Archive for the ‘Editorial’ Category

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An Unnecessary War

January 9, 2009

Jimmy Carter • originally published in the Washington Post     header  
see more in NEWS & ANALYSIS

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I know from personal involvement that the devastating invasion of Gaza by Israel could easily have been avoided.

After visiting Sderot last April and seeing the serious psychological damage caused by the rockets that had fallen in that area, my wife, Rosalynn, and I declared their launching from Gaza to be inexcusable and an act of terrorism. Although casualties were rare (three deaths in seven years), the town was traumatized by the unpredictable explosions. About 3,000 residents had moved to other communities, and the streets, playgrounds and shopping centers were almost empty. Mayor Eli Moyal assembled a group of citizens in his office to meet us and complained that the government of Israel was not stopping the rockets, either through diplomacy or military action.

Knowing that we would soon be seeing Hamas leaders from Gaza and also in Damascus, we promised to assess prospects for a cease-fire. From Egyptian intelligence chief Omar Suleiman, who was negotiating between the Israelis and Hamas, we learned that there was a fundamental difference between the two sides. Hamas wanted a comprehensive cease-fire in both the West Bank and Gaza, and the Israelis refused to discuss anything other than Gaza.
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More Rockets From Gaza • Israel must protect its citizens — but can it do so by military action?

December 23, 2008

WASHINGTON POST 

AFTER SIX months of relative calm, hostilities once again are escalating between Israel and the Hamas-ruled Gaza Strip. Between Friday and yesterday some 60 rockets were fired from Gaza at Israel, whose air force responded with strikes against the launchers. So far there have been no serious injuries on the Israeli side, and one Palestinian has been reported killed. But the ugly slide from here is easy to foresee: more rockets fall, and Israel steps up its airstrikes; Hamas turns from homemade rockets fired by proxies to Iranian-made missiles that can reach large Israeli cities. In the last instance, Israel could finally launch the ground invasion of Gaza it has frequently threatened, triggering a bloody conflict that could spread to the West Bank and Lebanon.
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The Clinton Conflict: The former president’s fundraising invites trouble.

December 22, 2008

Washington Post • See more in: EDITORIAL

THERE IS no getting around the uniquely difficult issues posed by the dual roles of Hillary Rodham Clinton as future secretary of state and former president Bill Clinton as the head of a foundation that raises money from foreign governments. Mr. Clinton’s foundation does valuable work around the world on issues such as HIV/AIDS, climate change and economic development. Foreign governments provide critical support; Australia, Ireland, Great Britain, Sweden, Canada, France, Denmark, Norway and the Dominican Republic, among others, support the foundation’s HIV/AIDS initiative, while Australia contributes to the climate change program. But Mr. Clinton’s good works also fall squarely within the future domain of Ms. Clinton, and his commitment to continue to raise money for these programs while his wife is in office presents inevitable opportunities for conflict of interest and other difficulties down the road. Ms. Clinton and the future Barack Obamaadministration would be better served if Mr. Clinton were to direct his prodigious energies elsewhere for the duration of her service. Read the rest of this entry ?

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Getting Beyond Camelot

December 19, 2008

NYTIMES     more posts in EDITORIAL     jump to top
Caroline Kennedy is, by all accounts, a smart, decent and very capable woman. There is no reason why she shouldn’t enter politics and why she couldn’t have a good shot at winning an election.

That doesn’t mean she should be handed Hillary Clinton’s soon-to-be-vacated United States Senate seat. Running for office and getting a high-class government handout are two very different things.

I suppose Caroline can’t be blamed entirely for having a bit of a blind spot when it comes to the fine line between deserving accomplishment and political entitlement. In 1960, when her father was elected president, vacating his seat in the Senate, he wanted his brother, Ted, to take his place. But Ted was too young to serve. So the Kennedy camp convinced Foster Furcolo, the Massachusetts governor, to appoint Benjamin Smith, an old college friend of Jack’s, “to keep the seat warm” until Ted turned 30 and could run in 1962. Read the rest of this entry ?

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(Editorial) Obama’s abortion conundrum

December 18, 2008

Washington Times        see all posts in: Editorial        Jump to top

Pro-choice groups in America are lobbying President-elect Barack Obama’s transition team to remove all restrictions on abortion instituted by President Bush and the Republican led-Congresses over the last eight years. A 55-page lengthy policy paper, “Advancing Reproductive Rights and Health in a New Administration,” was sent to the transition team and posted to its Change.gov Web site this week. It was ripped from the page in less than a day.

More than 60 groups supporting more accessible and readily available abortions for women and girls signed onto the First-100-Days policy plan. They ask for $700 million for programs under Title X (family planning) of the U.S. Code that includes abortions. They also want to strike a rule change at Health and Human Services that went into effect Aug. 26. It prohibited states and other recipients of federal funds from penalizing heatlh-care workers who refuse to provide abortions because of religious or moral beliefs or risk losing federal funding. The rule change came after Catholic Charities’ hospitals in California were forced to provide abortions. Pro-choice groups cried foul when abortion was defined as a “form of contraception,” the same code language that state governments were using to force hospitals to provide them in the first place.
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(editorial) To Catch a Thief

December 18, 2008

WSJ                see all posts in “editorial” 

Bernard Madoff’s alleged $50 billion fraud is giving politicians and investors who failed to diversify another excuse to blame too little enforcement in U.S. financial markets. Talk about compounding a case of misplaced trust. The real lesson is that financial enforcement nearly always fails to protect investors, and this Ponzi scheme is merely typical.

Since 2000 and especially after the fall of Enron, the SEC’s annual budget has ballooned to more than $900 million from $377 million. (See the nearby chart.) Its full-time examination and enforcement staff has increased by more than a third, or nearly 500 people. The percentage of full-time staff devoted to enforcement — 33.5% — appears to be a modern record, and it is certainly the SEC’s highest tooth-to-tail ratio since the 1980s. The press corps and Congress both were making stars of enforcers like Eliot Spitzer, so the SEC’s watchdogs had every incentive to ferret out fraud.

[Review & Outlook]

Yet they still failed to nail Bernard Madoff. Since at least 1992, when the SEC sued two accountants peddling Madoff investments while promising sky-high returns, the commission missed opportunities to dig deeper into his operations. In 1999, trader Harry Markopolos wrote that “Madoff Securities is the world’s largest Ponzi Scheme,” in a letter to the SEC. More recently, multiple SEC inquiries and exams in 2005 and 2007 found only minor infractions.

Under New York law, meanwhile, Mr. Madoff had to register as a broker with the Investor Protection Bureau of the office of the New York Attorney General. The New York AG is among the most powerful state securities regulators in the country, because the Martin Act allows him to pursue criminal convictions without having to prove criminal intent. Yet neither current AG Andrew Cuomo nor Mr. Spitzer appears to have had a clue about Mr. Madoff’s conduct.
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