Monday, April 30, 2007

Preemptive Wars Should Be Lost

Bush is isolated. Olmert of Israel is isolated. Rumsfeld is gone and his Israeli counterpart, Amir Peretz plans to leave office next month. America has lost the Iraq war and Israel lost the war in Lebanon. Both were preemptive wars. Neither were necessary for American and Israeli security. The bad judgement of these men resulted in their isolation and ouster.

Philosophically speaking, preemptive wars should be lost lest it become a bad habit. Practically speaking, preemptive wars against nations which have a lower cost of fighting back will over time always result in failure for the invading, preemptive warring nation.

Friday, April 27, 2007

Was Wolfowitz Caught In A Trap?

Want to catch a rat in a trap? Some use cheese. Want to catch a human in a trap? How about using sex and money?

At the center of the World Bank's President Paul Wolfowitz scandal is his arrangement of a non-appropriate huge pay increase and better job postion for his friend and presumed lover World Bank employee Shaha Ali Raza. But slightly off-center to this World Bank scandal is Mr. Wolfowitz's part in making a case for the Iraq War which has been shown to be based on false/fabricated assumptions. Mr. Wolfowitz has a lot of enemies. His enemies are particularly energised about his ability to avoid accountability for Iraq and also for his high-handed behavior at World Bank.

So, how about a trap for Wolfy? Enter Ad Melkert who is the head of the ethics board at World Bank. Mr. Wolfowitz was directed by the ethics board to distance himself from Shaha Ali Raza as per World Bank regulations. Wolfowitz at first wanted a recusal from this duty because of his personal relationship with Ali Raz. But Ad Melkert and the board insisted that Wolfowitz handle the chore. And so the the trap was set .

Had Wolfowitz made a proper and non-controversial reassignment for Ali Raza then nothing would have happened. But Wolfowitz took the bait and planned to to take advantage of his postion and have it both ways. First, he would please his lover with a better job and more tax-free pay ( could there have been a side deal for Ali Raza to kick some money back?). Secondly, if he was criticised he could blame the ethics board for making him do it. But the ethics board only instructed Wolfowitz to distance the Office of World Bank president from a World Bank employee. The ethics board didn't give Wolfowitz a pass for corruption.

Heraclitus said in 500 B.C., " Our fate is not in the stars, it is in our hands".

Wednesday, April 25, 2007

What Is The Optimum Population Of Humans ?

Pardon me, but aren't we too many? The last population count had we humans at about 6.6 billion and growing. There are predictions that half of all species will go extinct by 2100. We live on a zero-sum planet. One species gain is subtracted from another species and/or the environment. Global warming is a clear example of how human activity can cause and/or exacerbate physical changes in our world. We can discuss lower greenhouse gas emission strategies but these are really peripheral issues. Simply humans should optimumly be less in number. And if so, what is the right population number? And how do we arrive and maintain that number? It's in our capability to reach an answer and effect it's outcome. Antibiotics and birth control are our tools.

But first, what is the right population number? Let's use America as an anedotal model for world population and it's environmental impact. We Americans do use 25% of world resources and are only 4% of world population but we are rightly or wrongly supposed to be the template of what many of the world's people dream of attaining. Please note how many immigrants want to come to the U.S. .

I think that in the late 1940s and early 1950s world population attained the optimum higher limits of human population. At that time it was estimated to be 2.4 billion. In the U.S. at that time there ominous signs that the human attitude towards the planet had exceeded prudent behavior and entered the hubris zone. Two anecdotal events bring this unhealthy attitude change coupled with the technology to effect the change into view. One was the birth of the military-indutrial complex which mantra is " In Growth We Trust" or " First Blow It Up And Then Rebuild It". The second example was the start of explosive growth in Las Vegas. Here was the sin of bringing water from pristine environments so toilets could be flushed in a city built by losers!

The human classical period was circa 1500 B.C. to 500 A.D. The population at those times were app. 200 million. Therefore the range of optimum human population ranges between 200 million and 2.4 billion.

Wednesday, April 18, 2007

Cho Seung-Hui:Anti-Social Behavior In A Free Country

Why did Cho have enough time to put 3 bullits into 33 victims and shoot many more only wounding them? The shootings were all witnessed by scores of students and teachers. If it becomes obvious that Cho is going to kill you next, wouldn't it be worth the risk to throw something or rush him rather than wait your turn?

It turns out that Cho had a long history of suspect and actual anti-social behavior. Reports are trickling out of his " annoying" behavior towards some women. He wrote deranged essays that exhibited a potentially dangerous personality. And those who knew him all said that he was anti-social. Why was he still on campus and treated as just another student?

Maybe because our sensitive, inclusive and politically correct culture that is backed up by real laws that are expensive to fight make it a better choice to turn a blind eye to anti-social behavior particularly if they are done by a minority race. Anti-social behavior by anyone is still anti-social and should not be overlooked .

There will be more like Cho in the future. That's just the way of things. But the fallout from that bad behavior can be mitigated. For example , maye next time only 5 perish instead of multiples of 5. How do we arrive at that goal? The ancient Greeks excluded or ostracized individuals that were anti-social. That's a model that could work today. Cho should have been driven off campus by peer pressure .

Tuesday, April 17, 2007

San Francisco Attorneys: Too Many, Too Expensive

According to the latest edition of the San Francisco Yellow Pages, there are 40 pages listing attorneys. Notably in those same Yellow Pages, a cumulative 40 pages of life's necessities are listed in smaller increments.: appliances, 3 pgs. ; clothes, 5 pgs. ; electricians, 5 pgs.; engineers, 4 pgs. ; grocers, 4 pgs. ; plumbing, 13 pgs. and hospitals, 2 pgs. . They add up to 36 pages, so you have some change left over. Maybe you want an accountant which are listed on 4 pages.

Why do we have all these lawyers compared to the meager percentages of necessry professions and vendors? I think there are 2 main reasons. The first is the lure of money, lots of money whether the attorney wins, loses or settles. The legal system is so costly because of its built-in systems of legal complicating procedures that continually put arriving at a resolution into another month or year. The second reason follows from the first. Since " according to the law" requires attorneys to track the maze of instructions codified in juris prudence, one need only be a good map reader, greedy and not much value-added in planning.

Follow these instructions and many expensive,billable hours will follow.

Sunday, April 15, 2007

Paul Wolfowitz: A Wandering Jew

Paul Wolfowitz's job at World Bank may be terminated by Monday. But even if he prevails he's doomed to be a Wandering Jew.

There are 2 definitions of " Wandering Jew ". One is botanical. It is the given name for several creeping houseplants most commonly cultivated in window boxes and hanging pots. The other definition refers to medieval legend. It describes Jews who mocked Jesus on his way to the crucifixion. The Jews punishment was to wander the earth without security until Judgement Day. Well this description includes religious bias. Therefore it is not admissable. What Jews did to Jews is their business. And after all, if Jesus was the son of god how could he be offended anyway?

But the first botanical definition does bare some analogies to Wolfowitz. Houseplants require a support system. They have to be purchased, brought home and made comfortable in a non-native surrounding. Then hopefully they will be a postive addition to the host's ambience. If the host doesn't get what he bargained for then out goes the wandering Jew.

Wolfowitz as the prime architect and executive of Iraqi pre and post-war decisions let his allegiance to Israel get in the way of better decisions that could have benefited his American host. Ergo whether it be the reasons for dismissal at the World Bank behavior or his actions at the Department of Defense Wolfowitz is doomed to wander.

Saturday, April 14, 2007

Hillary Clinton: Wellesley College, Hormones & The 60's

Today " The New York Times " had an article about Hillary when she attended Wellesly College in the 60's. She gave the commencement speech in 1969.

In the speech she described classes search for a "... more immediate, ecstatic and penetrating mode of living". Was she describing a dildo ? The speech got a 7 minute standing ovation. With all the assembled female hormones in the commencement hall, Hillary knew how to connect.

The article also included a 1969 vintage photo of Hillary WITHOUT the chin she acquired during her husband's run for the presudency. Maybe sans a chin one does need a dildo. Whatever. Hillary looked like many of the women I saw in San Francisco at that same time. But some women and men didn't buy into that part of the hippy philosophy that wanted government to replace personal responsibility. And some who bought into it eventually out grew it. But Hillary is still living in that time.

Thursday, April 12, 2007

Israel's Security Versus The Price Of Oil

Today Victor Davis Hanson's op-ed piece titled " It's the oil, stupid" tried to make the case that lower oil prices would rein in Iran, Syria and their proxies Hamas, Hezbollah etc.

The last time I looked at the occupied territories of historic Palestine, I didn't notice any benefits of petro-dollars cash flow. Maybe Mr. Hanson wants Israel to be left alone and not criticised while it continues it's 60 year old slow-motion genocide of the Palestinians. The fact is that Palestinian suicide bombers do their thing for free. They don't need huge amounts of petro-dollars to be effective. The price per barrel of oil in 1947 was $2.50. Today it's in the $ 60's. The rigged U.N. partition vote of Palestine was taken in 1947. Since that time, the Palestinian resistance has been the low-cost producer of war. Money or the price of oil has nothing to do with their cause.

Wednesday, April 11, 2007

Time To Weigh Bush And Cheney

Yesterday in Baghdad 4 more Americans died and 16 were wounded in a prolonged, fierce battle with Sunnis. The American were assisting Shiite Iraqi Security Forces, in effect ethnically cleansing a Sunni part of Baghdad. The Iraq Security Forces got the confrontation rolling by entering a Sunni mosque and executing 2 Sunni clergy in front of a congregation who were using the mosque as sanctuary.

So America is not only in the middle of a civil war but we have picked the Shiite side and have grandly armed and phyically assisted them. The Iraq War has cost app. 3300 American lives and app. 73,000 wounded and app. $ 800 billion so far. Iraqi losses have been far greater. Iraq has fragmented , Iraqi civilian deaths are at a mean estimate of over 700,000 and refugees number over 2 million.

Yet Bush and Cheney want to continue. It's time for their impeachment and removal. But simple removal is not an adequtae penalty for their behavior. More appropiately they both need to be weighed by a rope.

Tuesday, April 10, 2007

Barack Obama: He's Plural Man

America is nothing if not diverse. And presidential contender Barack Obama may have the home team advantage of diverse identity politics.

Mr. Obama is 1/2 black and 1/2 white which reflects the increasing interracial relationships in the U.S.. He was born and raised in Honolulu, Hawaii which gives him Pacific Islanders credentials. He spent part of his youth living in Indonesia which gives him Asian bona fides. His religious backround includes an estranged Muslim father who turned atheist and a Christian mother. That pretty much covers most religious persuasions. His father left Barack and his mother so Barack was raised in a single parent household niche. Mr. Obama studied law at Harvard, was a teacher, served as an Illinois State Senator and is currently a U.S. Senator representing Illinois. He's married and father, wrote 2 books and " inhaled".

So what kind of policies does he think will suit America's diversity? Will he champion affirmative action and a loose immigration policy? Both of those policies are under fire. But his ad hoc constituency largely springs from that backround. I think he will get the democratic nomination because of his wit and charm But what intellectual capability he has is yet to be revealed.

Saturday, April 07, 2007

Population Growth And Climate Change

Yesterday the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel On Climate Change released it's 1572 page report. The report concluded".... a high confidence- about 8 in 10 chance- that human-caused warming over the last 3 decades has had a discernable influence on many physical and biological systems."

The report talks about the buildup of greenhouse gases that come from smokestacks and tailpipe emissions. It also points out the exacerbation of these effects by the human clearing of forests and population patterns that ravage delicate ecosystems. The report clearly shows the link between population growth and world climate change. But it stops short of advocating a maximum human population to mitigate and reverse this urgent problem. Why? Maybe because it would be politically incorrect. Also maybe because our world-wide civilizations are modeled on a monetary-based " In Growth We Trust" philosophy.

But the metaphysics of our planet and indeed the universe doesn't care about political correctness or monetary-based schemes. So the day of reckoning is at hand. The salvation of the 50,000 year old homo sapiens will require a lesson in limitations and humility like every other non-human specie abides by.

Wednesday, April 04, 2007

The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation: A Suggestion For Their Childhood Obesity Program

The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation plans to spend $ 500 million over the next 5 years to combat childhood obesity in the U.S. . The foundation estimates that 1/3 of children under 17 are obese. It says that many of these children are poor and live in neighborhoods where outdoor play and exercise is unsafe and there is limited access to fresh fruit and vegetables. According to the foundations director Dr. Risa Lavizzo-Mourey, " In many cases the environment makes it almost impossible for them to choose healthy lifestyles".

The foundation should consider this. If heroin from Afghanistan or cocaine from Columbia or meth from out of state labs can be delivered fresh and affordably priced to these very same " environments" why can't fresh fruit and veggies? People choose their lives. Create the demand and then the supply will come.

Monday, April 02, 2007

" First They Come For The Jews": Well, Sometimes It's Appropriate

Dorothy Rabinowitz's April 2, 2007 "The Wall Street Journal" editorial, " First They Come For The Jews" fails in a defense of the charge of espionage against 2 former American Israel Public Affairs Committee operatives. The espionage trial is due to start in June. It is alledged by federal prosecutors that the AIPAC employees received " classified" information from an American government official and then passed this information to the foreign nation Israel. Ms. Rabinowitz's wordy rant reduces to the mere claim " everyone does it". And for good measure Ms. Rabinowitz tosses the heretofore ultimate verbal nuclear indictment of anti-semitism. But even uranium defaults into lead given enough time. And so will this anti-semitism nonsense.

Enough already. Everyone doesn't do it! Passing " classified" info to a foreign country is not an everyday occurence. AIPAC's lobbying strength is legend and should come to an end. Most of America does not have the racist goals of the present Israeli government. The case against the AIPAC employees is a vehicle to examine and expose Israel's strength in influencing American foreign policy. Granted there could be better examples and better cases. But like the trial of Al Capone for tax evasion and not murder, racketeering, prostitution, assualt , robbery, bribery etc, etc, etc, you go with what you have.

Hillary Clinton: Cow With Cash

Here we go again. The first quarter presidential fund raising totals are in. The bush has $ 36 million. That nearly ties the Bush total of $ 37 million in the comparable period. Since all big money is increasingly concentrated in America, look for an increasingly larger American government with a Clinton presidency as per the Bush government template.

Donors who want to make Hillary's pudenda pucker or click with her clit merely have to enclose a check with the requested part of the $ 3 trillion federal budget. The auctioning of America continues.