You’ll Poke Out Your Ayatollah with That Thing

Jupiter Ballistic Missile

It’s one thing when your dear old granny attempts to keep you from playing with weapons of mass destruction, but when that warning comes from a source that may not be any more responsible with the use of their toys than you are, well that can be a difficult pill to swallow–hence the challenges posed when one country endeavors to tell another country what is the acceptable methodology and hardware for poking out your neighbor’s eye. That is why the history of arms control is rife with hypocrisy, irony and downright silliness. But even if most of our efforts at promoting greater global stability and cooperation prove futile, the outcome and costs of a failed peace are in many instances preferable to that of a successful war.

As to the potential agreement that was struck with Iran, I find little reason not to give it an honest try, nor do I find the reasoning of those critics of that deal to be worthy of much consideration.

There are those who are already comparing the President and this pact to Neville Chamberlain’s capitulations to Hitler at Munich in 1938. There seems to be this underlying belief that we are negotiating with Iran from a point of weakness.That point of view is patently absurd. This is not pre-World War II Great Britain. We are by no means an unprepared, outgunned nation trying to buy some time. America has the capability, capacity and the will to wage war at a moments notice if we believe in the cause–and initially, we always believe in the cause.

Then there are those ever cheerful voices of doom and distrust, such as John Boehner and Benjamin Netanyahu, forewarning the world of the dire consequences to follow if we place even the slightest degree of reliance on the ability of the Iranians to adhere to the terms of any agreement. First off, Mr. Boehner’s personal displeasure with the President is always evident, and with so many of his fellow Republicans seeking to fill the comfy chair in the Oval Office his political posturing is quite predictable and perhaps even a touch more partisan than usual.

Now as to Mr. Netanyahu’s  pronouncements on the matter, many of his concerns are certainly not unfounded nor are they lacking some historical basis.The Iranian leadership has for too long propagated a constant stream of malice and contempt toward Israel and her western allies. But as to whether or not that same government is worthy of our trust concerning a nuclear arms accord, the State of Israel might not necessarily be in the position to be staking out the high ground in that regard.

To that point:

  • In 1949, Prime Minister David Ben-Gurion began a clandestine program to develop an atomic bomb.
  • In 1957, as part of a quid pro quo deal with Israel, the French entered into a secret agreement to help build a reactor at Dimona that would eventually be capable of producing weapons grade fissionable materials. In exchange, France wanted the Israelis to attack Egypt so that both the British and French could enter into the conflict as joint peacekeepers with the real intent of gaining control of the Suez Canal. That phase of the deal ended when the threat of Soviet intervention in the region forced Great Britain and France to withdraw their forces.
  • In 1960, the Eisenhower administration requested information concerning the ongoing development at the Dimona site that was recorded by U-2 flyovers. Israel claimed that the construction was for a future textile factory, but they refused to allow for any onsite inspections by American authorities.
  • In 1964, the United States was thwarted in its attempt to keep Argentina from selling uranium concentrates (Yellowcake) to Israel.
  • In 1968, Israel backed away from signing or ratifying the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty.
  • Under its continued decades-old policy of “nuclear ambiguity” Israel will neither confirm or deny the existence of its nuclear stores. But it is estimated that the Israelis possess somewhere between 75 – 400 nuclear warheads that could be delivered by way of aircraft, missiles or submarines.

While I certainly understand why Israel, a small country surrounded by a host of hostile neighbors, might resort to surreptitiously stockpiling weapons of mass destruction in order to counterbalance that threat. I also recognize the fact that the Iranians may be reluctant to give up on their own military ambitions knowing full well that those same countries brokering this tenuous arrangement are fully aware of Israel’s nuclear arsenal.The real solution would be for all nations to disclose and disarm. But it is probably way too late to put that atomic genie back in the box. So we are once again left with only two real options: war or exercising those fragile understandings and promises that possibly spare us from war. I highly recommend the latter.

Because there are certainly better uses for Uranium than building bombs for countries–and most definitely better uses for Titanium than constructing artificial limbs for soldiers!  

Posted by: Chris Poh for American Public House Review 


Countdown to St. Patty’s Day; Apparently Now Everybody’s Irish

Corrigan Brothers 2012

In yesterday’s post we learned a bit about President Barack Obama’s Celtic roots, thanks in no small part to the musical genius and handiwork of the Corrigan Brothers. This talented trio from County Tipperary, now living and taking their libations in Limerick, have once again reminded us of that all of humanity is bound by a common thread and a divine spark. We are all Irish–Especially on St. Patrick’s Day!

The Corrigan BrothersSo let us raise a pint and join Gerald, Brian and Donncha Corrigan as they perform what will most likely become Erin’s next great anthem!

Click on the You Tube link to hear “Saint Patrick’s Day (everybody’s Irish)”

Posted by: Chris Poh

Countdown to St. Patty’s Day; Saluting our Commander-in-Celtic Chief

Corrigan Brothers Cover ArtWhile there are those who still question the constitutional legitimacy of Barack Obama’s presidency, most Americans accept that he was born on American soil, assuming that one  accepts the possibility that a chain of lava spewing volcanic islands in the South Pacific  could legally qualify for statehood in the first place. Perhaps this is where the so-called “birthers”  should actually be focusing their attention. And the rest of us can just take comfort in the fact that, like so many other truly great American statesmen, Mr. Obama can trace a bit of his heritage to the Emerald isle.

 A combination of church, census and genealogical records has  revealed that in 1850, the President’s great-great-great grandfather, Fulmuth Keary, left his native home in Moneygall, Ireland to immigrate  to America. 

Starry Plough - Berkely, CA

The Corrigan Brothers (aka Hardy Drew and the Nancy Boys) soon after wrote and recorded a song celebrating Mr. Obama’s ties to Erin. Along the way a number of Irish troubadours have added a few of their own verses to the song. My favorite rendition comes by way of Shay Black caught on video during a live session at the Starry Plough in Berkeley, California. Click on the You Tube link to catch that classic ode to our Commander-in-Celtic Chief. 



Posted by: Chris Poh

“Never Trust a Man That Doesn’t Drink”

William Claude Dunkenfield

William Claude Dunkenfield

Earlier this evening President George Bush delivered his farewell address to the citizens of  the United States of America. He does not drink…but his father does.

Fuggles IPAA well placed source at Federal Jack’s Brewpub in Kennebunkport, Maine assured me that whenever George Herbert Walker Bush stopped  in for an IPA during his term in office, he made  it a point to buy those around him a pint to offset any inconvenience his presence, along with the cadre of Secret Service, might cause the other customers.

In a recent article published in American Public House Reviewwe learn about President Elect Barack Obama’s appreciation of America’s brewing tradition. Associate Editor David McBride recounts the candidate’s swing through Pennsylvania during the Democratic Primary, and his session at the Bethlehem Brew Works. Apparently our next president appreciates a good ESB.

While a predisposition to hops does not speak to  Barack Obama’s ability to lead a troubled nation, I prefer presidents that glean inspiration and intelligence from the IPA or ESB as opposed to the CIA.

Posted by: Chris Poh


President Bush changes the direction of the presidential race

I am sure many of you have already heard about the thinly veiled attack President Bush launched against democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama yesterday from the Knesset, the Israeli parliament.  If you have not, here is the quote…

Some seem to believe that we should negotiate with the terrorists and radicals, as if some ingenious argument will persuade them they have been wrong all along. We have heard this foolish delusion before. As Nazi tanks crossed into Poland in 1939, an American senator declared: “Lord, if I could only have talked to Hitler, all this might have been avoided.” We have an obligation to call this what it is — the false comfort of appeasement, which has been repeatedly discredited by history.

Now, I am not here to debate whether the president is right or wrong in his historical interpretation, or if he is right correctly representing Senator Obama’s foreign policy.  Nor am I going to enter the debate over whether it is appropriate to make such political statements in a foreign country.  Instead, I am simply here to thank the president for taking the nonsense out of the political discussion, even for a short while, and sending the pundits back to topics of substance.

We are no longer hearing 24 hours of coverage dealing with various exit polls, angry former pastors, or lapel pins.  For now, it seems the constant questioning of the democrats about the “dream ticket” will be on hold.  Instead, President Bush has forced us into a discussion that is worthy of a presidential election of this magnitude.  Now, we are finally talking seriously about foreign policy.  Sure, this may not have been the best way to begin this discussion, but I will take what I can get.

posted by Dave McBride of the American Public House Review

Why does Rev. Wright continue to hurt Obama?

Rev. Jeremiah Wright has finally broken has silence.  After weeks of staying silent and letting the story play out into political history, he has brought it back to the forefront in dramatic fashion.  But for democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama, his “friend” now seems much more like an enemy.  However, if the media were truly paying attention Wright’s weekend vanity tour should help the senator more than it hurts him.

Since the reverend’s comments first came into the public’s view weeks ago, the media and Obama’s opponents have done all they possibly can to confuse where Wright’s words end and Obama’s begins.  Despite the dozens of times the campaign has spoken out against them, the media has decided that whatever nonsense comes out of Wright’s mouth is the responsibility of Barack Obama to answer to them. 

But if you saw yesterday’s bizarre appearance in Washington, you would see once and for all that whatever place Rev. Wright held in Sen. Obama’s heart or mind years ago he is not in that same place now.  What we saw yesterday was a man hell bent on destroying his so called friend’s political future.  Time after time he denigrated and insulted Obama for a cheap laugh.  Whatever friendship existed before, it has clearly been tossed aside now.

If Obama really wants to sever these ties with which the media and his political opponent insist on binding him to Wright, he should use this opportunity not only to denounce Wright but to strike back.  Because if Senator Obama does not feel now, after being run through the mud yesterday by a man looking to bring him down, that he should get aggressive and defend his integrity then perhaps it would be fair for voters to question his resolve.

Posted by David McBride, marketing director at American Public House Review

Published in: on April 29, 2008 at 2:50 pm  Leave a Comment  
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One more example of the erosion of presidential politics

For years, we have expected presidential debates to be mostly serious affairs, so much so that many found them boring.  Two or more candidates would take to a stage and be questioned on policy issues by some network political wonk and many would tune out after only a few minutes.  Well after last nights democratic debate in Pennsylvania, those days can now be viewed as the good old’ days.

What we saw last night was nothing short of a seismic shift in the way network televised debates will be presented.  Instead of a 90 minute break from the normal nonsensical campaign bantering of surrogates and the infantile back-and-forth silliness we all have come to expect, we got more of just that sort of thing in this debate.  Thanks to Charlie Gibson and George Stephanopoulos, discussion of policy and real issues, like the economy, Iraq, healthcare and anything else that matters to people’s lives, took a back seat and were pushed aside.

The first question should have given us an insight into what was coming.  Charlie Gibson, with his glasses perched on his nose so as to appear like the candidates fourth grade history teacher, asked if they would put the other on the ticket as a running mate.  But he didn’t specify who the question was for, so as the two senators paused in an attempt to be polite to one another Gibson gave a snarky “Don’t all talk at once” type jibe.  Either Gibson choked on the very first question, or he was hoping this would happen so he could put them both down right off the bat.  It was ridiculously awkward moment, but as the next 50 minutes would reveal, it was just the type of table setter he was looking for.

The first six questions, encompassing nearly the entire first half of the debate, was completely devoid of policy issues or anything else one would expect to find in a debate.  Instead we got regurgitated “gotchas” that have all been discussed and answered over and over for weeks.

There was an obvious plan to what ABC wanted out of this debate.  They were going to corner Obama and watch as Clinton slapped away, like an episode of Jerry Springer.  For example, the moderators used a taped question from a Pennsylvanian about Obama and his lack of a flag lapel pin, as if that were of any consequence to why I can’t afford to fuel my car.  Of course no one bothered to point out that Hillary Clinton was also not wearing a pin, because that just wouldn’t have fit the script.  It was painfully pointless and depressingly hard to watch.

But it will be up to bloggers and newspapers to point this out.  The television media will never criticize one of their own as soon they will also be called on to perform such a task.  Will this new “reality television” style of political debates be what the future holds?  Let’s all hope not.

Published in: Uncategorized on April 17, 2008 at 2:18 pm  Leave a Comment  
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Obama raises the political conversations at home and in the tavern

The topic of conversation at most taverns usually centers around something lighthearted, such as sports or movie stars behaving badly.  But recently, thanks to perhaps the most followed presidential election in a generation, politics has made its way back in to the public house.  Still, the mainstream media most often discusses the horse race aspect, the personalities, or the “he said, she said” stuff.  Rarely do we get a national election that brings important issues to the forefront.

For most of this presidential primary season, that is exactly the way it has been.  Despite a war, serious economic issues and ballooning fuel and food costs, we still spend our time hearing about what amounts to nothing more than thinly veiled name calling.  But for better or for worse, Senator Barack Obama created a seismic shift in the political landscape this week by vaulting perhaps the most difficult subject of all, race relations, on to the dinner tables and up to the bar rails of America. 

What the ramifications of the speech are is a debate that is important to have, even if a conclusion is hard to come by.  Obama was forced into the subject by the controversial comments of his long time friend and pastor when he was clearly hoping to avoid it.  But it is hard not to admire the manner with which the senator took on the subject.  No doubt some advisors would have cautioned him to step lightly and do the politically easy thing by divorcing himself of the pastor, the church and everything that comes with it.  He could have pulled a Captain Renault and pretended to be “shocked” that such words are ever uttered, and many politicians would have done just that.

Instead Barack Obama took this very difficult subject head on in a manner that was enlightening and sometimes difficult to hear.  He reminded us that racism is still a fundamental issue for our country and talking about it is not much easier now then it was fifty years ago.  This speech could just as easily be the moment that defines a president or signals a candidate’s downfall.  Either way, few can argue with the historic significance of Obama’s words.  He finally put in motion an adult conversation on a sore subject that has been long overdue.

Published in: Uncategorized on March 22, 2008 at 5:15 pm  Leave a Comment  
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