Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Arab Regimes and the Palestinians

Take a look at an interesting article by Egyptian journalist Mona Eltahawy, titled "At the Altar of Palestine". An interesting excerpt:

I must confess that when Hamas militants blasted holes into Egypt’s border to end an Israeli blockade on Gaza, my first thought was how lucky those Gazans were. Landlocked and living on less than $2 a day, their plight rarely elicits
envy, I know. But there are Egyptian slums that swim in more sewage and are submerged in even greater poverty. In those slums, chronic diseases go unchecked
and uncured, and children grow up next to the dead in tombs turned into makeshift housing. Yet nobody rushes to blast holes into the imaginary border of poverty that suffocates those slums nor are they sporting t-shirts urging us to sympathize.

Why? Because Israel cannot be blamed.

Sunday, February 17, 2008

A McCain-Huckabee Ticket

Here's my dream scenario for the fall: John McCain chooses Mike Huckabee as his running mate in the hopes of gaining the support of evangelicals. Evangelicals and other conservatives are not impressed because they still dislike McCain so they stay home on election day or vote for a conservative 3rd party candidate. Independents, on the other hand, are scared shitless of a Huckabee presidency in case McCain dies in office so they vote for the Democratic nominee.

That way, a ticket meant to get votes from both moderates and conservatives would have the exact opposite result: both moderates and conservatives not supporting the GOP.

Unfortunately, McCain will probably think of this possibility and choose a running-mate who is conservative enough to be popular among the right without scaring off the center.

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Yay! Imad Mughniyeh Is Dead

An explosion last night in Damascus killed terrorist mastermind Imad Mughniyeh, a top Hezbollah leader. He was responsible for a series of bombings in the Middle East in the 1980's and the bombings of the Israeli embassy in Argentina and the Jewish Community Center in Buenos Aires in the 1990's. These deeds got him on the FBI's most wanted list and he was wanted by Israel as well.

The world is a better place without Mughniyeh. His death should have come a long time ago.

Hezbollah is already blaming Israel for the Damascus blast. I have no idea whether we did it or not (it certainly is a possibility). They better not start lobbing rockets at Northern Israel.

Tuesday, February 05, 2008

Global Democratic Primary

Today is not only Super Tuesday in 20-something states, it is also Day One of the week-long Global Primary held by Democrats Abroad, the official wing of the Democratic Party for American citizens living outside of the United States. Voting is being conducted in person, as well as by fax, mail and on-line. Registration for the latter three forms of voting is over, but if you are an American citizen living abroad you can just show up in person at one of the voting centers with your American passport and register on the spot.

Democrats in Israel can vote in Tel-Aviv, at Beit Daniel, 62 Bnei Dan Street. The voting center will be open on Thursday, Feb 8 between 17:00-21:00 and on Friday, Feb 9 between 10:00-12:30.

Here's a list of all other voting centers worldwide.

Obama Inspires Me To Vote Clinton

Pundits like to say that the Democratic race is split more or less along the following lines: younger, more educated and centrist/independent-leaning voters support Barack Obama, while older, less educated and more die-hard "establishment" Democrats support Hillary Clinton. According to these categories I should be in the Obama camp: I'm young, I'm a grad student, and I'm a centrist. But I'm a Clintonite, not an Obaman.

Many Democrats say they are excited about both candidates. I'm not. I'm excited about Hillary, but not about Barack. If he wins the nomination, I will probably vote for him in November, but only because I don't want another Republican in the White House. I totally fail to understand the enthusiasm surrounding him.

BHO seems to think he is the new JFK, RFK and MLK all in one, minus the assassinations. However, unlike the Kennedys and King, his inspirational rhetoric comes without any action. I find him to be a mostly empty shell. He is vague on most issues. On the issues where he is clearer, like healthcare and withdrawal from Iraq, I much prefer Clinton's proposals.

By the way, as an American growing up in Israel, Bill Clinton has been the closest thing to JFK that I've ever known. Maybe that's why Obama's "I'm the new Kennedy" stance hasn't worked on me.

Sunday, February 03, 2008

The Incompetance of Olmert

Prime Minister Ehud Olmert is presenting the Winograd Commission's Report about the conduct of the Second Lebanon War as a vindication of his leadership. That is a super-spin, and it seems to be working perfectly. Those calling for his resignation seem to have lost the will to fight. That's too bad, since the report actually shows that Olmert is not fit to lead the country.

Sadly, I do not see Olmert resigning any time soon. He'll countinue to muddle through for at least another year, while pretending to move the peace process with the Palestinians forward. He won't actually do anything real. He will not get rid of illegal settlements (maybe one or two small ones). He won't discuss the real issues with the Palestinians for fear of Shas quitting the coalition. When the elections do come along, Bibi Netanyahu will be elected and everything will go even further down hill.

There is also a more optimistic scenario where Olmert resigns and is replaced by someone like Zipi Livni, who then goes on to really negotiate with the Palestinians and get serious progress, resulting in the defeat of Netanyahu in the next general election. Pure fantasy.