By Skeptik Sininkian
Since the Vice-Presidential debate earlier this week was about as exciting as watching paint dry–let’s talk Turkey instead. I read an article this week about Bob Livingston– former member of Congress from Louisiana–now turned professional slime ball and lobbyist for the Republic of Turkey. The article (Livingston Group’s Access Opens Doors for Turkey–Influence–September 29–2004) was an eye opener for me because although I’d known that Livingston was a hired gun for Turkish propagandists–I’d never known the extent of his influence or his greed.
The article details how the Livingston Group (Bob’s lobbying firm) received 1.4 million dollars between the months of February and July of 2004 from Turkey to lobby on its behalf. It was money well-earned considering that trying to sell the Republic of Turkey based on its merits to anyone with a brain is more difficult than trying to sell an ice maker to an Eskimo. I can’t understand how anyone can still trust Turkey or actually believe that they are a reliable ally. Although the article on Livingston was well written and informative–even its author Kate Ackley–referred to Turkey as an important US ally in the Middle East. Just to be sure that the definition of ally hasn’t changed since 9/11 (it seems as though everything else has)–I looked it up in the dictionary and sure enough–it said "ally: One in helpful association with another." Who knows–maybe the definition of "helpful" has changed or maybe "helpful" in Turkish means "screw your friends over when they really need you."
Now be nice! I know what you’re thinking about poor old Bob. Bob probably has a family to feed and a house or houses to pay for and so what if he hails from a state that is best known for its swamps and the slimy things that call it home. But I have to admit–it fascinates me how someone with such a prestigious past and proud name (Bob is related to Robert R. Livingston–the same Congressman who negotiated the Louisiana Purchase for President Thomas Jefferson) can sell themselves out for a few…a few…uh…million dollars? I guess money can buy anything–even a former Congressman. I should put that on my shopping list as soon as I win the next Lottery jackpot–"Skeptik–remember to buy lavash–house–new car–some low-fat yogurt–yacht–and former member of Congress to do your bidding." I wonder if Livingston would be so willing to lobby for Turkey’s corrupt and inept ways if he were getting paid in Turkish Lira instead? I’ll save you the trouble of doing the conversion. 1.4 million Turkish Liras is equal to roughly 93 cents American.
This scenario actually reminds me of a story I read about the great British playwright George Bernard Shaw who found himself at a dinner party–seated beside an attractive woman. He turned and asked–"Madame–would you go to bed with me for a thousand pounds?" The woman was obviously embarrassed–and indignantly shook her head. Shaw would not be turned down. "For ten thousand pounds?" he asked. "No. I would not."Then how about fifty thousand pounds?" he continued.
The colossal sum made the woman pause–and after further reflection–she coyly replied: "Perhaps."And if I were to offer you five pounds?" Shaw asked.
"Mr. Shaw!" the woman exclaimed. "What do you take me for!"
"We have already established what you are," Shaw calmly replied. "Now we are merely haggling over the price."
Now I would like to take this last part of my column to openly beseech Mr. Livingston to forget his wanton ways and walk back into the light.
Mr. Livingston–wherever you are–if it makes a difference–I’ll offer you double what the Turkish Government is paying you if you lobby for Americans instead and maybe a few Armenian issues while you’re at it. By the way–can I write a personal check? I can’t guarantee it will clear but it will at least help you carry you head up straight and help you sleep better at night. If you’re still not sold on the idea –here’s an added incentive. Your horoscope says you have a second chance. That’s right! I looked up Bob’s birthday and he was born on April 30–which makes him a Taurus. Please refrain from any jokes involving bovine manure. Seriously–behave yourselves. So here’s Bob’s horoscope for October 6 and October 7:
All conditions are right for a reunion–an apology or a request for a second chance. Whether you’re issuing or considering–think it over carefully. Then if it feels right–go for it. – www.astrology.com
It might be hard to stay off the phone this morning–especially if you’re angry– but give it a shot. If you can wait until tonight to talk–you’ll have some valuable cosmic help to get you over the hump. – www.astrology.com
Bob–I’ll be waiting for your call. And if all else fails–heck–I’ll pay you in Armenian Drams. At least it will be $2799.07 more than you’d be making than if you got paid in Lira.
Skeptik Sinikian is not compatible with Taurus but is still willing to give any partnership a try. Having his coffee grinds read–he was told a little bird will bring him news from a far away place–hopefully Louisiana or Washington–DC.
He can be reached at email@example.com or at www.sinikian.blogspot.com.