Saturday, December 29, 2007



Are You Kidding!?

New York, New York (Dec. 28, 2007) In the middle of one of our quadrennial spend-and-lie-a-thons known as a presidential campaign, our attention is captured by an assassination half a world away. And it should be.

Returning to her native Pakistan after years of self imposed, (self preserving exile), the two time former Prime Minister, Benazir Bhutto was killed in Rawalpindi this past Thursday. She returned to Pakistan under the shaky auspices of a “power sharing deal” with the current leader of that country, Pervez Musharraf. The political turmoil has only increased since her return. As the national elections grew closer, many feared violence would mar the political process. The internal problems in Pakistan are of real concern for America since Pakistan has been an ‘ally’ in our war against terrorism. Neighboring Afghanistan is a hotbed of radical Islamic fundamentalists, the reconstituted Taliban and, of course, the stronger than ever, Al Qaeda. The United States has given billions of dollars in arms, aid and cash to Pakistan since September 2001. Their value as an ‘ally’ is arguable, dubious at best. Much of the Pakistani government and military share sympathies and ideology with those we fight against.

Benazir Bhutto was the eldest daughter of a former Prime Minister who was ultimately executed in 1979 for allegedly arranging the murder of a political rival. he was hung after a controversial trial that many outsiders saw as a sham. His daughter was forced to resign her office once in 1990 due to corruption and bribery charges. She was reelected in 1993 but, by 1996 was forced to resign again due to similar allegations. She was living in exile in Dubai since 1998.

Despite her history and the inherent dangers in Pakistan, particularly within the contentious, often deadly realm of Pakistani politics, she returned, facing incredible danger, to serve her people. Her belief in a democratic form of government and all that entails, was such a powerful motivation that she felt compelled to challenge her many rivals, those known and those in the shadows, in the hopes of making life better for the average Pakistani. She died for her cause.

We have not had a political assassination in America since John F. Kennedy was killed in 1963. We have not had effective government in America for at least the last 20 years. This is not to imply a connection between these two stark facts; just a couple of points of reference.

We are governed by politicians, not believers or legislators, not men and women with character, commitment, fundamental concepts about the public good or effective governance. Our elected leaders are proven liars, criminals, corrupted by power, money, influence and their own egos. They are not the best and brightest among us merely the best hustlers, operators and con artists money can buy. Oh, they can all talk one hell of a game, swindle money from fat-cat backers, special interest donors and every ilk of scumbag that moves in their circles. However, once in office they prove to be so profoundly inept, unmotivated, negligent, ignorant and arrogant that they become detached from reality.

Benazir Bhutto’s murder should not be used as a political tumbleweed in this campaign season but rather as a pointed reminder to those who seek higher office about what it takes to be a real and true leader. If only we had one presidential candidate with the courage of convictions, dedication to service and courage of Ms. Bhutto, we would have a president worthy of our respect and trust. We will probably never see such traits in an inhabitant of the White House. And for that sad fact, we should all mourn.

Copyright © 2007 TBC All Rights Reserved

Monday, December 24, 2007

Christmas Eve

Thirty nine years ago tonight human beings, men, three American astronauts went to the dark side of the moon. The Apollo 8 mission was the second manned Apollo flight, the first circumnavigation of our closest celestial neighbor and the precursor to what would ultimately put two Americans on the lunar surface in July 1969.

How easy it is to forget such achievements, how quickly the subsequent history over shadows such defining moments.

The Apollo Program was the culmination of an unprecedented project, a project of immense scale and scope with inherent complexities wrapped within unknown and unknowable risks. It was the result of a mandate issued by a young president who wouldn’t live to witness its fulfillment. But, we saw it happen. We watched in respectful silence in those turbulent days as we marveled at what we were capable of at, what the best, brightest and bravest of us were able to accomplish by striving beyond expectations while so many of the rest of our best, brightest and bravest fought the good fight in the jungles of Viet Nam.

As Apollo 8 orbited the moon, the crew were seen in flickering grainy, black and white image television images during a live broadcast from the farthest reaches of mans explorations. Frank Borman, Jim Lovell and Bill Anders delivered a humble yet enormously profound message from that distance, a message from the Bible, the first Book of the Old Testament, Genesis, to be precise. Who could imagine such a message today with all the political correctness and partisanship, endless bickering over matters of church and state?

But, at that time it was taken in the manner it was delivered and in that spirit, their message to all of us is reprinted below.

From all The Brooding Cynyx to all of you and yours, Happy Holidays and all the best in health, happiness and peace.

So, from Christmas Eve 1968, broadcast live from lunar orbit, the crew of Apollo 8:

William Anders:

We are now approaching the lunar sunrise and, for all the people back on Earth, the crew of Apollo 8 has a message we would like to send you.

In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth. And the earth was without form, and void; and darkness was upon the face of the deep. And the Spirit of God moved upon the face of the waters. And God said, Let there be light: and there was light. And God saw the light, that it was good: and God divided the light from the darkness.

Jim Lovell:

And God called the light Day, and the darkness he called Night. And the evening and the morning were the first day. And God said, Let there be a firmament in the midst of the waters, and let it divide the waters from the waters. And God made the firmament, and divided the waters which were under the firmament from the waters which were above the firmament: and it was so. And God called the firmament Heaven. And the evening and the morning were the second day.

Frank Borman:

And God said, Let the waters under the heavens be gathered together unto one place, and let the dry land appear: and it was so. And God called the dry land Earth; and the gathering together of the waters called he Seas: and God saw that it was good.

And from the crew of Apollo 8, we close with good night, good luck, a Merry Christmas, and God bless all of you - all of you on the good Earth."