Monthly Archives: January 2008

Norwegian Prof-Bush Worst US President!

Professor Ole O Moen, a Norwegian expert on US politics, ranked George Bush as the second worst American president. “His adminsitration stands for adangerous blend of arrogance and ignorance.” He argues Bush lacks the ability to listen to, let alone work, with other world leaders. Moen listed a litany of what he considered to be Bush errors going from Iraq to Kyoto to fiscal mismanagement of the budget, and tax policies which widen the gap between rich and poor. Professor Moen ranked Democrat James Buchanan as the next worst president given his role in helping cause the Civil War. He considers Abraham Lincoln and Franklin Roosevelt as the two most outstanding presidents.

Professor Moen is probably one of those “foreign intellectuals” who think they know more than the combined brilliance of Bush-Cheney-Rumsfeld-Rove. OK, so George Bush made a minor mistake about some WMD, but why do these foreign critics continue blaming the poor man for thinking something was there that wasn’t? Anyone can make a mistake. OK, so he made a few wrong calls about the economy, big deal. Just remember this man did OK with owning the Texas Ranger baseball team, and I just dare this Professor Moen to rank George Bush as the worst President of a baseball team! The problem with foreign “intellectuals”is they believe they have more kowledge than the brilliant trio of Bush/Cheney/Rumsfeld. Professor Moen, someday future archeologists will uncover the WMD and won’t you be sorry you blamed our beloved leader for making a mistake!

I would like to know why Professor Moen doesn’t admit George Bush ranks as the best president in having direct contact with God! How many US presidents had a direct hotline to heaven? How many were advised by angels? None of these strengths apparently are of interest to the Norwegian academic. Any way, we Americans will not rank order Norwegian kings and queens so please Professor Moen, allow we Americans to handle our fools.

American Piano In World’s Orchestra?

Trudy Rubin, writing in the Philadephia Inquirer, described changes at the Davos World Economic Forum that suggest America’s economic dominance has come to an abrupt conclusion. Its high-tech bubble has burst, deficits are common, the housing market has collapsed and US banks continually need injections of money from all parts of the world. Bush militlary policies have absorbed trillions of dollars away from productive use in the nation and squandered the money by having resources expended– and wasted– in Iraq and Afghanistan. “The unipolar American moment is deemed over,” says Rubin, “in part a casualty of the Bush administration’s political and economic policies, in large part the result of global economic changes that are shifting wealth eslewhere.” At the meeting, Klaus Schwab suggested onstage to Condoleezza Rice, that America was a piano and the world the orchestra. Schwab asked if the piano and the orchestra could play together in harmony.

The current housing /debt/banking crisis in America comes at a time when the nation is massively in debt to China and oil-rich countries like Russia and nations in the Arab Gulf. Many experts believe by 2050, the world’s super economic powers will be China, the United States and Japan in that order, but this prediction may not take into account the growing economic power of the European Union.

There is still one more question– will a new president be able to redirect America’s destiny by shifting priorities from military to economic? Can the United States afford to spend trillions on wars in Iraq or Afghanistan or tomorrow in Pakistan? Has there come a time to call a halt on military thrusts and focus on economic development within this nation. Unfortunately, none of the current crop of candidates appears willing to cast the future of America in long term considerations. Can America continue its present path without suffering terrible economic consequences down the road?

Another MP Killed In Kenya- Chaos Continues

Another member of the Kenya parliament was killed when a policeman shot David Kimtai of the Orange Democratic Movement. Kofi Annan, former head of the United Nations is trying to get all parties to sit, discuss, and come up with a compromise solution that will end violence which has engulfed a nation that up to this point had escaped such tribal conflicts. Military helicopters have been ordered to shoot and kill any gangs that are engaged in violence or setting up road blocks. They have identified four categories of people who will be shot on sight if they engage in criminal actions–those looting property, those burning houses, or those carrying weapons or trying to barricade roads to prevent free movement of people and goods.

President Kibaki continues insisting he won the election that most observers believe was a fraudulent process in which Kibaki doctored vote totals. More than 800 people are dead and thousands forced into temporary refugee camps. For example, at the Naivasha GK Prison, moe than 5,000 people are seeking safety and although there are no avaialbe restrooms or clean water more people arrive by the hour. History will note this was not the finest hour of President Kibaki on whose head lies the death of hundreds of people.

Poland, Russia, USA, And Missile Defense Systems

The Polish government is engaged in a flurry of activity to cover all bases regarding the proposed installation on their territory of missiles by the United States government. Foreign Minister Radoslaw Sikorski rushed to Moscow to reassure the Russians not to worry about having missiles a few hundred miles away. Russian Foreign Minister Lavrov assured him that Russia had no veto right over what Poland desired for its protection. Sikorski then turned his attention to negotiations with the United States over the missiles. The Polish government wants money and military equipment from the United States in order to modernize its air force and get some nice missiles of its own. In fact, Poland is so pleased to receive US military assistance, it even has agreed to increase the size of the Polish contingent in Iraq.

Lost in this running back and forth to secure agreements on missiles in Poland is the question as to why the missiles are needed in the first place. Poland wants its own missiles, why? Is another nation threatening Poland? Which missiles from which country will the new installation shoot down? Nations are prepared to spend billions on missiles and military equipment when they have no one to fight. Wouldn’t it make more sense to spend that money on issues of poverty, health care or education?

Who Is Medvedev And What Does He Believe?

Elections in democratic nations ordinarily offer candidates who announce their ideas in some type of platform statement. We know Dimitry Medvedev is a protege of President Putin, but does anyone have any notion as to his ideas or program other than continuing the present course of action? According to a recent poll, 65% of Russians know next to nothing about the man they will elect as their next president. His name appears on the ballot, Putin says vote for the name, and a majority will go ahead and do the right thing– vote for an unknown entity in the name of democracy. As of this point, Medvedev has yet to engage in a debate with an opponent, let alone announce his political agenda.

It was no surprise that former Prime Minister Mikhail Kasyanov was disqualified from running for president despite obtaining nearly two million signatures for his candidacy. Putin doesn’t like individuals who are capable of challenging his one man authority so why not basically have a one man election. Latest figures are that Medvedev will get about 80% of the vote. When all is said and done, the new president will secure his training from the man he replaces and, as time passes, it may be difficult for the Russian people to realize someone else is now their president.

I suspect George Bush gazes with envy at the Russian system. No wonder he exclaimed that when he looked into the soul of Putin he discovered a man after his own heart.

Iran Bans Women Magazine For Reporting Crimes

The Iranian government has taken action to silence a leading women’s magazine which has long fought to protect the rights of female members of the nation, an action which has infuriated many religious figures in the country. The magazine, Zanan, was banned due to articles it published about women issues. “The license of the magazine Zanan(Women) managed by Shahla Sherkt has been cancelled as the monthly published articles undermining public confidence in law and order by leading people to believe that the Islamic Republic was unsafe for women.”

Zanan dared to publish monthly figures on the number of crimes committed against women in Iran. This type of factual data is undoubtedly the type of evidence which would infuriate those who believe that facts, in themselves, are a threat to law and order. The religious fanatics who presently govern Iran know that facts lie. Instead of facts, they believe honest people should publish fantasy since it is preferable to live in an unreal world in which all women are safe than to inhabit one in which women are abused. I guess the next time an Iranian woman is assaulted she should take comfort in knowing the assault never happened.

Battle Goes On About Headscarf Ban In Turkey

Turkey’s top generals signaled the military is opposed to lifting the ban on women wearing a headscarf in university settings. Chief of General Staff General Yasar Buyukant told reporters that “All segments of Turkish society know what the military thinks about the headscarf issue. To say anything would be nothing more than stating the obvious. This is why I do not want to say anything.” The military regards itself as the protector of the secular state that has endured for most of the past 100 years. General Buyukant reaffirmed he would not meet with Iraqi President Jalal Talabani when he visits Turkey. The Turkish military is not satisfied with efforts by Iraq to take effective action against Kurdish rebels who operate on Iraqi soil.

The ever present danger in Turkey is potential military action if the current religious Muslim Justice and Development leaders continue efforts to bring a greater religious sense to government. The military opossed the election of Gul as president because they regarded him as too religious minded. It is still unclear if the push for religion grows stronger how the militay will respond. In the past it has overthrown governments it regarded as threatening the secular foundation of Turkey.

UN Chief Says Global Warming Reduction Is Expensive

Global warming could cost the world up to $20 trillion over the coming decades in the effort to develop cleaner energy sources according to a new report issues by UN Secretary General, Ban ki-moon. The report will be a major topic of discussion at the upcoming two day climate meeting in Febrary which is intended to help shape the direction of UN policy on climate control. A new climate control treaty is expected by 2009 that will replace the existing Kyoto Agreement. The Kyoto pact requires the 37 industrial nations to reuce greenhouse gases by a relatively modest 5% on average.

Much of the focus on climate control debate revolves around the United States which simply has refused to cooperate with nations of the world and the emerging industrial giants of China and India which are and increasingly will become major sources of pollution. The 52 page report by Ban argues that a global investment of betwen $15 to $20 trillion will be required “to place the world on a markedly different and sustainable energy trajectory.”

A great unknown is the attitude of the new American president who will assume office in January of 2009. Will she/he be an activist in the struggle to control the effects of global warming or will she/he ignore it as has been the policy of George Bush? Only the future knows the answer to that question.

Mubarak To Israel– It’s Your Gaza Problem!

President Mubarak of Egypt in an interview with the Italian newspaper, La Republica, made clear that Israel’s dream of “throwing the Strip” at the Egyptians was “only a dream” and would not be achieved. The Egyptian president insisted the Gaza Strip was an Israeli problem and the government of Israel had continually made mistakes in dealing with Hamas. He believes its policy of strangling the Gaza area in order to weaken Hamas has backfired resulting in the present chaotic situation. Hamas leader, Khaled Mashaal, was in Cairo discussing with Egyptian security officials ways in which to restore some semblance of law and order in the area. Al-Jazeera denied a Reuters report of a massive explosion in the Gaza area saying somehow a reporter transformed a policeman firing of a bullet into the air as being a major incident.

At some point, Israeli officials have to make contact with reality in its efforts to isolate and marginalize Hamas. These strategies simply have not worked. Targeting key Hamas leaders and killing them has yet to result in any significant decline in Hamas strength and it certainly has not reduced the firing of Kassam rockets. Perhap, it is time to talk with Hamas leaders regardless of whether or not they will tone down their angry rhetoric against Israel. Hopefully, talks and some form of compromise solutions may eventually result in a reduction in the level of threats. It might also even end the firing of Kassam rockets.

China Offers New Programs For Rural Areas

China issued the first document this year which focuses on needs of rural areas of the country. This year’s theme is “consolidating the foundation of agricultture.” Recent figures indicate while China’s population increased by 90 million over the past decade, per capital grain production froll from 412 kg in 1996 to 378 kg in 2006. Meanwhile, 220 million of the 990 million rural population began to work in urban and township enterprises. This resulted in a significant decline in the number of people available to harvest crops. The new document ensures more funding will go to rural areas in an effort to raise the level of crop harvests. There will be an emphasis on improving roads, water supplies and providing electricity.

An important neglected aspect of China’s dramatic rise to industrial and economic prominence has been failure to bring along rural people on this rise in income. The new document seeks to improve the quality of rural schools and work to ensure more of its graduates go on to colleges. There is even mention in the document of stimulating more private enterprise activities on the part of rural farmers in order to give people a greater stake in improvement of their farms.

A society in which 700 million labor in rural areas with lower quality schools and smaller incomes is a recipe for social disaster. At some point the rural population will become angry and demand equal rights in terms of being able to participate with the urban areas in becoming a modern society in which poverty is dramatically reduced.