Along the Tracks

Monday, September 15, 2003

Fat cats and roadmaps

You ever get the feeling that some columnists are just “mailing it in”?

Such thoughts cross my mind about as often as I read ... The Toledo Blade.

On Sunday, we were treated to Marilou Johanek’s pointless drivel about “fat cats” - literal and figurative, followed by a house editorial full of pointless drivel about the “Roadmap” that eventually took a turn into pure fiction.

Let’s consider Marilou’s “effort” first.

Her column, “Fat cats like Clyde are just living large,” is an attempt at humor, with a little political sarcasm tossed in to spice things up. She writes about a cat, “Clyde,” which we can only assume is her pet. This cat is obese, on a vet’s special diet. And while “fat cats like to hobnob with the powers that be in Washington” seeking goverment perks, her literal hefty feline has no such agenda in hopes of “feathering his nest” (I know, I know, a stupid metaphor to use in a column about cats, but that’s what you get from Marilou). In this meandering through pet life in the Johanek household, we are supposed to draw a contrast of intentions: feline fat cat seeks only comfort, human fat cat seeks unfair advantages.

Problem is, this very same column can be seen to argue a very different conclusion: It is the owner (or politician’s) lack of control over the relationship which causes the “obesity” in the feline in question. Thus, Marilou is comparable to her caricature of ... George W. Bush!

As for the editorial, “No time to back away,” the Blade spends 521 words to tell us, er, this is no time to back away from the raodmap. I can’t exactly say the Blade ignores all the obstacles to peace which make the roadmap, at least for the moment, irrelevant: No Palestinian leader acceptably independent from Arafat, no indication the terrorist groups will stop killing Israeli civilians, no indication the Palestinian Authority will crack down on the terrorists. Rather, the Blade writers mention these problems, then dismiss them with a waive of the hand.

You see - as always - the Israelis are the real problem here. After all, the Blade says so.

Thus, while “the Israelis quite rightly have demanded that the violent elements of the Palestinian movement - Hamas, Islamic Jihad, the al-Aksa Martyrs Brigades of Fatah - stop attacking Israelis,” the excuses for the continued violence quickly tumble out: “The Palestinians would say they do not have sufficient authority nor effective security forces to bring that about.” Meanwhile, the Israelis have

“continued to pursue a policy of scorching the earth in the Palestinian areas, taking revenge for Palestinian attacks on Israelis and seeking to hobble the violent Palestinian groups that the Palestinian Authority has not dealt with.” (Emphasis mine.)

You may want to read that again, just to be sure you caught it. I had to read three times to believe it myself. The Blade says Sharon has followed a scorched earth policy. Usually, such a reference means just what it says - widespread destruction, particularly of the food supply (”scorched earth” in the past meant burning wheat fields), to force starvation on the enemy. This is not just exaggeration of Israeli conduct, it is sheer fantasy.

And if the horrors of the Jewish State imagined by the Blade are not enough, we must also swallow this: Israel has sought to “hobble” the violent Palestinian groups. That, according to the Blade, is negative. That, according to the Blade, interferes with the “peace process.”

I won’t even bother with the ludicrous “revenge” claim.

And so, since it is all Israel’s fault, the Bush administration is advised to threaten Israel’s $3 billion in aid - after all, the paltry $200 million the PA gets is “not much of a lever.” In other words, force Israel to give in on a fake “peace.”

According to the Blade, “there is no acceptable alternative.”

Thank God the editorial writers at The Blade have no influence - and pray they never do.

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