Saturday, June 16, 2007

Two from the Independent

Tony Blair may find the paper to be in decline, but I offer 2 examples to the contrary. First up, Robert Fisk has a fine essay about the West's failure in Palestine. Clip:

So what will we do? Support the reoccupation of Gaza perhaps? Certainly we will not criticise Israel. And we shall go on giving our affection to the kings and princes and unlovely presidents of the Middle East until the whole place blows up in our faces and then we shall say - as we are already saying of the Iraqis - that they don't deserve our sacrifice and our love.

How do we deal with a coup d'├ętat by an elected government?

Good question. We demanded democracy in Palestine and when we didn't like the results we took our incentives and went home. We scolded the Palestinians for electing Hamas and then let Israel engage in further punishments incentives. We did not take the time to understand the situation appropriately nor did we attempt to work with the elected officials. As Peggy Noonan says, Reagan's former speech writer who apparently has decided not to be Bush's poodle any longer (warning to Republicans, she's a fair weather hack), this White House could use a little wisdom and understanding of history.

The second story in the Independent reports on how the Clintons sold off their stocks recently in order to reduce their political liability ahead of the 2008 presidential race. I read tales in the American media about how much the Clintons were worth in the recent financial filings, but I wasn't aware of this:
But their holdings in companies such as Raytheon, which makes missiles which have killed civilians in Iraq and Afghanistan, or Exxon-Mobil, which has spent at least $8m to challenge the existence of global warming, were certain to be attacked by her opponents.

The Clintons' investments in pharmaceutical companies was also bound to draw attention. Their stake in Fox News was equally sensitive given that the Democratic candidates are boycotting the network.

The Clintons claim that the holdings were in a blind trust and that they never would have made those same choices. Setting aside the fact that the couple have been out of the White House for 7 years and therefore didn't need to continue with the blind trust (why do I keep typing it as "bling trust"?), I'm skeptical of the fact that a family that has openly courted campaign donations and backing from Rupert Murdoch wasn't aware of their investments in News Corp (aka Fox News).

Mrs. Clinton wants to bring the troops home from Iraq now, but her first votes were whole heartedly for the war and she is wont to say that she made a mistake. Did her investments guide that decision? Surely it's safe to claim that she wants them home, now. After all, with the devastation wreaked upon the military forces by this ill-conceived policy there will need to be significant investments in equipment to replenish the forces. Naturally, if elected, Mrs. Clinton's investments will once again be in a blind trust where she can reap profit and claim no knowledge of how the money got into her checking account. And note, dear reader, that I haven't printed one word about Afghanistan where under a presidency run by Clinton, Obama, Edwards, or any of the Republican candidates our troops will continue to toil under inept leadership combined with poor political decisions by the civilian commanders. In other words, we'll still need more bombs for that boondoggle.

An oil company is a great investment. One can surely expect a president who has made a fortune in the energy industry to protect American interests by seeking out alternative resources that don't promote either global warming or sharp increases in food commodities. After all, look what Bush-Cheney have done after their years in the oil and arms industries.

Goodness knows, after years of profiting from investments in pharmaceutical companies, I'm sure Mrs. Clinton will bring her insider knowledge to turn around the health care industry. After her first attempt at doing so in the 90s, I'm confident that these investments were the financing version of the fact finding missions all congressional representatives are so fond of. We can trust that she'll bring those experiences to the table.

To be sure, the tone of this post has turned a bit sarcastic. Some of the criticism is probably unfair. The Clintons claim that they sold the stocks - at great cost to themselves, they are quick to note (apparently unaware that the people that they are asking to vote for them generally do not have a few hundred thousand to lose in taxes, let alone earn in a lifetime) - to "avoid an appearance of conflict". No doubt that they are telling the truth on this score. Also, no doubt that the American media will give them a pass on this issue as they did George W. Bush in 2000. Transparency, after all, is the mantra and transparency without scrutiny (followed by potential penance and flagellation) is the ritual. Will Mrs. Clinton's opponents push the issue further?

At least with the Internet we can turn our attention overseas in order to get some slightly more detailed reporting of our news.


alec said...

Who is going to miss Fatah? I certainly won't

B.D. said...

I agree with you. So does Robert Fisk, if you read the link. Fatah is a corrupt organization and it's corruption was what led to it's losses at the polls. I don't think that anyone should miss Fatah. Israel should have taken the opportunity, as should the U.S., to negotiate or hold talks with Hamas early on (they also should have pushed Fatah to clean up it's act early on). But they missed that opportunity and instead tried to punish the Palestinians for making a perfectly logical and legitimate voting choice. FWIW, Hamas held out a hand again yesterday for negotiations.

But, to answer your question, Israel will miss Fatah as will the U.S. Fatah was to Israel as Tony Blair is to George Bush - a poodle willing to do tricks for it's master. Indeed, both Israel and the U.S. have come quickly to the aid of Abbas. I'm not as certain as you appear to be that Fatah's decline will be so swift. While Abbas and Fatah will continue to be discredited in the Palestinian's eyes, Israel and the U.S. are both going to support this puppet regime heavily. They will declare that the regime is the true Palestinian government and attempt to ignore Hamas. Both countries have already called upon international troops to be stationed in Gaza (something that won't likely happen). It would not surprise me if Israel supported Abbas militarily and financially in a coup attempt in Gaza (Abbas as a figure head while Israel's might is behind it). It's a disastrous scenario, but then again that's the history of that region.

Free Israel said... ISRAEL - PEACE - SURVIVAL, NOT GENOCIDE! (what Israel is up against)