Here's what you do if you're Larry Ellison: You buy a 23-acre site in Woodside for $12 mil. Invest another $190 million "improving" your new property, and then, in an era when middle-class homes values plummet but rich folk "luxury" estates like yours are still going gangbusters, you go hat-in-hand to local officials begging for a devaluation of your property by more than 60 percent—and get it! Save yourself a retroactive $3 million, and another cool mil a year from then on. And, believe me, you really need that extra loose dinero, since you're only worth $25 billion.Here's what you do if you're J.P. Morgan: Conjure up a plan called Zippy Cheats & Tricks. Foist off sub-prime loans on as many suckers as you can. When you run low on marks, illegally goose the income figures on no-pay-to-play losers you'd normally not give the time of day to in order that they, too, are victimized by you and your fellow rapacious home loaners. You get your commission, and quickly get out. Oh, yeah—and don't worry about the law, we got Republicans in that thar Department of "Justice."Here's what you do if you're 22-year-old American arms dealer Efraim E. Diveroli: Make up a name for your business. Call it AEY, Inc. Hire a buddy as your company VP whose "arms" experience consists of rubbing limbs in his former profession as a licensed masseur. Next rent yourself an unmarked office in a gawdawful gaudy building in Miami Beach. Score $300 million in contracts from the U.S. government because you and your brand spanking new business are, well, time-proven and certifiably reliable. Now fulfill your U.S. government contract, sans oversight, shipping our faithful Afghan allies half -century-old "junk" ammo from former Soviet bloc countries, the same ammunition that our own government is actually paying these former commie governments to destroy because it's worthless crap. Beat up two girlfriends and claim immunity from prosecution due to the "national security" nature of your quarter billion dollar-plus taxpayer rip-off. Know you'll never get caught by the government, but hope and pray that by the time you launch your next criminal venture, the profession of investigative reporter will have been entirely eliminated from the media landscape.And finally. . .Here's what you do if you live on Mars, but just happen to be the current President of the United States of America: You stand behind a podium at the National Museum of the U.S. Air Force and tell everyone who will listen just how wonderful things are turning out in Iraq on the very day a major oil pipeline has been hit, the number one spokesperson for your Iraqi puppet regime has been kidnapped—in broad daylight and despite his own onsite armed bodyguards—and major fighting has escalated in Basra while Bagdad explodes into widely scattered violence and the Green Zone looks like London during the Blitzgrieg. Ignoring all that, you say: "When it takes time for Iraqis to reach agreement, it is not 'foot dragging,' as one senator described it. . . . They're striving to build a modern democracy on the rubble of three decades of tyranny."
I hate to disagree with the prez, but just maybe the Iraqis are actually striving to simply survive in the rubble of five years of unprovoked illegal invasion and brutal occupation.P. Joseph Potocki