you, throw chairs at you, hurl racial epithets at you, or come into the back-room and start a fight. I keep hearing that the problem is that the "average fan" gets frustrated with the young athlete who does not appreciate his good fortune as a newly-minted multi-millionaire. That may be true about the average fan, but let me remind you that the "average fan" can not get tickets close enough to the floor of any NBA game to be in a position to throw beer and chairs that can hit the athlete. These front row patrons are as wealthy, or wealthier, than the players they are yelling at. See previous incidents in Miami and New York. Many of these front-row fans would be in court or organizing boycotts in the blink of an eye if people said things to them, even in jest, that are said to these players on a night-by-night basis. Can't arrest these fans. Their wealthy lawyers will get them off before the defendant hits the police station. If you tell me that these are not the same people who actually attend these games, that they are re-selling their tickets, then I have to tell you to enforce the anti-scalping laws. If there are no anti-scalping laws left in the "Stub Hub" world, then maybe allowing the NBA to sue some of its worse patrons in civil suits, claiming damage to the ability of the NBA to market their game in a safe environment will get some of these animals in suits to take notice.