Monthly Archives: October 2008

Peres Says Hamas Helping Achieve Peace!

President Shimon Peres offered a back handed compliment to Hamas by arguing its terrorism and radical message is forcing both Palestinian and Israel leaders to get serious concerning the need for peace because failure to do so will only increase Hamas power and influence in the region. He doesn’t believe moderate Palestinians wish to live under the rule of religious fanatics and are anxious to find some way of achieving a compromise peace with Israel. Peres emphasized, “we will not cease to negotiate with the Palestinians and help them with all our might in order to establish an independent Palestinian state with a real economy. The better the life is for the Palestinians, the better it will be for us and we want to see the Palestinians as a neighbor and not as an enemy.”

Any logical person would have to agree with Peres, but, unfortunately there are too many hot headed fundamentalists among both Israelis and Palestinians who prefer war to compromise. The Saudi Arabia proposal for a return to 1967 borders is the basis for a compromise solution. Can Peres sell it to the West Bank settlers?

Ethiopian Jews Await Passage To Promised Land

Over 100,000 Ethiopian Jews have been flown to the “Promised Land” over the past twenty years, but at least 15,000 remain stuck and unable to join relatives who left Ethiopia during this time period. Recently, thousands of Ethiopian Jews gathered around a phone speaker to hear a sermon from Haifa which assured them of being able to come to Israel in the coming years. Rabbi Menachem Waldman, speaking in Hebrew, said, “you are all sons and daughters of Israel. God will give you what you deserve. We haven’t stopped our long struggle to bring all of you home.” However, thousands remain and surprised they are not able to join family members who are in Israel.

Unfortunately, many Ethiopian Jews encounter racial prejudice when they arrive in the “Promised Land.” There is discrimination in their attempts to get jobs and their children are often segregated into all black classes in schools. Obviously, older Ethiopians have greater difficulty adjusting to life in a post industrial society, but most do not wish to remain in Ethiopia.

Editorial: John McCain And Redistribution Of Wealth

Senator John McCain continues to denounce Obama and Democrats for seeking to “redistribute the wealth.” It might help if McCain and his ignorant side-kick knew anything about the history of the United States which has been nonstop series of redistribution of wealth from the poor and middle class to the wealthy. It began in the 1790s when Alexander Hamilton paid full value on paper money that speculators had bought up at a fraction of the value from Revolutionary fighters who needed ready cash. It continued with tariff laws that protected the wealthy and allowed them to build factories, of course, the average American paid extra money since foreign goods now cost more. The Transcontinental Railroad was paid for by having the US government give railroad builders enormous grants of land they could sell in order to cover costs.

Historically, American business received free police protection in order to crush unions, they were allowed to exploit workers and children without any fear from a supportive government. Many business owners and southern families had their wealth built on the back of slave workers, and were never compelled to pay compensation. State legislatures were all too often controlled by business interests who had laws passed to protect their interests. I assume that could be termed “redistribution of the wealth.”

Our current tax laws are biased against poor people. Home owners get tax deductions but none are provided to those living in apartments. Business men use their wealth to take advantage of tax loopholes the ordinary American could never understand or use. Tax deductions for a range of things allow any intelligent business person to escape paying the full share of his income. The current estimate is that 5% of Americans control about 40% of the wealth. Is there something in that figure which suggests a “redistribution of the wealth” is needed?

We forget that during World War II, the government imposed high taxes on the wealthy in order to fight a war that had to be won. It is time to revisit World War II attitudes and require the wealthy of this nation to pay a higher percent of income in taxes. During the past month, wealthy bankers and lenders received tax money from the American people to survive, and some are paying themselves huge bonuses. Is that an example of “redistribution of wealth?”

Barack Obama is a rather centrist political leader who has never shown any indication he wants major “redistribution of the wealth.” His goal is rather modest, a slight increase in taxes paid by the wealthy–that is if he could ever pass a tax law they were unable to circumvent. No American leader is calling for any major “redistribution of wealth.” Knock i off, John. Your comments are rhetoric.

If anyone believes a Democratic Congress and President can “spend America into ruin” I suggest they examine the record of George Bush and his Republican Congress over the six years they were completely in control.

European Union Seeks End To Violence In Georgia

There is no question, the government of Georgia provoked the situation which resulted in war and death. South Ossetia was invaded and had a right to seek assistance from Russia. But, it is time for all parties to end hostilities and get down to the real issue of how best to ensure peace and stability in the region. The European Union is demanding that Russia either provide detailed information about alleged violations of the cease fire in order to allow monitors to actually make certain violence ends. So far, EU monitors have been unable to verify Russian reports which are vague.

The world has enough of such stand-offs between opposing forces. They always begin with refusal on either side to adhere to agreements, and twenty years later they have escalated into violence and hatred. Russia would do well to work for peace in the region.

US Commander Wants Positive Spin On Afghanistan

Are things going poorly in Afghanistan? According to US General David McKiernan, the media is only reporting bad news and leaving out all the good news that comes out of Afghanistan. “There’s a lot of negative reporting. Somebody likes to report an attack somewhere and that becomes the trend in Afghanistan, of they don’t report the positive events or the absolute brutality or the illegitimacy of the Taliban.” During the past few weeks, a senior British military official has stated bluntly we are losing in Afghanistan and Genera Petreaus has even suggested it may be time to enter in negotiations with the Taliban. Are these people among those who only report the negative?

Of course, the Taliban are brutal and their ideas would return women to a medieval status, but reality is they have the support of a high percent of the Afghan people. Isn’t the question–why do so many Afghans embrace brutal people? One factor might be the corruption and incompetence of the Afghan government. Another might relate to failure on the part of coalition and American forces to utilize air strikes which invariably kill innocent civilians.

Hungarian Neo-Nazis Demonstrate In Budapest

Before and during World War II, there was a strong pro-Nazi right wing group in Hungary which actively supported Hitler’s ideas and carried out brutal actions against Hungarian Jews which resulted in the death of thousands. It is not surprising that descendants of those nationalist extremists are alive and well in modern Hungary. The Magyar Garda, a right wing nationalist group, showed its power by inducting into its militia 400 new recruits, including young children. Members of the Hungarian Guard, wearing their distinctive black uniforms, held their fourth national ceremony in Heroes Square.

Members of parliament attended the ceremony as did a controversial priest, Lorant Hegedus. The Magyar Garda was registered in June, 2007 as a “cultural organization” whose goal is to “prepare youth spiritually and physically for extraordinary situations when it might be necessary to mobilise the people.” It has attacked Roma groups on several occasions and has marched in their communities.

It is rather sad, given the history of such groups in recent Hungarian history, they are still around and spouting their hatred.

Zimbabwe Is Always In Crisis Under Mugabe

Hundreds of people marched in Harare demanding African leaders cease talking about peace and democracy and actually do something to force President Mugabe to finally accept the will of the Zimbabwean people. Members of the Crisis in Zimbabwe Coalition were assaulted by police for daring to speak up against the oppressive government which currently rules their nation. Mediator Thabo Mbeki, former president of South Africa, continued insisting things would work out if only both sides agreed to compromise. Exactly what is there to “compromise about” given that Mugabe wields all power. Morgan Tsvangirai has nothing to offer except to demand the will of his people be carried out. The leader of the Movement for Democratic Change wants real power over the police or army which Mugabe refuses to release since he fears his thugs might be arrested for their brutality.

The Southern African Development Community(SADC) must finally accept reality. Mugabe must be forced from power since he will not go voluntarily. Each time they meet with Mugabe he mumbles agreements to share power, but once they depart, his words are never matched with reality.

Zimbabwe as a nation no longer exists. Unless the SADC uses its economic and political power to force Mugabe to take action, millions will starve or flee the country.

Belt An Abusive Husband Says Muslim Cleric

Sunni Islam’s highest religious authority has made clear a Muslim woman has the right to defend herself against an abusive husband. If a husband uses physical violence against his wife, “a wife has the legitimate right to hit her husband in order to defend herself,” said Sheikh Abdel Hamid al-Arash, who heads Al Azhar’s committee for fatwas(religious rulings). The religious leader made clear that “everyone has a right to defend themselves, whether they be man or woman.” Prominent Turkish Muslim preacher and writer, Fethullh Gulen, went a step further and urged women to repay violence with interest. “She should give back two blows for each one received.”

Now that clerics have determined women have a right to fight back, will they grant women in Saudi Arabia the right to drive a car? Surely, if a woman can punch a man in the face, she must be qualified to drive a car!

Conversation For Ages-Palin On Israel And Jewish Agency!

For some reason the Israel ambassador to the United States, Sallai Meridor, thought it appropriate to attend a Republican rally in Virginia and engage in discussions with Governor Sarah Palin concerning American and Israel relations with Iran. Since Senator John McCain repeatedly stumbled over the difference between a Sunni and a Shiite, as well as thinking Iraq shared a border with Pakistan, what was the assumption in the Israel government about having a conversation with ignorant Sarah Palin about Middle East foreign policy!! She told the ambassador, “we look forward to…. working with your Jewish Agency.” Huh? Which “Jewish Agency?”

It is absolutely shocking that an Israeli diplomat would inject himself into an American presidential election. If Obama is elected president, the first order of business for the Israel government is replacing idiot Meridor with someone who understands the role of an ambassador.

Egyptian Government Cracks Down On Muslim Group

The government of President Mubarak continued its crackdown on the Muslim Brotherhood (MB) as well as anyone connected with the religious group that has been outlawed for many years due to fear it seeks to overthrown the government. Eleven media executives were arrested for “being involved in an Islamic organization affiliated with he Muslim Brotherhood.” The media group included a wide range of individuals including anchors and producers who work for private Egyptian and Arab satellite channels. The detainees claim they were gathered for a discussion with a professor from Al Azhar University. Ahmed Ragheb of the Mubarak Law Center claims at least one anchor, Aly Abdel Rahman, was taken to the hospital after being beaten by the police.

The underlying reason for the attack most probably is connected to the effort of the government to destroy any opposition to its authoritarian rule. The MB most probably has the support of at least one-third of the population, including those who want a free society that will stimulate the economy as it furthers the goal of freedom of speech, assembly and the right to vote for people of one’s choice.