The Biden Scandal Worsens

The situation regarding the financial scandal of Hunter Biden, son of VP Joe Biden, has taken a new serious turn just before the Nov 3 election. The respected independent investigative journalist and author Peter Schweizer has published articles that expose Hunter Biden’s financial improprieties during his trips on Air Force Two with his father, when he was the VP, in Ukraine, Kazakhstan, Russia and China.

Apparently, the statement made vehemently by Joe Biden, that he never discussed any of these financial matters with his son Hunter (or his two brothers, who also benefited financially during his term with Obama), which on face seems unlikely, triggered a former partner of Hunter Biden in these financial deals to come forward and say that Joe, the current Democratic candidate, is lying. That he was not only aware of these deals by Hunter, but that he facilitated them, and was deeply involved, not only in discussing the deals on Air Force Two, but in documented meetings that occurred in the US after the trips.

There are three named sources for these claims, one of whom, is under indictment for involvement in these schemes. One of them, Tony Bobulinski, has held a public press conference and provided a laptop containing exchanges of e-mails with Hunter Biden in which he implicates his father. This laptop is now in the hands of the FBI and is under investigation (although this has been delayed, perhaps for obvious reasons). Deals were made in each of these countries that resulted in millions of dollars going to the company Rosemont Seneca run by Hunter Biden. Note that he has no experience or expertise in the areas for which he was paid enormous sums, and these deals only occurred during the period in which his father was VP and he travelled with his father at US Government expense.

One of the shady deals in which Hunter Biden was implicated was the sale of a Michigan Company Henniges Inc. that specializes in dual-use technology to a Chinese company CEFC through a dummy Caribbean company (see Apparently the Chinese agreed to pay up to b$1.5 to Hunter Biden’s company for such deals, that were secretly carried out through a third party, and which required US Government approval, that was given by the Obama-Biden Administration! This deal contravenes US export security law to a foreign State!

By the way, don’t expect to see the details of this scandal in your usual media (paper or TV) since the liberal press is already not reporting these stories and in fact covering them up. Obviously this is a biased Democratic-liberal attempt to protect the chances of Biden to win the Presidency. And also btw, I do not claim that Pres. Trump has not been involved in shady deals. As far as I am concerned the election is a choice between the lesser of two evils.

Erekat’s Choice

PLO Secretary General Saeb Erakat became infected with Covid-19 and because he is a very vulnerable person, due to his age and having had a lung replaced 3 years ago, he opted to go to the best hospital within reach, namely the Hadassah Medical Center at Ein Kerem, Jerusalem, in Israel. He was sure that although he is a self-declared enemy of the Jewish State he would receive the best treatment there without fear.

But, there is something terribly troubling about his choice, are there no hospitals in the Palestine Authority that he could go to, or even in other Arab countries as close as Israel? The answer is, not only that there are no such hospitals, but that he might fear for his life in any one of them. In Hadassah he will not only receive the best medical treatment but he can be sure of unbiased treatment, in a Hospital that is staffed both by Jews and Arabs.

The question must be asked, why are there no competent hospitals in the PA to treat the Secty. Gen. of the PLO? The answer is that although the Palestinians, the darlings of the left, have received billions of dollars in donations and aid, much of it has been stolen by the leadership. Yasir Arafat, who went to France for treatment when he was dying, had bank accounts amounting to ca. 1 billion dollars. Most of that went to his widow Suha, who lives in luxury in Paris, while her people live a hard life in camps scattered in the West Bank, Jordan, Syria and Lebanon. It is estimated that the Palestinians have received four times as much money as Europe received after WWII, and 3-5 times as much as any other so-called “refugee” group in the world. Yet, they lack even the basic requirements for a state or for the medical treatment of its people. There are no competent hospitals in Ramallah, Hebron, Nablus or any city in the PA.

By contrast, the Jews in British Mandatory Palestine founded the Hadassah Medical Center on Mt. Scopus in 1934 and when that was cut-off by Arab attackers (they were not called Palestinians then) the Jews built a replacement in 1947 in Ein Kerem west of Jerusalem. The Jews also organized the elements of a nascent State prior to Independence in 1948, although they had practically nothing and were being attacked on all sides by 5 Arab armies (Egypt, Jordan, Syria, Iraq and Lebanon).

It was recently reported that the normalization agreement of Israel with Bahrein was preceded ten years before by a Princess of the Bahreini Royal family likewise receiving treatment at Hadassah and after she survived she spent a month in Israel recuperating, during which, with other members of the Bahreini Royal family, they toured Israel, and were very well received. That is how peace is built, by the building of trust. Too bad that the PLO would not be prepared to normalize relations with Israel, even if Erakat survives. But, if he doesn’t you can be sure there will be those who will blame Israel, even though Erakat was prepared to put his life in their hands.

Islamist Terror

Two incidents have exemplified the true horror and primitive nature of Islamism, the political fundamentalist version of Islam.

In France, the teacher Samuel Paty, who used the cartoons of Mohammed published in Charlie Hebdo in a civics lesson, was beheaded in the street in broad daylight by an 18 yr old Chechen immigrant, who was shot dead near the scene. According to reports the father of a pupil in the school is a member of a pro-Hamas group and was behind the murder. He and 5 others have been arrested and the group has been banned.

In Jordan, to take revenge on a man who they had a grudge against, an Islamist group kidnapped his 16 yr old son, cut off both his hands and tried to blind him. The Jordanian authorities have arrested the assailants.

Such actions are beyond the understanding and experience of modern Western people. Although not so long ago the European peoples, following the German Nazi lead, tortured and murdered millions of innocent civilians, mostly Jews. However, today such terrible actions do not reflect well on Islam.

Political Divorce?

After three unsuccessful elections last year, Israeli politicians finally agreed to form a coalition government. In order to do that centrist Blue and White Party leader Benny Gantz agreed to join a Netanyahu/Likud led government. In doing so he split the B&W Party and the liberal wing led by Yair Lapid of Yesh Atid went into the opposition. That meant that Gantz no longer controlled a party of roughly the same size as Likud, but one half the size. Ever since then there have been rumors that PM Netanyahu wants to have a new election that he is sure to win.

But, wait, the plot thickens. Many Israelis are fed up with Netanyahu, even though he has delivered peace with the UAE and Bahrain, and even though he has a good relationship with Pres. Trump. He is under indictment for three cases of corruption, and his trial is due to begin soon. No-one wants a PM who could be sent to jail. Accordingly the polls have shown a shift, not from Netanyahu to Gantz, but from Netanyahu to Naftali Bennett of the Yamina (Right) Party. In other words the electorate is moving rightwards again.

The Budget should have been ready for approval by the Knesset, but Netanyahu has delayed. He wants a single year budget, he says because of the covid-19 crisis. But, Gantz believes he wants a one-year budget and not a two-year one, so he can declare an election and prevent Gantz, who is alternate PM, ever becoming actual PM as required by the coalition agreement.

So Netanyahu appeared to be in favor of a new election, but now may not be so keen, but Bennett, who was against an election soon, has now changed his tune and is now in favor of an election. Such is politics.

Normalization dawns

The agreement signed a few weeks ago at the White House between Israeli PM Netanyahu, the FM of the UAE bin Zayed and Pres. Trump has now been ratified by the Israeli Cabinet and Knesset and the UAE ruler and his Parliament. Not only is it now law in each country, but there are concrete results being seen. The first ship loaded with goods from the UAE arrived in Haifa and the first commercial flight from there touched down at Ben Gurion Airport.

Interestingly, the only MKs who voted against the deal in the Israeli Knesset were the 15 members of the Arab Joint List. They find themselves voting against normalization and peace, because although they are Israeli citizens, they toe the political line set by the Palestinian leadership of the PA. Talk about dual loyalty!

Also, the draft deal between Israel and Bahrain was signed by both sides in Manama, the capital of Bahrain. There is talk of Sudan and Oman being in line to join the trend, and there is no doubt that the Saudis support the deal, and they have been very critical of the Palestinian leadership for it opposition and calling the countries that normalize with Israel “traitors” to the Arab cause.

They are now saying things about Palestinian intransigence and failure that we in Israel have been saying for the last 40 years. Israelis expected the Palestinians to truly make peace after their colossal defeat of the Six-Day war of 1967, and then again after the 1973 Yom Kippur War when Egypt made peace with Israel in 1979. But, it never came and they have kept to the three noes of the Khartoum Arab conference of 1967, “No peace, no recognition and no dealing with Israel.” Thank goodness things have finally changed, with Arabs in other countries recognizing the fact that the Palestinians are preventing any progress towards peace and normalization. Unfortunately, the EU and its constituent countries have not changed their stance and neither have the leftist elements in the UK and USA.

Hunter Biden

There is definitely a case to be made of corruption in office against current Democratic nominee former VP Joe Biden over his dealings with his son, Hunter Biden. There is no doubt that Hunter Biden accompanied his father on trips to Ukraine while he was VP and became a Board Member of the company Burisma Holdings, a major Ukrainian gas producer from 2014-9, that was run by a notoriously corrupt politician and oligarch Mykola Zlochevsky.

Biden was paid $50,000 per month, although he had no expertise in the area of gas production. He was apparently paid over m$1 for his “work” which obviously included getting influence through his father. VP Joe Biden played a role in supposedly opposing Ukrainian corruption, and was openly responsible for the firing of the anti-corruption prosecutor Viktor Shokin. This was obviously a potential conflict of interest.

A similar relationship occurred in relation to China. Hunter Biden accompanied his father on official trips to China, and returned with reportedly m$5. There were similar accusations in relation to the VP and his son in Russia. This kind of massive overt corruption by a Democratic VP was never officially investigated by Congress, although the false accusation that Pres. Trump ‘s election campaign in 2016 had “colluded” with Russia, was investigated to the tune of some m$50 by a Democratic Congress. The Mueller Report found no evidence of such collusion, but Biden got away scot free, and is running for President.

Would you vote for anyone who had these kinds of corrupt relationships with his son? Even if they only represent an appearance of conflict of interest, it should exclude anyone from holding public office, let alone the Presidency. This is without the obvious problem of Joe Biden’s apparent mental condition. Then there are his political connections, to Obama and the Clintons, who are powerful figures behind his candidacy. Not to mention the leftist policies that he will follow, taxing the rich to give money to the poor and trying to improve relations with our enemies, particularly Iran.

In most elections there is of course limited choice, just two main candidates. I usually find that I am voting against someone who I find unacceptable and for someone who is unpalatable. In the current real situation there is no doubt in my mind that Biden is the former and Trump the latter.

Bradycardia and Tachycardia

Bradycardia is a condition in which the heart pulse is low. The standard resting pulse rate is 72 beats per min (bpm) and the usual cutoff for bradycardia is 60 bpm. I have bradycardia and my resting pulse rate is 40 bpm, which is quite rare. I have been seeing a cardiologist and taking tests. He concluded that there is nothing wrong with my heart and as long as I show no symptoms, such as dizziness, breathlessness or fainting, I can manage without a pace-maker.

But the real question is why do I have such a low pulse? This low pulse is what professional athletes train very hard to achieve, and I am certainly no athlete. Ironically the only answer I can give is that I used to have the opposite condition, namely very fast pulse rate, called tachycardia. When I was a teenager I used to have palpitations when a sudden movement, such as bending down to pick something up, or running, could trigger my heart to speed up to a rate of 170 bpm, which is incredibly fast, when normal running produces a rate of ca 120 bpm. These attacks of palpitations could last 5 min or sometimes 3-5 hours. After them I was exhausted, like having run a marathon while sitting down. Maybe that’s why my pulse is so low now.

They told me this condition would go away as I got older, and indeed it did. Until surprisingly when I moved to Israel it came back. The only reason I can come up with is the heat here. I had an ablation procedure done on a nerve node in my heart, that completely stopped these palpitations. My main worry is that my pulse slows to around 25 bpm when I am asleep, and I was concerned that I might simply not wake up. But, the cardiologist assured me that that very rarely happens, what is more likely is that I might faint during the day, and I have the cardiologist’s private number, just in case.

Denying Reality

“I believe the earth is flat,” “I don’t believe the Second World War ever occurred, it was all made up,” “I don’t believe they ever sent men to the moon, it was all done in a studio,” I don’t believe there ever was a Holocaust of Jews in WWII,” “I don’t believe 6 million Jews were killed in WWII, at most there were only a few thousand.”

These kind of denials of reality make the normal rational person gasp with disbelief and perhaps even laugh. Except some of them are too serious. What would a veteran who fought through WWII and saw his comrades die think of a denial that it ever happened, and what would a survivor of the German concentration camps (there were thousands of them) who saw his or her family murdered think of a Holocaust denier. The fact that 6 million Jews were murdered during WWII is almost unbelievable, yet it happened, just as the killing of some 26 million Soviets, 6 million Poles (including Jews), 20 million Chinese, 500,000 Brits, 420,000 Americans, 7.4 million Germans and 6 million Japanese (estimates from Wikipedia).

The killing frenzy that occurred during WWII was total war, in which civilians were deliberately targeted by both sides, although initially by Nazi Germany. For example, the bombing of Rotterdam, Guernica and London, that during the blitz was bombed every day for a year (1940-41) by the Luftwaffe, killing over 40,000 and causing enormous damage. Unbelievable, yet it happened, I remember it and my father was a Civil Defense Warden during the blitz. In order to defeat the Axis powers the Allies carpet bombed their cities, Hamburg, Dresden, Tokyo and dropped two Atomic bombs on Japan.

These thoughts were prompted by the news that (finally) Facebook are going to remove thousands of pages that deny the Holocaust. Of course, no one cares about those deranged people who still think the earth is flat or that the moon landing never occurred. But, the deniers of the Holocaust are usually bigoted anti-Semites for whom it is part of a belief system that includes the desire to kill all the remaining Jews in the world, even as they deny ironically that 55% of European Jews were killed during the Holocaust, the highest percentage of any group.

The French Open

I watched most of the French Open tennis matches from Rolland Garros last week on Eurosport. This year because of Covid-19 it was held in October rather than May and with very small audiences. Usually as the tournament goes on, the standard of tennis gets higher. But, although the quarter- and semi-finals were generally great, the final itself was a bit of a disappointment.

Numbers one and two, Djokovic and Nadal were in the final, but although many commentators picked Djokovic to win, he started playing very cautiously, while Nadal came out swinging and played some of his best tennis, he was fired up and determined. Nadal won the first set 6-0, in which he made only 2 unforced errors while Djokovic made 15, and in the second set the same pattern continued, with Djokovic making 12 and Nadal 5 unforced errors and he won that 6-2. In the third set Djokovic started really playing and got to 3-3, but then Nadal raised his game and eventually won it 7-5. So Nadal won his 13th Roland Garros cup without losing a set in the whole tournament and equaled Roger Federer’s total of 20 Grand Slam victories.

The best matches in the tournament in my opinion (not having seen them all) were the quarter-final between Schwartzman and Thiem, and the subsequent semi-final between Schwartzman and Nadal. Schwartzman is an Argentinian Jew and stands only 5 ft 7 in, very short for a tennis player. He was seeded no. 12 and was not expected to get that far in the tournament. He was certainly the underdog to Thiem from Austria who was seeded no. 3. Thiem was the heavy favorite, but Schwartzman with a remarkable ability at defense managed to return so many of Thiem’s aggressive shots that he wore Thiem down, In the end Thiem ran out of steam and Schwartzman won 7-6 5-7 6-7 7-6 6-2 in the best performance of his career.

This took Schwartzman into the semi-final against Nadal, who won 6-3 6-3 7-6 in a well-fought match. Nadal out-played Schwartzman, as he did Djokovic in the final. The semi-final between Djokovic and no. 5 seed Tsitsipas from Greece was also an excellent 5-setter, 6-3 6-2 5-7 4-6 6-1. On the women’s side an 18-year old newcomer Iga Swiatek from Poland played extraordinary tennis, and without seeming the least bit nervous won the championship. It was good to see tennis being played at such a high level.

A Political Agenda

I certainly do not expect everyone to agree with my views. They are a mixture of very liberal and very conservative. For example, I am totally against racism of any form, including antisemitism, but I am also strongly against socialism in any form, it simply does not work economically. The usual refuge of people who believe in equality and social progress is socialism, but it need not be, liberalism or neo-conservatism are just as socially conscious. Experience proves that socialist systems end in one-party rule, corruption and dictatorships.

Here are some examples, the actress Lynn Redgrave, who was a loudly self- proclaimed far-left socialist, went campaigning for a leftist party in England, but she was chased out of working class neighborhoods by real workers who considered her a rich, trendy exhibitionist. In the Soviet Union, the worker’s state, there was a strong class distinction between the nomenclatura, the high-members of the Party and the rest of the people. If anyone complained about this they were shot. Venezuela had a revolution led by Pres. Hugo Chavez who instituting a socialist system, in which the poor were given preference, but it bankrupted the country and led to the collapse of the oil industry.

In sport, business and life people compete, that is natural. If two people are playing tennis for example, if they are communists they give their winnings to the Party, if they are socialists they share the prize money, but if they are capitalists they keep what they have won, and pay taxes on it. That is the way things work in the real world, all else is fantasy.

As an Israeli and a Zionist I am a nationalist, and I share a national conservative view like that of Pres. Viktor Orban of Hungary, and many others, each in their own national States. I oppose all imperialisms that seek to take over other people’s states in the name of some higher good, be it socialism, communism, fascism Christianity, Islam or whatever. Each to his own. But, in the modern world there should be no hatred of the other, each nation State should be able to get along and communicate and work with each other for mutual good. No more wars and certainly no more conquests.