Wednesday, December 14, 2005

"The time has come," the Walrus said

"I weep for you," the Walrus said:
"I deeply sympathize."
With sobs and tears he sorted out
Those of the largest size,
Holding his pocket-handkerchief
Before his streaming eyes.

"O Oysters," said the Carpenter,
"You've had a pleasant run!
Shall we be trotting home again?'
But answer came there none--
And this was scarcely odd, because
They'd eaten every one.

-Lewis Caroll, The Walrus and the Carpenter

It’s really been a challenge to concentrate on anything but my own selfish wants, this past week or so. The keyboard to the computer I use every day sacrificed itself to save an innocent lap from scalding hot tea. The brave board went boldly into the silicon hereafter, leaving my family at a dire loss (until a new keyboard could be shipped... in Christmas postal crush). I loved the old board. My hands had finally become accustomed to the smooth operation and the easy, quiet way the keys worked while I played solitaire. The new guy is going to take some getting used to.

Still, I consider myself lucky. I’m back online again, as of Tuesday at noon, and, so far, nobody has tried to shoot me for expressing my opinions. In this day and age, it’s still a rare gift, to live in freedom. And, contrary to the beliefs of some who still foam at the mouth and clutch at their foil hats every time Karl Rove is mentioned, it’s still a free country.

And, for those with the foil hats, it must be a particularly nasty December so far, thinking about the new guy John Bolton running roughshod over the feelings of the United Nations. After all, he had the unmitigated gall to call things as he saw them. First, at the beginning of this month, Bolton told the UN -- as they signed the Palestinian Resolutions which, among other things, condemn Israel for defending itself against terrorism and call for Israel to surrender even more land to the people who were trying to eliminate them -- they were increasingly demonstrating their irrelevance. According to, Bolton said, “These resolutions are purely symbolic. It is one reason why many people say the UN is not really useful in solving actual problems. We have been making enormous progress toward solutions in the Arab-Israeli conflict, and that progress has benefited from UN participation, but it does not benefit from needless repetition of meaningless resolutions in the General Assembly.”

Following that scathing speech, he came out three days later (after another suicide bomber attacked and killed innocents in Israel) with a few choice words for the Security Council: "you have to speak up in response to these terrorist attacks. It's a great shame that the Security Council couldn't speak to this terrorist attack in Netanya, but if the Council won't speak, the United States will."

Bolton has been pressing the members of the United Nations to start cleaning up their acts, has demanded that those who sit on the Human Rights Commission have at least made an effort to protect basic human rights (no more China, shooting civilians for sitting in protest against local land-grabbing governments, no more Zimbabwe and its bulldozing homes of the poor, no more Cuba and imprisoning good people for having the chutzpah to contract AIDS, no more Iran or North Korea or any other nation whose record on human rights is blatantly abysmal). He’s informed the UN that the corruption which seems to flow from the top down must be cleaned up, or else we will find -- or build -- a new treaty organization which is willing act both responsibly and effectively.

Bolton has also stated, just this week, that he -- that we -- will not tolerate obstruction of the investigation into the bombings in Lebanon. Outside the Security Council chambers he spoke to journalists: "On the part of the U.S., there's no wavering from the proposition that Syria is not going to get away with obstructing this investigation. It's not going to cover up the actions of its senior officials, and it's not going to escape the consequences."

Dang, it must gall the folks who wanted him filibustered into oblivion! He came in fast and low, under the radar, and slipped in by interim appointment, and now there’s nobody to stop him from wreaking havoc on the heretofore smug, slimy oysters at Turtle Bay. I haven’t needed any time at all to get used to Bolton. That walrus moustache already tickles me to distraction.

Update: The Daily Review Atlas* has again published my column with somebody else's name attached. This time, the unfortunate soul who has to bear the blame for my words is me muddah (who, through some strange coincidence, just happens to have the same last name as mine). I suppose that's okay, since she has been taking flack for my words and my conduct for lo, these many years anyway. Still, give the poor woman a break!

*whose editors very kindly print my words -- albeit not always properly credited -- each week, at no cost to me.

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