Beaton: Wringing out the old year
January 4, 2016
We cheated death for another year, didn't we? So now it's time again to ring in the new year, wring out the old one and mop up the rancid drippings with a newspaper column.
Affordable lodging was the big news here in Aspen. The members of the City Council wanted to waive the town's zoning laws for a hotel on Main Street to provide "affordable lodging" at $400 a night.
Their idea was that Aspenites would be enriched by the presence of the impoverished skiers whom this "affordable lodge" would attract. The voters voted it down.
So why does a mere hotel proposal go to the voters? It's because the Aspen City Council is too busy with such things as the warming of the globe to look after mundane matters like the will of the locals. So the people passed a referendum to look out for themselves.
In that globe-warming pastime that the local politicos pursue feverishly to the exclusion of local matters, the mayor joined 40,000 other big-headed small-timers, and some big-timers, too, who spent taxpayer money to warm the globe by jetting to Paris on private jets for a soiree to talk about making coach fares on no-frills airlines more expensive for the rest of us.
Tough negotiations finally produced an agreement. But by its terms, it's unenforceable. President Barack Obama's Secretary of State John Kerry said that it will nonetheless be observed because those who fail to observe it will be "shamed." Who needs enforceability when you have shame?
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To prove his point, he looked real sheepish on his way to one of the five enormous carbon-spewing estates that he and his ketchup-heiress wife own.
Warning that warming is the "greatest threat" to the country, Obama called the weeks-old non-agreement "an enduring framework" for which he credited his "leadership." A leading global-warming scientist — a believer, not a denier — called it a "fraud" and "bulls—."
On this, I'm with the warming believer.
Speaking of Obama's leadership in tough negotiations for unenforceable non-agreements, don't forget Iran. In exchange for $150 billion, the Iranians promised, but not in writing, to break their earlier promise to build a nuclear bomb to annihilate Israel and to destroy the "Great Satan" of America.
This latest promise isn't worth the invisible ink with which it wasn't signed on the paper on which it isn't printed.
If the Iranians break their unenforceable, unwritten and unsigned non-agreement, then I suppose we'll shame them. And stop sending them money — because we and our money will have been blown to smithereens, and so there will be no money to send and no one to send it to.
The president seems determined to conduct similar tough and unenforceable negotiations with the Islamic terrorist group from the 11th century that calls itself "Islamic State." Those barbarians rose in Iraq after Obama abandoned it to them against the advice of all his military advisers and allowed their unpunished violence to spread worldwide. According to the president, they're caused by — you guessed it — global warming.
Obama hasn't demanded that they stop their shootings, beheadings, roasting and raping, but he has asked that they change their name. That's because Islamic State has nothing to do with Islam, our non-Islamic president informs us. So we can't let them say that it is. Such a misrepresentation is "not who we are." It's "contrary to our values."
In his new role as the country's theologian (move over, Billy Graham!) now that he's mastered the role of commander in chief, the president offered other homilies. He scolded Christians from the 21st century not to get on their "high horse" about Islamic barbarians from the 11th century because Christians, too, were pretty barbaric in the 11th century.
Back in his role of commander in chief, the president does have a strategy this time to stop these time-traveling rapists and roasters. It's to take away our guns. If only we make it a crime for victims to own guns, the president assures us, then this (non-)Islamic State will stop committing the crime of making them victims.
The president has not yet asked his armed Secret Service men to take the first step.
On a lighter note, a former man called Bruce is currently a woman called Caitlyn. She's getting a mixed reception in her debut. People on the tolerant left were atwitter over her becoming a woman but won't tolerate her determination to dress like one. They've started a regular war on woman over it. They say that transgenderizing does not give her the right to act so, you know, stereotypically hetero-normative. How dare she?
Moreover, Bruce the man was a Republican, and now Caitlyn the woman is, as well. About that, the left is having a hissy fit. How dare she?
In that world of Republicans and Democrats, the campaign to replace the country's president/theologian is underway. For one party, the leading candidate is a carnival barker with bad hair and worse manners.
For the other party, it's an unindicted (so far) criminal who boasts that as a president she would be a woman. Her husband-ish person who is campaigning for her is a 20th-century accused rapist of women (but not an 11th-century roaster of them) who paid nearly $1 million to settle one such accusation after lying under oath to a grand jury about it.
You're thinking, "What? Caitlyn Jenner married Bill Cosby and is running for president?" No, but you're getting close.
Winston Churchill remarked that democracy is the worst form of government except for all the others. This year we might test whether the exception still applies.
The losing candidates are more interesting. They include two Hispanics whose parents immigrated to America, a black neurosurgeon, a successful businesswoman and a self-proclaimed adherent to the same economics school as Joseph Stalin.
A lefty political cartoonist portrayed the young children of one of the Hispanic candidates as leashed monkeys. Because that candidate is a Republican, and his children are the children of a Republican, the cartoon was deemed hilarious.
Speaking of Republicans, derring-do, hilarity and the economic school of Stalin, your correspondent has now been columnizing and colonizing here in the People's Republic of Aspen for three years.
Early on, the mayor asked me to leave town. He's no longer mayor, and I'm still here.
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