Friday, December 11, 2009

Nobel Peace Prize?

Thirty-five years ago, I wrote an article about the political nature of the Nobel prize selection process. But over the years - with all the questionable choices that were made - none struck me as so thoroughly undeserved as Barack Obama for the Nobel Peace Prize. What has he done? Sent more troops to Afghanistan?

Obama's acceptance speech spoke more of war than peace. Obama described himself as a Commander In Chief, engaged in two wars, who, "like any head of state, reserve[s] the right to act unilaterally if necessary to defend [his] nation." To soften that saber-rattling remark, his only concession was a platitude: "Nevertheless, I am convinced that adhering to standards strengthens those who do and isolates and weakens those who don't."

An honest man would have refused the Nobel Prize as undeserved. Had he done so, I would have thought higher of Obama. Today, he just looks like a pompous hypocrite, rather a polished satan. "Great humility"... I think not.

Friday, October 2, 2009

Roman Polanski - Exposing the Hollowness of American Ethics

When it comes to ethics, are the rules not common to all? Or is there one set of conduct rules for celebrities and another set of conduct rules for everyone else?

With few exceptions, Americans seem to be universally appalled when a Catholic priest abuses children. But when the same abuse is committed by a celebrity, many Americans would turn a blind eye. Yes, the priest's hypocrisy does have a compounding effect. But that is not a sufficient explanation for the double standard. The misuse of power or influence to sexually abuse children is more appalling than any priestly hypocrisy.

Michael Jackson or Roman Polanski - child abuse is child abuse. Regardless of any artistic skill, there is no excuse for drugging and molesting a thirteen-year-old.

Sunday, September 6, 2009


According to Hugo Chavez, currently in Iran:
Tehran and Caracas should help revolutionary nations through further expansion and consolidation of their ties.
Everyone knows that Hugo likes to portray himself as a revolutionary. And, as Hugo is a revolutionary, therefore Venezuela is a revolutionary nation. If Hugo says that Iran is also a revolutionary nation, then presumably he considers Mahmoud to be a revolutionary like himself. The question is: Does anyone else in the world define revolutionary the same way as Hugo?

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

The Continuum Is The Goal

While Obama tries to push through a reform bill on health care, it seems that there is an urgent health issue that is not being adequately addressed:
WASHINGTON (CNN) -- The H1N1 flu virus could cause up to 90,000 U.S. deaths, mainly among children and young adults, if it resurges this fall as expected, according to a report released Monday by a presidential advisory panel...
And that apparently is on top of:
Up to 40,000 U.S. deaths are linked to seasonal flu each year, with most of the fatalities occurring among people over 65...
... the H1N1 vaccine isn't expected to be available until mid-October, and even then it will take several weeks for vaccinated individuals to develop immunity, the report says. The potential "mismatch in timing" could significantly diminish the usefulness of the H1N1 vaccine, the report says.
So what does the report recommend?
Speed up the production of the H1N1 vaccine and have an initial batch - enough to vaccinate up to 40 million people, especially those who are at risk of serious disease - by mid-September...
One can only wonder why it takes a report by a presidential advisory panel to come up with a recommendation as obvious as this? Why hasn't this been done already? Perhaps the answer is hidden in the words of Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius:
...the government's preparation and guidance for the public was based on the need to strike a balance "on a continuum of being paralyzed with fear versus complacency."
What type of continuum is that? Typically there would be opposites at the two ends of a continuum. For example you could have a continuum from bad to good. In this case, rather ironically, the Health and Human Services Secretary is offering a continuum from bad to bad, from static to static.

So perhaps the continuum is the goal. Perhaps it is all about having the government and the general public both paralyzed, either with fear or with complacency.

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

PROUT (The Movie)

A new movie to introduce the Five Fundamental Principles of PROUT is currently scheduled for release around the end of October. Have a look at the promotional video at PROUTfilms.

Friday, July 17, 2009

At What Cost?

For the last two days the US stock market is going up again, but...
  • Yesterday's news:

    The number of U.S. households on the verge of losing their homes soared by nearly 15 percent in the first half of the year as more people lost their jobs and were unable to pay their monthly mortgage bills.

    Foreclosure filings rose more than 33 percent in June compared with the same month last year and were up nearly 5 percent from May.
  • Today's news:

    June unemployment topped 10 percent in 15 states; Michigan rate exceeded 15 percent

Friday, June 19, 2009

1 in 6 People Hungry

It is almost inconceivable that human society can tolerate such a
UN: World hunger reaches the 1 billion people mark


A UN food agency said a record 1.02 billion people are hungry across
the world, or one-sixth of humanity.

The Food and Agriculture Organization said the historic high is the
result of the financial downturn combined with persistently high food

The number of hungry people is about 100 million higher than last

The agency's Director-General Jacques Diouf said the hunger crisis
"poses a serious risk for world peace and security."

The Rome-based FAO said in the report released Friday that almost all
the world's undernourished live in developing countries.

Some 642 million are hungry in the Asia and the Pacific region, and
265 million in Sub-Saharan Africa.

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Election Day in Israel

It's a national holiday... a major element in the hoopla that sustains the illusion that democracy offers a meaningful choice.

The mood of the Israeli public is decidedly hawkish. So Netanyahu will probably win another term as Prime Minister. The only difference that is likely to make is in the tenor of the rhetoric from Government. Expect more saber-rattling.

As to anything else - ethics, for example - Olmert did not set a high bar, but Netanyahu has shown no ability to surmount the self-seeking. Expect more scandals.

Sunday, January 4, 2009

A Sense Of Proportion

After the next Israeli elections, the primary reason for the latest war between Israelis and Palestinians will have disappeared. So the military action will probably diminish around then... until the next time some people in power (on either side) see a political advantage in starting an otherwise pointless military campaign.

However, my focus is mainly on the ethics of the war and the military strategy - largely from an Israeli standpoint. Most Israelis staunchly support the war (as is common in the early days of such type of action). However, when I ask any Israeli if s/he thinks that the war will bring about a reduction in Palestinian aggression against Israel, the response is invariably No.

When no one believes that this military strategy will be effective, how should we classify the killing of nearly 500 persons (and counting), the wounding of thousands of persons (and counting), and the large-scale destruction of both public and private property? Are we not talking about murder, assault, and theft out of hatred and, at best, for revenge?