Wednesday, February 28, 2007

Maureen Dowd, Hypocrite (Rev 1.1)

In today's column, Dowdy blathers about Al Gore.

She goes on and on about all kinds of trivia.

Here's the fragment that really gets me:

Does he blame himself (for losing in 2000)? Does he blame the voting machines? Ralph Nader? Robert Shrum? Naomi Wolf? How about Bush Inc. and Clinton Inc.?

What's missing in that list of potential targets for blame is of course, Maureen Dowdy, herself.

Has Dowdy forgotten how she used to savage Gore mercilessly in her columns? Yes, of course, that's her stock-in-trade: sarcastic and abusive language. But what she did to Gore, the obviously best qualified contender for the Presidency in 2000 was not funny, clever or insightful. It was ugly, vicious and totally undeserved. To the extent that it contributed to Gore's defeat, it was a disservice to the United States.

Revision 1.1. (How did I miss this?) The title of her screed is: "Ozone Man Sequel," a reminder of the insulting description that the Bush mental pygmies gave to Gore because of his concern for the environment.

At the end of the day, that's all that Dowdy has: ugly, bitter and abusive language. If I remember correctly, she has admitted with pride that this is her most cherished inheritance from her mother who taught her that all human beings, but men especially are worthless and deserving of bitter criticism. This was mother Dowdy's concept of brilliant humor.

A Fact-Filled, Comprehensive Criticism of Israel

See Tom Friedman's column for an informative and provocative criticism of Israel.

It's got to be good for Israel and Jews everywhere.

We need a lot more of that kind of criticism. More details and suggestions how improvements can be brought about.

Can't resist this: Now, if all those who complain about what Israel is doing the Arabs would take a serious critical view of how the Palestinian bosses are mistreating their own people.

Here's a start:

1. How the bosses steal the Palestinian people's money,
2. How they give their young people AK-47s and explosives instead of a good education,
3. How the bosses have absolutely no plan for moving the Palestinians from 3rd world status to 1st world status.

There's lots more.

Tuesday, February 27, 2007

Finally, It's on Page 1 of the NY Times

From the very beginning of the Iraq War, Bush's real objective was to give Iraq's oil to Exxon-Mobil and a handful of other big international oil companies. The value of this prize is whatever the oil companies can grab of an oil treasure worth $6 Trillion -- that's 6 followed by 12 zeroes (at $50 a barrel).

The story starts on page 1 of today's NY Times.

The profit is not in the bank yet. There are some really thorny issues left, such as security for the oil company workers and equipment, as well as protection of the completed work: wells, pipelines, tank farms, refineries, etc. and very importantly credible assurance that new facilities will not be expropriated after they are built.

My question is why did it take the NY Times this long to discover all this? They never showed any interest in trying to figure out why stated objectives for the war kept changing but the war kept going.

The New York Times could have figured this out before the 2004 election. If they had published the story then, we would living in a better world now and Bush and Cheney would be serving life sentences for their foul deeds.

Are We Going Forward? Or Backward?

New York City Government is trying to compel fast food restaurants to list calories alongside menu prices.

The reasoning is obvious. New Yorkers, along with all other Americans (and many other Westerners) are plagued by a deadly epidemic of obesity. Fast food is especially loaded down with fats and other "empty calories." Fast food tends to be fat food.

Of course, the fast food industry is lobbying vigorously against this eminently useful concept. It's too much trouble, it's too costly, our food is terrific, our customer don't need this information, etc.

Here's the ironic part:

Forty five years ago, in 1962, when I started working at Mobil Oil's corporate headquarters on East 42nd Street, between Lexington and Third Avenues, what was one of the first things I noted when I went to lunch at Mobil's employee cafeteria?

You guessed it. On the menu board, for each item, alongside the price, in bold letters, the calorie count was clearly displayed. We were in a position to consider calories when we chose what to eat. We were informed consumers. How totally delightful. This was in 1962, 45 years ago.

Now, in 2007, NY City government is confronting entrenched opposition for trying to do the same wonderful thing for its citizens. Are we going forward or backward?

Monday, February 26, 2007

What Are the Palestinians Waiting For?

Here are the steps:

1. Palestinians refuse to recognize Israel's right to exist.
2. Palestinians refuse to give up attacking Israel.
3. Palestinians stockpile weapons and explosives.
4. Israelis find out about (3).
5. Israelis conduct raids, seize weapons and explosives and arrest militants.
6. Palestinians accuse Israel of blocking the peace process.
7. Some time passes.
Steps 1 to 7 are repeated, again and again.

New wrinkle, Hamas builds up its armed strength in the West Bank so they can kill Fatah supporters as they have been doing in Gaza. They also blame this on Israel.

The awful thing for the Palestinian people is that they are suffering terribly through all this.

Their leaders do not appear to be the least bit concerned regarding this last point.

When will this stop?

Whenever the Palestinian leaders stop 1, 2 and 3, above.

Then the Israelis will stop the raids, peace can be established and the Palestinians can start bringing their nation to the same level of development as Israel, democracy with 1st world standard of living.

What are the Palestinians waiting for?

Good Bye, Obama

"As Candidate, Obama Carves Antiwar Stance," page 1, headline in the NYTimes.

The article says that Obama could not find any other issue that would enable him to differentiate himself from Hillary Clinton.

That he did not vote to for the resolution to permit Bush to go to war in Iraq is meaningless. He was not in the U.S. Senate at the time. He was way below Karl Rove's radar.

Poor Obama. He seems to be a decent person. He is also attractive, smart and is a successful author.

Unfortunately for Obama, he lacks the prestige, self-confidence and authority that Hillary has been honing for many years. He just does not seem to be Presidential material, alongside of Hillary Clinton.

We are now witnessing the prelude to the eventual withdrawal of Obama from the Presidential contest.

Good-bye, Obama.

Immediate Action Is Needed

The Iraqi Cabinet has approved the New Oil Law. This puts "victory" within Bush's reach, if he can get the Iraqi Arab factions to stop the killing.

See my Feb. 21 post about Bush calling in Bill Clinton.

It's time George, get on the phone, now.

Hillary's Vote, Again

A lot of energy and many many words are being expended in print and on the Internet criticizing Hillary for refusing to apologize for her vote authorizing Bush to go to war in Iraq, as a last resort.

Many of these commentators seem to looking for the perfect candidate. In reality, we don't vote for the perfect candidate, because there is no perfect candidate. What some of us do is for vote against a candidate whom don't like completely.

Some of us voted against Gore because he showed little patience for Bush's fantasies during the debates.

Some of voted for Nader because we liked him better than Gore -- in effect we were voting for Bush, because we knew that Nader did not have a chance.

So we got Bush, much to our regret.

Some of us voted against Kerry because he flip-flopped on the war resolution, or his hair, or his rich outspoken wife, or his long horse-like face.

So we got Bush again, very much to our regret.

OK, maybe Hillary Clinton was trying to avoid being slimed by Karl Rove if she either voted against the war resolution, or spoke forcefully against it later when more evidence surfaced that Bush had lied.

So what? If she was trying to save her political career, is that an unforgivable sin for a politician? What would the country have gained if she had committed political suicide? She took the cautious route of giving Bush enough rope to hang himself.

So Bush hanged himself.

And Hillary survived politically. She is, by far, the leading candidate for the Democratic nomination and the Democratic party is favored to win the Presidency and both houses of Congress.

Our job as voters is to vote for the politicians that are most likely to implement strategies that come closest to our visions for the country.

Punishing politicians because they are not perfect may well lead to the election of politicians whom we abhor.

That's what happened in 2000 and 2004. Do we really want it happen again in 2008?

You've Got to See This One

Ted Rall cartoon.

See it now, because a new cartoon is posted at this URL in 3 days.

Regarding the Previous Post (Below this one)

Maybe the Palestinians were hoping to achieve this objective:

"Destruction of the Zionist Entity (Israel)."

Their new (Hamas) leaders are really holding on that one. Seems to be their mantra.

Maybe they should get a new mantra. How about: "Om mani padme hum?" (Pronounced: omm mannee padme hoomm -- causes beneficial vibration in the sinuses.)

Oh, the Palestinians have frequently mentioned other, "non-negotiable" objectives:

1. Right of return -- up tp 4 million Palestinian Arabs are allowed to move to Israel.
2. Return to 1967 borders.
3. Evacuation of all Israelis from the settlements.

The Israelis should prpose as a counter offer "Return to 1000 B.C.E. borders."
(The Jews occupied all the land between the Sea of Galilee and the Mediteranean Sea and there were no Palestinian Arabs then, anywhere. There was no Islam, either. Islam came 1700 years later.)

Israelis and Palestinians can compromise on 100 B.C.E. There were no Palestinian Arabs then either. Also, no Islam. Islam came 800 years later.

In any case, the al Aksa intifada has not achieved any of the objectives that might be ascribed on the basis of objectives stated by Palestinian leaders from Arafat to Hamas.

The intifada has cost the Palestinians heavily, in terms of deaths, destruction of property, high unemployment, third world standard of living and currently warfare between Hamas and Fatah and resulting heavy damage to their universities in Gaza.

Maybe it is time for them to stop talking tough, throw away their weapons, and devise new objectives and strategies.

Here's a suggestion: aim to have a successful society, like for example Israel, with a vibrant democracy and first world standard of living. They might actually achieve that if they tried.

Sunday, February 25, 2007

What Is (Was) the Objective of the Intifada?

What is (was) the objective of the al Aksa Intifada that began in 2000? For what ultimate purpose did Arafat encourage and support the suicide murderers who were blowing up Israeli busses, pizzerias and restaurants?

No one knows, or at least no one is willing to say.

Not knowing the objective, it is not possible to measure actual outcomes against objectives and determine whether the results were justified by the very considerable costs.

Whatever their objectives, the costs to the Palestinians include:

1. Two to three thousand Palestinians dead.
2. Many houses bulldozed or blown up.
3. Checkpoints closed that prevent Palestinian workers from entering Israel to go to work.
4. The Wall that causes a lot of problems for the Palestinians.
5. Total breakdown in negotiations and hopes for a better future.

If that's what the Palestinians wanted to achieve, congratulations -- they have succeeded.

If they were aiming for something else, they have failed, miserably, again.

Why Do Arab Killers Destroy Universities?

Another deadly attack against a university, this time in Baghdad. Forty people (mostly students) killed as a suicide murderess blows herself up.

This is the third attack against a university during the last week.

Let's hear one more time from defenders of Islam how kind and gentle their religion is.

Republicans for Clinton

Rupert Murdoch is supporting Hillary Clinton.

Multi millionaire Richard Mellon Scaife, formerly Bill Clinton's arch enemy, has recently said that Bill Clinton was a good president.

Ben Stein, conservative NYTines business columnist has criticized and mocked the Republican tax cut for the super-rich.

Are we seeing the beginnings of a "Republicans for Hillary Clinton" movement?

And Hillary is supposed to be polarizing?

Amendments to Previous Post

Question came up regarding the last paragraph of the post directly below. Was I being funny?

I was mocking the unfortunately much too common practice among gentiles to blame Jews for bad things that happen.

Additional instances of Arab violence:
Shiites killing Shiites.
Sunnis killing Sunnis.

Saturday, February 24, 2007

Why Do Arabs Engage in So Much Violence?

In Iraq, day after day, Sunni Arabs kill Shiite Arabs and Shiite Arabs kill Sunni Arabs.

In Gaza, Hamas Arabs kill Fatah Arabs and Fatah Arabs kill Sunni Arabs.

In Gaza, Hamas Arabs destroy the Fatah University and Fatah Arabs destroy the Hamas University.

No doubt the Arab vs. Arab violence in Gaza is the fault of Israeli Jews because the Israeli Jews do not permit violence directed at Israelis and the poor Arabs are so angry at the Jews that they feel frustrated, so they have no choice but to kill each other and to destroy each other's Universities. Makes sense.

Friday, February 23, 2007

Looks like Another President Clinton

According to the Intrade betting website, McCain and Giuliani are neck-and-neck at 2 to 1 against winning the Republican nomination. Romney is behind at 4 to 1.

Hillary is even money and Obama is 4 to 1 against. Edwards is 8 to 1 and Gore is 14 to 1, for the Democratic nomination.

So, right now, it looks like Hillary vs. McC or Giul.

The Democratic nominee (whoever that may be) is favored to win over the Republican nominee at 3 to 2.

So, Hillary admirers and haters, prepare. Practice saying: "President Clinton."

Here Is Another Precedent

In the post directly following this one, I raised the possibility of President Bush asking Bill Clinton to speak to the Iraq leaders of the three factions and show them how everybody wins if they make peace. It's not as far out as it might seem.

Bush's State Department has given a similar assignment to Bill Clinton in the past.

Here's the key paragraph in a story in today's WaPo:

. . . in February 2006, Clinton headed to Asia for charitable work to help tsunami and AIDS victims. At the last minute, the State Department asked him to squeeze in a visit to Pakistan, helping ease tensions among Muslims angered by political cartoons they considered insulting.

It's absolutely amazing. Bill Clinton never ceases to impress.

When David Geffen says nasty things about Bill Clinton, he communicates more about himself than about Clinton.

Wednesday, February 21, 2007

What Should President Bush Do?

The Iraq situation is desperate and tantalizing, all at the same time. Desperate because the killing is continuing and Iraqis who can leave are leaving.

Tantalizing because Bush's true objective seems to be within reach. The Iraqi cabinet is about to approve a new oil law that will distribute oil profits equitably among the three factions and yield a bonanza to Exxon-Mobil (Bush's hidden objective from Day 1). For this law to take effect, a secure and peaceful Iraq is an absolute necessity.

What should Bush do?

The military surge will not pacify Iraq. The most the surge could accomplish is to pacify Baghdad (and it does not seem to be doing even that).

The military can't achieve the peaceful and secure Iraq that Bush needs. Only diplomacy could possibly do that. Problem is that there are no really good diplomats in Bush's team. He has to reach outside.

Last time Bush wanted a super ambassador (after the Indian Ocean tsunami) he tapped his Dad and Bill Clinton. It worked. But Bush 41 obviously is not the man to send to Iraq. He has a certain history there. But Bill Clinton might be. He has world status. He is recognized to be the coolest politician alive. Even his former enemies like him now.

Bush should invite Bill Clinton to lunch and ask him to consider going to Iraq to meet with the boss Kurds and Sunni Arabs and Shiite Arabs and give them a presentation on how peace is a win-win-win situation in view of the new oil law. The killing and destruction stop. The petroleum infrastructure is modernized and expanded. The money flows in like a river. Iraqis are rich and happy. There's lots of money for rebuilding and upgrading the country.

What would Bill Clinton say? Probably something like: "Thank you for thinking that I can accomplish that. May I take 24 hours to think it over and discuss it my wife?"

It's a long shot, but does Bush have anything better?


Boy George,




Obama is a sensation.

People are looking at him out of curiosity.

-- He is black, but not descended from slaves.

-- He is black but was editor of the Harvard Law Review.

-- He is black, has no accomplishments or unusual experiences but has published two books, one of them a best seller.

He's attractive because he is colorful and out of the ordinary, like a new Panda bear at the zoo. People line up to see the new Panda bear. But who would vote for a Panda bear for President?

The Anti-Papilloma Virus Vaccine

Merck has developed a vaccine, which when administered to pre-teen age girls will immunize them against the papilloma virus which causes genital warts and cancer of the cervix. The vaccine costs $400 per unit. Its long-term effects are not known. Merck has been pushing State Governments to make the vaccine mandatory.

At least 20 states are considering making use of the vaccine mandatory for schoolgirls, and the governor of Texas, Rick Perry, has already done so through an executive order.

Let's review what we know.

1. The papilloma virus is transmitted during sex that is not protected with a condom.

2. Male transmitters of the virus are males who have not been circumcised.

3. The long term side effects of the vaccine are not known.


It is much more prudent for the females not to take the vaccine but to limit their sex to men who are circumcised, and even better who are circumcised and cover their penises with condoms.


Governor Perry is putting the burden on the young girls. He is wrong. What he should be doing, since males are the transmitters, he should repeal his executive order and propose a law to the Texas legislature that would require all males to be circumcised and institute a 10 year prison sentence for men who are caught having sex without a condom.

(A highly significant side benefit would be that circumcision and use of condoms also reduces substantially the transmission of the Human Immuno-Deficiency Virus that leads to AIDS.)

To set a proper example, Governor Perry should have himself circumcised, possibly in the Neiman Marcus window in Dallas, so lots of citizens could observe his dedication to the eradication of a deadly cancer and a deadly disease.

Of course, the news media would broadcast the event and bloggers would repeat the video millions of times.

Do it, Governor!

Monday, February 19, 2007

Oh, the Irony! Bush Wins, After All

It seems as if Bush will get almost everything he wanted to get out of going to war in Iraq.

1. He got Saddam Hussein -- he's totally dead.

2. He did not get any of the bogus objectives he waved in front of our noses, but he knew they were bogus and he did not really give a hoot about them.

3. But he is coming ever closer to achieving his hidden objective, the unspoken one. And what was that? To get his oil industry buddies into Iraq with sweetheart contracts to develop and upgrade the decaying Iraq oil industry. That is worth many billions of dollars to the Bush family, their cronies and of course George W. Bush himself. They will be wealthier than Bill Gates and Warren Buffet combined.

All this has been reported by various blogs but rarely even hinted at in the Main Stream Media. The only news I have seen about this in the NYTimes is a virtually meaningless little notice in today's paper to the effect that a new law is about to be approved, without any explanation of what it means.

A small amount of Google research on: "new oil law in Iraq" brings up the truth about this new law really quickly. Here are a few juicy paragraphs from one of the blogs:

The reason that George W. Bush insists that "victory" is achievable in Iraq is not that he is deluded or isolated or ignorant or detached from reality or ill-advised. No, it's that his definition of "victory" is different from those bruited about in his own rhetoric and in the ever-earnest disquisitions of the chattering classes in print and online. For Bush, victory is indeed at hand. It could come at any moment now, could already have been achieved by the time you read this. And the driving force behind his planned "surge" of American troops is the need to preserve those fruits of victory that are now ripening in his hand.

At any time within the next few days, the Iraqi Council of Ministers is expected to approve a new "hydrocarbon law" essentially drawn up by the Bush administration and its UK lackey, the Independent on Sunday reported. The new bill will "radically redraw the Iraqi oil industry and throw open the doors to the third-largest oil reserves in the world," says the paper, whose reporters have seen a draft of the new law. "It would allow the first large-scale operation of foreign oil companies in the country since the industry was nationalized in 1972." If the government's parliamentary majority prevails, the law should take effect in March.

As the paper notes, the law will give Exxon Mobil, BP, Shell and other carbon cronies of the White House unprecedented sweetheart deals, allowing them to pump gargantuan profits from Iraq's nominally state-owned oilfields for decades to come. This law has been in the works since the very beginning of the invasion - indeed, since months before the invasion, when the Bush administration brought in Phillip Carroll, former CEO of both Shell and Fluor, the politically-wired oil servicing firm, to devise "contingency plans" for divvying up Iraq's oil after the attack. Once the deed was done, Carroll was made head of the American "advisory committee" overseeing the oil industry of the conquered land, as Joshua Holland of has chronicled in two remarkable reports on the backroom maneuvering over Iraq's oil: "Bush's Petro-Cartel Almost Has Iraq's Oil and "The US Takeover of Iraqi Oil."

Is Obama An Empty Suit?

Last week, Obama said that the lives of the 3000 Americans who have died in Iraq were wasted. There was an uproar. Obama apologized and retracted his "wasted" comment. He was wrong the first time and he was not right the second time.

No, their lives were not wasted. A lot of bad things happen because people make mistakes. Blaming only Bush and his crowd is a kind of self-serving avoidance of deeper problems. For example, it is now certain that Bush is a very bad President. Yet, he was reelected by a sizable majority in 2004. So if lives were “wasted” is it the fault of Bush or of the tens of millions of Americans who voted for Bush in 2000 and 2004? Or of Gore and Kerry who ran inept campaigns that enabled Bush to get elected and reelected? Or of Ralph Nader who because of his borderline madness took millions of votes from Gore?

Finger-pointing, which is what Obama was doing, is simply not useful. What we have to do is study history and learn from it. We especially have to try to learn from mistakes, our mistakes and those made by other people.

Obama is an empty suit. He talks about the audacity of hope. Hope is for fools. Smart people study and learn and plan carefully and try very hard to do good things and to avoid bad ones. Obama hasn’t got a clue. He is on his way to the waste bin of politics.

Is Clinton Hurting because of Her Vote?

It is surprising that even a cool, fact-using, rational analyst has some strong preconceived notions. Apparently, relying on his intuition rather than hard data, Paul Krugman has concluded that Hillary Clinton is paying a high political price for explaining her vote rather than just apologizing for it.

The data do not support Krugman's conclusion. In the Intrade standings, Clinton is way, way ahead of Obama and especially, Edwards, as shown below:

Clinton (voted for and explained): 51
Obama (was not in the Senate): 23
Edwards (voted for and apologized): 12

It's time for Krugman to apologize for showing his bias against Hillary Clinton. It's time for Krugman to say he is sorry for relying on his intuition rather than analysis of hard data and to promise not to repeat this error.

Sunday, February 18, 2007

I Admire Hillary Clinton

Way back, in the pre-Iraq War days, Hillary Clinton along with John Edwards and many others voted to give Bush authority to go to war against Iraq if indeed Iraq was a threat to us and there was no peaceful way of stopping Iraq from harming us.

War was intended to be a last resort.

We all know now that Bush and Cheney and Rice and Powell lied and lied and lied some more and Bush went to war, not as a last resort, but as a first choice and in reality Iraq was no threat to us at all. Saddam Hussein was not preparing to harm us -- he was hiding in his palaces and writing trashy novels.

Now that Hillary Clinton is a declared candidate for the US Presidency, the way-left loonies in the Democratic Party are threatening not to support her if she does not apologize, like John Edwards did, for the vote giving Bush the above described authority.

And Hillary Clinton told them off. She told them that she voted to give Bush conditional authority and Bush abused the authority. The blame belongs on Bush, not on her. If that's not good enough for some people, they can vote for one of the other guys.

I admire that. I will surely vote for Hillary Clinton, in the primary and in the general election.

BTW, Clinton is way ahead at Intrade: 51 for Hillary, 22 for Obama, 12 for Edwards --- Dems: 57, Repubs: 41, in the Presidential election and Democratic sweeps in both houses of Congress.

Why Mock Rice?

A lot of people are mocking or even attacking Rice for trying to make peace beteween Irael and the PA. But there is no need to mock her. The problem is that she (as well as her critics) are ignorant about the art of negotiation.

Negotiation can lead to a durable agreement only if both parties are committed to one objective. In this instance, it is not all clear that they are. They certainly have not said that they are committed to peace above all other goals.

Compare this situation to the situation between Egypt and Israel when they signed their peace treaty in Washington DC on March 26, 1979. Both Egypt and Israel wanted peace. So, they made peace. (BTW, Jimmy Carter got a Nobel Peace Prize for helping to achieve the peace treaty.)

If Rice wants a Nobel Prize, she first has to make sure that Israel and the Palestinians both want peace more than anything else. If that is not the case, Rice gets points for trying, but really it isn't going to work. That's tough, but that's reality.

Lump on McCain's Left Cheek

Republican Presidential front-runner John McCain has a huge lump on his left cheek. See photos.

Why Hurt Your Own People?

Gaza is the poorer part of the Palestinian Authority's nation. Before the current intifada, which started in 2000, many Palestinians crossed the border into Israel every morning to their jobs and returned in the evening. They were not getting rich, but they made a living.

Since the Intifada started, Palestinian young men started attacking the border crossings with AK-47's and Rocket Propelled Grenades. Every time this happened, the Israelis closed the border crossings.

Today's NYTimes has a very sad story about a Gaza Arab who lost his job as a welder in Israel six years ago because he could not come to work because the border was closed because of the attacks by the Palestinian warriors.

Maybe, just maybe, if the Palestinian jihadis could understand that they are inflicting far more suffering on their own people when they attack Israel than they are on Israel, maybe they could find a more productive use for their time than firing bullets at Jews -- like maybe go to school, learn a trade, get a job, start a new business, or even spend a day at the beach.

The Israelis are not suffering. They replaced the missing Arab workers with Romanians.

Friday, February 16, 2007

The Palestinian-Israeli Conflict Is 100% Phony

I have just done some very "sophisticated" research -- I Googled "Arafat's wealth." It was a real eye-opener. There are many reports out there. The best by far is the report of Issam Abu Issa, an Arab Qatari banker whose bank was stolen from him by Arafat. His personal property and his car were also stolen. He managed to escape to Qatar.

Arafat's wealth has been estimated at from $300 million to many billions. Where did it come from? Wealthy Western and Arab nations gave the money for development of the Palestinian nation.

Instead, the Palestinian people remained poor and Arafat squirelled the money in foreign accounts. He doled out substantial payments to his cronies who built grand sea-side villas and drove big Mercedes cars.

That's what it's all about. A classic story of a greedy tyrant stealing money from his people and blaming a scapegoat (Israel) for the misery suffered by his people.

The corruption was massive. It included Palestinian concrete companies providing mixed cement for the Israelis to build the wall that Jimmy Carter criticizes.

The United States of course knew about all this. Our government preferred to deal with a corrupt dictator rather than take a chance on helping to establish a democracy in the Palestinian territories.

It does not take too much imagination to conclude that Arafat's successors, Abbas and Hamas are simply trying to continue milking the Palestinian cash cow. They can never make peace with Israel because that would cause them to lose the scapegoat that distracts their people's attention from the tyrannical exploitation that has been forced on them.

Support for this conclusion is provided by the unexpected failure of the negotiations supervised by Bill Clinton in the waning days of his administration. The Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Barak offered Arafat more than 90% of what Arafat was asking for. After delays, Arafat refused the offer and did not even make a counter-offer. He did not explain why he refused. He could not admit that if he made peace, he would lose the scapegoat for the Palestinians' sorry plight and the truth would come out: the Palestinians were poor not because of the Israelis but because Arafat was stealing their money.

With Abbas and Hamas it's more of the same.

Give Bush credit: he refused to deal with Arafat and he refuses to deal with Hamas.

Corruption Is Rampant in the Moslem Middle East

An article entitled The Middle East's real bane: corruption gives detailed information on corruption in the Moslem Middle East. Here's the paragraph on the Palestinian Authority:

Palestinian ministers have also used their positions more for self-enrichment than development. The Palestinian Authority (PA) has little to show for billions of dollars in foreign aid. Critics of Israel can point to the bulldozed Gaza airport and complain about border closures, but it was not the Israeli government that built palatial mansions for Palestinian ministers or that wired PA President Yasser Arafat's wife Suha $22 million annually. In 2003, a team of American auditors estimated Arafat's net worth at $3 billion. At the time of his January 2001 assassination, Palestine Broadcasting Services director Hisham Makki had $17 million in his bank account; his monthly salary was only $1,500. In the autumn 2004 issue of Middle East Quarterly, former Palestine International Bank director Issam Abu Issa detailed the mechanism by which other Arafat aides pocketed millions of dollars. Palestinian refugees, meanwhile, live in squalor.

Who Is the Real Enemy of the Palestinian Arabs?

I have just a few questions:

1. If the Palestinian Arabs are so badly-off, how come their leaders wear such good clothes and look so well fed?

2. How come they still revere Arafat? How good a leader was he if he brought them to such dire straits? In 20 years, couldn't he have brought them out of poverty, lousy schools, sewage in the streets, massive unemployment? While he, Arafat accumulated a personal fortune of 900,000,000 US Dollars.

Thursday, February 15, 2007

Are We Headed for the Dustbin of History?

Ronald Reagan said we might be:

“Someone once said that every form of government has one characteristic peculiar to it and if that characteristic is lost, the government will fall. In a monarchy, it is affection and respect for the royal family. If that is lost the monarch is lost. In a dictatorship, it is fear. If the people stop fearing the dictator he'll lose power. In a representative government such as ours, it is virtue. If virtue goes, the government fails. Are we choosing paths that are politically expedient and morally questionable? Are we in truth losing our virtue? . . . If so, we may be nearer the dustbin of history than we realize.”

A Story and Peace between Israel and the Palestinian Authority

First, the story. Two men are fighting, saying nasty things and hitting each other. A third man comes along and becomes alarmed because the two men are now hitting with their fists and also kicking. So the third man runs to the local rabbi, who is famous for his wisdom and tells him about the two men fighting and the great risk of serious injury. He asks the rabbi to come and to try to stop the fight. The rabbi goes, sees what is happening and asks the two men to stop fighting and to tell him why they are so angry. So, one of the men tells his side of the story and the rabbi thinks and then says: "You are right." The he turns to the other one and asks him to speak. The second man tells a story that is pretty much the opposite of the first man's story. The rabbi thinks and then he says: "You, also are right." The third man, the one who had called the rabbi is surprised. He says: "Rabbi, if you said that the first one was right, how could you say that the second one, who disagrees with with first one, how could you say that he, also was right?" The rabbi looks at him, thinks and says: "You, also are right."

What's the point of the story? There is no use at all in a third party trying to judge who is right, Israel or the Palestinian Authority because they are both right. The only service that a third party can perform is to ask each party, Israel and the PA, to consider this question: "How strongly do you want peace?" If, and only if, both Israel and the PA state firmly that they want peace above all else, is there any possibility of achieving peace. If either party, or both, have objectives that rank higher than peace, there will be no peace and there is nothing, absolutely nothing, that Bush, Rice or anyone else can do to bring about peace. This is no reflection on Bush, Rice or any other third party.

To support my argument remember this. Not so long ago, every few years there were deadly wars with Israel on one side and Egypt and Jordan on the other. Then, Israel, Egypt and Jordan decided they wanted peace above all else. Peace treaties were signed and there were no more wars between those countries. There has even been cooperation. The point is they wanted peace more than anything else and they achieved peace. That's what it takes to make peace.

I Am Shocked: A David Brooks Colum I Actually Like

In today's column, Brooks explains Hillary Clinton's vote and her comments on the Iraq war resolution. Clinton is a very intelligent person and she sees the complexities in important issues and appreciates that they need to be taken into account. Bush and most other people like to simplify things, sometimes to an extremely dangerous degree.

Brooks concludes that Clinton does not need to apologize for being who she is and liberal critics should consider whether they want for President a stupid blunderer like Bush or a careful thinker like Hillary Clinton.

I know what I want and I'm delighted that Brooks has helped to illuminate this critically important decision.

Wednesday, February 14, 2007

Iran War?

All this chit-chat about Bush taking us to war against Iran fails to answer a lot of questions:

1. Land war vs. air war, both air and land?

2. If land, how many soldiers (Iran is much bigger than Iraq, has more than double the population and has a lot of mountains)? Where would the million or so soldiers needed come from?

3. There is not even a hint that any Iranians would welcome the U.S.

4. If air only, what's the plan for destroying nuclear sites located under deep layers of rock?

Bush's saber rattling is apparently intended to distract us from his monumental failure in Iraq.

The risk to Bush is that he may scare Congress into impeaching him and Cheney and throwing them out of office. Senate Republicans seem to be headed that way.

Even worse for Bush, incoming President Pelosi might then appoint a gung-ho Attorney General and instruct him (or her) to prosecute Bush and Cheney for their criminal lying, killing and waste of our money, maybe even "crimes against humanity."

Army Lowers Recruting Standards

According to an article in today's NYTtimes,

The number of waivers granted to Army recruits with criminal backgrounds has grown nearly 65 percent in the last three years, increasing to 8,129 in 2006 from 4,918 in 2003, Department of Defense records show.

The sharpest increase was in waivers issued for serious misdemeanors, which make up the bulk of all the Army’s moral waivers. These include aggravated assault, burglary, robbery and vehicular homicide. The number of waivers issued for felony convictions also increased, from 8 percent to 11 percent of the 8,129 moral waivers granted in 2006.

Should the Army be lowering its standards to meet recruiting quotas?

Absolutely not.

I served in the Army during the Korean War. I remember distinctly that two of my fellow soldiers in Infantry Basic Training were clearly unfit for military duty. One was a half-awake heroin addict and the other one was a very low IQ brutal bully.

Fortunately, I was not sent into combat. Because of my advanced education, the Army made better use of my skills in the Chemical Corps.

It would have been very dangerous for all concerned to have to serve in combat with the two misfits described above.

War is a messy, extremely dangerous business, full of unanticipated events. Soldiers have to be able to rely absolutely on the skills, alertness and uncompromising teamwork of their fellow soldiers. There is no room for drug addicts, criminals and idiots in the ranks.

If the Army cannot meet its staffing needs with capable people, it's time to institute a draft or cancel the whole bloody war and withdraw.

Time for U.S. Boldness on Israel and Palestine?

Another article reviewing the situation in the Middle East and concluding that Israel should be more sensitive to the problems of the Palestinians and:

That means an end to uncritical American support of Israel, a real push to persuade Olmert to engage with Abbas, enough boldness to reach beyond the details to a vision of what is needed to bring a Palestinian state into being.

How glib and how dishonest. Factually, Abbas alone does not represent the Palestinians. Abbas and Hamas represent the Palestinians.

If Cohen wants to offer advice (as opposed to demonizing Israel) his recommendation should be: " . . .a real push to persuade Olmert to engage with Abbas and Hamas."

However, before making that recommendation, Cohen should look up the requirements for negotiation:

Negotiating is trying to reach agreement with another party when the two parties share an objective, but have a conflict about other matters.

If you have a conflict with another party and do not share any objectives with them, the correct strategy choices are avoidance or self-defense.

If Cohen were honest, he would answer these two questions:

1. What objectives do Israel and Hamas share?

2. What conflicting objectives do Israel and Hamas have?

I do not know the answer to the first question.

The answer to the second question is that Israel wants to continue to exist and Hamas wants Israel destroyed, wiped off the map. What compromise does Cohen envision? Israel half-destroyed?

Frankly, I believe that Cohen is intelligent enough to understand this. Then, why does he not explicitly recognize that it is impossible to negotiate with someone who is committed to destroying you?

Tuesday, February 13, 2007

One More Thing Bush Does Not Understand

Every time Bush threatens Iran, world market price of petroleum moves up and Iran cries all the way to the bank.

Wake up Bushie. Speak softly and negotiate quietly. Be photographed hugging Ahmanijedad and the boss ayatollah in Iran and watch world price of petroleum plunge.

Only problem: it might hurt profits of your pals in Saudi Arabia and at Exxon-Mobil.

Hmmm. On the other hand, maybe Bush understands this a lot better that I do.

Hillary's Vote on the War

When people criticize Hillary Clinton's vote on the war, leaving out important facts, they are saying a lot more about their own defective thinking than about Hillary Clinton.

What are they leaving out? I'm glad you asked.

Remember back a few years, the hysteria cooked up by the Bush propaganda machine -- about the terrorists, the enormous danger -- the protection that Savior Bush was offering us.

And remember the slime machine operated by the same revolting Bush crowd. Give them credit. Their sliming was absolutely world class. Remember the Swift-Boating of John Kerry? In reality Kerry was the war hero and Bush was the cowardly dodger. After the Swift-Boating, the Bush mob reversed public perceptions. Kerry was a liar and exaggerator of his exploits -- a bad man.

Then it becomes crystal clear that any politician who wanted to live to fight another day, would have to be very careful not to antagonize Bush too much.

Cowardly? Maybe.

But the essential truth of politics is that unless you survive to fight another day, you commit a totally useless political suicide.

So, Hillary and other Presidential aspirants decided to give Bush all the rope he needed to hang himself.

And Bush hanged himself and Hillary lived to fight another day. Good for Hillary.

Sunday, February 11, 2007

Why the Arab Uproar Over a Pedestrian Ramp?

Review of a Jerusalem Post article and readers' comments reveals the following:

Due to Arab excavation under the Temple Mount for a huge underground mosque, it is all becoming unstable. Jordan engineers looked at it and helped with the bulge, but it cannot be fully repaired. They know it will collapse completely at some time so are getting ready to blame Israel for it.

The Arabs refuse to be held responsible for the bad work they did and are setting the stage for blaming Israel if and when the whole Temple Mount collapses.

"Criminals Control the Executive Branch"

You've got to read this short and punchy article.

Just a taste:

The reasons for impeaching Bush and Cheney exceed by many multiples all the reasons for impeaching every president combined in US history. The reasons have been enumerated many times and do not need repeating. If members of Congress were faithful to their oaths of office to uphold the Constitution, Bush and Cheney would already have been impeached and convicted.

Great Political Drama on the Horizon

That superb deliberative body, the U.S. Senate, narrowly split 51-49, is gradually, oh so gradually, recognizing what a whopping disaster the Bush Administration has become.

It could happen that for moral and political reasons, enough Republican Senators will join with the Democrats to remove Bush and Cheney from office.

The Senators would then encourage the Democrat-controlled House of Representatives to impeach that dreadful duo.

Nancy Pelosi would then become President and that would effectively remove suspense from the 2008 Presidential campaign.

We Live In Wondrous Times

I remember when in Christian America, Jews were advised to hide their Jewishness if they wanted to succeed in business, academia and politics. That explains Jews with surnames like: Summers, Holbrooke, Arrow, Baltimore, etc.

Now, we seem to have come full circle.

Al Franken, the liberal radio show host, comedian and author, in announcing his candidacy for Senator from Minnesota, said: "I'll be the only New York Jew running who actually grew up in Minnesota."

Franken is potentially a strong enough candidate to scare incumbent Republican Senator Coleman, who incidentally is a New York Jew who moved to Minnesota as an adult.

Which, BTW is another first: two Jews running against each other for a Senate seat, a Republican and a Democrat.

Saturday, February 10, 2007

Why Do Arab Fanatics Get so Much Credence?

Israeli road workers start repairing a pedestrian ramp leading to Temple Mount in Jerusalem that had been previously damaged by an earthquake and a snowstorm. The work is being done above ground and is 200 feet away from the nearest Moslem Mosque.

Local Arab fanatics falsely accuse the Israeli workers of undermining the al Aksa Mosque.

The Israeli Government stoutly denies any such malevolent intent or activity.

The Arab fanatics incite young Arabs. They throw stones, bottles and trash at Israelis.

Moslem Governments (Egypt, Jordan and Indonesia) side with the Arab fanatics and demand that Israel stop repairing the ramp.

Why do Arab fanatics get so much credence?

A Cloud with a Silver Lining

I had an unusual experience today. I was walking with my wife and I tripped on a loop of plastic packaging tape that someone had discarded on the sidewalk. I fell forward into my wife and knocked her over.

Almost instantly a young couple appeared and asked me whether I needed help, did I need an ambulance, did I need a pillow to rest my head on, etc.

I was greatly cheered by this benevolent intervention and after a few moments of rest to gather my wits, I accepted their outstretched arms and almost gracefully rose up to a standing position. I thanked them profusely, assured them that I was fine and we went on your way.

The young couple also assisted my wife with comparable concern and kindness.

Friday, February 09, 2007

No Unanimity Among Jews

Israel has been challenged by leaders among Israel's Arab citizens and by Israel's High Court. They claim that Israeli Arabs do not enjoy the same rights as Jewish Israelis.

To put the issue as simply as possible: Is Israel a democracy or a Jewish state?

Four letters to the Editor in today's NYTimes, all signed by writers with Jewish-sounding names are split down the middle. Two choose democracy and two choose a Jewish state.

Jew-haters who accuse (all) Jews of showing no reasonableness in defending Israel take note. There is no unanimity among Jews on this issue. None.

Probable reasons for this antagonism will be discussed in a later post on this blog.

Thursday, February 08, 2007

Watch the Fanatics, Not the "Peaceful Majority"

I just received this by e-mail:

I used to know a man whose family was German aristocracy
prior to World War Two. They owned a number of large
industries and estates. I asked him how many German people
were true Nazis, and the answer he gave has stuck with me
and guided my attitude toward fanaticism ever since.

"Very few people were true Nazis "he said," but many enjoyed
the return of German pride, and many more were too busy to
care. I was one of those who just thought the Nazis were a
bunch of fools. So, the majority just sat back and let it
all happen. Then, before we knew it, they owned us, and we
had lost control, and the end of the world had come. My
family lost everything I ended up in a concentration camp
and the Allies destroyed my factories."

We are told again and again by "experts" and "talking heads"
that Islam is the religion of peace, and that the vast
majority of Muslims just want to live in peace.

Although this unqualified assertion may be true, it is
entirely irrelevant. It is meaningless fluff, meant to make
us feel better, and meant to somehow diminish the specter of
fanatics rampaging across the globe in the name of Islam.
The fact is that the fanatics rule Islam at this moment in

It is the fanatics who march. It is the fanatics who wage
any one of 50 shooting wars worldwide. It is the fanatics
who systematically slaughter Christian or tribal groups
throughout Africa and are gradually taking over the entire
continent in an Islamic wave. It is the fanatics who bomb,
behead, murder, or honor kill. It is the fanatics who take
over mosque after mosque. It is the fanatics who zealously
spread the stoning and hanging of rape victims and
homosexuals. The hard quantifiable fact is that the
"peaceful majority" is the "silent majority" and it is cowed
and extraneous.

Communist Russia comprised Russians who just wanted to live
in peace, yet the Russian Communists were responsible for
the murder of about 20 million people. The peaceful
majority were irrelevant. China's huge population was
peaceful as well, but Chinese Communists managed to kill a
staggering 70 million people.

The average Japanese individual prior to World War 2 was not
a warmongering sadist. Yet, Japan murdered and slaughtered
its way across South East Asia in an orgy of killing that
included the systematic murder of 12 million Chinese
civilians; most killed by sword, shovel, and bayonet. And,
who can forget Rwanda , which collapsed into butchery. Could
it not be said that the majority of Rwandans were "peace

History lessons are often incredibly simple and blunt, yet
for all our powers of reason we often miss the most basic
and uncomplicated of

Peace-loving Muslims have been made irrelevant by their
Peace-loving Muslims will become our enemy if they don't
speak up, because like my friend from Germany , they will
awake one day and find that the fanatics own them, and the
end of their world will have begun.

Peace-loving Germans, Japanese, Chinese, Russians, Rwandans,
Serbs Afghans, Iraqis, Palestinians, Somalis, Nigerians,
Algerians, and many others have died because the peaceful
majority did not speak up until it was too late.

As for us who watch it all unfold; we must pay attention to
the only group that counts; the fanatics.

Wednesday, February 07, 2007

"Expect the Worst in Iraq"

How's that for a wake-up call? The WaPo column by Ignatius describes the worst-case scenario. It is absolutely horrendous. The only comforting part is that sometimes the absolutely worst does not actually happen.

The moral is prepare for the worst and you will never be caught unprepared.

The Bush Administration follows a different philosophy: "Expect the best and you will always be disappointed."

Good Editorial by Gloria Steinem

Read every word. It's well worth it.

Tuesday, February 06, 2007

Prince Saud Speaks. Is Hamas Listening?

As reported in the NYTimes, Prince Saud al-Faisal, Foreign Minister of Saudi Arabia told Hamas leaders Ismail Hanyia and Khaled Meshal:

"continued fighting by the Palestinian factions will never get us anywhere.”

Will Hamas listen?

The Royal Prince could have added, with equal veracity: "Firing rockets into Israel and sending murderers into Israel also will not get you anywhere."

Come to think of it, why didn't he say that?

OK, Now I Get It

The Republican blocking of the non-binding resolution is not a self-destructive move, after all.

It's an attempt to provoke the Democrats to cut off funding. If the Democrats succeed, Bush realizes his desperate need to find someone else to blame for his catastrophic failure.

I got this insight from reading E.J. Dionne's article in the WashPost.

Sen. Schumer's Comment

In one of my February 1 posts, I said,

They (the Senate Democrats) want to have it both ways. Criticize Bush but keep him wholly responsible. The one thing they absolutely do not want is to take ownership of the war. The best outcome for the Democrats is if the Senate Republicans block the non-binding resolution.

Strangely enough, that's where Mitch McConnell seems to be taking the Republicans.

Yesterday, Sen. Charles Schumer (D - NY), commenting on the Republican Senators' success in blocking the debate, said: “Senator McConnell led his Republican troops off the cliff.”

Monday, February 05, 2007

Stand By for Another Change of Goals in Iraq

Once more, the Bush Administration has changed the goal of the invasion of Iraq. As described in a Reuters dispatch:

The Navy admiral in line to become the U.S. commander for the Middle East has signaled he favors redefining the goals and some experts say U.S. officials already have done so privately.

In his State of the Union speech on Jan. 23, President George W. Bush declared: "Our goal is a democratic Iraq that upholds the rule of law, respects the rights of its people, provides them security, and is an ally in the war on terror."

But the aim right now -- and the administration knows it -- is just to stop a further descent into civil war from clashes between Sunni and Shi'ite Muslims, said Anthony Cordesman, one of Washington's most prominent military analysts.

"At this point in time, the main goal is to get through the next year without seeing a major deterioration in the situation in Iraq," said Cordesman, a scholar at the Center for Strategic and International Studies think tank.

Sunday, February 04, 2007

Why Do Many Jews Defend Israel?

Why Do Many Jews Defend Israel?

First of all, not all Jews defend Israel. There are Jews who not only do not defend Israel but actually say that there should not be a state of Israel.

Getting back to the question in the title, many Jews defend Israel because to them, Israel is the refuge of last resort.

After 3000 years of Jew hatred and Jew persecution including: kidnapping, raping, torturing, mass-murdering, expulsion and confiscation of property, many Jews have concluded that, while life may seem to be safe and enjoyable in the Diaspora, Jews should never feel totally safe. Having a last resort sanctuary is a good thing to have. That is the purpose of Israel.

A big problem of critics of Israel is their (willful) ignorance of the history of Israel.

From the moment of Israel's founding in 1948, Israel has been under attack, first by its Arab neighbors, Egypt, Jordan, Syria and Iraq and subsequently by Arafat's thugs, Hamas, Hizbollah, Islamic Jihad and other terrorist gangs.

Over the 58 years of Israel's existence, 22,000 Israelis have lost their lives due to these attacks. To clarify the significance of this number, if the United States had suffered proportionately over the last 58 years, we would have lost over 2,000,000 Americans.

When you consider how the United States reacted to the loss of 3,000 on 9/11, Israel's reaction to the constant attacks it has suffered, appears to be focussed, self-protective, not punitive and comparatively mild.

So, when people set out to criticize Israel, it would be really nice if they gave careful thought to the provocation that preceded the raids into Gaza and the West Bank and especially the building of the wall. When these critics ignore the criminal acts performed against Jews in Israel and criticize only the Israeli response, they are lying by omission - they are unfairly attacking the Jews' last sanctuary - they are exhibiting their hatred of all Jews - they are anti-Semites.

Jews have learned through bitter experience that unless Jews quickly and thoroughly discredit Jew-hating talk and writing, it invariably leads to acts of violence against Jews. Jews who strongly criticize Carter's book are not biased or paranoid, they are simply remembering the history of Jew-hatred and are trying to prevent the repetition of persecution of Jews.

If what they are doing is wrong, what do you offer as an alternative?

Why Does Jimmy Carter Lie About Israel?

Jummy Carter lies about Israel because Jimmy Carter is paid very well by Arab Jew-haters to write articles and books that lie about Israel.

See Jacob Laskin's article in Front Page Magazine.

Here are the first 4 paragraphs:

Nothing demonstrates more clearly the defects of Jimmy Carter’s latest brief against Israel, Palestine: Peace Not Apartheid, than the ex-president’s reluctance to defend the book on its merits. Rather than take up that unenviable task, Carter has sought to shift the focus away from the criticism -- especially as it concerns the book’s serial distortions and outright falsehoods -- and onto the critics.

In particular, Carter claims that critics are compromised by their support for Israel, their ties to pro-Israel lobbying organizations, and -- a more pernicious charge -- their Jewish background. In interviews about his book, Carter has seldom missed an opportunity to invoke what he calls the “powerful influence of AIPAC,” with the subtext that it is the lobbying group, and not his slanderous charges about Israel, that is mainly responsible for mobilizing popular outrage over Palestine. In a related line of defense, Carter has singled out “representatives of Jewish organizations” in the media as the prime culprits behind his poor reviews and “university campuses with high Jewish enrollment” as the main obstacle to forthright debate about his book on American universities. (Ironically, when challenged last week by Alan Dershowitz to a debate about his book at Brandeis University, which has a large Jewish student body, Carter rejected the invitation.)

Bluster aside, Carter’s chief complaint seems to be that anyone who identifies with Israel, whether in the form of individual support or in a more organized capacity, is incapable of grappling honestly with the issues in the Arab-Israeli conflict. But Carter is poorly placed to make this claim. If such connections alone are sufficient to discredit his critics, then by his own logic Carter is undeserving of a hearing. After all, the Carter Center, the combination research and activist project he founded at Emory University in 1982, has for years prospered from the largesse of assorted Arab financiers.

Especially lucrative have been Carter’s ties to Saudi Arabia. Before his death in 2005, King Fahd was a longtime contributor to the Carter Center and on more than one occasion contributed million-dollar donations. In 1993 alone, the king presented Carter with a gift of $7.6 million. And the king was not the only Saudi royal to commit funds to Carter’s cause. As of 2005, the king’s high-living nephew, Prince Alwaleed Bin Talal, has donated at least $5 million to the Carter Center.

Friday, February 02, 2007

What Is Exxon-Mobil Doing with Its Money?

In today's NYTimes, Floyd Norris complains that, increasingly, Exxon-Mobil is buying back its shares instead of developing new sources of energy.

Exxon-Mobil is a superbly managed oil company, but that is all that it is.

What Exxon-Mobil is demonstrating by its partial liquidation is that they recognize that the demand for energy will be satisfied from sources other than fossil fuels in the future. The atmosphere cannot tolerate increasing amounts of carbon dioxide.

Exxon-Mobil has outstanding ability in petroleum but not in anything else, literally.

So, they are returning capital to the stockholders so that they may invest their capital elsewhere.

That is corporate social responsibility in its highest form.

Disclosure: many years ago, I was employed for four years by Mobil Oil as a planning analyst in the headquarters of the domestic petroleum division.

Is Hillary Clinton "Electable?"

Since 2001, the Republicans have been running this country as if they were determined to give the 2008 election to the Democrats, by a landslide.

The public opinion polls reflect the Republicans' resounding success in achieving this apparent objective. The Intrade betting site also reflects their success.

The Democrats have been managing their politics superbly as evidenced by their unexpected win of control of the Senate in 2006.

Hillary Clinton has also been doing an outstanding job. She was elected to the Senate in 2000 and reelected by a sizable majority in 2006.

In her work in the Senate, she has won the admiration of her political opponents.

To sum up, the Republicans have done a terrible job of governing and the Democrats (especially Hillary Clinton) have done a superb job of politicking.

On the basis of all this, any unbiased observer would reach the conclusion that Clinton will be elected the next President.

The complaining about Hillary Clinton's lack of "electability" must come not from from realities but from unresolved issues of the complainers.

Thursday, February 01, 2007

You Want to Make A Bad Situation Worse?

Call in George W. Bush.

According to Egyptian Prime Minister Ahmed Nazif, quoted in the Newsweek print edition, the Palestinian election that brought Hamas to power was a result of a Bush brainstorm.

Egypt (and Israel) advised strongly against that election. Why? Because when you hold an election in an Arab land, you may give power to a radical group. Egypt knows all about this. If Egypt held a fair election, the Moslem Brotherhood would gain power. So Egypt told Bush not to push for a Palestinian election - Hamas would gain power.

Bush did not listen.

Hamas came to power.

Hamas is totally dedicated to the destruction of Israel.

Israel will not talk to any group that is dedicated to Israel's destruction.

Peace in the Middle East is more remote that ever.

Thanks to Bush.

What Does Bush Desperately Need?

A scapegoat.

Bush needs somebody (other than himself) to blame for the Iraq disaster.

That's why Bush and Cheney are challenging the Democrats. They are hoping to goad the Democrats into inhibiting the "surge." How? By cutting off funding for the surge, or even better, cutting off funding of the whole bloody war.

Then Bush could say that he would have won the war if the Democrats had not gotten in the way.

The Democrats sense this. They want to have it both ways. Criticize Bush but keep him wholly responsible. The one thing they absolutely do not want is to take ownership of the war. The best outcome for the Democrats is if the Senate Republicans block the non-binding resolution.

Strangely enough, that's where Mitch McConnell seems to be taking the Republicans.