The Other Lieberman: Forget the Road Map
From the Jerusalem Post: "Israel should ignore Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, wipe out the Hamas leadership and walk away from the US-backed "road map" peace plan, Israel's new deputy prime minister, Avigdor Lieberman, said Saturday, laying out his views on the conflict with the Palestinians. Prime Minister Ehud Olmert's spokeswoman, Miri Eisin, had no comment Saturday on Lieberman's latest remarks. Palestinian negotiator Saeb Erekat, a top Abbas aide, said Lieberman is stuck in the past and that his ideas "are a recipe for the continuation of bloodshed, violence, extremism and hatred between the two sides." The rest of the story...
If Bill Clinton Was a Woman
The French are holding their presidential election in April, when Jacques Chirac’s second eternal five-year term ends. His center-right party will choose Interior Minister Nicolas Sarkozy as the John McCain in this election. On Thursday, the Socialist chose their Obama: Ségolène Royal, who could become the first woman ever elected to the French presidency since Marie Antoinette held that post, under another name and in back of her low-achieving Louis, a little over two hundred years ago. Ségolène is being portrayed as a different kind of Socialist. As the Wall Street Journal reported on Thursday, “French leftists, like socialist parties around Europe, may be choosing pragmatism over the leftist program that many business leaders think has held back the Continent's economy for years with measures such as shorter workweeks, big public spending and antiglobalization stances. ‘The Socialist base is tired of left leaders who hide themselves behind an outdated ideology,’ says Stéphane Rozès, deputy director of the polling agency CSA. […] Ms. Royal's rise -- and her likely victory in today's primary -- is often compared with the British Labour Party's decision to elect Tony Blair as its leader in 1994. Uncharacteristically for a French Socialist, many of whom see Mr. Blair as a traitor to the left, Ms. Royal has expressed admiration for the British prime minister.”
The Coming Attack on Iran?
William Polk—former member of the U.S. Policy Planning Council, professor of history and director of the Center for Middle Eastern Studies at the University of Chicago—at HHN: “ After careful study of recent moves and statements by the Bush Administration, I have concluded that there is at least a 10% chance of an American attack on Iran before the November 7 Congressional elections and about a 90% chance before the administration’s end in 2008. In this and following articles I will explain that prediction, illustrate what moves are now being made the prepare for war, analyze what the results of such actions would be and, finally, discuss what alternatives America has to bring about what it wishes to achieve in Iran.” See his predictions…
The Vietnam Lesson Bush Isn't Learning
"The American defeat in Vietnam holds lessons for the US in Iraq, George Bush said today," The Guardian reports. But don't hold your breath. "The US president has been careful to avoid comparisons between Iraq and Vietnam - a bitter defeat for the US 30 years ago - but, as he arrived in Hanoi for a trade summit, he could not resist drawing lessons from history. Mr Bush, a pilot for the Texas Air National Guard during the Vietnam war, said the US experience in that conflict proved it would take time to defeat the Iraqi insurgency.
"One lesson is that we tend to want there to be instant success in the world, and the task in Iraq is going to take a while," he said. Responding to a report in the Guardian newspaper that he may increase US forces in Iraq by up to 20,000 soldiers, the president said he had not yet made a decision about future troop deployments. "I want to hear from Democrats on Capitol Hill what their views may be. I want to hear from my fellow Republicans on Capitol Hill. And then I'll make up my mind," he said. Less than two weeks after Democrats delivered a rebuff to the president and his fellow Republicans in the midterm elections, Mr Bush was still speaking in terms of success in Iraq." See the full article...
Israel’s Health Checkpoints
From Alternet: Palestinian women have for decades faced a multitude of health risks shared by the overall population, including restricted access for patients and medical professionals due to the occupation, the deteriorating economic situation, traditional cultural beliefs, and lack of adequate services and facilities. Since the second intifada, or Palestinian uprising, in September 2000, those hardships have been aggravated. Between Sept. 28, 2000, and Aug. 20, 2006, for instance, 10 percent of women in the West Bank and Gaza who needed to give birth in medical centers or hospitals were delayed by Israeli forces from two to four hours, according to the Palestinian Health Information Center, an agency of the Palestinian Ministry of Health. Sixty-eight women gave birth at checkpoints during this period, considered a factor in the deaths of 34 newborns and four mothers. 'Constantly Anxious' Pregnancies.” See the full article…
September 11 Redux
The Failure of Beslan
From the Hudson Institute’s David Satter: “On September 1, 2004, the children of School Number One in Beslan, a town of 30,000 in the Russian republic of North Ossetia, gathered to go in for the first day of school. Suddenly, the air was filled with machine gun fire. A military truck pulled up and two dozen men with Kalashnikov assault rifles jumped out. Other terrorists appeared out of nowhere. The terrorists herded 1,200 students and parents into the school gymnasium, where they were held for 52 hours before a pitched battle broke out between the terrorists and Russian forces. The fighting led to the deaths of 332 people, including 186 children. It was the worst terrorist act since September 11, 2001. While it was going on, the Beslan standoff riveted the attention of the world. Once it was over, however, the incident was largely forgotten. The day after the storming of the school, on September 4, bulldozers gathered the debris of the building, including children's notebooks and the body parts of the victims, and removed it to a garbage dump on the outskirts of town. […] In the aftermath of the Beslan tragedy, three questions are uppermost: Could the attack have been prevented? Were the terrorists--Islamic insurgents and supporters of independence for neighboring Chechnya--willing to negotiate? And, Who started the final, fatal battle? The answers to these questions present a chilling portrait of the Russian leadership and its total disregard for human life. It is now all but certain that the terrorists' attack on the school could have been prevented. According to internal police documents obtained by the newspaper Novaya Gazeta, the Russian Ministry of Internal Affairs in Moscow knew four hours in advance that an attack on a school in Beslan was planned for September 1, 2004. The information came from a man named Arsamikov who had been arrested in the city of Shali in Chechnya. The information, however, was not acted upon.” See the full article…
Milton Friedman, 1912-2006
The Great Harry Hutton of Chase Me Ladies says he’s been “killed by stingray, following a titanic underwater struggle,” but it appears Milton Friedman died of less natural causes. His doctor wouldn’t give them, but Milton deflated for the last time on Thursday, in San Francisco. Holcomb Noble in The Times: “Conservative and liberal colleagues alike viewed Mr. Friedman, a Nobel prize laureate, as one of the 20 th century’s leading economic scholars, on a par with giants like John Maynard Keynes and Paul Samuelson. Flying the flag of economic conservatism, Mr. Friedman led the postwar challenge to the hallowed theories of Lord Keynes, the British economist who maintained that governments had a duty to help capitalistic economies through periods of recession and to prevent boom times from exploding into high inflation. In Professor Friedman’s view, government had the opposite obligation: to keep its hands off the economy, to let the free market do its work. He was a spiritual heir to Adam Smith, the 18 th-century founder of the science of economics and proponent of laissez-faire: that government governs best which governs least. The only economic lever that Mr. Friedman would allow government to use was the one that controlled the supply of money — a monetarist view that had gone out of favor when he embraced it in the 1950s. He went on to record a signal achievement, predicting the unprecedented combination of rising unemployment and rising inflation that came to be called stagflation. His work earned him the Nobel Memorial Prize in Economic Science in 1976. Rarely, his colleagues said, did anyone have such impact on both his own profession and on government. Though he never served officially in the halls of power, he was always around them, as an adviser and theorist.” The full obituary…
O.J. and ReganBooks
Who’s more repulsive, O.J. Simpson, for writing If I Did It, or ReganBooks—the Rupert Murdoch-owned publisher and print equivalent of Fox News—for publishing it? From the Times: “The publisher of a book by O. J. Simpson, in which he hypothesizes about how he could have committed the 1994 murder of his ex-wife and her friend, said on Thursday that she believed Mr. Simpson’s statements were, in fact, a confession. “The book is his confession,” the publisher, Judith Regan, said during a telephone interview. “I would have had no interest in publishing anything but that.” Titled “If I Did It,” the book is scheduled for release on Nov. 30. A two-part television interview of Mr. Simpson is to be broadcast on Fox on Nov. 27 and Nov. 29. Ms. Regan acknowledged, however, that Mr. Simpson, who was acquitted of criminal charges in the slayings, did not say directly in the book or the interview that he killed his former wife, Nicole Brown Simpson, and her friend, Ronald L. Goldman. Rather, he spoke about the murders in the hypothetical sense, a stance that admits nothing and could be viewed as a denial.