Thursday, 3 February 2011

The Carter "Legacy"

Since the mid 1970s....there's been this wonderful peace deal between Israel and Egypt....compliments of Jimmy Carter.  In fact, if you didn't really grasp this....Jimmy Carter won a Nobel Peace Prize eventually for what he did to engineer this "lasting" peace.

How did "lasting" peace come between these two mortal enemies?  Well....Jimmy certainly won't admit it...nor will the State Department or the two players involved.  But the US came to agree to this vast yearly check that is written out to Israel and Egypt to buy military hardware...US hardware.  Currently....if you weren't aware of is....we give Egypt $1.5 billion a year in hardware.

What does it take to humor and make the Egyptian military happy?  $1.5 billion.  Basically, the government pays the military's salary structure, and the US covers all of the military desires and training.....and everyone is very happy about this deal.  At least enough not to desire any screw-ups on the whole Carter deal.

So what happened today?  The Muslim Brotherhood....who is the chief player behind the riots in Egypt has spoken out and indicated that they want the Carter deal torn down the minute that Murbarak retires.  I'm guessing a dozen Egyptian generals are sitting there and wondering how exactly things would work in a non-US big-daddy situation. I'm guessing this is not the environment they want....and this might set up a different outcome to this mess in the coming days.

Course, the shock might be that the Carter "Legacy" starts to unravel, and some news idiots might be standing there in thirty days....trying to explain how Carter's deal worked and why we suddenly have $1.5 extra now laying around when the Egyptians dumped their peace treaty.  Personally....I'd call it the Carter "dividend", and maybe just give Jimmy another Nobel Prize for Economics.   He'd appreciate that....at least as long as you connect a legacy to the award.

The Taco Beef Bell Situation

"When I go to a restaurant, I expect the beef I order to be beef.....not 'filler'....and my guess is most Montanans, and Americans feel the same way."
Comments by Montana Senator Jon Tester on Taco Bell's beef issues

I sat and read over Senator Tester's comments.  Taco Bell is in a bit of issue with this court case brewing.  What Tester is quietly suggesting to Taco Bell....is to take the bull by the horns....and dump the current supplier of Taco Bell's beef....to get 100 percent Montana beef.

Being from beef territory in Bama....I had to sit there and ponder upon this.  I have no idea where Taco Bell buys it's beef, but it just might be from the state of Alabama.  And if it is....and this whole thing comes out that it's only 78 percent beef in their products....then you start to see this big advertising mess in front of both Taco Bell and Alabama beef farmers.

The best thing to do at this point....even if they are totally in the right...is for Taco Bell to admit that they were never using real 100 percent beef, and then smile as they show this big Montana herd of beef cattle and as they explain how you now will see only Montana beef used in their products.

To help with this advertising....I'd start a new product called the XXL Beef Taco, with five pounds of beef mixed with a pound of lettuce and stuff (non-beef material)....and then topped off with A1 sauce instead of that tomato paste stuff.  Even if it was $15 for a small plate of this stuff....they'd sell ten thousand of these every hour to people who were in dire need of 100 percent Montana beef.

This would upset the Bama folks terribly because they'd be labeled as producing something that was less than 100 percent beef although the professors at Auburn would be shaking their heads because beef is beef....you can't be more than 100 percent or less than 100 percent when you say beef is beef.

For you Taco Beef folks....my advice is free.

Just An Observation from Egypt

So the American contingent of reporters have arrived in Egypt....where we can now get nightly reports from "experts".    But in the initial hours....things haven't exactly worked out like most American journalists are used to.

Anderson Cooper?  Knocked around in the head ten times by an Egyptian or two.  I kept looking for bruises but Anderson simply looked as chilled as he always does and I suspect that it was an old Egyptian lady who probably tried to put the clobber on him.

Christian Amanpour?  She ended up being surrounded by folks who suddenly came up and wanted to tell her that they hated Americans with a passion.  You could see absolute fear in Christian's face as she turned toward the camera and wanted to be a thousand miles away in a quiet cafe in Paris.

Yes, they hate Americans.  Shocked?  We were told back in 2008 that if we elected a friendly Democrat like President Obama....then the world would begin to understand us and things would be better.  At this point....I'd go out on the limb and suggest that nothing much has changed and you could have the same results with George Bush.

Will we see Anderson on the streets today?  No.  And I'm guessing that Christian will be at some underground studio complex....interviewing professors and Egyptian think-tank folks.....feeling safe and secure....while sipping Whiskey Sours and eating fresh strawberries flown in from Kenya.  

It is comical in a way.  As soon as smoke went up in Egypt, you could imagine all these news executives wanting to put their top dogs in the middle of the situation, and booking flights straight into Cairo.  It would have been better to build a outdoor studio in west Texas to look like the streets of Cairo....and toss a hundred Latino guys onto the set to act like Egyptians.  Let Anderson interview three or four guys safely, and then splice eight minutes of hostile street scenes from Cairo.  It would have been just as realistic, and alot safer.

Unfit?

For several months....I've been watching over this WikiLeaks story and Private Manning.  This Army Private....Bradley Manning....was reviewed prior to his deployment.  The Army came to conclude....way before he ever downloaded any of his classified messages and passed them onto the Wiki folks....that he was unfit to serve.

Yes, unfit.

They advised his commander of this situation, and it was decided that Private Manning could be properly supervised in a war-zone and and this unfit stuff would not be much of an issue at all.

I've sat and pondered over this a fair bit since the story came out yesterday.  The last place on Earth that you want a unfit guy or nut....is a war-zone area.  This was a guy who had no control over his emotions and would readily yell at officers or NCOs around him.  This was documented.  I'm guessing the leadership felt that a good campaign or war situation would bring reality to Bradley.

So now there's a discussion over Bradley's leadership, and if charges should be brought up against them for incompetence or such.  I'm thinking they are shocked and probably standing there quietly with a couple of lawyers.

Bradley?  Well...his lawyer now has an interesting situation.  As long as Bradley says he was nuts, and the Army doctors confirm that he was unfit prior to deployment and should never have been access to any secure network....the Army might be able to get Bradley to admit to his act.  The punishment? Tossing him into a mental institute for ten years before dumping him on the street is the likely outcome.

And then what?  Well....this would likely bring up a congressional review and this mandate that every single guy with a security clearance would have to undergo a mental evaluation before stamping him competent or  "fit".  You can imagine this mass line of people standing at some doctor's door and this 30-minute session where twelve questions are thrown at you....to determine if you are crazy or not.  All of this....because a commander wouldn't listen to a mental health expert's advice on Bradley being unfit.

The thing left in my mind to ponder....not only was the Army ready to give Bradley full access to a vast computer network....but they would have handed him a rifle and pistol.  For me....merely hearing a mental health guy question one of my employees as being possibly unfit....would have been enough to deny him access to any weapon and probably set wheels into motion real quick.  Obviously, that never entered this commander's mind.