Saturday, June 30, 2007

Marshall Plan for Palestine Recommended

Bashir Goth, a veteran journalist, freelance writer, the first Somali blogger and editor of a leading news website has posted a short article in which he recommends a Marshall Plan for Palestine. Quote:

. . . one may hope that Blair will at least give some hard advice to Bush. One important idea could be to push for a Marshall Plan for the Palestinian Authority of Mahmoud Abbas (a.k.a. Abu Mazen). Given the grinding poverty and harsh economic realities in which the Palestinian people live, the Quartet’s initiatives will not find receptive ears unless the Palestinian people see a real change in their livelihood. Massive economic assistance can start projects, generate employment, win the trust of people and turn them into stakeholders in peace initiatives.

The "Jackie Robinson" Effect

Why do so many people dislike or even hate Hillary?

What we are seeing here is the "Jackie Robinson" effect.

Jackie Robinson was the first Black player in major league baseball. He was picked by Branch Rickey on the basis of his outstanding ability to play baseball, his intelligence and his mature judgment as shown by his ability to ignore taunts and insults.

Jackie Robinson was an excellent choice for the job of pioneering. The fans grew to admire and love him. On the basis of his success many more Black and Latino players came into the Major Leagues and excelled.

Hillary is a pioneer. A First Lady had never run for public office after leaving the White House. New York State had never had a female United States Senator. Hillary pioneered in two ways and her success was spectacular. When she ran for reelection to the Senate, she got twice as many votes as her opponent.

Now, she is pioneering at the highest level in U.S. politics. Like Jackie Robinson, she is the object of much irrational criticism and hate from people who have serious problems in accepting a woman as President of the U.S. Nevertheless, she will probably be elected and succeed, just as Jackie Robinson did because she has the right qualities in abundance just as Jackie Robinson had.

Friday, June 29, 2007

To Those Who Hate Hillary:

Try this:

1. Hillary is the top contender for the Dem nomination and in the general election.

2. If she wins the Dem nomination she will beat any Republican candidate: Giuliani, Thompson, etc.

3. If enough people buy and advocate this BS of hating Hillary, Obama will get the Dem nomination.

4. Depending on how dirty Giuliani or Thompson run their campaigns, they may beat Obama and we get another 4 or 8 years of Republican rule.

5. If that is ok with you, indulge your emotions about hating Hillary.

6. If, on the other hand, you dislike the Republicans even more than you dislike Hillary, quit your bellyaching about hating Hillary and send money to Hillary's campaign, advise all your friends to vote for her and make to sure to vote for her yourself.

7. The rest of it is just childish whining and complaining about nothing at all.

New Palestinian Prime Minister on the "Resistance"

"It's about time that we know what works and what doesn't work," he said. "And it's not enough to stop at statements and pronouncements like, 'Resistance is [the] right of any occupied people.'

"We certainly are [occupied], and that certainly is a right. But I think we have to have some sense of what has happened over the past ... seven, eight years.

"Simple, basic question: Are we better off now than we were then? Then, the situation was not great, but guess what it is like today? It's catastrophic."


Bush Uses Israel As An Example for Iraq

According to BBC News, Bush said that Israel should serve as a model for Iraq.

Here is a key paragraph:

"In places like Israel, terrorists have taken innocent human life for years in suicide attacks. The difference is that Israel is a functioning democracy and it's not prevented from carrying out its responsibilities. And that's a good indicator of success that we're looking for in Iraq."

Bush could have also said that Israel has also achieved a first-world standard of living even though it has no oil. He could also have suggested that the Palestinians could also have achieved a democracy and a high standard of living if they had tried instead of focusing exclusively on killing Jews.

Thursday, June 28, 2007

Ending the Israel-Palestinian Conflict

The "solution" to the Israel-Palestinian conflict is so obvious that it's really painful that so few people see it.

Let's backtrack a bit and study a comparable situation. For hundreds of years, Europe was torn by bloody, destructive wars -- much bigger and much more destructive than the puny war between the Jews and the Pals in the Middle East.

Now the major nations, who used to fight each other with extraordinary regularity, the Germans, French and British live in cooperation and peace and there is no sign at all that this will ever change.

What can we learn? Probably a multitude of things. Two come to mind:

1. Instead of punishing the losers, provide them with money and advice and help them to build a successful and prosperous nation.

2. Form a union, comparable to the European Union.

The Pals are clearly the losers in the Middle East. Instead of arguing and fighting and killing endlessly about difficult issues, set up a "Marshall Plan" to help the Pals to become a First World nation, as Israel has done.

When substantial progress has been made, form a Middle East Union to help the nations in the Middle East to stop wasting their resources on weapons and increase their wealth through cooperation.

Is Tony Blair the man do this? Maybe. He should be given a chance.

The First IT Professional At Work

A short video of the The First IT Professional At Work. Swedish at the bottom. English at the top.

Wednesday, June 27, 2007

Lugar's Speech

Bush will not quit because he has not yet achieved his objective in Iraq.

His objective all along has been to capture the Iraqi oil for Exxon-Mobil and British Petroleum.

That is the purpose of the proposed Iraq Oil Law.

As long as there is any possibility of enacting that law, Bush will continue the killing and maiming and destruction of this war.

Lugar is only a very old and super-cautious politician trying to save the Republican Party. His speech is a lot of hot air that Bush can safely ignore.

The only thing that might make Bush listen would be threat of impeachment and removal from office by two thirds vote in the Senate.

The process has to start in the House of Representatives. The key person is a Democrat, Speaker Nancy Pelosi. She has stated clearly the impeachment of Bush and Cheney "is not on the table."

That's all. No threat of impeachment and removal from office and Lugar and all the other Republicans can blow all the hot air they want. Bush will ignore them and if necessary will have Rove slime them.

Sunday, June 24, 2007

We Have A Problem

We have been told repeatedly that we are the only superpower left. That is a mighty intoxicating concept. Look what belief in that fable has led Bush/Cheney to do. Worse than a dose of 100 proof bourbon mixed with caffeine and crack cocaine, all ingested in five minutes.

The reality is that yes, we can destroy cities and even countries. We have enough bombs and other weapons to destroy human life completely. So what?

We can't beat insurgents in Iraq, we can't destroy al Qaeda, we can't catch Osama and we have no useful advice for Israel on how to defeat Hizbollah or Hamas and we can't intimidate the ayatollahs in Iran to stop their nuclear project.

So the superpower story is inoperative. What politician can say that without quickly becoming an ex-politician?

We are trapped in subscribing to a lie. We have a problem.

Friday, June 22, 2007

Was It A Conspiracy?

There is a video of a simulation of the WTC collapse on YouTube. It shows how a heavy airplane, moving at high speed, slices through the columns supporting the building. It also shows the fuel catching fire and unleashing a firestorm against the remaining steel supports.

Was it a conspiracy?

Did the builders ask Boeing about the weight, speed and fuel load of airplanes flying 40 to 50 years into future? Apparently they did not.

Did the builders enclose all the steel columns and floor supports in fire proof concrete? Clearly not.

The reason is obvious. If the builders had asked all the right questions and designed the buildings with safety the primary consideration, there would have been a greatly reduced amount of rentable floor space at the higher levels.

Does that constitute a conspiracy? Perhaps not, but it does seem like negligence or excessive eagerness to maximize profits on part of the building owners and willingness on the part of the engineers to cut corners.

What the Palestinians Need

The Palestinians are deeply mired in religious and factional issues. This is a dead end.

The Pals need a way to come up to a level of economic accomplishment appropriate to the 21st century. They need schools and they need industry. Look at how East Asia, India, China and Israel have progressed economically during the past 40 years.

What's holding the Pals back is a lack of proper direction. They have focussed first on killing Jews, and later on killing each other and accomplished nothing economically for themselves.

They have been teaching their children to hate and kill Jews. Instead they should have been increasing their intellectual capital and building up their economy

The West and Israel are backing Abbas but Abbas will never, ever bring economic development about. There is no indication that any Arab could.

Maybe a businessman/politician like Mike Bloomberg could. Unfortunately, he has just left the Republican Party. Surely among the many Republican successful business managers there is at least one who would volunteer to fill the economic leadership role in Palestine the way General Mac Arthur did in Japan after World War II.

Is Bush even considering this strategy?

Thursday, June 21, 2007

See Today's Danziger Cartoon

Click Danziger cartoon.

Wednesday, June 20, 2007

The Terrible Fate of the Palestinians

Fouad Ajami has an excellent article in yesterday's NYTimes.

Here is one of the best paragraphs (there are many others):

The political maxim that people get the leaders they deserve must be reckoned too cruel to apply to the Palestinians. Before Hamas, for four decades, the vainglorious Yasir Arafat refused to tell his people the basic truths of their political life. Amid the debacles, he remained eerily joyous; he circled the globe, offering his people the false sense that they could be spared the consequences of terrible decisions.

Fouad Ajami, a professor at the Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies, is the author of “The Foreigner’s Gift: The Americans, the Arabs and the Iraqis in Iraq.”

Monday, June 18, 2007

They Did It to Gore, Now They Are Doing It to Hillary

In 2000, the media and the empty heads destroyed Gore's reputation with lies, exaggerations and lint-picking, and we got Bush, the worst President in American history.

Now, all the empty heads are doing it to Hillary and we'll get Giuliani, who will probably be in a hot contest with Bush for worst President.

See today's Toles cartoon.

See also Judith Warner's column and comments in the June 14 NYTimes.

Sunday, June 17, 2007

The Iraq War Is not Yet Lost

The war is not lost because Bush has never honestly defined victory.

Considering the status in Iraq, it is fairly clear that what Bush is after is control of Iraqi oil by Exxon-Mobil and BP (British Petroleum). This may yet happen. This would serve two objectives: give the U.S. and the U.K. assured supplies of oil at a very low cost and very importantly, keep Iraq's oil out of the hands of China.

That is the reason for the huge military bases and the huge embassy that the U.S. is building in Iraq. It is also the reason for Iraq's Oil Law which may or may not be approved by the Iraqi "government."

That has been Bush's objective all along -- good old imperialism. Bush has never admitted it because it is shameful and probably illegal to expend American lives and Treasury funds for the private gain of corporations -- but that's the old story imperialism -- American and British.

The war is not over and the next U.S. President (being much smarter and much better negotiator than George W. Bush and Cheney combined) may yet figure out a way to pacify the Iraqi militias and win rich contracts for Exxon-Mobil and BP.

It's too soon to say that the war is lost.

The British Boycott of Israeli Scholars

Thomas Friedman has an excellent column in today's NYTimes.

What is "lint-picking?"

I googled "lint-picking" and this is what I found: from Julia Cameron's The Right to Write:

"When people cannot see the larger picture of what it is we are trying to do, they will pick out some detail and pick at that. We have, many of us, had the experience of being all dressed up, ready to go somewhere and feeling pretty marvelous, when someone - a parent, a friend, even the baby-sitter - picks a small piece of lint off our outfit. 'Lint picking' is focusing on the small imperfection rather than seeing the greater glory of the whole."

Saturday, June 16, 2007

Lint-Picking on Hillary

It is remarkable how many people search mightily to find a reason to dislike Hillary. It is so easy to to find faults, in anyone. None of the candidates (as well as none of us) is perfect.

The only issue is: "Who has the best chance to beat Thompson (the leading Republican candidate)?

The answer is Hillary.

Edwards and Gore don't stand a chance.

Obama is close.

Hillary beats all of them: Thompson, Giuliani, Romney and McCain, by a wide margin.

See the Intrade website. Click on "2008 US Presidential Election - Winning Individual (See Specific Rules)" in the left dialog box entitled "Trading Categories."

Wake up everybody! If you don't quit lint-picking on Hillary, you'll wind up with a replay of 2000, when a smart and ethical guy like Gore lost to a bag of bovine waste like George W. Bush.

Palestinians Have Only Poor Choices

1. Hamas, a terrorist organization that offers their people two alternatives: kill Jews and/or suffer martyrdom (death).

2. Fatah, a mob that steals everything.

What the Pals need is a General McArthur to help them become a modern productive democracy.

(For those who are too young to remember, General McArthur was the American ruler of Japan after WWII who built up Japan to become the economic powerhouse it has been for the last 50 years.)

Friday, June 15, 2007

Authentic, Shmauthentic!

"Authentic" seems to be the current political buzzword. Unfortunately, it's the worst criterion for choosing a President.

To many people, Bush seemed to be more sincere and accessible (did that equal "authenticity?") than Gore and they voted for Bush. What a mistake!

In choosing a President, the voter should evaluate (on the basis of past performance, current promises and likely members of the proposed Administration) the likelihood that the candidate will pursue and achieve goals that are helpful to the voter.

"Authenticity" is a vaguely defined, subjective quality. Using it as a guide gives terrible results. Bush has "authenticity." Bush is the worst President the United States has ever had. If a columnist wants to write a useful column, he/she should avoid using that misleading word.

The use of "authenticity" as a criterion is an indication that the columnist is too ignorant or lazy to examine the substantive issues. Unfortunately, ignorance and laziness have been and continue to be major weaknesses of the Main Stream Media.

Tuesday, June 12, 2007

About Genocide

In today's Washington Post, Richard Cohen muses on past events at Wannsee, a beautiful lake near Berlin.

Wannsee was the setting of a conference of top Nazis on the answer to the "Jewish Question."

Cohen's column brought out some seriously deranged comments by assorted anti-Semites.

Having read them all, I offered my comment, reproduced below.

The holocaust is old (not ancient, but old) history. It was bad, but no worse than other genocides that happened before, during and after the Jewish holocaust.

It is important to Jews because many Jews believe that they did not do enough to prevent it. That is why Jews say "never again" to remind themselves to always be on guard, regardless of how comfortable they may be, against a repetition.

It is fair to say that Jews have survived many attempts made by gentiles to destroy their Jewish identity and/or to kill them off: in Egypt, in the Babylonian exile, in the Diaspora initiated by the Romans, in the multitude of pogroms and expulsions in Europe, the Inquisition, virulent anti-Semitism in Europe and the Middle East, the holocaust, the incessant attacks against Israel by Arab states and Arab jihadists.

Therefore it is ok for a Jew like Cohen to reflect on the events at Wannsee. There is no call for local anti-Semites to spew their insane venom on this bulletin board.

Armenians speak and write about the Turkish genocide against them.

Russians remember the attempted genocide by Germans against them.

Other groups that have suffered attempted genocides should also write and speak about their suffering. They should never let the world forget about the grave injustice they have suffered.

Maybe if all speak up, would be perpetrators of new attempted genocides would hold back and seek peaceful ways of resolving their insane hatreds.

One of the Best Movie Scenes Ever

See this film clip on You Tube.

Here's a quote from Wikipedia about this scene:

The film may be best known for a scene featuring the two title characters having lunch at Katz's Deli in Manhattan. They are arguing about a man's ability to recognize when a woman is faking an orgasm. Sally claims men cannot tell the difference, and to prove her point, she vividly (but fully clothed) demonstrates the skill as other diners watch. The scene ends with Sally casually returning to her meal as a nearby patron, played by Reiner's mother, places her order: "I'll have what she's having."

A Different Outsourcing Story

We are accustomed to reading about American companies outsourcing to India. here's a story about a German company outsourcing to the rest of the world.

In Saturday's NYTimes, Steve Lohr interviews Henning Kagerman, CEO of SAS, German software giant.

Here's the key paragraph:

Q. How much has your engineering work moved outside Germany, and where are you doing it?

A. A decade or so ago, we did nearly 100 percent in Germany. Now, it’s two-thirds in Germany and one-third outside. Palo Alto was the first, and we now have about 1,400 engineers in Silicon Valley. Today, we have about 3,000 engineers in India, about 1,000 in China and 900 in Israel. There are other engineering centers around the world, but those are the big four.

Friday, June 08, 2007

Why Isn't Hillary Defining Her Healthcare Plan?

Edwards and Obama have described their healthcare proposals. Hillary has not, yet. Why is she holding back?

Hillary's claim to the Presidency is based on two easy concepts:

1. She has actual experience, having lived in the White House with her husband Bill Clinton and having participated in his decision-making. She knows how to accomplish things -- she knows the strengths and limitations of Presidential power.

2. She has genuine sympathy for the needs of the average voter and she will work hard and intelligently to help the middle class to achieve their objectives.

So, why does she not spell out her healthcare plan, as Edwards and Obama have?

She knows, from personal experience that challenging the drug lobby and the health insurance lobby can lead to defeat. These two lobbies have huge amounts of money and they employ hundreds of lobbyists who reach every member of Congress. They also have run clever advertising campaigns that distract and confuse many voters.

Hillary has said that she will not prepare a proposal only to have it shot down by the lobbies. She wants to build a consensus among voters that change is needed and discover exactly what changes the public would support strongly.

Here are two examples.

1. We hear a lot about the 47 million Americans who have no health insurance. You would think that the public would be strongly in favor of providing coverage for these people. Not so. The 86% who have coverage worry more about the additional costs of covering the 47 million and whether taxes would be increased.

2. We also hear a lot about expensive and unnecessary diagnostic procedures and surgeries which add enormously to the total cost of health care. Does the individual who has coverage care? Not a bit. We all want the most scientific diagnoses and the finest surgeries, as long as somebody else is paying.

So, people like Krugman can pontificate to their heart's content, but effecting change has so be attempted very carefully in order to avoid failure. That's why Hillary plans to build consensus before attempting to make big changes in the healthcare system.

Thursday, June 07, 2007

Congratulations to Citizens of California!

Your Governor is an inspiration to all of us.

Too bad he can't run for the Presidency.

Wednesday, June 06, 2007

Complaints About Democratic Presidential Candidates Not Stopping the War

This is Bush's war and he is the sitting President. He was elected and re-elected by the American voters.

A Senator, even as a candidate for the Presidency, does not have the power to stop the Iraq war. The most Congress can do is cut the funds. The American people do not want anything done that could harm the troops. Cutting the funding might harm American troops.

Thus, Clinton and Obama cannot stop the Iraq war now. As long as Bush wants to continue the war and the Democrats have only a small majority in the Senate, Bush and Cheney will remain in office until January 20, 2009.

Some Democrats want the war to stop now. This will not happen. Criticizing Clinton and Obama will not change this.

These criticizing Democrats might reflect on what might have happened in 2004 if they had not dumped Dean and selected Kerry to run against Bush.

Kerry was mealy mouthed and cowardly. He was beaten by the Bush-Rove slime machine.

Dean would have really lambasted Bush and all his liars and incompetents. Dean might have made the American people aware of what a monumental fraud had been put over on them by Bush and Cheney. Dean might have been elected and he would certainly have ended the war.