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As the clock ticks toward midnight, the factions in Lebanon, unable to agree on a consensus candidate for president, have resigned themselves to the fact that they are about ready to enter unknown territory.

A constitutional vacuum is about to open up – if, as he has promised, soon-to-be-ex-president Emil Lahoud resigns as planned. What does it mean in practical terms? No one knows which is why pronouncements like this from Lahoud are not helpful:

Premier Fouad Saniora on Friday rejected a controversial measure by outgoing President Emile Lahoud ordering the army to enforce law and order after claiming that “risks of a state of emergency” prevail over the nation.

A three-article statement signed by Lahoud said: “The risks of a state of emergency prevail over all the territories of the Republic of Lebanon as of Nov. 24.

“The army is assigned the task of maintaining security and all military forces would be placed at the army’s service,” the statement added.

It said that once a “legitimate government is formed” the army command would coordinate its moves with it.

However, a statement issued by Saniora’s press office said the presidential measure is “not factual and not based on constitutional or legal authorities.”

It recalled that, constitutionally, only the government has the authority to declare a state of emergency, subject to revision by parliament in eight days.

The Saniora statement said Lahoud wants to allude that the nation is facing serious threats “at a time security prevails because the army maintains the nation’s security and protects the people’s safety.”

The statement concluded by stressing that the government is both “legal and constitutional.”

Lahoud has maintained for almost a year now that because 6 opposition ministers resigned from the cabinet, subsequent decisions taken by the Siniora government have been illegal and that the government itself is not legitimate.

It is unclear whether Lahoud’s statement is meant to urge the army to carry out a coup although by asking the military to “maintain security” until a “legitimate government is formed” while all but declaring a state of emergency, it is hard to interpret his statement otherwise.

In fact, Abu Kais at From Beirut to the Beltway writes that even if Siniora insists on maintaining his position, the cabinet no longer controls the military:

Although Lahoud did not directly call for state of emergency (post corrected), he handed over all security matters to the Lebanese army, meaning the cabinet would no longer have power over it. AFP quoted an official in the Siniora government as saying Lahoud’s statement “is not valid and is unconstitutional…It is as if the statement was never issued.”

One more unknown in a sea of unknowables.

Meanwhile, Speaker of Parliament Nabih Berri has rescheduled the presidential vote for November 30. As the majority bends over backward to accommodate the opposition by not taking advantage of the constitutional option open to it and electing a president by simple parliamentary majority, some have taken the government to task for this inaction:

Now that the “opposition”, including Nabih Berri, has adopted Aoun’s “initiative”, March 14 finds itself, yet again, outmaneuvered. After living in the Berri-esque illusion that Bkirki’s list will be respected, March 14 rediscovered the dishonesty of its opponents. Over the past month, the “opposition” successfully managed to prevent the parliament’s majority from electing a president through distraction and deceit. Hours before the constitutional deadline expires, the Syrian-puppet president is preparing to announce measures designed to prevent the Siniora cabinet from assuming power. Lahoud is armed with Hizbullah’s blessing and the complicity of Michel Aoun. March 14 is counting on assurances given by Berri that the “opposition” will not escalate the situation if a president in not elected through a majority vote.

March 14’s Fares Soueid said the movement is waiting for Lahoud’s announcement before taking such a step. Sadly, March 14 deputies came to parliament today and consented to a postponement, forfeiting their constitutional right to holding such a session. Considering that Berri couldn’t hold his end of the French-sponsored bargain, it seems strange to this blogger that so much faith is still being placed in his promises, and in reaching agreement with him.

It should be clear that Lahoud is not bound by any arrangement Berri may have made with the majority. It should also be clear that Hizbullah and Aoun have been using Berri to buy time and keep March 14 from convening its deputies. One wonders if March 14’s current strategy, which is sadly being pushed by Jumblatt and Hariri, will cost them the country.

The feeling is widespread among March 14th supporters that their leaders have not taken advantage of the legal mechanism open to them and simply elected a president by majority vote. The feeling seems to be “Let Hizbullah do their damndest and to hell with Michel Aoun.”

I can understand their frustration but speaking as an outsider and a supporter of the government I sympathize with the majority’s plight. They have been well and truly trapped ever since the opposition ministers walked out of the government almost exactly a year ago. The government of Lebanon – any government – was dependent on the cooperation of Hizbullah both for legitimacy and to get anything done. Once that cooperation was withdrawn (with the realization that Nasrallah has no intention of granting it again unless he gets to call the shots) everything that has happened between then and now could have been foreseen.

The assassinations, the war with Israel, the constant, unyielding pressure on the government to compromise is being cheered on in Damascus if not planned and carried out on President Bashar Assad’s orders. Only Syria benefits from the chaos that threatens the peace in Lebanon. Despite the United Nations moving forward with the Hariri Tribunal – almost certain to implicate Syrian officials in the political violence that has taken place in Lebanon – they are moving glacially. And if the government changes hands, peacefully or otherwise, the chances of that Tribunal getting any cooperation from Lebanon vanishes. In that case, it is very difficult to see how the Tribunal will be able to do its job properly – something devoutly wished by Assad and his henchmen who UN prosecutors are convinced are involved in the assassination of the ex-prime minister.

There are precious few options left for the majority. It seems clear that by next week’s deadline, they will either have resigned themselves to the prospect of civil strife by electing a president themselves or will continue to dither, hoping lightening will strike and the opposition presents a candidate who would be acceptable to them.

The latter prospect is not in the cards which is why it is more than likely that eventually and reluctantly, the elected majority government of Lebanon will take the fateful step of thrusting aside opposition objections and, being constitutionally empowered to do so, will elect a president by simple majority vote. What this action will precipitate is anyone’s guess. Anything from violence in the streets to the opposition setting up their own president and cabinet and calling it the “legitimate” government of Lebanon is possible.

A “sea of unknowables” indeed.


Street celebrations are underway as Emil Lahoud leaves office. What is his legacy?

Emile Lahoud packed the sack and evacuated the hilltop Baabda Republican Palace at midnight Friday, leaving behind a record of two Syrian-sponsored constitutional amendments that placed him in office … and kept him there for nine years.

A cheerful crowd took to the streets of Beirut’s Tarik Jedideh district to celebrate the end of Lahoud’s term in office chanting “Lahoud out.”

Lahoud, 71, also has a long list of leftovers: Four military aides behind bars, 12 unsettled political crimes, a split nation struggling to avoid renewed civil strife and a vacant presidential office waiting for the election of a new head of state who can patch up a people that cannot agree even on one answer to a simple question: Who is the enemy?

Sounds more like an indictment.

Speaking of indictments, when will justice be served?

In 1998, Syrian President Hafez Assad sponsored a constitutional amendment that allowed Army Commander Lahoud to run for Lebanon’s top post.

The Syrian-controlled parliament responded, not only by adopting the Assad-inspired constitutional amendment, but also by unanimously electing his chosen candidate to Lebanon’s top post.

Blessed by “the father”, Lahoud enjoyed another constitutional amendment inspired by the late Syrian President’s son-heir Bashar Assad in 2004 that kept him in office for three years more.

Shortly after Lahoud received the second Assad Blessing, Communications Minister Marwan Hamadeh survived a car-bomb attack on Oct. 1, 2004 and the list of serial killings rolled:

Ex-Premier Rafik Hariri, Minister of Economy Basel Fleihan, columnist Samir Qassir, former leader of the Communist Party George Hawi, TV journalist May Chidiac, Defense Minister Elias Murr, MP Jibran Tueni, Industry Minister Pierre Gemayel, MP Walid Eido and MP Antoine Ghanem.

The Assassination of ex-MP Elias Hobeika in 2002 also remains a mystery.

No coincidence, all the victims were prominent opponents Lahoud, or both Lahoud and Syria’s dominance over Lebanon.

I have said it many times but it bears repeating; the similarity between the Syrian regime and a Mafia crime family are striking. Both use intimidation and murder to achieve their ends. Both set up “protection rackets” to soak their victims. Both are made up of a small, vicious cadres of lieutenants who are loyal to a crime boss.

Read the whole article by Mohammed Salam, one of Naharnet’s most insightful writers.

UPDATE: 11/24

Gateway Pundit has a good round up and some telling photos of Lebanese celebrating the end of Lahoud’s presidency.

By: Rick Moran at 6:15 pm | Permalink | Comments & Trackbacks (4) Political News and Blog Aggregator linked with Political tumult intensifies in Lebanon ...

I know, I know. We simply can’t let a Thanksgiving go by without being made to feel simply awful as a result of rapacious white Europeans betraying and eventually murdering Rousseau’s “noble savage” in bunches. This line of thinking leads to a rather interesting conclusion; Europeans should have stayed in Europe, allowing only Asians to emigrate to North and South America.

If European naval technology had been just a little less advanced, we very well could be speaking some Asian tongue today – or perhaps even Polynesian given the enormous skill and intrepidness of their sailors. The last great migration from Asia may have occurred as recently as 6,000 BC according to some exhaustive yet controversial linguistic studies. But if European ship building improvements had lagged by just a couple of hundred years, North America would have been a ripe target for settlement by any number of Asian cultures. Then, it would have been rapacious yellow men who would have gotten tagged with killing the native population.

That’s because it didn’t matter who came, the clash of civilizations was inevitable. Failing to understand our early history in the context of the history of migrating peoples from the time that Homo Sapiens first moved out of Africa is shallow, stupid, and these days, politically motivated. It doesn’t absolve white people of murder nor does it lessen the tragedy of the destruction of native American culture. But thinking in these terms should animate our total understanding of the history of our continent and our country – something the modern day left, whose guilt-ridden diatribes against our ancestors always sounds such a discordant note on this, the most unique of American holidays, deliberately ignores in order to prove their solidarity with the oppressed.

All of that was in the future when the Pilgrims held the first Thanksgiving in the fall of 1621 in recognition of the help given to them by the Cape Cod Indian tribe, the Mashpee Wampanoag. By that time, the Pilgrim’s numbers had been dramatically reduced by disease, losing more than half the number that landed at Plymouth Rock. The Indians had no doubt contributed to the survival of the remainder by showing them how and where to fish as well as introducing them to some native American crops like Maize and beans.

But what we tend to forget about the Pilgrims is that they were not explorers or people inured to hardship. They were country folk from the Midlands of England – most of them were not farmers or possessing the skills necessary to begin a colony. They were simple townsfolk whose separatist ideas about the Church of England landed them in trouble with the authorities – so much so that they were driven out of the country. First to Holland, where their religious views were tolerated but where parents were concerned that the children were losing their essential “Englishness” and pined for the homeland. That’s when William Bradford made a deal with the London Company for a land patent and the crossing was planned.

So here they were, arriving in the waters of the New World in early November, 1620 but not making a landing until nearly a month later. It was then they began to hack a civilization out of the wilderness. Whatever skills they had with the ax or hammer, they were forced to perfect while constructing a few rough hewn buildings over the winter of 1620-21. Only 47 of the original 102 Pilgrims who began the crossing survived to see that first spring.

The Mayflower stuck around until April, 1621, supplying the colonists with whatever food they couldn’t beg, trade for, or steal from the Indians. They were poor hunters, had few firelocks, and were not familiar with the local fauna so were unable to procure food through the gathering of nuts and berries as the native Americans did. The Indians worked diligently to remedy this and by the summer of 1621, the Pilgrims were nearly self-sufficient.

Thanks to Massasoit, Sachem of the Wampanoags who had signed a peace treaty with the Pilgrims earlier in the Spring, the new Americans were able to plant, tend, and harvest their first crop with little trouble. It wasn’t much. A peck of corn meal for each family a week (a peck is 8 dry quarts) during the winter along with some salt fish. They supplemented this with wild fowl they hunted and trapped. All in all, barely enough to survive on. But considering their hardships suffered during the previous year, it seemed bountiful enough that they were able to entertain and feed 90 Wampanoags and the entire colony for a week of feasting.

These were hardy, determined people who put up with difficulties almost all of us today would never survive. We tend to forget that these first Pilgrims made something out of absolutely nothing with just a few tools and the sweat of their brow. And a nice assist from the Wampanoags who had their own selfish reasons for helping. A devastating plague – probably an extremely virulent form of smallpox that the Wampanoags caught from French traders – reduced their numbers dramatically leaving them vulnerable to their enemies, the Narragansett tribe. No doubt Massasoit eyed the Pilgrim flintlocks with more than a little envy.

I realize that many native Americans are not celebrating today. More the pity for them. Recognizing the achievement of the Pilgrims, taken by itself as an admirable effort by people regardless of their color to survive and prosper in a hostile and unfamiliar world, should elicit the praise of all who can appreciate their extraordinary accomplishments. What followed may have been a tragedy. But don’t take it out on the original Pilgrims. They lived in peace with the Indians for 50 years, long after the last Mayflower survivor died.

Perhaps we could leave this tiny corner of American history alone this year by allowing us the pleasure of remembering the Pilgrims for what they were; brave souls who conquered their fears and with an indomitable spirit, created a settlement of Godly men and women who were able to express their religious beliefs freely as an example to all.

By: Rick Moran at 9:17 am | Permalink | Comments & Trackbacks (12)


For most of my adult life, I lived away from “home” which, for the Moran clan, was first Mount Prospect and then Barrington Hills, Illinois. The two suburbs of Chicago are about 15 miles apart, 4 stops separating them on the old Northwest line of the C & NW Railroad. (My current home of Algonquin is only about 7 miles north of Barrington Hills.)

For many years, the Wednesday before Thanksgiving was a travel day for me. Living in Des Moines, Washington,D.C., and St. Louis meant airports, luggage, interminable flights, and the inevitable stress and strain that goes with travel.

All the feelings of frustration would fall away once I boarded the commuter train that would take me home. In those days, a taxi from the airport to Barrington Hills was considered an extravagance. So I would take a cab to the Des Plaines train station where a commuter would be along every 10 or 15 minutes at rush hour to pick me up for the nice, leisurely half hour trip to Barrington.

I used to love those old trains. In recent years, they redesigned the interior of the cars so that they’ve become much more sterile and unfriendly places. Back in the day, such was not the case. You could flip most of the seats so that they faced each other. People would take advantage of that by playing cards or just chatting. Many of the passengers obviously knew each other from taking the same train home for years. The atmosphere was usually festive thanks to the fact that everyone had Thanksgiving off.

But if you wanted to be alone with your thoughts, that was fine too. I’d spend the half hour looking out the window, finding familiar landmarks, and then passing through my boyhood home of Mount Prospect; seeing the familiar downtown with its familiar store names and streets. Pulling out of the station, we’d pass my old dentist’s office where old Doctor Heck treated me after the trauma of having three of my teeth knocked out by a baseball bat swung in a game by a playmate. I was all of 8 years old and the amount of blood scared me. Old Doc Heck fixed me up good, though, saving the roots so I could get fitted for false teeth.

From Mount Prospect, the train paralleled Northwest Highway. And the trip from there to Arlington Heights always brought back a flood of memories. I must have travelled from Mount Prospect to Dryden Street in Arlington Heights down Northwest Highway more than 3000 times over the years. St. Viator High School was just a couple of blocks down Dryden and between school, athletic events, and other activities I got to know every inch of that expanse.

Random memories would fire and it was quite pleasurable to allow the montage of images and feelings to present themselves for nostalgia’s sake. Every once and a while, some awful memory from high school would intrude on my reverie (everybody has them, I’m sure) but it was easy to ignore the pain that threatened to interrupt the warm flow of reminisces simply by clearing the screen in front of your mind’s eye and waiting for the next tableau to appear.

Then it was through downtown Arlington Heights out to Arlington Park racetrack – closed for the season but still a big commuter stop because of all the development that had sprouted surrounding the edifice with little office parks and tract homes dotting the landscape. And then a slightly longer trip to Palatine, still hugging Northwest Highway and still recalling other memories from high school as we passed several eateries where we used to hang out.

The trip between Palatine and Barrington was the longest. Here, civilization ended and the “country” began. The route was dark and nothing was visible except the trees on either side of the tracks. Often, there was sufficient snow on the ground that an eerie glow would light the way as the moonlight reflected off the trees.

Finally, Barrington. In those days it was at the outer reaches of the northwest suburbs, only recently graduated from a glorified “milk stop” where dairy farmers would send their product by rail to Chicago. One of my brothers or sisters would be waiting to pick me up and take me the last 3 miles to Barrington Hills and home.

Today, home is where my heart is. Both my parents are gone, the house in Barrington Hills sold. Our family is spread out all over the country – both coasts and several states in between. I wrote about the last time we got together here, a little more than two years ago. Everyone has their own lives and families, their own traditions at holiday time. It’s not like it was when we all made a supreme effort to travel to our parent’s house for the holidays. Back then, most of us didn’t have the complications of spouses or in laws or small children to get in the way of our goal of reuniting.

But that’s what memories are for. They remind us of what was once good and happy in life and hold out the promise of more to come.

James Barrie, the creator of Peter Pan, said “God gave us memory so that we might have roses in December.” In this, the December of my life, it gives me an inordinate amount of pleasure to remember those roses and that nurturing them will continue to give me joy until the day I no longer am.

By: Rick Moran at 5:38 pm | Permalink | Comments & Trackbacks (7)


You won’t want to miss today’s Rick Moran Show coming up at 3:00 – 4:00 PM Central time.

My special guest will be The Jawa Report’s Rusty Shackleford. A tireless crusader against radical Islamism both here and abroad, we found out today that Rusty’s blog played a role in the arrest of AP photographer Bilal Hussein – a man the US military is convinced aided the insurgents in Iraq and spread their propaganda.

We’ll also look at other stories Rusty has had a hand in – some he hasn’t even gotten credit for. And we’ll discuss the status of hostages in Iraq; a story that hardly anyone but The Jawa Report has been following.

To access the stream, you can click the icon below.

If you’d like to call in and talk to Rusty, the number is (718) 664-9764

Listen to The Rick Moran Show on internet talk radio

A podcast will be available for streaming or download about 15 minutes after the show ends.


The podcast is up and can be streamed or downloaded by clicking on button above. Or you can stream it by clicking on the player below:

It was a fascinating show. Ed Morrissey of Captains Quarters (Heading Right Radio) also joined us for a while.

By: Rick Moran at 3:10 pm | Permalink | Comments & Trackbacks (1)


The Sleeper has awakened?

Well, maybe not as dramatic as that. After all, we’re talking about the mild mannered professor and senator for a quaint Midwestern state – hardly Superman material although he would probably look pretty good in tights.

But make no mistake, the times they are a-changin’. Finding himself trailing in the national polls by 2-1 against the Queen of Darkness, Senator Barack Obama – he of the “different kind of politics” school of electoral vapidity – has, not surprisingly, taken a page from the playbook of old school, bare knuckled political brawlers and begun sliming Hillary Clinton for all that she’s worth.

Well…that’s not entirely accurate. The page he’s reading is, in keeping with his citizen/scholar/politician image, the endnotes. And as for sliming Hillary, perhaps it would be more accurate to say his gums have a grip around her leg and he’s trying not to let go:

When conservative columnist Robert Novak reported on Saturday that the Clinton campaign might be sitting on “scandalous information” about Obama, close readers might have been inclined to yawn. The only sourcing was unidentified “agents of Sen. Hillary Clinton” and “word of mouth among Democrats.”

The column said the nature of the supposed scandal was unknown.

But Obama’s campaign responded as if Bob Woodward had splashed all the details on the front page, issuing a “Statement on Reports of Clinton Campaign Tactics” at 11:46 a.m., a “Response to Clinton Campaign Evasion” at 1:52 p.m., after her aides said they had “no idea” what the column was talking about, and a 4:20 p.m. broadside, “Obama Will Fight Back Fears.”

Obama’s response accused Clinton of “Swift Boat politics” — a reference to the 2004 attacks on Kerry’s military record by a group calling itself the Swift Boat Veterans for Truth. Kerry stayed quiet, a decision that some advisers fought at the time and that in retrospect turned out to have devastating consequences for his image in some swing states.

In Iowa on Sunday, Obama told reporters: “In the era of the blogosphere, we have seen what happened with John McCain in 2000, what happened with John Kerry in 2004. If you don’t get on this stuff quickly, then it starts drifting around, and that is not something I am going to accept.”

So there, Hillary. And there. AND THERE!

The only problem was that the “leak” almost certainly didn’t come from the Clinton camp and as John Fund revealed in the WSJ, the “scandal” appears to be nothing more than warmed over Rezko – a minor blip of a scandal here in Chicago where such sweetheart deals between developers and politicians are simply a way to “grease the wheels” and allow for poorly paid legislators to get a little extra cash. It barely raised an eyebrow in this, a city awash in graft and corruption.

As for the Clinton camp, they seemed bemused by the spectacle presented by their timid opponent trying to take the gloves off but unable to figure out how to untie them.

Give Obama an “A” for effort anyway.

But before Obama runs home and show his mother that report card with the excellent grade for trying to fight, he better look at the grade he got for this idiocy:

Barack Obama has unveiled a new line of criticism against Hillary: In speeches he’s started to point to the allegation made in Jeff Gerth and Don Van Natta’s Hillary book that the Clintons secretly formulated a 20-year-plan to deliver the presidency first to Bill, and then to Hillary.

“I’m not in this race to fulfill some long-held plan or because it was owed to me,” Obama said the other day.

Asked if that were a reference to the Gerth allegation, an Obama spokesperson left virtually no doubt that it was, telling Newsday: “Barack Obama has not been mapping out his run for president from Washington for the last 20 years like some of his opponents.”

But the source that Gerth and Van Natta cited with supposed first-hand knowledge of this plan—historian Taylor Branch—has since vehemently denied that any such pact existed. “The story is preposterous,” Branch told The Washington Post, adding: “I never heard either Clinton talk about a ‘plan’ for them both to become president.”

If you are going to take a swing at someone, make sure you don’t miss and have the punch come all the way around and smack you in your own face. This, unfortunately, is what happened to Obama here. Good thing he dropped that line of attack immediately. After all, most Americans admire someone who plans out their life so far in advance. At any rate, it’s hardly a detriment to Hillary’s campaign to remind Democrats who she’s married to.

In a very large way, Obama is a victim of his own success as a “uniter not a divider.” One can hardly claim the moral high ground while accusing your opponent of all sorts of nasty things. So the Illinois Senator has been forced to temper his attacks, to pull his punches lest he turn off his younger voters who pine for his “new politics” (which is really just the old politics all gussied up and with a little makeup on).

Having now pulled even in Iowa, Obama has a chance to go for the jugular and really hurt Hillary Clinton by questioning her trustworthiness, her commitment to ending the war, her wishy-washyness, and her scandal-plagued money raising operation. This latest round of polling will renew focus on his candidacy. He is no longer the longshot. He has a credible chance to win in Iowa. And since the media likes nothing more than a horse race in an election, these next few weeks are going to be crucial.

This is why Obama must drop this pretense of being above the fray and get into the mud where he belongs. There are ways to savage an opponent without sounding mean or nasty. Hillary hasn’t quite mastered that art as yet but you could look no further than The Gipper for inspiration in that regard.

Reagan was usually pretty good natured in his criticism – jokes with an edge. Obama doesn’t have to be funny nor does he have to stray far from his own issues to highlight the stark differences between himself and Clinton. And while he’s at it, he can question her integrity and trust – attributes she has given ample evidence that they should be questioned.

What he needs is the will to carry out such attacks. And to date, I haven’t seen it. His candidacy now depends on whether he can begin to give people a reason to not only vote for him but vote against Clinton. He’s taken his positive campaign just about as far as it can go. Now he is going to have to start peeling Clinton voters away from her in order to fashion a majority of Democrats who will support his efforts to become the Democratic nominee. And he’s not going to be able to do that by talking sweetness and light.

By: Rick Moran at 2:31 pm | Permalink | Comments & Trackbacks (2) Political News and Blog Aggregator linked with Clinton's Rivals Adopt More Partisan Approach...
CATEGORY: Iran, War on Terror

The Tale of the Scorpion is an old Native American parable.

A scorpion was walking along the bank of a river, wondering how to get to the other side. Suddenly, he saw a fox. He asked the fox to take him on his back across the river.

The fox said, “No. If I do that, you’ll sting me, and I’ll drown.”

The scorpion assured him, “If I do that, we’ll both drown.”

The fox thought about it and finally agreed. So the scorpion climbed up on his back, and the fox began to swim. But halfway across the river, the scorpion stung him. As poison filled his veins, the fox turned to the scorpion and said, “Why did you do that? Now you’ll drown, too.”

“I couldn’t help it,” said the scorpion. “It’s my nature.”

Amir Taheri (writing to Norman Podhoretz) believes he knows the true nature of the Iranian regime:

What is at issue here is the exact nature of the Khomeinist regime. Is it a nationalistic power pursuing the usual goals of nations? Or is it a messianic power with an eschatological ideology and the pretension to conquer the world on behalf of “The One and Only True Faith”?

Khomeini built a good part of his case against the Shah by claiming that the latter was trying to force Iranians to worship Iran rather than Allah. The theme remains a leitmotif of Khomeinists even today. . . . Those who try to portray this regime as just another opportunistic power with a quixotic tendency do a grave disservice to a proper understanding of the challenge that the world faces.

But this is not new. Stalin, Hitler, Mao, and Pol Pot also had their apologists who saw them as “nationalists” with “legitimate grievances.”

Okay, Sounds believable given the rhetoric we’ve been hearing for 25 years from the regime. But Taheri does not enjoy universal respectability regarding his opinions on Iran. He has been caught at least twice in making false charges about the Iranian government and some scholars accuse him of poorly sourcing his writings.

Even if we were to take Mr. Taheri’s analysis as truth, according to Michael Eisenstadt writing for the Strategic Studies Institute, a respected arm of the US Army War College, the idea that the mullahs are “an irrational, undeterrable state with a high pain threshold” is both “anachronistic and wrong:”

Within the context of a relatively activist foreign policy, Iranian decision makers have generally sought to minimize risk by shunning direct confrontation and by acting through surrogates (such as the Lebanese Hizballah) or by means of stealth (Iranian small boat and mine operations against shipping in the Gulf during the Iran-Iraq War) in order to preserve deniability and create ambiguity about their intentions. Such behavior is evidence of an ability to engage in rational calculation and to accurately assess power relationships.
(“Deter and Contain,” pg. 225)

And herein lies the dilemma for American and western policymakers with regards to Iran and the regime’s desire to possess the ultimate insurance against anyone publishing insulting cartoons of Muhammad ever again. Just who are these guys?

As far as Taheri, I have found his insights into the regime affected by his obvious disgust for what the mullahs have done to his country. That said, his columns and writings in various publications have shown a light in some very dark corners of the Iranian government.

At its highest levels, the mullahracy is riven with factionalism. Supreme Leader Ayatollah Khamenei rides herd on at least 3 major centers of power; President Ahmadinejad conservatives, Ayatollah Rafsanjani realists, and Mohammad Khatami reformists. Of these, the most marginalized at the moment are the reformers, some of whom are actually under house arrest, including a couple of prominent clerics.

Rafsanjani, the canny, ex-president is making something of a political comeback after getting tossed from the presidency in 2005 by Khamenei who couldn’t take his gross corruption (Forbes named him one of the richest men in the world). He is now safely ensconced in the Assembly of Experts, elected last December on an anti-Ahmadinejad platform, and maneuvering his way toward the most powerful office in the land- Supreme Leader. Khamenei is rumored to be in poor health (he’s been on death’s door according to some for about 2 years).

To say that Rafsanjani is a “moderate” is ridiculous. He is as fanatical in his hatred of the United States and Israel as President Ahmadinejad. He may be more of a pragmatist, however, in that he certainly has a lot to protect in case of an attack by the US. Regardless, Rafsanjani is also perhaps the most ruthless character in Iranian politics. It is believed that he controls several para-military gangs who carry out murders and assassinations on his orders. Certainly, enough of his enemies have died for there to be questions asked.

He is at war with President Ahmadinejad and the conservatives not over dogma or ideology but because Ahmadinejad has purged the bureaucracy of Rafsanjani (and other long ruling mullahs) cronies who always managed to funnel a little something to their sponsors in the leadership in the way of kickbacks or sweet government contracts. For 25 years, first Khomeini and then Khamenei turned a blind eye to this corruption, realizing that it cemented the loyalty of the mullahs to the Supreme Leader’s throne.

But with the economy in the toilet and the people becoming cynical about the mullahs, Khamenei engineered the election of Ahmadinejad hoping the young fanatic would root out corruption and boost the economy.

It hasn’t worked. Ahmadinejad purged the ministries alright but he replaced competent technocrats with true believers who hadn’t a clue about how a modern state operates. The results were predictable; economic stagnation, higher unemployment, high inflation, and a decrease in oil productivity that would be much more noticeable if prices were any lower.

These then are the factions vying for control of the Iranian state – at odds over personalities, policies, and most importantly, who has the power.

Taheri and Podhoretz may very well be correct in their assessment of the way Ayatollah Khomenie believed more in pan-Islamism than nationalism. But does that still hold true today? Do these squabbling, greedy, kleptocrats really believe in Khomeini’s pan-Islamic vision?

It is impossible to say. And the question is can we afford to misjudge the true nature of the regime? Either way western leaders jump regarding Iran – bombing or deterrence – both choices are bad choices with catastrophe possible no matter what the decision might be.

If the Iranians don’t care about Iran, only Islam, deterrence will not work. And while bombing their infrastructure will set their program back a few years, what they will unleash in retaliation causes nightmares at the Pentagon, the State Department, and in the minds of any rational person.

But if the Iranian regime is not bound by the normal constraints of deterrence, what option do we really have? If they are able to acquire the ability to build a nuclear weapon and intend on using it, prudence dictates we try and prevent that eventuality at all costs.

On the other hand, what if the true nature of the regime is as posited by the Army War College? While the mullah’s worldview may be anachronistic and twisted, they nevertheless may very well respond reasonably to the threat of retaliation by the Israelis or the United States. In this case, they may have the bomb – but possess it only as a guarantor of the regime not as an offensive threat. If we chose to bomb, we would unleash Iranian retaliation when it was not necessary.

I think my rundown above of the factions in Iran shows there are probably both camps at large and are currently in a tug of war. The conservatives, despite poor performance by Ahmadinejad and electoral setbacks are still marginally in control. But Khamenei still has his finger on any nuclear trigger and while he sides with the conservatives on occasion, he has not been reluctant to slap Ahmadinejad publicly and put him in his place – as he did last summer when he had parliament pass a new electoral law that will shave around 14 months off of Ahmadinejad’s term.

The bottom line is that there really is no way of gleaning the true intent of the Iranian regime because of the shifting sands of power that has been the hallmark of the mullahs since Khomeini’s time. The American hostages were pawns in this game back in 1980 while the British sailors taken earlier this year also became hostage to the competition at the highest levels of the regime.

To bomb or not to bomb. There is only one right answer. And I’m glad I’m not going to be the one who has to make the decision.

By: Rick Moran at 7:55 pm | Permalink | Comments & Trackbacks (4)


I have been something of an agnostic on climate change. The politicization of the issue has become so pronounced that it is impossible to have a rational discussion on the issue with either side. Every piece of evidence that emerges for or against global warming and its anthropogenic nature is dismissed or embraced, depending on one’s point of view.

Currently, those who believe the human race is doomed unless we do something about carbon emissions are in the ascendancy, largely as a result of a clever media campaign and a demonization of global warming detractors. But reading science publications – even those geared toward a general audience – reveals a still lively debate among scientists on many, many issues that those who seek to politicize the issue have already declared settled. How much is industrial activity to blame? Just how fast is the phenomena occurring? How bad will it get? Is there anything we can do about it?

Based purely on scientific evidence, there is no doubt that the world is getting warmer – something that has been occurring since the end of the last ice age. There is compelling evidence that human industrial activity over the last 100 years is, in fact, having an effect on temperature although there are still some responsible skeptics who attempt to make a case otherwise. I personally find their evidence less and less convincing as the years go by.

How much carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gasses are actually making their way to a level in our atmosphere where they would raise temperatures? No one knows. Models trying to predict those levels of carbon dioxide in the upper atmosphere have not been very good. This is not because the phenomena is not occurring but rather because of a lack of raw data that would improve our modeling and allow us to glimpse the future.

Even if the climate is changing, is there anything we can do about it? No one is sure. Lowering emissions may indeed slow down or even eliminate excess global warming. Then again, it may not have any effect at all.

And here is where politics insinuates itself into the debate to the detriment of science as well as the debate itself. Scientists argue whether the Greenland glaciers are growing or shrinking, whether the Antarctic ice cap is melting, whether the cyclical nature of sunspots are to blame for the increase in temperature, even whether polar bears are at risk of becoming extinct or not. But it is politicians and advocates who argue about climate change “solutions” and charge their opponents with being mindless fanatics or anti-science zealots depending on whose ox is being gored.

Where does that leave rational, thoughtful science enthusiasts like you and me who may not have the technical acumen to judge the efficacy of scientific arguments but who try and follow the debate anyway?

On the outside looking in, I’m afraid. Not committing to either camp in this debate means that we are ignored, even ridiculed for not seeing “the truth” of global warming – as if it were some kind of religion that demanded obeisance to a set of beliefs rather than a hard eyed look at the evidence. Recognizing the danger of climate change while trying to maintain a certain skepticism about evidence coming from both sides is enough to drive those of us who respect the scientific method to distraction. But we can certainly examine the political climate in which the debate takes place.

And here is where you will find the most bizarre collection of anti-globalists, anti-capitalists, “sustainable growth” nuts, and population control fanatics allying themselves with Third World kleptocrats in order to soak the west with “carbon offsets” and other gimmicks without reducing emissions by one single molecule. This was the now defunct Kyoto agreement, the first attempt by this motley coalition to radically alter western industrialized civilization.

At least on the other side of the political coin with the most organized efforts to debunk global warming there is the rationality of promoting an anti-warming agenda based largely on economic interests. Lost profits may not be a very noble reason to oppose efforts to reduce emissions but at least it has logic so sorely lacking on the other side.

This then is the political atmosphere in which charge and counter charge is hurled back and forth, with the global warming cadres spewing nonsense about comparing skeptics with “Nazis” while the skeptics accuse climate change advocates of being Luddites.

To say that most conservatives fall into the latter category is a given. Their natural enemies are found in the NGO’s, the non-profits, and the UN offshoots who seek to undermine capitalism and free markets while strangling economic growth – all in a good cause, of course. And the fact that they want to carry out these draconian measures while much of the scientific debate still rages causes most conservatives to blanch when any proposals to fight climate change are proposed.

I believe this to be a shortsighted and wrongheaded approach to the political problems of climate change. There is something to be said for the global warming advocate’s argument that we simply can’t afford not to do anything. Simply ignoring the problem as Republican Presidential candidates are doing is not only bad politics, it’s bad science as well. As Tigerhawk points out, we risk much by not engaging in the debate over what to do about climate change:

The key is to separate the increasingly convincing scientific arguments substantiating the fact of anthropogenic climate change from the remedies for that change, which can take many forms and will shape the world in which we live for generations to come. In theory it should be easy to do so—after all, one can never derive what “ought” from what “is.” The fact of anthropogenic climate change does not tell us what we ought to do about it. Unfortunately, politicians, activists, lawyers, journalists, and other advocates specialize in claiming, falsely, that “what ought” follows inexorably from “what is,” no matter how intellectually dishonest those claims may be. My advice to conservatives, therefore, is that we stop arguing about whether human activity causes global climate change and start getting in front of solutions that will accelerate the creation of wealth over the long term.
(Hat Tip: MVG)

The fact is, there is plenty that we can do as a society to lower our emissions without experiencing the kind of catastrophic pain that would have been caused by following Kyoto dictates. Start with our automobiles – developing sensible timetables to drastically lower emissions from cars would be an excellent start. This would almost certainly force automakers to heavily invest in hybrid technology while improving the performance and lowering the price of those kinds of cars.

We could also start building nuclear power plants to replace the old, carbon spewing coal fired plants that have caused other environmental problems like acid rain. Small scale development of solar, wind, and geothermal power would also contribute to a lowering of emissions, despite the fact that industrial scale power production using those methods of generating electricity are extremely expensive and inefficient.

And doing what America does best – invent, improve, and innovate – spurred on by the free market will no doubt produce other solutions down the road. Hydrogen powered cars, more efficient public transportation, and things unimagined and unglimpsed will contribute in the future to reducing our emissions of greenhouse gases.

All of these are conservative alternatives to the bloated, government centered, confiscatory ideas advocated by Al Gore and his acolytes in the Democratic party as well as the even more draconian measures advocated by global warming advocates overseas or in the United Nations.

The political question is simple; can conservatives continue to ignore the implications of climate change? Or, as Tigerhawk writes, should we get out in front of the issue to advocate “solutions” that are mostly market based and not so damaging to our economy?

Color me a skeptic who thinks the time has come for conservatives to step up on this issue.

By: Rick Moran at 2:06 pm | Permalink | Comments & Trackbacks (15)


As media scandals go, the flap over CNN’s use of Hillary-friendly Democratic questioners at last Thursday’s debate probably won’t rise to the level of full scale nuclear annihilation, where the network becomes so radioactive that it disappears from cable never to be seen again.

That might be what it deserves. And if life were fair, the next glimpse we got of Wolf Blitzer on television would be as a weatherman in Minot, North Dakota, wearing stupid hats and sponsoring contests for viewers on how much snow would fall for the month.

But life isn’t fair and multi-billion dollar corporations just don’t up and disappear no matter how seriously they transgress against the trust viewers place in their integrity as journalists. Hence, CNN will continue, albeit with a lot more scrutiny directed its way and a definite loss of credibility that it will have a hard time earning back.

To put it succinctly, CNN blew it. Everything about that Las Vegas debate – from the distribution of tickets, to the choice of moderators and commentators, to the absolute control of questions asked by audience members, to their agreement to pick Democratic operatives as “average voters” to ask questions – stinks of rank partisanship and boosterism for the Democratic front runner Hillary Clinton.

It is impossible to imagine any other network now or in the past behaving in such an arrogant manner.


  • 2000 tickets were available for the debate with 1000 going to UNLV (on whose campus the event was held) and another 1000 going to the Nevada Democratic party. It appears that the NDP packed the house with Hillary supporters while only 100 students from UNLV - younger voters more disposed to supporting Obama or Edwards – were allowed tickets while the other 900 apparently went to faculty and staff of the University.

While CNN was not directly responsible for this gaming of the audience, they might have made an effort to make the ticket distribution fairer. Especially in light of what occurred when CNN used that audience to ask questions of the candidates.

  • Why did CNN allow an anti-war activist hardly your “average voter” – to make a statement about not attacking Iran in the thinly disguised form of a question from the audience?
  • Why didn’t CNN disclose James Carville’s connections to the Clinton camp during the post debate wrap up?

And those are just the obvious questions. Among others, one could also ask about Wolf Blitzer’s choice of questions and his tone toward Clinton (a might too deferential?) considering the threats issued by Hillary staffers toward him in the lead up to the debate.

All of this raises the ultimate question; is CNN surreptitiously promoting the candidacy of Hillary Clinton? Even asking the question seriously damages CNN’s credibility. To cross the line from journalism to political advocacy is something the left accuses Fox News of doing. Will Democrats now refuse to appear on CNN as well? Will they forgo appearing in any more debates on that network?

Media bias is one thing. What CNN is accused of doing is something entirely different. Throwing the weight of a multi-billion dollar corporation with such a large political presence on the media landscape behind a candidate would be almost unprecedented. Not since the national news networks worked to bring the Nixon Administration down has there been such a blatant attempt to influence the opinion of the American people regarding a single politician.

The network may see Clinton’s candidacy as a great story – first woman president and all that. But is that any reason to cross the line and advocate her nomination and election? Given the economics of the news business, we certainly shouldn’t put it past CNN to play this kind of game. Face it; a Hillary presidency would be more interesting than a Giuliani or Romney presidency. More people will watch CNN during a Clinton tour in the White House than any other candidate running in either party, including Obama. It wouldn’t be the first time “bottom line journalism” was practiced by a network. And it probably won’t be the last.

How badly does this damage Mrs. Clinton? Watch the polls over the next 10 days or so. Even with weak opponents like Obama and Edwards, if Clinton loses any ground, it could be significant in that she will start reminding people just how the Clinton’s operate – the ruthlessness, the “win at all costs” attitude that marked her husband’s years in politics.

The American people may very well not want to relive those years when scandal after scandal rocked the White House and people got royally sick of the machinations by both parties. But until someone emerges to challenge her, Hillary Clinton will be the one to beat for both the Democratic nomination and the presidency.

By: Rick Moran at 10:05 am | Permalink | Comments & Trackbacks (5) Political News and Blog Aggregator linked with Debate Tonight May Focus on Latino Voters...

This won’t be directed at any one party or media outlet. Nor will it be about one candidate or another from either party or even about the efficacy of one ideology over another, although I suspect the situation I will describe has its roots in new left nanny statism.

No matter. The modern conservative movement is just as guilty as liberalism. I am talking about the babying of the American voter in which all media, parties, ideologies, and candidates insist on engaging. It isn’t just “dumbing down” political messages or coverage of politics that is the issue here, although it is certainly one of the symptoms. What I am talking about goes to the very heart of the relationship between those who govern and those who are governed with the media as a combination intermediary and watchdog and the utter contempt for the intelligence and discernment of the American voter exhibited by these elites who have deliberately infantilized the process of how we elect our leaders.

I’ve often thought that one reason Americans don’t trust their government is that their government doesn’t trust the American people very much. This goes double for the mass media whose sneering contempt for much of their audience is made abundantly clear in the way they cover politics and issues as well as what they choose to program as entertainment on their networks.

Even the 24 hours news nets – with rare exceptions – waste most of the day on trivialities. A story involving some pretty, blond, white woman who disappears or is murdered by her husband will get more attention for days or weeks at a time than the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan or issues of war and peace with Iran, North Korea, China, Russia, or any other place in the world where informing the people would mean spending more than 3 minutes with both sides shouting back and forth about who is at fault.

The bottom line is that even with 24 hours of programming to fill, the promise of all news networks to greatly enhance our knowledge base about the world at home and abroad has been miserably wasted as a result of a deliberate decision to make their broadcasts as a whole appeal to the lowest common denominator. And the problem there is that most media executives have such a titanically low opinion of the average American voter, that they inevitably find not the lowest common denominator but rather the lowest denominator period. A half wit would understand more nuance and depth than that given on most news broadcasts.

It’s all for our own good, of course. Witness last night’s Democratic debate where ordinary people simply weren’t trusted to ask decent questions of the candidates. The sponsoring network had to vet and approve all questions prior to their going on the air:

Maria Luisa, the UNLV student who asked Hillary Clinton whether she preferred “diamonds or pearls” at last night’s debate wrote on her MySpace page this morning that CNN forced her to ask the frilly question instead of a pre-approved query about the Yucca Mountain nuclear waste repository.

“Every single question asked during the debate by the audience had to be approved by CNN,” Luisa writes. “I was asked to submit questions including “lighthearted/fun” questions. I submitted more than five questions on issues important to me. I did a policy memo on Yucca Mountain a year ago and was the finalist for the Truman Scholarship. For sure, I thought I would get to ask the Yucca question that was APPROVED by CNN days in advance.”

CNN’s condescending explanation:

Sam Feist, the executive producer of the debate, said that the student was asked to choose another question because the candidates had already spent about ten minutes discussing Yucca Mountain.

“When her Yucca mountain question was asked, she was given the opportunity to ask another question, and my understand is that the [diamond v. pearls] questions was her other question,” Feist said. “She probably was disappointed, but we spent a lot of time with a bunch of different candidates on Yucca Mountain, and we were at the end of the debate.”

Note the tone: “She was given the opportunity to ask another question…” as if the most important thing in the world was face time on TV for Luisa. And given the extraordinary importance that the nuclear waste issue to the people of Nevada, who the hell is this guy Feist to say that they talked enough about it and it was time to move on to something else?

What he’s really saying is that this affects only the people in Nevada and the ignorant rubes in other parts of the country aren’t interested. The fact is that there is the real possibility that the nuclear power issue will once again be of overriding national importance very soon. There are plans to start building more reactors so the equally vital issue of what to do with waste from the new plants will have a direct bearing on the Yucca Mountain project which was, after all, conceived as a large part of the solution to the problem of spent fuel.

It seems to me that Feist and CNN had their heads so far up their large intestine about the “entertainment value” of their show that they missed the staggering implications of talking about Yucca Mountain as much as possible in order to inform the rest of us about an issue that will be of seminal importance in the near future.

CNN is not the only network whose arrogance causes them to treat the American people as if they were three year olds. Fox and MSNBC are equally guilty of supplying coverage of politics and issues that will fit in 3-5 minute segments and are more likely to offer “opposing viewpoints” on a candidate or an issue that accomplishes absolutely nothing except proving which side has the more colorful invective they can hurl at each other.

It is a matter of informing the public of the issues. Yes they are complex and can’t be broken down easily. But there is a real hunger for information in this country. Otherwise, people wouldn’t tune in as often as they do during the day. Nor would they be abandoning TV altogether in order to get their news on the internet where on line newspapers, blogs, and other publications devote considerably more time and space to giving information and offering informed opinion.

But that internet audience, compared the the electorate as a whole, is still relatively tiny. And here is where the candidates and parties fail to pick up the slack and force the issue of treating voters as adults and not children to be led around by the nose.

Candidates are more apt today to simply sound off on their positions on issues without giving any background to their thinking of how they arrived at a particular conclusion. The only candidate who is doing this today seems to be Barack Obama who takes great pains to talk about his position on the Iraq War and how he arrived at his anti-war position. I don’t agree with him but you can certainly respect someone who obviously gave the matter a great deal of thought.

It is clear that Obama trusts the voter more than most candidates. Not so his Democratic or Republican rivals who rarely delve into the meat of their positions and cite reasons why they think the way they do.

The reason they don’t is that it is too revealing. They are afraid that we, the ignorant voter, might get the wrong idea or more likely, lose track of where a candidate’s position shifted or was changed by the acquisition of new information and simply believe the simplistic mantra thrown out by his opponent that he is a “flip-flopper.”

The media plays along with this little game, dutifully reporting the idiotic charge and counter-charge with little effort to give context or meaning to the smears. It is politics as mud wrestling. And while there is a long, storied history of it in America, it appears to me that this something into which all politics has morphed; a slugfest that is as bereft of ideas and substance. Politicians have simply given up trying to explain themselves and have decided that going for the jugular is the best way to win.

It didn’t used to be this way. Read the campaign speeches of Eisenhower or Kennedy and prepare to be shocked. Sure there was plenty of fluff. But both men were fully prepared to have a conversation with the American people about their candidacy. They didn’t shrink from complex issues nor did they “dumb down” their positions and treat the voters as if they were 3 year old children whose diaper needed changing.

I realize I’m rambling a bit but I hate the feeling of being talked down to and treated by the media and candidates as if I wasn’t smart enough to make my decision on who to vote for and base that decision not on the treacle that passes for media coverage of a candidate or a candidate’s own cynical attempts to manipulate my emotions but rather on the candidates well thought out stands on the issues.

I am not naive. There has always been a certain amount of manipulation of voter emotions in politics. But one of the reasons for the extraordinary polarization today has got to be the demonization of the other side and fear mongering the notion that electing them will be the end of the world. This simplistic formulation for victory began in the 1970’s and gets worse every election cycle.

We enter an extraordinarily dangerous period in our history hopelessly divided and completely unable to work together on issues vital to our security and economic well being. And fully half of all registered voters will probably not vote in 2008 – mostly out of disgust and loathing for this state of affairs. There is plenty of fault to go around. The problem did not arise on January 20, 2001 nor will it end on January 20, 2009. The question isn’t “Who’s to blame” but rather “What do we do about it?”

We can start by demanding that the elites in media and politics begin to treat the American voter with more respect. A candidate and a government that starts to trust the people a little more will help. But given all that I’ve seen and heard, that day is a long way off.

By: Rick Moran at 3:45 pm | Permalink | Comments & Trackbacks (7)

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The long expected indictment of baseball slugger Barry Bonds has come down as the four year investigation into his shady dealings with steroid supplier Victor Conte and his sports supplement company BALCO resulted in charges that Bonds lied to a grand jury and obstructed justice:

“During the criminal investigation, evidence was obtained including positive tests for the presence of anabolic steroids and other performance enhancing substances for Bonds and other athletes,” the indictment read.

In August, the 43-year-old Bonds passed Hank Aaron to become baseball’s career home run leader. Late in the season, the San Francisco Giants told the seven-time National League MVP they didn’t want him back next year. He is currently a free agent.

While Bonds was chasing Aaron, the grand jury was working behind closed doors to complete the long-rumored indictment.

“I’m surprised,” said John Burris, one of Bonds’ attorneys, “but there’s been an effort to get Barry for a long time. “I’m curious what evidence they have now they didn’t have before.”

The indictment charged Bonds with lying when he said that he didn’t knowingly take steroids given to him by his personal trainer, Greg Anderson. He also denied taking steroids at anytime in 2001 when he was pursuing the season home-run record.

Bonds told the grand jury that he thought his friend and personal trainer Greg Anderson was injecting him with vitamins, not steroids. His ex-girlfriend, who will almost certainly be a key witness against him at any trial, told the grand jury that Bonds knew exactly what was in the injections, even joking about how much muscle the steroids and human growth hormone regimen that BALCO was supervising at the time put on his physique.

There were other incredible lies told by Bonds, according to leaked grand jury testimony. He said that be believed one of the anabolics he was taking – “The Clear” – which was administered by placing a small amount underneath the tongue, was actually “flaxseed oil.” And he testified he thought his trainer was applying an arthritis treatment when actually, the creme Anderson was rubbing into Bonds’ arms contained a potent and unregulated anabolic steroid.

As I made clear in my article back in August for PJ Media, today’s indictment was a foregone conclusion:

The Feds have him cold. Not only grand jury testimony from a dozen people connected Bonds directly to steroid use, but Victor Conte—owner of the sports “supplement” company BALCO—produced voluminous records tracking Bonds steroid use over several years. The ledgers and calendars Conte gave the Feds show exactly what steroids Bonds took, his levels of testosterone from month to month, and other evidence that left absolutely no doubt that Bonds used banned substances to enhance his performance.

And so another superstar athlete goes on trial. I’m dead sure we can expect another media circus, another wall-to-wall cable free for all. The case will be analyzed ad infinitum until we and the press are so sick of it that the inevitable “Whither the Press” stories begin to come out and the media wrings its hands and bemoans its inability to resist the siren call of scandal. They will blame us, the viewer, for their dilemma, taking us to task for our compulsion to watch these train wrecks masquerading as trials, whining that they are only giving the people what they want and it’s not their fault if the American people are obsessed with celebrity.

Meanwhile, the world becomes an even more dangerous place and real news is confined to 5 minute updates at the top and bottom of the hour. And 24 hour news channels can’t find the time to outline what is at stake in Iran, Iraq, Pakistan, Afghanistan, or any of the half dozen other vital areas of the world that will lose out to Barry Bonds and his soap opera trial for lying to the grand jury that he cheated while playing a kid’s game.

Just thought a little perspective might be in order before the circus begins…

By: Rick Moran at 6:28 pm | Permalink | Comments & Trackbacks (8) Political News and Blog Aggregator linked with Bonds indicted on perjury, obstruction charges...