Tuesday, May 30, 2006

The Dreadful Senate Immigration Bill

There is a very nice analysis of the Senate's monstrocity that is being advanced as a comprehensive immigration bill that is sadly being promoted with help from the ever more disappointing Bush White House. All in all the good guys have listed some 22 deficiencies in the legislation. Here are a couple.

The alien and their families who file applications for amnesty “shall not be detained, determined inadmissible, deported, or removed until their applications are finally adjudicated, unless they commit a future act that renders them ineligible with amnesty.” With tens of millions of applications, this amnesty, this provision essentially guarantees an illegal alien years of protection in the United States, even if they do not qualify for the amnesty."

According to
Ed Meese, the current Senate bill would actually prevent police officers from arresting anyone based on the fact that they're in this country illegally.

Read them all here.

Monday, May 29, 2006

Amen

From Mark Steyn. Read it all here.

Last week, something very unusual happened: There was a story out of Washington that didn't reflect badly on the Republican Party's competence or self-discipline. It was about a Democrat! Fellow from Louisiana called William Jefferson. Corruption investigation. Don't worry, if you're too distracted by "American Idol," it's not hard to follow, you just need to know one little visual image: According to an FBI affidavit, this Democrat congressman was caught on video taking a hundred-grand bribe from a government informer and then storing it in his freezer. That's what the scandal's supposed to be: Democrat Icecapades of 2006. All the GOP had to do was keep out of the way and let Jefferson and his Dem defenders skate across the thin ice like Tonya Harding with her lumpy tights full of used twenties. It was a perfect story: No Republicans need be harmed in the making of this scandal.

So what does Hastert do? He and the House Republican leadership intervene in the case on behalf of the Democrat: They're strenuously objecting to the FBI having the appalling lese majeste to go to court, obtain a warrant and search Jefferson's office. In constitutional terms, they claim it violates the separation of powers. In political terms, they're climbing right into the Frigidaire with Jefferson's crisp chilled billfold. What does the Republican base's despair with Congress boil down to? That the Gingrich revolutionaries have turned into the pampered potentates of pre-1994 Washington, a remote insulated arrogant elite interested only in protecting the privileges of the permanent governing class. But how best to confirm it? Hmm. What about if we send the Republican speaker out to argue that congressmen are beyond the jurisdiction of U.S. law-enforcement agencies?

After all, the GOP's 1994 Contract with America stated pretty plainly that henceforth "all laws that apply to the rest of the country also apply equally to the Congress."

Sunday, May 28, 2006

CBS strikes again

The media would love to help the Democrats with their "culture of corruption" campaign theme; unfortunately, the facts aren't cooperating very well. Which didn't stop CBS News from doing its best, in this story about the Justice Department standing firm on the documents seized from Congressman William Jefferson:

Top law enforcement officials at the Justice Department and the FBI indicated to their counterparts at the White House that they could not, and were unwilling to, return documents to the Louisiana Republican which were seized as part of a bribery investigation.

Jefferson is, of course, a Democrat. It's common for news stories about scandals involving Congressional Democrats to omit any reference to their party, but this really is going too far!

Credit to Powerline.

Thursday, May 25, 2006

Watch what the Senate does

Some people are worried that amnesty will give illegal aliens the same rights that American citizens have. In reality, it will give the illegals more rights than the average American citizen.

Since most of the illegals are Mexican, that makes them a minority. Under affirmative action, combined with amnesty, they would have preferences in jobs and other benefits.

Those who set up their own businesses would be entitled to preferences in getting government contracts. Their children would be able to get into college ahead of the children of American citizens with better academic qualifications.

Illegals who graduate from a high school in California can already attend the
University of California, paying lower tuition that an American citizen from neighboring Oregon.

Under the supposedly "tough" immigration bill in the U.S. Senate, illegals don't have to pay all the back taxes they owe. An American citizen gets no such break from the government and can end up in federal prison, like Al Capone.

If an American citizen gets stopped by the police for a traffic violation and the cops discover that he is wanted for some other violation of the law, they can arrest him for whatever else he has done.

But if an illegal alien gets stopped for going through a red light and the police discovers that he is in the country illegally, in many communities the cop is forbidden to arrest him for that -- or even to report him to the feds.

If an American citizen forges a Social Security card in order to get a job, he can be arrested. Under a provision recently passed by the Senate, illegal aliens who forged Social Security cards not only get a pass, they get to collect Social Security benefits.

If you think this is a particularly astute take on the idiocy coming from the Senate, you won't be surprised to learn it comes from Dr. Sowell.

Read the whole thing here.


Misplaced Outrage

I just don't see Americans having much sympathy for the boo-hooing we are hearing from Congress about the FBI having the audacity to actually go to a judge and get a warrant to obtain information requested in a legal subpoena 8 months ago from a crook who just happened to be elected from the most corrupt city in the U.S----New Orleans. These same congressmen would be much better off supporting our investigative processes and stating that if one of their colleagues broke the law, or even gave the appearance of breaking the law such as being taped taking a bribe, they would support whatever discovery process is necessary. Once again, congress managed to place itself in a position completely opposite the American citizenry. To make it worse, the outrage they are expressing is based on a reading of the Constitution which can't be supported by anyone with two brain cells.

Wednesday, May 24, 2006

Can't make this up

BATON ROUGE, La. (AP) -- A mock evacuation that was supposed to be part of a two-day statewide hurricane preparedness drill was canceled after a misunderstanding about who had jurisdiction over a Federal Emergency Management Agency trailer park.

The two-day statewide drill that began Tuesday was aimed at avoiding the chaos that followed last year's deadly Hurricane Katrina, which hit the state Aug. 29 and killed more than 1,000 people. The drill is expected to continue Wednesday.

The mock evacuation was to take place in the state's largest FEMA trailer park in Baker, 10 miles from Baton Rouge. The park has more than 500 camper-style travel trailers that house about 1,500 people displaced by Katrina.

Officials are concerned about the safety of travel trailer residents in rough winds. There are more than 200,000 people statewide living in unfinished homes and mobile trailers.

But the Baker evacuation was canceled because of an apparent communication breakdown, said JoAnne Moreau, director of the East Baton Rouge Parish Office of Homeland Security and Emergency Preparedness.

Tuesday, May 23, 2006

Just wondering

The federal government currently requires some counties to print ballots and other election materials in foreign languages -- a mandate which is, to say the least, a little curious. If someone must learn English to be a citizen, and only citizens can vote, why is there a need for bilingual ballots? The senate refused to address this matter in the legislation currently being crafted to gloss over the immigration problems we face.

Monday, May 22, 2006

It just isn't fair

The poor democrats were all primed to run this Fall on a charge that the Republicans represent a culture of corruption as represented by Delay and Cunningham. Now they have to deal with the fact that the FBI supposedly has a tape showing a democrat (William Jefferson,from New Orleans) taking $100,000 in $100 bills. This is on top of a resignation of the ranking member of the Ethics committee (Hallorhan of West Virginia) because he is under an ethics investigation by that same committee.
I guess they are going to be forced to fall back on the "Bush Lied" mantra.

Friday, May 19, 2006

A media quiz

Here are the first two paragraphs from a story this morning that I ran across. Now, after reading these words, guess what the political party affiliation of the ex-senator is. Here is a hint. If he had been a Republican, you would not have to guess.

The US Senate is looking into allegations that a former US senator urged Baghdad to give a US company lucrative contracts under the much-criticised United Nations oil-for-food programme.

This is the first time that a leading US lawmaker has been linked to the controversial UN programme, whose shortcomings have been an important element of the Bush administration's critique of the UN.

Thursday, May 18, 2006

The U.S. Senate is not cutting it

Earlier today, the Senate voted 50-49 to kill an amendment to the immigration bill offered by Senator John Ensign of Nevada that would have barred illegals from getting Social Security credit for the time when they were working illegally.

Ted Kennedy argued that those who become legal permanent residents shouldn't be penalized because they were here illegally:

"Their money sits in the Social Security Administration waiting to be matched with an eligible beneficiary, and once those workers establish the eligibility, how in all fairness can we deny them the credit for their past contributions?" asked Sen. Edward Kennedy, a Massachusetts Democrat.

But, as Senator Ensign pointed out, illegals often misappropriate other people's social security numbers, which has caused nightmarish problems for many citizens whose Social Security work records have been confused or even deleted entirely.

Wednesday, May 17, 2006

They may all come across the border

MEXICO CITY (AP) -- Police enraged by the kidnapping of six officers club unarmed detainees. A bloody battle between steelworkers and police leaves two miners dead. Drug lords post the heads of decapitated police on a fence to show who's in charge.

Less than two months before Mexicans elect their next president, many fear the country is teetering on the edge of chaos - a perception that could hurt the ruling National Action Party's chances of keeping the presidency and benefit Mexico's once-powerful Institutional Revolutionary Party, whose candidate has been trailing badly.

Some blame President Vicente Fox for a weak government. Others say rivals are instigating the violence to create that impression, hoping to hurt National Action candidate Felipe Calderon, who has a slight lead in recent polls.

A poll published Friday in Excelsior newspaper found 50 percent of respondents feared the government was on the brink of losing control. The polling company Parametria conducted face-to-face interviews at 1,000 homes across Mexico. The poll had a margin of error of 3 percentage points.

The conflicts are "a warning sign," said Yamel Nares, Parametria's research director.

Security is the top concern for Mexicans, and Fox has struggled to reform Mexico's notoriously corrupt police. Meanwhile, drug-related bloodshed has accelerated, with some cities seeing killings almost daily.

In April, suspected drug lords posted the heads of two police officers on a wall outside a government building where four drug traffickers died in a Jan. 27 shootout with officers in the Pacific resort of Acapulco.

A sign nearby read: "So that you learn to respect."

Fun with numbers

The New York Stock Exchange was founded on this date in 1792. That is 214 years ago. Today the DJIA was down 214. Enough of these anniversaries.

Long Term Worries

With all the attention being given to President Bush's too little too late plan for assimilating millions of Hispanic law breakers, there is an aspect to it that is not being given much thought. After Bush won reelection he spent an entire year trying to get the nation and our congress interested in doing something about Social Security and Medicare and the obvious demographic fact that we are, as a nation, growing older and our government has made very specific promises to those over 65. He failed in this effort, but we are faced with the inevitable clash that is going to come when we ask our young workers to support more and more elderly with higher and higher taxes. Now consider how much worse this is going to be when a larger and larger percentage of the workforce is low-paying, poorly educated, and essentially untaxed. We have constructed our tax code so that low incomes are largely exempt from income tax. Where is the money going to come from to honor our commitments to the elderly. It is going to be fun watching our gutless politicians deciding whether to screw the poor or the old folks.

Tuesday, May 16, 2006

Legislation to Support

Rob Andrews (D, NJ) and Mark Kirk (R,Ill) are two congressmen with a bill we need to consider seriously. This bill calls for a quarantine of gasoline imports to Iran. The Iranians have a lot of oil, but little refining capacity. They must import 40% of their gasoline from a Netherlands company which has storage and blending facilities in the UAE. The blockade of this gasoline making its way to Iran would seriously destabilize Iran and also be considered an act of war. If this seems to be a greater evil than letting Iran develop nuclear weapons in violation of an international treaty, the legislation may not appeal to you. It seems to me to be a fairly intelligent approach.

Monday, May 15, 2006

A letter I wish I had written

This supposedly came from a paper in North Carolina, but is now anonymous. I got it from Neal Boortz's blog. Very good letter.

To the Editor:

Recently large demonstrations have taken place across the country protesting the fact that Congress is finally addressing the issue of illegal immigration. Certain people are angry that the U.S. might protect its own borders, might make it harder to sneak into this country and once here, to stay indefinitely.

Let me see if I correctly understand the thinking behind these protests.

Let's say I break into your house. Let's say that when you discover me in your home you insist that I leave. But, I say, "I've made all the beds and washed the dishes and did the laundry and swept the floors: I've done all the things you don't like to do. I'm hard-working and honest ... except for that part where I broke into your house.

"According to the protestors, not only must you let me stay, you must add me to your family's insurance plan and provide other benefits for me and my family. My husband will do your yard work because he too is hard-working and honest ... except for that breaking in thing.

"If you try to call the police or force me out I will call my friends who will picket your house carrying signs that proclaim my right to be here. It's only fair, after all, because you have a nicer house than I do, and I'm just trying to better myself. I'm hard-working and honest .... ummmmm .... except for that breaking in thing.

"Besides. What a deal it is for me! I live in your house, contributing only a fraction of the cost of my keep, and there is nothing you can do about it without being accused of selfishness, prejudice and being anti-housebreaker!

Did I miss anything? Does this sound reasonable to you? If it does, grab a sign and go picket something. If this sounds insane to you call your senators and enlighten them because they are stumbling in the darkness right now and really need your help.

(Name? _______________)

Why the press hates the data mining of phone records

I doubt that this is true, but I wish it were. Treason via press leaks needs to be stopped, but this administration doesn't have the cajones to actually do what it takes to stop them.

A senior federal law enforcement official tells ABC News the government is tracking the phone numbers we call in an effort to root out confidential sources.

"It's time for you to get some new cell phones, quick," the source told us in an in-person conversation.

ABC News does not know how the government determined who we are calling, or whether our phone records were provided to the government as part of the recently-disclosed NSA collection of domestic phone calls.

Other sources have told us that phone calls and contacts by reporters for ABC News, along with the New York Times and the Washington Post, are being examined as part of a widespread CIA leak investigation.

More on climate changes

From the Washington Post yesterday:

New evidence from Canada and Alaska suggests that climate change, rather than human hunting, may have played the key role in a great die-off of mammoths, horses and other large North American mammals that began more than 10,000 years ago.

What was releasing all those terrible greenhouse gasses back then, I wonder?


Sunday, May 14, 2006

Rap music deadly

I know that rap music is deadly to me and I will do almost anything to avoid it, but it seems that it is also a fairly risky business. On the periphery of my universe of interesting things lies the fact that a number of blacks in the rap music field wind up shot to death. Here is what a liberal editorial board editor from the Atlanta Journal and Constitution (Cynthia Tucker) has to say on the subject. It is fair to mention that this could well be the only thing she and I will ever agree on.

In the last 12 months alone, several young black men linked to rap music have been killed in disputes stoked by a code of conduct that finds respect in retribution and mistakes slaughter for strength.

The deaths have received at least cursory news coverage, a tribute to the celebrity status of most of the subjects. But there have been no sharp denunciations of the violence from the black institutions that matter, no groundswell of anger or disgust on black college campuses, no marches or demonstrations led by self-appointed black leaders.

Had just one of these young men been killed by white police officers, the machinery of black protest would have revved into high gear, with press conferences, marches and demands for justice. The relatively muted response to the string of dead rappers — the suspected perpetrators are mostly other young black men — suggests that a dead black man matters most when his murder can be used as political propaganda.

What is your carbon footprint?

Most people don't care enough to look at this situation rationally, much less mathematically, but there are those who will help you with the calculation of just what is required to save the planet from a 1 degree rise in temperature over the next century. First, you must buy the argument that it is greenhouse gasses (CO2) that are responsible and if you are going to reverse this warming trend which man brought upon the earth and portends doom for us all, we must reduce the amount of carbon we release into the atmosphere. Here is an exerpt of the results of the calculations which have been done. Read the whole thing here.

assuming all estimated warming since 1880 to be attributable to atmospheric carbon accumulation from human activity, using the land surface warming rate to avoid ocean heat take-up 'masking' the global rate and further assuming a linear temperature response, it would take 70 years of zero emissions to 'save' 1 °C. Using the more realistic logarithmic response and ridiculously high sensitivity blows that out to about 150 years while the realistic response to the most likely sensitivity suggests something over 450 years of zero emission are required -- all for just 1 °C!

Mark Steyn nails it again

The idiocy surrounding the NSA data mining activities is summarized wonderfully by Mark, as one expect. Here is a sample.

Sen. Pat Leahy (D-Vt.) feels differently. "Look at this headline," huffed the ranking Democrat on the Senate Judiciary Committee. "The secret collection of phone call records of tens of millions of Americans. Now, are you telling me that tens of millions of Americans are involved with al-Qaida?"

No. But next time he's flying from D.C. to Burlington, Vt., on a Friday afternoon he might look at the security line: Tens of millions of Americans are having to take their coats and shoes off! Are you telling me that tens of millions of ordinary shoe-wearing Americans are involved with al-Qaida?

Of course not. Fifteen out of 19 of the 9/11 killers were citizens of Saudi Arabia. So let's scrap the tens of millions of law-abiding phone records, and say we only want to examine the long-distance phone bills of, say, young men of Saudi origin living in the United States. Can you imagine what Leahy and Lauer would say to that? Oh, no! Racial profiling! The government's snooping on people whose only crime is "dialing while Arab."

Saturday, May 13, 2006

Morgellon's Disease

I just ran across this which seems to describe a new disease. I once did research on a new infectious disease and have long been fascinated that they continue to pop up. This one is called Morgellon's disease and sounds like it will a fun study since it seems to respond partially to antibiotics. There is no indication as yet that it has a specific infectious agent, however.

Most individuals with this disease report disturbing crawling, stinging, and biting sensations, as well as non-healing skin lesions, which are associated with highly unusual structures. These structures can be described as fiber-like or filamentous, and are the most striking feature of this disease. In addition, patients report the presence of seed-like granules and black speck-like material associated with their skin.
While all of this is going on, it feels like bugs are crawling under your skin. So far more than 100 cases of Morgellons disease have been reported in South Texas.

Morgellons disease is not yet known to kill, but if you were to get it, you might wish you were dead, as the symptoms are horrible.

"These people will have like beads of sweat but it's black, black and tarry," said Ginger Savely, a nurse practioner in Austin who treats a majority of these patients.

Patients get lesions that never heal.

"Sometimes little black specks that come out of the lesions and sometimes little fibers," said Stephanie Bailey, Morgellons patient.

Read more about Morgellons here.

Thursday, May 11, 2006

Buy American

Next time someone complains about all the U.S. jobs going overseas and tries to make you think you should buy a Ford, for example, rather than a Toyota, consider this. The Ford Mustang is built with only 65% U.S. or Canadian parts. The Toyota Sienna is assembled in Indiana with 90% local components. Now you can buy the better automobile with a clearer conscience.

Tuesday, May 09, 2006

Something else to worry about

Security services the world over have been considering the problem for several years, but no one has yet come up with a solution.

"We are observing an increasing threat from such things as remote-controlled aircraft used as small flying bombs against soft targets," the head of the Canadian secret services, Michel Gauthier, said at a conference in Calgary recently.

Models with a wingspan of five metres (16 feet), capable of carrying up to 50 kilograms (110 pounds), remain undetectable by radar.

And thanks to satellite positioning systems, they can now be programmed to hit targets some distance away with just a few metres (yards) short of pinpoint accuracy.

According to Gauthier, "ultra-light aircraft, powered hang gliders or powered paragliders have also been purchased by terrorist groups to circumvent ground-based countermeasures."

Japanese company Yamaha, meanwhile, has produced 95-kilogram (209-pound) robot helicopter that is 3.6 metres (11.8 feet) long and has a 256 cc engine.

It flies close to the ground at about 20 kilometres per hour (12 miles per hour), nothing but an incredible stroke of luck could stop it if it suddenly appeared in the sky above the White House -- and it is already on the market.

Read entire article here.


Monday, May 08, 2006

One of the things I didn't need a study to learn

James Felton, a professor of finance and law at Central Michigan University, and a colleague looked at ratings for nearly 7,000 faculty members from 370 institutions in the United States and Canada, and his verdict is: the hotter and easier professors are, the more likely they’ll get rated as a good teacher.

As some one once said, education is the only product where the consumer is out to get the least for his money.

No more stuffed geese?

I read this morning that Chicago has passed some kind of law which bans the serving of foie gras. The ban takes place in 90 days. California has passed some kind of legislation that bans foie gras in 2012. Evidently the mere thought of stuffing geese with food to fatten up their livers is sufficiently repugnant to the loonies out there that laws are being passed to bar the practice. We need to keep an eye on this sort of thing. Next thing we know they might try to ban humans from stuffing themselves at these all you can eat buffets.

This seems to be a problem

From an eye doctor. Read the whole thing.


The way HMOs make money is by charging patients a yearly fee for medical care, and then trying to keep the utilization of medical care as low as possible. They do this by denying certain treatments, medications, and tests. And, they usually pay physicians what is called “discounted fee for service”, which means they only pay a percentage of the physicans charges, rather than their actual bill. What this basically means is that physicians get shafted, not just because their bills don’t get fully paid, but because this giant bureacracy, which is geared towards denying as much care as it can, is between the doctor and the patient, preventing the doctor from caring for the patient the way they believe the patient should be cared for.

Trust me, it’s very frustrating to not be able to give someone the medication you want to, or to have to fill out a bunch of paperwork to justify a CAT scan or a consultation with another doctor because the HMO doesn’t want to have to pay for these things. So, that in a nutshell is why the trend is for doctors to avoid HMOs if possible, and I’d expect that trend to continue. And, as as unfortunate result of that, patients will find it more difficult as time goes on to find physicians willing to care for them. When you add in all the physicians who are dropping out of the Medicare program, there’s a real potential for some serious doctor shortages in certain regions of the country.

Saturday, May 06, 2006

Musings

I don't really have enough time or inclination to pursue the question, but if Patrick Kennedy admitted to driving while impaired with drugs shouldn't that be just as illegal as driving while under the influence of a drug like ethanol?

The foaming at the mouth left was especially brutal when Rush Limbaugh was found to be addicted to pain killers and went into some rehab facility. I wonder if the Kennedy "problem" will be judged more kindly by the liberals.

Friday, May 05, 2006

More Kennedy problems?

All the news today is about Teddy Kennedy's boy driving his car into a barrier at 3:00am and then staggering around claiming that he had to go vote. The police then took him home after the supervisors big-footed the line officers and told them to back off. I think you can excuse the behavior of the mental midget representing Rhode Island more easily than you can the police. I wonder if the Cynthia McKinney run-in caused them to be more deferential to Teddy's baby boy? I don't know, but this is really fun to watch.

Thursday, May 04, 2006

Libertarian Perspective

I just ran across this blog which is discussing an interesting topic, i.e. why should public sex be subject to governmental sanction--or societal, for that matter. You have to read the whole thing to get the full flavor of the argument, but I now find that I am intellectually a libertarian on the subject, but would just as soon not see people coupling like dogs on the park lawn. It is just hard to rationalize laws against it.

Wednesday, May 03, 2006

Good analysis of Bush foolishness

Here is a pretty good synopsis of the idiotic Bush response to the Mexican invasion . Read it all.

I understand that President Bush has a problem dealing with this problem. There are businesses, after all, that depend on a constant stream of unskilled workers. I say constant because we already have several million illegal aliens in America -- surely enough to pick our lettuce, bus our tables, wash our cars, and put the little mints on our hotel pillows. But this is the land of opportunity, and people don’t want to remain very long at the bottom of the food chain.

So George Bush promotes a worker program that is so idiotic, Republicans wish that a Democrat had come up with it, so they’d feel better about ridiculing it. Suggesting that after working in this country for a number of years, Mexicans will simply return to their country, and take their place at the back of the immigration line is perhaps the single most stupid, most na├»ve notion I’ve ever heard. Even a four-year-old would recognize Bush's brainstorm as amnesty in sheep’s clothing.

Tuesday, May 02, 2006

Sad

I just heard on the radio that someone did a survey of 18-24 year olds and only 14% could find Afghanistan on an unmarked map. Makes you want to cry.

A must read essay by Shelby Steele

This is a sample. Read the whole thing here. Very thought provoking.

White guilt makes our Third World enemies into colored victims, people whose problems--even the tyrannies they live under--were created by the historical disruptions and injustices of the white West. We must "understand" and pity our enemy even as we fight him. And, though Islamic extremism is one of the most pernicious forms of evil opportunism that has ever existed, we have felt compelled to fight it with an almost managerial minimalism that shows us to be beyond the passions of war--and thus well dissociated from the avariciousness of the white supremacist past.

Anti-Americanism, whether in Europe or on the American left, works by the mechanism of white guilt. It stigmatizes America with all the imperialistic and racist ugliness of the white Western past so that America becomes a kind of straw man, a construct of Western sin. (The Abu Ghraib and Guantanamo prisons were the focus of such stigmatization campaigns.) Once the stigma is in place, one need only be anti-American in order to be "good," in order to have an automatic moral legitimacy and power in relation to America. (People as seemingly desperate as President Jacques Chirac and the Rev. Al Sharpton are devoted pursuers of the moral high ground to be had in anti-Americanism.) This formula is the most dependable source of power for today's international left. Virtue and power by mere anti-Americanism. And it is all the more appealing since, unlike real virtues, it requires no sacrifice or effort--only outrage at every slight echo of the imperialist past.

Monday, May 01, 2006

Where's the love?

Hamas has thus far failed to raise enough funds in the Arab and Islamic world. True, its leaders have been promised tens of millions of dollars by Iran, Libya and a few Arab countries, but the money has still not been transferred to Ramallah and the Gaza Strip. A drive by Hamas to collect donations from Arabs and Muslims has also failed because of the failure of Arab banks to cooperate.

Even if the promised money does arrive, Hamas officials note, it would hardly cover the amount required to pay March’s salaries.

In addition to the financial crisis, the Hamas cabinet is also facing a political and diplomatic boycott by most of the world. Foreign Minister Mahmoud Zahar, who has just wrapped up a tour of a number of Arab countries, including Saudi Arabia, Kuwait and Libya, is about to return home with a suitcase full of promises and little cash.


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