|By A.D. Freudenheim||
I do not know why this week's news strikes me as so much more amusing than what typically comes and goes in the course of any other week, but well, a few things stood out recently, as politics and world events collided in different ways. Herewith, a short round-up of some of the stories I find particularly enchanting.
1. I heard a great joke recently. Ready for this one? Here goes:
Funny, isn't it? This man, who has lead the House Democrats in some fashion for eight years - most recently to their November 2002 electoral slaughter - has consistently scored a big zero in the personality department. And what is the presidency if not a giant personality contest? I do not want to suggest that Gephardt is missing some very real legislative qualifications; he has been a good liberal representative for more than 25 years, with important votes to his credit. But as a politician, as the leader of the Democrats, he lacks teeth and the will to fight. He lacks personality, the get-up-and-go necessary to get out there and lie blatantly about the evils of the other side (just as the other side does). Plus, could you vote for a guy without eyebrows?
2. Ariel Sharon, now facing a difficult election under the weight of a huge Likud-party corruption scandal, has accused Palestinian Leader Yasser Arafat of "meddling" in the Israeli political process, since it is obvious to Sharon that Arafat wants a left-wing government with whom he can negotiate for territory. Oh, come one. This is funny because, well, if you were Arafat, wouldn't you "meddle" in the election if you could, in order to reduce Sharon's chances? And because, well, what has Sharon himself done so well for the last 18 months but meddle with the Palestinian Authority's governing process and force them to call off elections entirely? And because, well, it seems like it was Arafat's desire to kick-start the current Intifada back in the fall of 2000 that helped Sharon get elected in the first place. If I didn't know better, I'd say these two were in cahoots.
See: http://story.news.yahoo.com/news?tmpl=story&u=/nm/20030112/wl_nm/mideast_dc_20 for more information.
3. Hans Blix, the chief United Nations weapons inspector and the man leading the team on the ground in Iraq, claims that the U.N. has been unable to find any actual, physical evidence of the weapons programs that would show Iraq to be in violation of international law and the U.N. sanctions that were imposed after its defeat in the 1991 Gulf War. Lucky for Blix, he will soon be getting more "intelligence" from the variously interested governments (such as ours) that might shed some light on this subject. Hmmmm. I think this is funny for two reasons: the first is because I am fairly certain that Iraq has chemical and/or biological weapons and the facilities to make them; I am not saying this justifies the impending war, only that I think Iraq is a danger. The second reason this is funny is because the whole point of President Bush's decision to go along with U.N. inspections was to placate everyone by proving that a war to disarm Saddam Hussein was necessary and important because Hussein's Iraq is dangerously well-armed. So why wasn't Blix getting the necessary intelligence information beforehand? Maybe it's the Bush Administration that has something to hide?
4. The Bush tax plan/economic stimulus plan. I should not laugh about this too much because, frankly, I probably stand to benefit from it a lot more than most Americans. But that's exactly the problem. I wouldn't mind a little tax relief, if it was likely to benefit me without seriously hurting the community in which I live; or if those earning less money but paying proportionately higher taxes received better relief; or if the really wealthy Americans who will receive the lion's share of this tax cut, were actually going to turn around and dump that money into the economy. It won't work that way, however. The community I live in is hurting already, and without additional federal support is likely to suffer further, except the Feds won't have any more money after this $670 billion bonanza; the working poor will feel very little from this tax cut, since half of it is for people who can afford to spend money on luxuries like stocks (and this does not include food stocks such as one might store in a pantry); and the rich, as we all know, do not follow the dictates of supply-side economic theory, they only like the benefits that come from the supply-side tax cuts, which means they'll be more likely to save the extra money, not spend it or invest it in new businesses or jobs. Oh, and by the way: many of the states will be screwed by this plan, too. Bet those Republican governors are happy about having President Bush in office now!
See: http://story.news.yahoo.com/news?tmpl=story&u=/ap/20030108/ap_on_go_pr_wh/bush_92 or http://story.news.yahoo.com/news?tmpl=story&u=/ap/20030109/ap_on_go_ot/governors_economy_1 for the states' story.
5. North Korea. Anyone who watched Saturday Night Live last night, and saw Horatio Sanz's brilliant send-up of North Korean dictator Kim Jong-il knows exactly what I am talking about. And if you missed it, try to find someone who taped or Tivo'd it. Seriously: it has been a long time since one country and one ruler has been such a joke and yet so seriously a problem for the world. (Excluding President Bush and the U.S., of course.)
See: http://story.news.yahoo.com/news?tmpl=story&u=/kr/20030112/lo_krnewyork/a_slice_of_life_in_kim_s_world for a bit of the insider's view on His Nuttiness.
Those are five fine stories for you, with additional reading noted. If you want more, go pick up your local newspaper - I guarantee there is more comedy out there, waiting for an audience. Just remember: laughing is much better than crying.
Copyright 2003, by A.D. Freudenheim.
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This page is part of: The Truth As I See It.