SAUDI SQUEEZE PLAY
Yesterday’s meeting at the Western White House between President Bush and Saudi Crown Prince Abdullah was unprecedented in American history because of the backdoor ‘sandwich play’ involving former President Bush.
The Saudis came over here two days ago with a plan: to threaten the US into forcing Israel to accept a Saudi Peace Plan that would create a Palestinian State based on the pre-1967 borders. The threats – carefully laid out in a monumental NEW YORK TIMES front page story(http://www.nytimes.com/2002/04/25/international/middleeast/25SAUD.html) yesterday set Washington afire.
Specifically, the threats were: 1) A potential Saudi cut-off of oil to the US; 2) throwing the US out of military bases in the Saudi kingdom; 3) embracing Saddam Hussein in a show of Arab unity; 4) embracing and adopting the philosophy of Osama bin Laden; 5) convening a Islamic leaders to decide future Muslim policy toward the USA.
And to complicate matters even further, Egypt now says they’d be willing to go to war with Israel (what ever happened to the Camp David Accords?) if the rich Arabs would pony up $100 billion to pay for the war effort (http://www.smh.com.au/articles/2002/04/24/1019441265555.html). And this from a so-called “moderate Arab state” to which we pay over $4 billion a year.
Now, since yesterday’s 5-hour meeting, Saudi spokesmen have denied these threats. But that is a typical Arab ploy: float a threat and then deny making it. In reality, the threats indeed were made – and were heard loud and clear in the Bush White House. No wonder the President had a shell-shocked “deer in the headlight” look on his face when he met the press after the meeting. And no wonder the WASHINGTON POST today reports that the upper levels of the Bush Administration are hopelessly deadlocked over Mid East policy (http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/articles/A51099-2002Apr25.html).
The most devious – and telling – part of the Saudi Plan was to have two meetings – before and after the meeting with the President – with the former President Bush and former First Lady Barbara Bush. Wednesday Saudi Ambassador to the US Prince Bandar flew to Texas specifically to lunch with the Bushes. And today the Crown Prince is taking a private train trip to the Bush Presidential Library in College Station to again meet with Bush I.
What is going on?
The Saudis have figured out what few in our nation want to admit: Bush the Father is secretly running his son’s foreign policy.
By cleverly surrounding Bush II with aides and veterans – Cheney, Powell, Card, Rice and many more – Bush I can run his son’s administration from behind the scenes. Those “in the know” know that it’s their political death if they ever mention this. The Bushes “have a long memory”, Dick Cheney likes to remind people in private.
Israel has much to worry about because Bush I and his Secretary of State, James Baker, were long-time anti-Israelites. In fact, Bush I’s administration was probably the most hostile to Israel of any since Israel was created 54 years ago.
No wonder the Saudis are “sandwiching” Bush II with a before-and-after meeting with Bush I. They are playing to their long-time oil relationship with Bush I and with Dick Cheney.
Someone in the American media needs to expose the inordinate influence Bush I plays in his novice-in-foreign policy son’s administration. And politically, many should worry that with Bush I running things, Bush II may face a similar fate: squandering astronomical poll ratings garnered because of a Mid-East Crisis and ending up a failed one term president with deep divisions within his own party.
The Saudis have exposed this Bush’s weakness: foreign policy.
And it may destroy his presidency.
DON'T BELIEVE A WORD
Perhaps I am way off base, but I don't believe one word of the "story" behind White House Advisor Karen Hughes' departure. Her claim that it is "because of family concerns...wanting our 15-year old son to have roots in Texas" is a nice smokescreen, but it is not the real reason she is leaving.
Something must have happened behind the scenes - something which has so far been kept quiet - to force an ambitious, hard-driving woman to resign a post she coveted for eight years. Perhaps it was the constant staff fighting with her arch rival, Karl Rove. Or perhaps she ticked off former President George H.W. Bush and his wife, Barbara - the two most important and influential people in this government. But there is something that caused her departure - and it isn't the reasons spoon-fed to the media.
This week the media fawned over Hughes as she explained her decision. This politically correct institution chose to play the story as "woman knows she can't have it all so she opts for family over job."
How nice that sounds!
Only one problem: Karen Hughes had it all - and wanted it all, too. During the campaign - a much tougher and more strenuous time than the day-to-day working in the White House - she blew off her "family and Texas roots" and took her then 14-year old son on the campaign plane for over a year! She allegedly home-schooled him while helping to run a presidential campaign! What a way to raise a teenager!
Now we are to believe that she is chucking it all to go home to Austin, Texas?
No, there is something more behind this story. In the big scheme of things, who really cares? But it's good to keep in mind that Karen Hughes is Bush's top 'spinmeister' and, as such, she is 'spinning' her own departure to make herself and the Bushes look good.
Behind it all is the real story of why she is leaving with her tail between her legs. Either she got canned or lost out in a vicious power play.
TIME TO TALK TOUGH TO THE SAUDIS
There is new evidence that we are not even fighting the right enemy in the so-called War on Terror. The real enemy - in a sea of poisonous Muslim governments - is Saudi Arabia.
The latest evidence of this was heard in a Mecca mosque last week in a "sermon" given by a top Saudi Arabian religious leader. Here is some of what Sheik Abdul-Rahman al-Sudais said as he called on Muslims to "say farewell to peace initiatives with these people [Jews]." He prayed to the Muslim God to "terminate" the Jews, whom he called "the scum of humanity, the rats of the world, prophet killers, pigs and monkeys." Sudais also said Israel was carrying out "an ugly annihilation" against the Palestinians.
The Saudi Government (ha ha) does not "endorse" what Sudais said, but the sermon was carried live by TV and radio stations. Previously it has been revealed that the Saudi Government - specifically Crown Prince Abdullah, who is running the country in place of his stroke-incapacitated brother, the King - was 1) secretly "playing both sides" by funneling money to terrorist organizations. 2) The Saudi Government dispatched a plane within days of the 9-11 attacks to the US to pick up all bin Laden family members before the FBI could even interview them. 3) Saudi Arabia puts out different stories about the status of Osama bin Laden's citizenship and when or if they even froze his bank accounts. 4) The now-infamous telethon for Palestinian "martyrs" - aka suicide bombers - in Saudi Arabia included multi-million dollar donations from the King and the Crown Prince.
In the face of such evidence why in the world do we still regard Saudi Arabia as a friend? Is it because of their oil? And their money? If that is the case, then our War on Terror is a sham. If oil and money determine friend or foe then we do not have a leg to stand on.
This Thursday Crown Prince Abdullah journeys to the Crawford 'Western White House' for a weekend visit with G.W. Bush. In the wake of Colin Powell's failed Mid-East mission last week there has been speculation that the Crown Prince would cancel his trip, but apparently he is still coming. What should the President say in private to the Saudi leader? In no uncertain terms he should make it clear that we cannot tolerate their two-faced approach to killing Americans and Israelis. They may have the oil, but we have the B-52's. If we choose, we could take their oil today - and if they were behind the 9-11 attacks, we would be as justified in doing so as we are in removing the Taliban in Afghanistan.
The Bushes love to talk tough. But they only talk that way to weaklings. With the Big Boys they grovel and back down (see China and Russia). It is time to step up to the plate and let the Headquarters of the Muslim World know we aren't going to be pushed around any more.
STEP ON THE GAS
As revealed by Israeli intelligence to Jerusalem Post and New York Post writer Uri Dan yesterday, Yasir Arafat's phone calls have been bugged by the Israeli intelligence forces for years. In one recent phone call, Arafat's total duplicity is revealed. In a call to his long-time aide, Marwan Darbouti, who has been running the suicide bombing campaign, Arafat said, "When I call for a cease-fire, step on the gas."
In other words, an Arafat call for a cease-fire - long desired by Team Bush - means EXACTLY THE OPPOSITE!
It means: KILL MORE JEWS - FAST - BEFORE A CEASE-FIRE COULD BE IMPLEMENTED.
No wonder Prime Minister Sharon has had it with Arafat. And the Bush Administration should now see that it is a hopeless dream to negotiate with a killer who has pledged to "kill every Jew."
The Sharon Government should make these phone taps public. The world should know what a liar Arafat is - and what the Israelis are up against.
It is always baffling to know of these intelligence gems and never to have them properly released and made part of the public record. Perhaps the best example of how effective this can be is the 1983 shoot down by the Soviets of Korean Air Lines jet flying over Sakhalin Island carrying Congressman Larry MacDonald (Dem. Ga.).
In that case, the Soviets denied shooting the jet down. And the US smartly sent the radio intercepts of Soviet military communications up to the United Nations where they were played to the world. The Soviets were proven to be total and complete liars.
Israel should do the same thing with Arafat. Yes, they have already made public two captured documents: one a 'bill' for suicide bombs (600 sheckles per bomb) sent to Arafat's financial man; the other was a document signed by Arafat himself ordering more bombings.
Of course the reaction from the PLO - and its sympathizers - is to claim that Israel 'forged' these documents.
They will also claim that any intercepted phone calls have been 'doctored.' And the compliant Arab press will be shameless in their lies and misrepresentations. How else to explain the fact that most Saudis do not believe that 15 of the 19 9-11 hijackers were Saudis? The media over there is aimed not at the truth but at serving the Muslim cause of destroying Israel - and damaging the USA, too.
Still, the world needs to hear the truth about the PLO. These guerilla murderers have one mission: to destroy Israel. Period.
"Stepping on the gas" - along with Suha Arafat's praise for suicide bombing 'martyrs' - is proof that Israel faces a Palestinian leadership that cannot be trusted. How can you deal with someone like that?
No wonder Sharon won't even mention Arafat any longer. He must seethe when a Colin Powell tries to squeeze him into working again with a tried and true liar.
Team Bush clearly has lost its way on their so-called War on Terror. As long as the enemy was Osama bin Laden, they could keep it simple. But they allowed themselves to get caught up in the Middle Eastern Morass that has enveloped every president since Nixon's surprising stare-down of Leonid Brezhnev during the Yom Kippur War of 1973. President Nixon was the last president to make it clear: we side in a crunch 100% with Israel - even if it may cause World War III.
Then Prime Minister Golda Meir said of Nixon, "He was the greatest friend Israel ever had."
Since then the Chablis and Brie set of Georgetown has tried to be 'evenhanded' - code words for equating Arafat's murder with Israel's self-defense.
Sadly, G. W. Bush has proven himself to be lost at sea in this battle.
Israel needs to open their 'Arafat File" - and teach the world the truth about this murderer.
They do not need to exile him - or kill him. Just expose him for what he is: a life-long revolutionary who hopes to "drive every Jew into the sea."
Please, Mr. Sharon, release all the taps, tapes and files. "Step on the gas" - and quickly!
POWELL LEGITIMIZES TERROR
By meeting with Yassir Arafat yesterday, Secretary of State Colin Powell
conferred the 'Good Housekeeping Seal of Approval' on a terrorist thug who
tacitly admits he is orchestrating the use of murder to obtain his goals.
In fact, when Arafat told Powell that he would not agree to a 'cease-fire'
until Israel withdraws from the West Bank, he was equating murder with
The two are not equal.
When the United State retaliated for 9-11 by attacking Afghanistan, that was not the equivalent of the 9-11 suicide attacks on New York and
Washington. One was a provocative Act of War while the other was
self-defense in the purest sense.
Likewise, Israel was the victim of a series of bombings all of which
constitute a PLO Act of War against Israel. Thus, Israel's justified
self-defense move of going into Palestinian territory to prune the
'infrastructure of terror' is entirely within its rights.
The pathetic requirement by the Bush administration that Arafat denounce
terror in Arabic is a total joke. Why do we or anyone believe a
word he says? He has previously denounced terror in the Oslo Accords and has
clearly reversed himself since then. By the way, he earned a Nobel Peace
Prize for the Oslo agreement. He should be stripped of that award.
Now we hear that his wife, Suha Arafat, who is living in Paris, has said she condones
the suicide bombings and would hope that her son if she had one, which she
does not would become a martyr through a suicide attack.
This is 'renouncing terror'?
Arafat and the PLO have long called for the death of all Jews and have talked
of "driving the Jews into the sea." They also did not even want to recognize
Israel's right to exist.
So can we blame Israel for wanting to go after the militant extremists who
are actively killing Jews?
The shame of it all is that G.W. Bush has weakened himself and his presidency
by engaging Arafat as a worthy interlocutor. Why not have talks with Osama
bin Laden, too? What's the difference?
What a mess it all is.
HAVE THE NAZIS RETURNED?
What the American press is not reporting is the shocking
> behavior of Arabs toward Jews – and the filthy propaganda being fed to Arab
> youth in their schools and mosques.
> Finally today the New York Daily News
> in a front page story has detailed yesterday's shocking Saudi
> state-sponsored telethon whereby they raised over $56 million – some of it
> earmarked for the families of suicide bombers who killed innocents in Israel.
> Several million of this haul was personally donated by King Fahd
> and Crown Prince Abdullah – who will soon be visiting George W. Bush at his
> Crawford, Texas, ranch. In other words, the president of the United States
> will have as his houseguest someone who personally paid money to the families
> of suicide bombers.
> And we single out Iraq as our next target by citing its payments to
> the suicide-bomber families?
> The Saudis are big backers of Yassir Arafat's PLO. Under the
> Oslo Peace Agreement, both Israel and the PLO agreed to stop teaching hate.
> The agreement said, "Israel and the Palestinians will ensure that their
> respective educational systems contribute to the peace ... and will refrain
> from the introduction of any motifs that could adversely affect the process
> of reconciliation."
> The Israelis have honored that agreement; the PLO has not.
> For example, ninth-grade Palestinians students are taught from a
> textbook that reads, "Treachery and disloyalty are character traits of the
> Jews, and therefore one should be aware of them."
> Another example: An eighth-grade textbook reads, "Mankind has
> suffered from the yoke of racism at all times, because Satan has made their
> evil deeds seem beautiful. ... Such people are the Jews."
> Or this one: "Perhaps Allah brought the Jews to our land, so
> their death would take place here, as it did in their wars with the Romans."
> And we can also see from these textbooks why young Palestinians
> so happily blow themselves up: Fifth-graders are made to memorize lines such
> as "I shall take my soul in my hand and hurl it into the abyss of death." And
> they read of a boy who experiences his greatest "joy when he sees the enemy
> lying dead" or "fleeing for their lives."
> These students are also taught that the Palestinian "problem"
> is not Israel's control over the West Bank and Gaza, but Israel's very
> existence. As John Perazzo has written, "From the earliest age, children
> learn of their religious obligation to help drive out the infidels and
> reclaim 'every centimeter of Palestine', the 'stolen' land."
> This type of filth is exactly what the Nazi taught their
> children in the 1930s, which led to a German population – including
> mothers and children – that often, for weekend pleasure, drove into Poland
> to picnic while their husbands machine-gunned Jews into ditches. Then they'd
> all finish their lunches, drink their warm beer and head back home. They were
> tailgating – not at Sunday football games, but at mass murders.
> The lesson? People can be 'brainwashed' into a deep-seated hate
> and fury that overrides good sense and morality.
> Such 'brainwashing' is happening right now in Muslim schools – and
> in the Arab press.
> We Americans need to support Israel because without us it cannot
> survive – and also realize that the Middle East is a backward mess
> with fraudulent governments awash in oil cash and using a religion to
> subjugate the people.
> And we must realize a sad truth: This is a problem without an
> imminent or obvious solution.
A LITANY OF DISGRACES
As the Mideast turmoil continues with yet another suicide
> bombing, new evidence emerges of Saudi complicity in the Intifada – and
> American incompetence in our handling of an uncontrollable situation.
> Let us examine the latest:
> 1) "American foreign policy is being driven by Saddam Hussein."
> That was former Israeli Prime Minister Bibi Netanyahu yesterday speaking in
> New York. He is right: The Bush administration is so consumed with removing
> Saddam's regime from power that it is willing to bulldoze over Ariel
> Sharon and meet with the murderer Yassir Arafat in order to 'quiet things
> down.' The Bush administration's goal? Garner enough so-called moderate Arab
> support for the coming war against Iraq.
> But things are not going well. The entire Arab world is in a
> tizzy over Israel's defense of itself. The more Israel tries to clean out the
> poisonous nests of terrorists – the exact same thing we are still doing in
> Afghanistan – the more the Arab world talks of war.
> 2) While Defense Secretary Rumsfeld, during his daily briefings,
> continually decries Iraq's payments to suicide bombers and their families, he
> professes ignorance of the EXACT SAME POLICY FROM THE SAUDIS. And these are
> our allies! (http://www.upi.com/view.cfm?StoryID=09042002-050314-4015r) It
> turns out that the Saudi Arabian government has set aside a whopping $50
> million for payments to suicide bombers and their families – calling them
> "victims" of this war. It is a war, by the way, that the Arafat-led radicals
> started in September 2000 in order to goose even more concessions out of the
> Barak government in Israel and the desperate-for-a-legacy lame-duck Clinton
> administration in Washington.
> Hamas has followed suit – also financed by so-called moderates
> – and helped to train and dispatch more suicide bombers into Israel.
> American tolerance of Saudi hypocrisy is breathtaking!
> While we prepare to remove Saddam, the Saudi representative to
> the Arab League summit in Beirut two weeks ago publicly kisses the Iraqi
> representative in a show of solidarity. This was a huge slap in the faces of
> G.W. Bush and Dick Cheney.
> 3) As Secretary of State Colin Powell toured the Sunday morning
> TV talking head shows, he made the most amazing comment: "Innocent Palestinian
> suicide bombers are dying" because no reconciliation can be reached.
> If Trent Lott or Tom Delay had made that statement, the
> national news media would eviscerate him. But Colin Powell is the darling of
> the Politically Correct crowd and his mistakes are glossed over with total
> "Innocent" suicide bombers? How can that be?
> Well, what he is saying is that the conflict is taking
> "innocent" Palestinians and turning them into suicide bombers.
> But the truth is that it is Arafat, Hamas, al-Qaeda and other
> radical groups that prey upon the young and malleable children and literally
> brainwash them from infancy to make them lethal human bombs – all under the
> umbrella of a 'fundamentalist interpretation' of the Koran.
> Please note that there are no 75-year-old "suicide bombers." Why
> Perhaps because they can't be as easily manipulated, terrorized and
> browbeaten. And yet, when you think of it, an old man has lived his life. Why
> wouldn't he prefer to go out a martyr and thus save a young life from such a
> The answer is simple: These people live under as repressive a
> system as did the citizens of the Soviet Union. In such a dictatorship, you
> can't "decide" to become a "suicide bomber." That decision is made for you –
> and neither you nor your family even has the right to object. That is life
> in such an awful system.
> As we learn more about the treachery of the Saudis, we can see
> that the so-called widespread anti-Americanism of the Muslim world is a
> redirected resentment by most Muslims for the poverty, inequality and
> squalor they live under.
> But the United States has nothing to do with that deplorable
> situation; their own governments are guilty of betraying their people – or
> 'subjects.' And these quasi-dictatorships – no friends of free press, free
> speech or democracy – control the media and use it to channel the popular
> anger away from themselves onto the USA.
> What a mess!
> And it is a mess we need to avoid. Yes, 'regime change' is a
> wonderful goal. But in which Muslim nation? Why Iraq and not Saudia Arabia?
> Let's face it: Most of those people – with the exception of the
> only democracy in the region, Israel – are not civilized. They are living in
> the Stone Age. And until they take the situation into their own hands – as
> we did in 1776 – and demand individual human rights, they are hopeless.
> We need to defend democracy and Israel. Other than that, we need
> to side with those who want what God has already blessed us with: freedom,
> liberty, free speech, democracy and the Power of the People over the
> Only when those values are accepted in the Middle East can any
> real peace ever ensue.
Into The Real Quagmire
Whenever the United States projects its military or diplomatic power overseas, the still-active New Left loves to invoke the specter of Vietnam. And their favorite warning is, "Here we go again. We are going to get bogged down in 'another quagmire.'
This was exactly what the New Left anti-war crew shouted in 1991 when we began the Gulf War. Guess what? No quagmire - no bogging down. We won - and were out of there in a few weeks.
Then, post 9-11, these same voices of the Left again warned of the coming Bush retaliation in Afghanistan. Guess what? We won that one, too, with very little 'bogging down' - and it has not turned out to be the quagmire that the Soviets found it to be 15 years ago.
Strangely, however, the New Left is not warning about a very obvious quagmire into which President G.W. Bush and Secretary of State Powell are now entering: the century-long death feud between the Jews and the Arabs.
If ever there was a war which is a 'bog' this is it. And it is safe to say the the American Government - despite its sole superpower status - cannot 'win' or 'solve' this conflict. Indeed, all we can do is to erode our prestige, weaken our influence and squander our moral authority.
Let's look at some facts: since 9-11 we have been in a world-wide War on Terror. The main focus of that war is in Afghanistan where we are still trying to kill the remnants of the Taliban Government and the Al Qaeda terrorist organization. Other than the radical Muslem segment of the population, virtually the entire world supports our efforts. Even one third of the Axis of Evil - Iran - has publicly asked to help us in this War on Terror. (Even though we have subsequently learned that they are double-dealing us by trying to destabilize Hamid Karzai's government.)
The Israeli Palestinian mess has some striking resemblances to our eradication policy in Afghanistan. In both cases, fundamentalist Muslims brainwash young students and re-program them into 'martyrs-to-be' who actually are happy to blow themselves up as long as they take some 'infidels' with them.
Last September in New York and Washington DC the 'infidels' were Americans. In the Mid-East, they are Jews.
Yassir Arafit is a cunning manipulator of the media and of public opinion. He is also clever enough to know that the more Jews he kills by suicide bomb, the more the Arabs rally to his cause. And G.W. Bush - so consumed with the plan to avenge his father's honor for the failure to dispose of Saddam 11 years ago - has to assuage these same Arabs.
Thus, Bush conducts a War on Terror himself and, at the same time, lectures Ariel Sharon about "an immediate pullback" of the Israeli War on Terror.
Sharon ignores Bush - or, perhaps, Bush winked and nodded when he scolded Sharon. Either way, the Israelis are - correctly - cleaning out the terrorist nests on the West Bank before more suicide bombers can kill more innocent Jews.
The Arabs - seeing this - are enflamed and talking 'war' more seriously than any time since 1983, when, ironically, Ariel Sharon then ordered the killing of Palestinian terrorists in refugee camps in southern Lebanon. At that time the American Government - under the direction of White House National Security Adviser Robert MacFarlane - used the US Marines to safely evacuate Yassir Arafat from Beirut.
Here we are 20 years later again bedeviled by the same problem -and the same people!
Is that not the definition of "getting bogged down in a quagmire"?
The best the Bush/Powell Team can hope for is a slight 'cooling off' of this ongoing problem. They hope to ratchet down the news coverage and attention on this problem so they can again try to focus the world on Saddam Hussein.
And what of the Butcher of Baghdad?
He now sees that he can deflect attention away from his own tenuous position by merely subsidizing a few new suicide bombers down in Israel. That is certain to stir up Israel's duty to protects itself - and the whole cycle begins anew.
It is a mess - a real quagmire.
And President Bush and Secretary Powell run the risk of getting the US bogged down there. - - to the detriment of our own War on Terror.
MSNBC MOVES LEFT
The announcement that sagging cable network MSNBC is hiring the has-been talk show host - and ultra-radical leftist - Phil Donahue to go up against Fox News Channel's Bill O'Reilly each evening at 8:00 PM shows why MSNBC "doesn't get it."
In a massive re-tooling, the cable network co-owned by NBC and Microsoft is set to unveil an entirely new prime-time schedule. Besides Donahue at 8:00PM, MSNBC is moving Brian Williams' evening news show to 7:00PM and pushing back their created 'star', Ashleigh Banfield, to 10:00PM and Alan Keyes to 11:00PM.
They have yet to settle on their 9:00PM show.
Phil Donahue, a very nice guy in person, is 'yesterday.'
He is an unrepentant liberal who once said his dream was "to run Mario Cuomo's presidential campaign." He also led the change in behalf of Ralph Nader in 2000. And he opposed US military intervention in Afghanistan after the 9-11 attacks.
MSNBC is wrong to hire Donahue because they are mis-judging the cable news audience. Those who watch all-news cable stations - about 2 million people - overlap with those who listen to talk radio. And that audience is overwhelmingly conservative.
The Fox News Channel figured this out early on - and targeted their audience wisely. Plus, they had Rush Limbaugh constantly talking about Fox on his radio show. Soon FNC began its meteoric rise up the charts - and CNN began its decline.
The presidency of Bill Clinton was actually very bad for CNN because Clinton insider - and former ABC News chief, Rick Kaplan - took over CNN. He was a Lincoln Bedroom sleepover guest and when Monicagate took hold, he used CNN to defend the embattled president.
The result? "What does CNN stand for? "The Clinton News Network!"
And, with Fox now available as an alternative, viewers had a new place to get their news. They flocked to Fox - and one-time leader CNN has now been reduced to a shell of its former self.
Meanwhile, MSNBC isn't even in the game. A constant distant third in the ratings they have now decided to scrap the neutrality and the documentaries and join the prime time 'talking head' fray. The problem is they are mis-reading the audience.
The smart move for either MSNBC or CNN would be to move to the right and take away some of Fox's audience.
Instead, they are both moving left and dividing between themselves a minority of the audience and leaving all the conservative viewers to watch Fox. No wonder Fox's ratings are up 116% in one year!
MSNBC is kidding themselves if they think a Phil Donahue is going to work in the 24-hour cable news world. Yes, he was a TV giant from 1970-1996 with his afternoon talk show. But that was a different audience and a different time slot. Prime time on cable is a more select viewership.
Prediction: Donahue's rating will be abysmal.
While we're at it, Fox's experiment with hiring libs isn't too successful either. Gerlado's ratings are "in the tank" at Fox and many insiders there speculate that long-time Rivera pal and Fox Chairman, Roger Ailes, is looking for ways to get rid of the ultra-egotistical leftist.
Similarly, Greta van Susteren - after an initial ratings spike due to curiosity over her facelift - has seen her ratings crash and burn, too. Ailes had claimed when he canned Paula Zahn that he could get better ratings at 10:00PM with a "dead racoon." Greta replaced Zahn after Ailes fired her for talking to CNN about moving there. Ailes also sued Zahn's agents claiming they violated the terms of her contract.
Two weeks ago a federal judge threw Ailes' suit out with a stern comment that Zahn's agents had done absolutely nothing wrong.
With Geraldo bombing and Greta sinking, perhaps Ailes sees the error of his ways. The rule at Harvard Business School is "do what you do best."
In Fox's case, that is to capture and hold the conservative-to-middle share of the audience and let CNN and MSNBC slug it out for the remaining minority slice of the cable news viewership.
In retrospect, Ailes may have been correct: dumping Geraldo and Greta and replacing them with a "dead racoon" would get better ratings.
WHAT THE US SHOULD DO - AND NOT DO
The Israeli-Palestinian War escalates by the minute - and many Americans ask, "What should our country do?"
The answer is simple. Nothing.
That's right. We should stay out of this fight. Our continued involvement only gives Arafat hope that he can negotiate his way out of a mess he created - and only erodes out moral and political capital in the region.
Here is what we are doing wrong: by sending General Anthony Zinni over to the region to negotiate a cease fire, we, in fact, said to Arafat, "We'll deal with you no matter what." The more Arafat dispatched suicide bombers - and Zinni stayed - the more it said to Arafat, "We are not going to penalize you for your acts of terror and war."
Then Vice President Cheney went over there and almost met with Arafat. In fact, he almost went back just to meet Arafat last week.
Then came the Passover Massacre and all hell broke loose. Guess what? Zinni is still there!
And the USA sponsored a UN Resolution calling on Israel to withdraw its military forces within hours of their original dispatch.
Such mixes messages are certain to embolden Arafat and thus to allow him to send even more suicide bombers.
What we should do is very simple: treat Arafat and Osama bin Laden as two peas in a pod. They are both lifelong terrorist thugs who used brainwashed fanatical youths to carry out their own dirty work while they hide like the cowardly little rodents they truly are.
Yet we accord Arafat all the amentities of a world leader while we try to hunt down and kill bin Laden.
Such inconsistencies make American policy a joke and confuse everyone.
We should let Israel and the Palestinians work this out between themselves. And we should condemn - in the strongest words and actions - the purposeful targeting of innocents.
Unfortunately, we have conflicting agendas. The Bush Team (father and son especially) so want to go after Saddam that we are desperate to cultivate Arab support. Thus we weigh in too much to work with Arafat - when we should let him pay the price for what he has done to innocent people. In effect, we have 'saved' Arafat from the punishment he deserves.
The ultimate war against Iraq is now on the back, back burner. There is no support for it in the region.
What the Bush Administration ought to do is get back to speaking with one voice - not trotting out the President each day with a different message, while his staff has yet another (http://www.nytimes.com/2002/04/01/international/middleeast/01ASSE.html).
Meanwhile, where is Osama? Where is Mullah Omar? Is it possible that the greatest superpower the world has ever known cannot find these two most wanted terrorists?
Is it possible to think we could really remove Saddam and put in place a democratically elected government - if we still are having troubles on the ground in Afghanistan? And what of the Iranians? Wouldn't they love to seize control of Iraq once we did their dirty work for them?
Or does all of this just teach us all over again a very valuable lesson: the United States cannot meddle in the internal affairs of each and every country - and especially not all at the same time.
Leave Israel and the Palestinians alone until they work out their problems. Instead, let's find Osama and his henchmen.
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