Commentary and analysis talk shows shouldn’t necessarily be held to the standards of hard news where facts are supposed to be confirmed by two or more independent sources, but during a panel discussion of Weiner’s juvenile behavior, in the course of which similarly bad behavior by Elliot Spitzer, Bill Clinton, Tiger Woods and others was brought into play, the host (a woman I respect) signed off by noting that the philanderers and adulterers named were all men.
By no means is bad behavior be excused, but the obvious inference to be drawn from the host’s statement – that women are faithful and men aren’t – was at best a value judgment wholly unsupported by facts and as such of no value in advancing progress toward gender equality. Indeed, unsupported statements easily become cannon fodder for conservative reactionaries.
There have been numerous reputable studies on the subject of infidelity beginning with the Kinsey Reports of 1948 (men) and 1953 (women). Though primitive and highly flawed by modern research standards, the Kinsey Reports basic findings remain intact: men and women both wander from the nuptial bed in statistically significant numbers. The reasons vary and men do indeed stray more often than women, but the percentages are similar and women are catching up fast.
There are also wide discrepancies in how many individuals stray, but according to serious researchers it is in no case is it more than 25% and some studies maintain that a truer figure is around 6%. Part of the difficulty faced by researchers is that by the very nature of the questions being asked it must be assumed that some of the subjects are lying. There is no professional agreement on how much lying is involved or how to factor lying into statistical results. (Psychology Today has an interesting article on the subject posted here and some relevant statistics from the Journal of Marital and Family Therapy can be found here.)
As these words are written, Secretary of State John Kerry has announced agreement with Israel and the Ramallah government to restart peace talks, a Foreign Ministerial-level meeting is to be held shortly,
Ramallah continues both its condemnation of “Zionist atrocities” and reiterates its willingness to conduct negotiations on the basis of pre-1967 borders, Israel has said a return to pre-1967 borders – which would leave only 9.3 miles from the Mediterranean to hostile Arab territory – is out of the question but it will release 104 prisoners as a token of good faith.
Mahmoud Abbas, who in the past has said “We want the Israelis to leave. They want to leave – so let us let them leave” said on Monday in a briefing to mostly Egyptian journalists quoted by Reuters, less than a day after Kerry’s announcement, “In a final resolution, we would not see the presence of a single Israeli – civilian or soldier – on our lands.”
Hamas has reiterated its refusal to negotiate anything at all with Israel under any circumstances whatsoever. Hamas may be the only honest player on the field.
Some things never change; if the talks do, in fact, take place they will fail as always. As Israel’s Foreign Minister Abba Eban said at the Geneva Peace Conference with Arab countries (December 1973), “[t]he Arabs never miss an opportunity to miss an opportunity.” However, Eban’s aphorism missed the fact, incomprehensible to reasonable minds, that these “failures” have been a deliberate policy from the start.
Arab leaders in the West Bank and Gaza don’t want their own state, and never have except as a tactical feint to an overarching objective. What they do want is the obliteration of Jews and Israel at any cost and under any pretext.
As PLO executive committee member Zahir Muhsein said in a March 31, 1977 interview with the Dutch newspaper Trouw: “The Palestinian people does not exist. The creation of a Palestinian state is only a means for continuing our struggle against the state of Israel for our Arab unity. In reality today there is no difference between Jordanians, Palestinians, Syrians and Lebanese. Only for political and tactical reasons do we speak today about the existence of a Palestinian people, since Arab national interests demand that we posit the existence of a distinct “Palestinian people” to oppose Zionism.
Herewith, the Escher-Aiken Roadmap to Peace in the Middle East, a simple plan named for the late Senator George Aiken (R-VT) who, during the turmoil over US involvement in Southeast Asia, said “the best policy is to declare victory and get out”, which, of course, is what finally happened, and the Dutch graphic artist M. C. Escher, renowned for drawing physical objects that couldn’t possibly exist.
The four points of the Escher-Aiken Roadmap:
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The principle explaining why a stopped clock is right twice daily explains why I sometimes agree with Kentucky’s new, wet behind the ears, Senator Rand Paul. His inner mechanism isn’t processing information but since he keeps talking it shouldn’t be a surprise that an occasional thought issues forth. Almost every time he opens his mouth, however, Rand Paul demeans himself, denigrates the Senate, and insults thinking people everywhere no matter their social or political stripe.One Man’s Opinion
I plead guilty to being a liberal progressive. I haven’t changed much since the 60’s and 70’s when my hair was below my shoulders, I marched against the war in southeast Asia, and smoked pot. Even then I still listened to what reputable conservatives had to say. Sometimes I learned something. (I still read National Review, but try to do so when nobody is looking.) Rand Paul could take a hint..
Back then, one of my heroes was the conservatives’ conservative, William F. Buckley, (who once unraveled a guest with the truly Churchillian put-down “I won’t insult your intelligence by suggesting you actually believe what you just said.”) Buckley did his homework, knew what he was talking about, and put it in terms people understood. Limbaugh and his fellow travelers don’t come near the Buckley gold standard; George Will, whom I also enjoy regularly, has flashes of Buckley in him but can also be overly strident. Besides, he’d rather be Commissioner of Major League Baseball.
Unlike our very junior senator and his adoring Fox News dweebs, Buckley was comfortable with guests to his political left on “Firing Line“, nor were they reluctant to come on the show; they knew they would be treated with respect. You might not agree with Buckley, but you could follow his reasoning. Rand Paul fails the follow-the-reasoning test in glorious fashion; one would suspect he’s proud of it.