Tuesday, November 23, 2004

Some People Have All The Luck

There was an election in the Ukraine. . . well, sort of. The losers screamed foul and the liberals from Europe and the United States who “monitored” the event declared widespread fraud.

The country is polarized ethno-geographically. Russians to the east, Ruthenians or Ukrainians to the west. Protesters have poured into the capitol, Kiev, demanding their man take the reins of government and the opponents have both taken the oath of office.

At last report, the outpouring of tens of thousands has remained free of violence. Maybe that happy state of affairs will remain. Most likely not.

I have a new acquaintance in Kiev to whom I addressed a tongue in cheek inquiry on the order of “are you having fun yet?” Her answer was a terse,
“its nothing to play there. nothing fun.
it is revolution” [sic]

It could very well be a revolution. Something the Shah learned the hard way was a little bit of freedom could get the revolutionary wind up a whole bunch faster than more repression.

Here at home, on the other hand, there has not been an uprising over election results in the past 144 years. There seems to be a self-righting mechanism in our political process that allows for massive abuses without citizens having to take to the barricades to correct the situation.

Russian Federation President Vladimir Putin offered his congratulations to the pro-Russian candidate before the polls closed indicating that the election was a done deal. An assistant Secretary of State called the Russian Ambassador on the carpet to express Official American distaste at the inappropriateness of Putin’s remarks. That’s all well and good, but it’s a good thing the Russians don’t reciprocate every time Dubya puts his foot in his mouth or our man in Moscow, Alexander Vershbow, would wear out lots of shoes.

The Ukrainian people have been hard done by for the past umpty-ump years. Stalin starved millions of them to death in forced collectivization. They were on the way to recovery from that when the Nazis marched in. By the time WWII was over, 20% of the population was dead and their cities were fields of rubble. They were well on their way to recovery once more when the Chornobyl disaster laid waste to thousands of square miles of some of Europe's richest farm land, killed hundreds, and doomed thousands more to premature deaths. Women who live along the Dnepr river, the major waterway of the country, wryly joke about two-headed babies to this day. On top of that, the average wage for the country is $60 per month, the outgoing president and his cronies having stolen all the rest.

I wish them well, but fear for their future as the path to freedom is not an easy one. As Thomas Jefferson wrote, “The Tree of Liberty must be refreshed from time to time, with the blood of patriots and tyrants.”

Wednesday, November 17, 2004

It Just Keeps Getting Better And Better

Vladimir Putin, President of the Russian Federation, announced a new offensive weapon [HERE] issuing a challenge by claiming that it could not be countered nor could anyone else develop such a marvel.

Oh, golly gee! First we’re bogged down in a latter day Vietnam, Iran is developing nukes, Nkorea is getting frisky, China is sending submarines into Japanese territorial waters, and the Russians decide that another arms race is just the ticket.

In another vein, a young Marine blew away a wounded and supposedly unarmed Iraqi after his unit had been fired upon by other supposedly wounded and unarmed Iraqis.

Not many people remember this little bit of military trivia, but early in the battle of Guadalcanal in August, 1942, Marines came on the bodies of other Marines who had been captured by the Japanese and duly executed under the code of Bushido. From that day until the end of the war Marines only took prisoners when ordered to do so, and not many then.

The moral? Some guys are too smart to let a cheesedick get the first shot.

Wednesday, November 03, 2004


I saw the movie today. For those of you who are into music, it is a must-see. I like to think of myself a reasonably manly man. I tell you that to emphasize what comes next. The last few scenes left me with tears streaming down my cheeks. I wasn’t alone; I could hear people around me snuffling and blowing noses. I can’t speak for the others, but mine were tears of joy.

I can’t recall the last time a film had that kind of impact. I’ll mark this one a 5 star thumbs up.

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