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'état 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
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 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).
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.
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.