Monthly Archives: October 2009

Are Aggressive Words A Problem For Israel?

An Israel cabinet minister has raised the issue as to whether a constant defensive tone and threatening stance toward critics has damaged his nation’s standing in the world. Welfare Minister Isaac Herzog criticized fellow Cabinet members who used expressions such as “harsh response” and threatened to inflict punishment on Hamas as only presenting a view that Israel intended to punish the people of Gaza. Herzog also charged the Netanyahu government knowingly decided to destroy Gaza, and the Goldstone Report had more to do with actions by the government as much as the performance of Israel soldiers in the field. The key point made by Herzog is critical for the people of Israel. “These remarks are part of a culture of spin, which has no meaning. People have to understand that words that are said have the power to ultimately harm Israel’s interests.”

This blog has been making this point for over a year. It is time for Israel to return to the moral views of its founders.

RIGHT JOBS FOR SOME PEOPLE

Following are jobs that would be perfect for the person involved.

DICK CHENEY Shoveling coal in Hell.

BARACK OBAMA Basketball coach at UCLA.

DIMITRY MEDVEDEV President of Andorra.

HAMMAS LEADER Accountant at Goldman Sachs

SARAH PALIN Greeter at Wal-Mart.

GORDON BROWN Prime Minister of England BEFORE Tony Blair.

GLENN BECK Use car salesman.

WIKIPEDIA WRITER Selling encyclopedias.

OWNER MEXICAN RESTAURANT Selling cold drinks.

AN AMERICAN HERO!

Many members of the American government and armed forces harbor deep concerns regarding the outcome of fighting in Afghanistan. Matthew Hoh, a former Marine who fought in Iraq and then went on to work in the State Department expressed his views in the only manner that a professional could do– he resigned his post in order to demonstrate his “concerns” required action, not just words. “I have lost understanding of and confidence in the strategic purposes of the United States presence in Afghanistan. I have doubts and reservations about our current strategy and planned future strategy, but my resignation is based not upon how we are pursuing this war, but why and to what end.”

Richard Holbrooke, the administration’s representative in Afghanistan said he disagreed that the war “wasn’t worth the fight,” but agreed with many of Hoh’s concerns. There is only one way to fight the Afghanistan war if past history in China during the 1940s, in Vietnam during the 1960s, has any relevance. There must be a government in place which works for the people and not merely for their own personal power or financial interests. At present, no such government is in place in Afghanistan.

Are You A Domestic Extremist?

Alan Johnson, home secretary in England, refused to explain why the police are recording thousands of protestors and placing their names on a nationwide data base. The UK Guardian newspaper revealed thee existence of the list and indicated the presence of a covert apparatus which monitors people who authorities believe may constitute something that is labeled, “domestic extremist.” Johnson argues “I haven’t issued any guidance(to police) on the definition of that phrase. The police know what they are doing, they know how to tackle these demonstrations, they do it very effectively.” Actually, no one is challenging the fact police tackle demonstrations or control them, the issue is whether they collect data on those who protest and place that information on a nationwide data base.

A host of government officials expressed views on their concerns about such data bases, they promised to “look into the matter,” they assured one and all that no one was considered to be breaking the law by protesting, but there was need to get their name and keep it on file. We in America are quite aware the such extremists as Martin Luther King were viewed by the FBI as “domestic extremists.” I assume so were George Washington and Tom Jefferson by the British government.

Missing Box, Missing Frenchman

The story within a few years will either be a motion picture or a TV program–or even series. His name is Jean-Pierre Treiber and he was convicted and sentenced to prison for the brutal murder of a lesbian couple. One day in prison, he hid inside a cardboard box and had himself delivered to the outside world. Since then he has been on the loose hiding from dogs, heat-seeking equipment and up to 400 police officers on his tail or any part of his body. Treiber has been sending letters to newspapers claiming he is innocent and that he merely escaped in order to find the real killer. The police even staked out an oak tree carved with a heart that Treiber used as a “letter-box” to exchange letters with his girl friend. Physiclaly, Treiber is a wiry, dour-looking man with one damaged eye and prominent ears and he walks with the aid of a cane. Undoubtedly, these physical characteristics make it difficult to spot this man in a crowd.

Local villagers where he lived believe in their Robin Hood criminal. According to Jean-Paul Raphael, “he is a victim of a conspiracy. We know he is innocent.” Ah, the myth of the good thief lives on and on and all one has to do these days is utter the magic word, “conspiracy, and a host of allies will pop up.

Surveillance Cameras Capture “Criminals?”

In the modern world if a camera says you are guilty of something chances are you, at least, are guilty of something and must defend self against the all-seeing camera which claims never to be wrong. Surveillance cameras at Colombo airport in Sri Lanka are paid for by the government of Australia in its efforts to capture Tamil agents. At least 29 people have been detained in the past month by cameras designed to identify Tamils who might be working with the now crushed Tamil rebel forces. One can only wonder if it is legal under Australian law to place cameras in another country, take photographs and use that data as the basis for legal action.

Tamils are now confronted with the problem of using the Colombo airport and exposing themselves to being arrested and spirited away to some unknown destination. Even if a person eventually is deemed innocent, they must still endure the process of being detained, questioned, threatened and then released. Certainly, this is not the way to treat innocent people. But, then again, the camera never lies– just people do!

Democracy In Russia, Putin Style

Even as the latest human rights activist was laid to rest in a grave after being murdered, opposition leaders met with President Medvedev to discuss the non-existence of democracy in their country. Leaders of three opposition parties met with the president about the issue of election fraud who expressed interest in having the topic of election fraud placed on the agenda for discussion, their was a discussion, and all agreed there may have been election fraud which apparently ended the discussion. Look, in Putin, Russia, the essence of democracy is being able to discuss your concerns with elected leaders. They are more than willing to discuss any topic with you. As to the issue of solving a problem, that was not on the agenda submitted by the three opposition leaders. They left feeling successful that their topic was discussed, and the president appeared to be content with the discussion.

What does this meeting prove? It proves conclusively that Russia is a democracy. President Medvedev has met numerous times with opposition leaders and agreed there was need to improve the electoral process. What else does the opposition want from the president? Action?

Should Turkey Remain Silent?

Turkey has enjoyed a rather unusual place in the Middle East over the past thirty or so years in being able to have good relations with both Israel and other Arab nations. However, recent events in Israel policy toward Gaza and Palestinians has resulted in a desire on the part of the Turkish government to adopt a less friendly attitude toward Israel. During an interview with Al_Jazeera, Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu made clear his nation intended to be a force in the region and would work with all nations to achieve peace, but it would not remain silent when it disagrees with actions by any nation. He pointed out “Turkey initiated indirect talks between Syria and Israel” and thus played a positive role in peace negotiations.

However, the foreign minister indicated his nation was growing frustrated with Israel military actions in the region. Isn’t it about time the Israel government rethinks its military methods and works with nations like Turkey in order to proceed with a peace process. At the heart of peace are two issues– the desire and actions of Arab nations to establish peace with Israel, and the desire and actions of Israel to respect the needs of Palestinians who live on the West Bank or in Gaza.

Which Is More Wasteful-Free Enterprise Or Government?

An underlying assumption in the current debate is that the solution to dealing with the nation’s health care system is dependent upon spending an additional one trillion dollars. A report from Thomson Reuters by Robert Kelley who handles health care issues, suggests there is plenty of money to pay for any changes in health care in the United States if waste could be eliminated. “America’s healthcare system is indeed hemorrhaging billions of dollars and the opportunities to slow the fiscal bleeding are substantial” according to Kelley. “The bad news is that an estimated $700 billion is wasted annually…the good news is that by attacking waste we can reduce healthcare costs without adversely affecting the quality of care or access to care.”

The Thomson Reuters report charges fraudulent claims make up 22 percent of healthcare waste. Unnecessary care such as the overuse of antibiotics and lab tests to protect against malpractice exposure makes up to 37% of healthcare waste. Lack of central data bases make up another substantial portion of waste. “The average US hospital spends one-quarter of its budget on billing and administration, nearly twice the average of Canada.” It goes on, “American physicians spends nearly eight hours per week on paperwork.”

The issues discussed in the report could mainly be overcome by having a national health care system run by the government as presently done by the Veterans Administration or Medicare.

HEADLINES FROM THE WORLD PRESS

Each day we offer a sample of headlines that appeared in the world press along with our comments.

Sweden The Local: “Torture Like Parenting Methods”
For some kids, the parents they have leads to torture and the reverse is true for parents.

Denmark, Copenhagen Post: “Dogs Chase Away Garbage Men”
Look dogs, we are in a recession, be thankful you have any food.

China, China Daily: “Iceland Says Goodbye To Big Macs”
Hello to big fish days.

Kuwait, Kuwait Times: “Egypt Seeks Death For Veiled Killer”
Who knows who lurks behind the veil, the killer sure didn’t.

UAE, Khaleej Times: “Debate Over Swine Flu Shots”
Do we give the vaccine to people or to the pigs?

New Zealand, New Zealand Herald: “Harry Potter Theme Party Banned”
Would they allow an un-theme party?

Canada, Toronto Star: “Dogs–Mankind’s Worst Enemy?
From a dog’s perspective, it might be that humans are a dog’s worse enemy.

UK, Guardian: “Lite Newspaper Facing Closing”
This is one heavy matter to reflect on.

South Africa, Argus: “There Is Something That Troubles Me”
Heck, in America, 2009, I could list a dozen things that trouble me.

Australia, Brisbane Times: “Teenager Postpones Plan To Sell Globe”
Whew! That takes one scare off my back.