For the first time in more than half of century, we have a chance to have a Middle East Policy based on the actual realities on the ground and our own interests and values. The cold war and the West’s dependence on Mideast Oil forced us to overlook the fact that underneath a thin veneer of modernity, the area was actually moving backwards towards an imagined Muslim World that never existed.  To curry favor with the various states we made alliances with leaders such as Sadat and Mubarak in Egypt who were less than democratic.  Monarchs from Morocco to Iran were supported.  As we did elsewhere in the world, we adopted alliances based on the enemy of my enemy is my friend policy.  Just like our World War II alliance with Stalin’s Russia, we chose what was perceived to be the lesser of evils.  Unfortunately, this forced us to overlook things that were abhorrent to Americans and/or policies that would be dangerous  to the world.  Beyond the basic lack of freedoms, two  areas we went along with, much to our future distress, were the endless life of the Palestinian Refugee Camps and the continuing march of Muslims towards extreme forms of their religion.

At the end the 1948 Arab-Israeli Conflict, the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA) was established to provide relief for 652,000 Arabs that fled the Israeli areas.  Today UNRWA provides education, health care and social services to the 5 million Arab refugees in 58 registered camps.  Over the same period approx. 850,000 Jews left Arab countries, the vast majority going to Israel.  None of these people or their descendents live in refugee camps, even though there were cultural differences between the Jews from the middle east and Africa and other Israelis, they were welcomed and integrated in Israel.  Why didn’t the Arab Nations also welcome and integrate their fellow Arabs?  Only Jordan granted citizenship to the Arab refugees living there.  While Palestinian refugees have worked in other Arab lands such as Kuwait and Saudi Arabia, Arab League instructions bar Arab States from granting citizenship.  Without citizenship, the refugees have been at the mercy of a change of winds in host countries.  For instance, Kuwait expelled Palestinian Refugees after the Gulf War.  Why wasn’t the fate of these poor trapped people handled differently?  Where was the U.S?  Instead of helping these people find new homes throughout the Arab World, we were paying the biggest share for UNRWA to maintain these camps.  We never put real pressure on the Arabs to do right by their brothers and sisters.  And they are their brothers and sisters.  Palestine was never a separate Arab Country.  It was always a part of a bigger entity.  Surely, Palestinian Arabs are closer culturally  to others in the Arab League, than the Jewish Middle East and African Refugees that went to Israel.  The Arabs other than Jordan shunned their humanitarian responsibilities and we felt it was in our interest to actually support this financially.

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The Arab World is in ferment.  Wide swaths given over to war and slaughter.  Terror and bloodshed not only spilling over to other Muslim lands, but to the world at large.  People gunned down in Paris.  What caused these horrors?  When asked about this by Jon Stewart on the “Daily Show”, former President Jimmy Carter came forward with a cause:

“Well, one of the origins for it is the Palestinian problem,” Carter replied. “And this aggravates people who are affiliated in any way with the Arab people who live in the West Bank and Gaza, what they are doing now — what’s being done to them. So I think that’s part of it.”

So the first  reason for the Arab World’s troubles Pres. Carter can think 0f is Israel.  He is joined in blaming  Israel by groups on University Campuses clamoring for those schools endowment funds to divest any Israeli Companies.  Online petitions demand that Bed, Bath & Beyond stop selling Israeli made Soda Stream.  Across Europe, demands that Israel be brought before the World Court.  All these courageous people agree Israel’s power must be diminished and if necessary destroyed or the area’s woes will continue to grow.   This bullying Colossus of 7,896,000 people, covering 8,019 sq. miles, oppresses the Arab People, measured by the Arab League at only 365,674,964, shoe horned into 5,148,048 sq.miles. Continue reading

Pipelines, Canals & Trains

New York Sen. Chuck Schmer seems to have donned the mantle of opponent in chief of the Keystone Pipeline.  As such, we think a closer look at his thoughts on the matter is in order.  According to his comments on Face the Nation, Schmer appears to see all projects in terms of the jobs created.  “By most estimates it would create several thousand temporary construction jobs and only 35 permanent jobs,” Schumer said.  It seems the only people valuing this employment are the union members who would fill these jobs.  He didn’t stop there, he added,  “Why create very few jobs with the dirtiest of energy from tar sands when you can create tens of thousands more clean jobs using wind and solar?”  According to Chuck when you do something, you judge it only in terms of a jobs program.  How many people does it employ, rather than it’s actual utility.  This brought to mind an anecdote we read awhile back.  An account from the economics writer Stephen Moore that was printed in the Wall Street Journal in 2009.  Moore stated that he used to visit Milton Friedman and his wife, and together they would dine at a favorite Chinese restaurant: Continue reading


Dina Galassini never set out in 2011 to be at the center of the clash between the right of free speech and our election laws.  All she wanted to do was protest a Fountain hills, Az bond issue.  She emailed 23 friends to band with her to make some homemade signs,  join her in a couple of rallies and write some letters to the editor.  She estimated it cost $25.  Just the kind of thing the first amendment  was written to protect.  Not in Fountain Hills.  Upon learning of her plans, the town clerk sent her a letter urging  “cease any campaign related activities” until she had registered as a “political committee” under Arizona law.  This started her two-year plus Odyssey through Arizona Election Law.  Supported by the Institute for Justice, it culminated in September 30, 2013 with  Federal Judge James A. Teilborg striking down Arizona’s campaign finance scheme.  He formalized this decision this past December.  While pleased with her victory, it got us to wondering how it even came this.  After all, the First Amendment along with the rest of Bill of Rights were added to the Constitution to protect us from despotism.

We don’t have to harken back to King George to get an idea what Madison and his cohorts were  trying to protect against.  Just imagine the current despots in say Russia or Venezuela with similar laws.  Wouldn’t they love to have a list of their opponents financial supporters.  How likely would anybody to contribute to the opposition if these guys had that information.  Better still it would allow them to entangle their opposition and their supporters in endless confusing laws and regulations that could result in convictions and maybe even imprisonment.  Continue reading