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Monday, March 15, 2010

Every modern nation that rose to world power did so by sheltering and nurturing its manufacturing and industrial base.




Dismantling America
Posted on March 11th, 2010 by Patrick J. Buchanan
American Conservative

Though Bush 41 and Bush 43 often disagreed, one issue did unite them both with Bill Clinton: protectionism.

Globalists all, they rejected any federal measure to protect America’s industrial base, economic independence or the wages of U.S. workers.

Together they rammed through NAFTA, brought America under the World Trade Organization, abolished tariffs and granted Chinese-made goods unrestricted access to the immense U.S. market.

Charles McMillion of MBG Information Services has compiled, in 44 pages of charts and graphs, the results of two decades of this Bush-Clinton experiment in globalization. His compilation might be titled, “Indices of the Industrial Decline and Fall of the United States.”

From 2000 to 2009, industrial production declined here for the first time since the 1930s. Gross domestic product also fell, and we actually lost jobs.

In traded goods alone, we ran up $6.2 trillion in deficits — $3.8 trillion of that in manufactured goods.
Things that we once made in America — indeed, we made everything — we now buy from abroad with money that we borrow from abroad.

Over this Lost Decade, 5.8 million manufacturing jobs, one of every three we had in Y2K, disappeared. That unprecedented job loss was partly made up by adding 1.9 million government workers.

The last decade was the first in history where government employed more workers than manufacturing, a stunning development to those of us who remember an America where nearly one-third of the U.S. labor force was producing almost all of our goods and much of the world’s, as well.

Not to worry, we hear, the foreign products we buy are toys and low-tech goods. We keep the high-tech jobs here in the U.S.A.

Sorry. U.S. trade surpluses in advanced technology products ended in Bush’s first term. The last three years we have run annual trade deficits in ATP of nearly $70 billion with China alone.

About our dependency on Mideast oil we hear endless wailing.

Yet most of our imported oil comes from Canada, Mexico, Venezuela, Nigeria, and Angola. And for every dollar we send abroad for oil or gas, we send $4.20 abroad for manufactured goods. Why is a dependency on the Persian Gulf for a fraction of the oil we consume more of a danger than a huge growing dependency on China for the necessities of our national life?

How great is that dependency?

China accounts for 83 percent of the U.S. global trade deficit in manufactures and 84 percent of our global trade deficit in electronics and machinery.

Over the last decade, our total trade deficit with China in manufactured goods was $1.75 trillion, which explains why China, its cash reserves approaching $3 trillion, holds the mortgage on America.

This week came a report that Detroit, forge and furnace of the Arsenal of Democracy in World War II, is considering razing a fourth of the city and turning it into farm and pastureland. Did the $1.2 trillion trade deficit we ran in autos and parts last decade help kill Detroit?

And if our purpose with NAFTA was to assist our neighbor Mexico, consider. Textile and apparel imports from China are now five times the dollar value of those imports from Mexico and Canada combined.

As exports are added to a nation’s GDP, and a trade deficit subtracted, the U.S. trade deficits that have averaged $500 billion to $600 billion a year for 10 years represent the single greatest factor pulling the United States down and raising China up into a rival for world power.

Yet what is as astonishing as these indices of American decline is the indifference, the insouciance of our political class. Do they care?

How can one explain it?

Ignorance of history is surely one explanation. How many know that every modern nation that rose to world power did so by sheltering and nurturing its manufacturing and industrial base — from Britain under the Acts of Navigation to 1850, to protectionist America from the Civil War to the Roaring Twenties, to Bismarck’s Germany before World War I, to Stalin’s Russia, to postwar Japan, to China today?

No nation rose to world power on free trade. From Britain after 1860 to America after 1960, free trade has been the policy of powers that put consumption before production and today before tomorrow.

Nations rise on economic nationalism; they descend on free trade.

Ideology is another explanation. Even a (Milton) Friedmanite free-trader should be able to see the disaster all around us and ask: What benefit does America receive from these mountains of imported goods to justify the terrible damage done to our country and countrymen?

Can they not see the correlation between the trade deficits and relative decline?

Republicans seem certain to benefit from the nation’s economic crisis this November. But is there any evidence they have learned anything about economics from the disastrous Bush decade?

Do they have any ideas for a wholesale restructuring of U.S. trade and tax policy, for a course correction to prevent America’s continuing decline?

Has anyone seen any evidence of it?



79 comments:

  1. Here is where our dealings with China have brought us:

    By MarketWatch

    Chinese authorities Friday warned some of the biggest partners of Google Inc.'s (GOOG 579.54, -1.60, -0.28%) China based search engine that they must comply with censorship laws, the New York Times reported on its Web site Sunday, citing an industry expert with knowledge of the notice.

    Chinese government information authorities warned Google's partners to prepare backup plans in case Google stops censoring the results of searches on its local Chinese-language search engine, the newspaper reported the expert, who didn't want to be identified for fear of retaliation by the government, as saying.


    Full story:

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  2. One year on, National
    Stadium is 70 percent complete

    By Adam Williams
    Tico Times Staff | awilliams@ticotimes.net

    Exactly 365 days since the first brick was laid for the National Stadium in La Sabana, project engineers and members of Costa Rican Sports and Recreation Institute (ICODER) announced Friday that the stadium is now 70 percent complete. The stadium, which will be the largest ever erected in Central America, is expected to be completed by February 2011.

    “We are very proud to have accomplished this much in a year,” said Osvaldo Pandolfo, Vice Minister of Health and Sports. “As you can see, the base and the foundation of the stadium are already in place. The remaining thirty percent (of work) will be focused on completing the field, the installation of electricity and the smaller details, such as putting ceramic in the bathrooms…At this time, we anticipate the stadium to be entirely completed by February.”

    Since receiving the green light from the government of Costa Rica to build the estimated $80 million stadium, which was a gift from the government of China, Chinese laborers clad in fuchsia jumpsuits and red hardhats have worked around the clock to construct the shell of the mammoth stadium. Where there was vacant land one year ago, the stadium's towering columns now cast a shadow over La Sabana park and the surrounding neighborhood.

    On Friday, four students from the Colegio Técnico Don Bosco unveiled a model of the finished stadium they created for an architecture design project. Enclosed in a clear dome, the model of the stadium provides a glimpse of what the completed project will look like next February. The oval-shaped stadium will feature two arching overhead columns that span the length of the stadium, tiered blue, red and white seats, an enormous television screen at the north end of the field and a plush natural grass playing field surrounded by a running track at the heart of it all.

    “We had a blueprint for the design and a lot of guidance on how to construct the model from the engineers who were working here,” said Elizabeth Vargas Zúñiga, one of the students that worked on the model. “It was tedious and took a very long time, but we are pleased with the result. We think we have created a good vision of what the stadium will look like when completed.”

    According to ICODER, an event may be held at the stadium in May prior to the conclusion of President Oscar Arias's term in office. Soon after establishing diplomatic relations with China in 2007, Arias visited the Eastern giant and was received by the Chinese President, Hu Jintao. During the visit, the Chinese government announced their intention to “gift” the National Stadium to Costa Rica.

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  3. The Chinese bought Costa Rica for $80 million.

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  4. How many of those Chinese "workers" will stay in Costa Rica and help replace US goodd and service exports to Costa Rica with Chinese exports?

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  5. But no nation has ever maintained itself as a Whirled Power, by protecting its' manufacturing and industrial base.

    Funny thing, every country that tried to impose a whirled wide authority and project its' "power", has fallen.

    Each and every one, until now?

    The idea that the United States will or even could be the exception to the "Rule", the historical reality, comical, at best.

    We built a Canal, it did not "buy" US Panama, not in the long term.

    We even sent Marines to Nicoland, after Sandino. we lost it, too.
    Eventually.

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  6. We better pray we keep losing manufacturing jobs for awhile, too.

    You can't rule the 21st Century with 20th Century assembly lines. Every robot installed will replace X number of human workers.

    Instead of 1 factory employing 100 workers we need 4 factories employing 30 workers, each.

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  7. Fair Trade benefits everyone. It's Unfair trade that you have to guard against.

    China's working us over with the Weak Yuan. We need to threaten serious retaliation unless that is remedied.

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  8. When Schumer, Grassley, and Krugman agree it can mean only one thing. China's about to get smacked around a bit.

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  9. Forget the threat.

    We have been threatening Asian unfair trade since a new Toyota cost $3100.

    Allow China to export tariff free goods equal to the value of last years US trade goods to China. When they exceed that dollar amount, add a 30% tariff.

    Exempt Chinese manufacturers who use 30% US manufactured input in their products.

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  10. The enforcement of that would get pretty complicated, Deuce. Then you'd have the problem of 3rd party cutouts.

    We'll get within a hair of passing a 25% tariff, and the Chinese will offer the same thing they did last time - and, we'll take it.

    I think the end result will be a 7, or 8% upward reevaluation for the Yuan, and a widening of the "band." That will be acceptable. No one "really" wants to raise prices at Walmart/Target 25%.

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  11. Take on the "new and improved" Walmart at your own risk.

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  12. Yep, when all the shoutin's done, people like them low prices.

    It's always a "balancing act." That's why Democracy is so damned hard.

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  13. Bet that long after the last Chi-com 'worker' is gone, whenever that may be, there will still be US expats in Costa Rica.

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  14. US expats and private capital investors that have invested well over $80 million USD in Costa Rica.

    Dos that make them "owners", too?

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  15. "Soon after establishing diplomatic relations with China in 2007..."

    ...and dumping Taiwan.

    For China such gestures are as much and sometimes more about picking off the few remaining Taiwan votes rotating through the UNSC as they are the establishment or expansion of commercial ties with any given investment-hungry country.

    They take political influence on the Taiwan issue very, very seriously.

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  16. In order for China to maintain the Yuan at its current value they have to buy US dollars - loan money to the US. Be careful what you wish for.

    What is the best way for the US to nurture its manufacturing base? To close out foreigners and create a self-contained market (think Soviet Union) or, self stuff the rest of the world as well as domestically? The US has been a major driver of free trade hoping to do just that, open up markets for US goods and service. The knife cuts both ways though and the US market gets opened up as well. Instead of protecting inefficient industries I'd suggest it more prudent to examine how one can make the domestic industries more competitive instead of whining about others doing some things better.

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  17. Credit Agency Warns U.S. and Others of Risk to Top Rating
    By DAVID JOLLY
    Published: March 15, 2010

    PARIS — The United States, Germany and other major economies have moved “substantially” closer to losing their top-notch credit ratings and can not depend solely on economic growth to save them, a report warned on Monday.

    snip

    Pierre Cailleteau, managing director of sovereign risk at Moody’s, noted that “discretionary fiscal adjustment” — cutting programs or raising taxes — has become “the principal means of repairing the damage that the global crisis has inflicted on government balance sheets,” and it remains to be seen whether governments are capable of carrying out the painful measures necessary.

    “Growth will support some governments’ adjustment plans more than those of others,” Mr. Cailleteau said in the report, “but no government can rely on it.”

    http://www.nytimes.com/2010/03/16/business/global/16rating.html?hp

    The ratings of the Aaa governments — which also include Britain, France, Spain and the Nordic countries — are currently “stable,” Moody’s Investor Service wrote in the report. But, it added, “their ‘distance-to-downgrade’ has in all cases substantially diminished.”

    “Growth alone will not resolve an increasingly complicated debt equation,” Moody’s said. “Preserving debt affordability” — the ratio of interest payments to government revenues — “at levels consistent with Aaa ratings will invariably require fiscal adjustments of a magnitude that, in some cases, will test social cohesion

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  18. And in much of Latin America, a little can go a long way toward that end.



    Up at Drudge:

    JERUSALEM (AP) - Israeli media reported Monday that the U.S. is pressing Israel to scrap a contentious east Jerusalem building project whose approval has touched off the most serious diplomatic feud with Washington in years.

    Top U.S. officials have lined up in recent days to condemn the Israeli plan to build 1,600 apartments in east Jerusalem, the sector of the holy city that the Palestinians claim for their future capital.

    [...]




    Apparently there's a backstory here, which is beginning to pop up here and there.

    It's not all about the Biden incident, but a wider perception of something Biden did apparently convey in more or less private: the relationship is becoming dangerous for us.

    I believe this perception also gave rise to the remark that we are moving closer to an HB/Hamas escalation.

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  19. Same ratings agency that listed those sub-prime bundles AAA, right?

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  20. yep, rufus, beware the bond market.

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  21. China's too big to mollycoddle any longer, Ash. They're not playing fair, and it's time we knocked'em down a peg.

    I'm a big-time "free-trader," but you've gotta use common sense.

    On the other hand, the Nazi always ignores that Smoot-Hawley pushed us into Depression, and kept us there till we bombed the rest of the world's assembly lines in WWII.

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  22. So, trish, do you still think that the settlement issue will disappear quietly? Or will you statement approach the rufus claim that the mortgage problems are small and inconsequential?

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  23. An American woman working Consular Affairs in Ciudad Juarez was shot dead along with her husband by suspected drug gang hitmen in broad daylight on Saturday as they left a consulate social event, U.S. and Mexican officials told Reuters.

    A Mexican man married to another consulate employee was killed around the same time in another part of the city after he and his wife left the same event, a U.S. official said.

    [...]


    The State Department updated its warning on travel to Mexico to say it had authorized the departure of dependents of U.S. government personnel from consulates in Ciudad Juarez and five other northern border cities.

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  24. "So, trish, do you still think that the settlement issue will disappear quietly?"

    Not the first time I've been wrong. And won't be the last.

    But then, hours after my amiable chat with What Is, I got a very different reaction to the matter in conversation with my second-favorite analyst than the one I expected. And you'll notice I've not had much to say since.

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  25. Sometimes it pays to be a contrarian. Sometimes it don't.

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  26. Hold on there Ash, I speak for me of course and do not ever remember being against fair trade.

    There is no fair trade with China.

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  27. How does "fair trade" differ from "free" trade?

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  28. Sometimes free/fair ain't fair/free?

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  29. Well, it strikes me that "fair" can be used as a euphemism for all kinds of things. Do you really want an international treaty document that specifies environmental policy, minimum wages, working hours, and all other manner of things making trade "fair"?

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  30. No, Ash, but you're being disingenuous. The type of manipulation China is doing on its currency is no different than erecting huge tariffs on imports.

    We can overlook this behavior from little, piddling countries, but not from countries with economies the size of China's.

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  31. This comment has been removed by the author.

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  32. It depends on what you want to include under the "fair" trade umbrella. There are many in the Lou Dobbs school of fair trade that include many factors in their calculation of "fair".

    Is your, and Deuce's beef, only the currency issue? Deuce's line "There is no fair trade with China." suggests that there is more to it than exchange rates.

    Floating exchange rates are open to manipulation as well. The 'beggar thy neighbor' approach seems to be thriving in the US, and China, as the printing presses roll devaluing in lockstep. The Chinese have pegged their currency to this falling dollar.

    Many nations have tried to get themselves out of debt jams by inflating (devaluing) it away. The US seems to be on this course as well. Historically this usually ends badly. Stable currencies are desirable and it is ironic that the belly aching over China is due to the fact that they are maintaining a stable exchange rate to the prime exchange currency.

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  33. Ash, historically, ALL currencies end badly. As do all nations, all economies, and all "great investment ideas."

    The books have been written, and most of them are "right," from time to time. They're all wrong just about as often.

    Sure we're going to "inflate away" some of our debts. That's one of the prime reasons for having a fiat currency.

    Enough "theory." It's time to get practical. China's putting our manufacturers at too much of a disadvantage with their currency manipulation. It's got to end.

    We can all sit around, and discuss Ricardo, and Scumpeter, Keynes, and Friedman over a beer later.

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  34. Take a look at it from their end, their interests:

    You've got a country that owes you about 899 Billion (current Chinese holding of US treasuries) and they are asking that you devalue that debt. What do you do?

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  35. China doesn't deny manipulating their currency (of course they don't use the word manipulate). They flaunt it.

    One sure sign that they are doing it is that they have stopped providing info to the IMF for their annual reports. They stopped doing it a couple years ago when the IMF began indicating that the yuan was undervalued by at least 20%.

    Some independant think-tanks have estimated the yuan is undervalued by 40%.


    .

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  36. I guess they'll just have to sell their T-Bills if they don't want to keep them. Nobody made them buy them.

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  37. From our perspective this isn't as big a thing as might be imagined. It will decrease imports, and increase domestic manufacturing, and exports. Both of those things are Positive for the dollar.

    It's a bigger thing from their standpoint. Some of the articles that they were exporting to us will now come from other countries (Canada, Mexico, Vietnam, Europe, etc.,) and they won't have as big an advantage over us when it comes to competing in the Global marketplace.

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  38. I guess, by definition, they are manipulating their currency - they've pegged its value against the US dollar. Where the US dollar goes it goes.

    I guess, rufus, you can easily see how this could escalate and not work out in the US favor.

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  39. Their citizens will benefit through higher purchasing power, and access to more imported goods; but the leadership doesn't care much about that.

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  40. We're going to pay higher prices at Walmart, but we'll have more jobs. We'll be OK.

    China has a losing hand, and as soon as they see Obama's not going to roll over, and play dead they'll cut their losses, and make a deal.

    If they don't they'll be wishing they had. I don't think they're that stupid. They're just strong gamblers. They'll push their hand to the limit.

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  41. The world trade institutions would be better served if they were modified to better address situations such as China.

    Saw an article the other day that pointed out the problem with China. The IMF does not have the mandate to punish countries for manipulation. All they can do is use soft pressure and politicing to get countries to move. Yet, they don't have any authority to demand specific info from countries to go into their annual reports. All China has been willing to give them over the past couple years has been broad historical data.

    The WTO on the other hand has the authority to issue sanctions for monetary manipulation. The problem is that they can only do it against countries that barrow money from them.

    On the other hand they can issue sanctions for fair trade manipulation. Of the 15 open trade violation suits that are currently open, four of them have been launched by China.

    Can't blame China for using the existing rules to have it both ways; however, is it "fair" trade?

    Guess that depends on whether you are the screwer or the screwee.

    .

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  42. I've played a considerable amount of high stakes poker with our Asian buddies. You don't have to be particularly brilliant to beat them, but you damned well better have your balls firmly attached to your ass. They Will make your heart skip-a-beat from time to time.

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  43. I found that when playing against Asians a couple (or more) beers didn't exactly hurt my game. :)

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  44. "Apparently there's a backstory here, which is beginning to pop up here and there.

    It's not all about the Biden incident, but a wider perception of something Biden did apparently convey in more or less private: the relationship is becoming dangerous for us.

    I believe this perception also gave rise to the remark that we are moving closer to an HB/Hamas escalation.



    There are several things going on.

    Not in any order:

    For months, the palestinians have rejected to talk. In that same time, Israel has taken down check points, allowed wanted fatah terrorists to visit and vote in the Palestinian congress (term congress used to describe their PLO umbrella) to vote and declare that violence to free Palestine from the river to the sea was and is the national goal of the palestinian people, that refugees should return to their homes INSIDE of Israel and that ALl of Jerusalem is Palestinian.

    NOT a peep out of Obama & company...

    Palestinians have shot and knifed to death israelis in the past 90 days, the perps have been found out to be on the payroll of Abbas. Abbas has visited the mourner's tent and praised the murderer as a martyr and a hero of Palestine.

    NOT a peep out of Obama & company...

    A public square in Ramallah was being named after the 1st female palestinian martyr who was responsible for the death of 37 men, women and children in Tel Aviv (far inside the green line) this was to be dedicated last Thursday when Biden was visiting

    NOT a peep out of Obama & company...

    The PA, in response to Israel declaring The Tomb of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob a Historic site, (the jewish people's 2nd most holy site in the world) listed on Israel's roster of such sites. encouraged riots against Israel troops, causing numerous injuries and even some deaths.

    NOT a peep out of Obama & company condemning the violence attacks

    Another incident stemming from the PA encouraging their Imams to stoke the fires occurred a couple of weeks ago at the temple mount... a group of islamic worshippers started throwing rocks DOWN on the Jewish worshippers heads, as well as the tourists were there, Israel responded with tear gas and some rubber bullets, no one killed, the UNSC took up the issue that Israel was abusing the DOme of the Rock and condemned israel for her aggressive actions. For the FIRST TIME in 4 terms of the Presidency the USA did not veto the UNSC scolding.

    Another incident was the PA to sue Israel over the ownership of the Dead Sea Scrolls

    Another incident was the refusal by the PA to accept Israel's right to be a Jewish Nation.

    Another point? the so called "arab" east jerusalem lands in dispute? are not in dispute and have never been an issue as the population of the suburban development was already at 20,000 people and the additional 1,600 apartments were to be built on vacant, undeveloped lands owned by Jews for decades. and SUCCESSIVE peace talks always included those lands as to be part of israel, and such acreage for be swapped out in lands needed to connect gaza and the west bank.

    The Obama administration has cancelled the f22(?) which israel just had gotten approval of...

    that's just some of the back story...

    not to mention:

    Iran and obama's appeasement
    Obama's secret promise with the Palestinians to divide Jerusalem

    obama's public call for jews to stop living and owning lands in hebron, bethlehem, jerusalem (and more)

    and then throw in obama's trips to egypt, turkey, arabia and NOT visiting Israel

    and then throw in obama's approval rating in israel? 4.0% (+/- 4.5%) REALLY

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  45. as for the hamas and hezbollah and syria and iran issue..

    want war?

    corner israel, withdraw support international, arm her enemies with thousands of rockets, have syria, hamas, hezbollah, iran all threaten to wipe israel off the map, appease iran's nuke path, scold israel for bullshit...

    yep...

    things are about to pop...

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  46. rufus said...
    Well, pray tell, why did all the American Jews vote for someone called "Barack Hussein Obama?


    cause they cannot believe the horrors that really are their history...

    they are sheep and blind...

    they will be the 1st to be liquidated (again)

    I on the other hand....

    was NEVER taken in by BHO...

    PERIOD...

    and I do know other Jews that feel the same way.

    we are in the minority for sure...

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  47. Marwan Barghouti gets political science PhD in jail
    By KHALED ABU TOAMEH
    14/03/2010 04:44

    Thesis of Fatah official serving 5 life terms for killing Israelis on Palestinian Legislative Council.

    Jailed Fatah official Marwan Barghouti, who is serving five life terms in prison for his role in attacks that killed and wounded several Israelis during the second intifada, has completed his doctorate in political science, his supporters said over the weekend.

    Barghouti, 50, is one of several hundred Palestinian prisoners held in Israeli prisons who enroll in studies at universities around the world, including in Israel.

    According to his supporters, Barghouti was accepted by the University of Cairo and the Arab Academy for Research and Studies in the Egyptian capital back in 1999, three years before he was arrested by the IDF.

    Barghouti’s doctoral thesis is titled “The Legislative and Political Performance of the Palestinian Legislative Council and its Contribution to the Democratic Process in Palestine from 1996 to 2008.”

    The 341-page document will be brought on Tuesday for discussion before a special panel headed by Prof. Ahmad Yussuf, dean of the Arab Academy for Research and Studies.

    Barghouti was able to complete his thesis with the help of hundreds of books and documents that Israeli authorities allow inmates to bring into prison.

    Hundreds of Palestinian prisoners are currently enrolled as students with the Open University of Israel, which facilitates their studies by allowing them to sit exams in jail.


    Barghouti, who is also a Fatah member on the Palestinian Legislative Council, completed his high school exams while in Israeli prison in 1980. He earned his bachelor’s and master’s degrees in history/ political science and in international relations, respectively, from Bir Zeit University, north of Ramallah. His master’s thesis dealt with Palestinian-French relations from 1967 to 1997.

    On May 20, 2004, he was convicted of five counts of murder - including authorizing and organizing the Sea Food Market attack in Tel Aviv in which three civilians were killed. He was acquitted of 21 counts of murder in 33 other attacks for “lack of sufficient evidence.” On June 6, 2004, he was sentenced to five life sentences for the five murders and 40 years imprisonment for the attempted murder.




    Kinda says alot...

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  48. Why, you might ask (if you're a complete moron) are we getting knee-deep in a couple of Wars East Africa?

    It couldn't be the Oil, could it?

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  49. Two things:
    1. Don't forget about China's tendency to dump products or ignore copyrights and patents.

    2. Anyone who believes a word the Palestinians (Authority or Hamas) say is either naive or a fool.

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  50. From Newsmax:
    Saudi Rejects Pakistan Envoy on Name Issue

    Monday, March 15, 2010 8:07 AM

    Article Font Size

    In an unfortunate result of translation, Pakistani diplomat Akbar Zeb will not become the next Pakistani ambassador to Saudi Arabia. Zeb’s credentials seem in order: He is the former ambassador to the United States, India and South Africa. He held the post of High Commissioner Designate of Pakistan to Canada and is the former director general of Pakistan’s Foreign Ministry.

    But despite Mr. Zeb’s impressive career, the 55-year-old diplomat’s name proved to be the immovable hurdle. When translated into Arabic, Akbar Zeb means “Biggest Dick.” In a region that stresses modesty, particularly in public, this could not stand.

    Akbar is a customary Muslim name for Arabic and non-Arabic speakers alike. The same cannot be said for Zeb. The name is common in Urdu, however in Arabic it is merely a slang reference to the male reproductive organ.


    ht: tiger

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  51. Politico:

    The pro-Israel group AIPAC, which had been at pains for much of President Obama's term to downplay tensions between his administration and Benjamin Netanyahu's, is criticizing Obama in the sharpest terms to date after a series of administration officials sharply reprimanded Netanyahu for the announcement of new housing units in East Jerusalem during Joe Biden's trip.

    "The Obama Administration's recent statements regarding the U.S. relationship with Israel are a matter of serious concern. AIPAC calls on the Administration to take immediate steps to defuse the tension with the Jewish State," says the unsigned statement sent out by spokesman Josh Block. "The Administration should make a conscious effort to move away from public demands and unilateral deadlines directed at Israel, with whom the United States shares basic, fundamental, and strategic interests."

    The statement criticizes the administration's "escalated rhetoric" as "a distraction from the substantive work that needs to be done with regard to the urgent issue of Iran's rapid pursuit of nuclear weapons, and the pursuit of peace between Israel and all her Arab neighbors."

    "We strongly urge the Administration to work closely and privately with our partner Israel, in a manner befitting strategic allies, to address any issues between the two governments," the statement says.The pro-Israel group AIPAC, which had been at pains for much of President Obama's term to downplay tensions between his administration and Benjamin Netanyahu's, is criticizing Obama in the sharpest terms to date after a series of administration officials sharply reprimanded Netanyahu for the announcement of new housing units in East Jerusalem during Joe Biden's trip.

    "The Obama Administration's recent statements regarding the U.S. relationship with Israel are a matter of serious concern. AIPAC calls on the Administration to take immediate steps to defuse the tension with the Jewish State," says the unsigned statement sent out by spokesman Josh Block. "The Administration should make a conscious effort to move away from public demands and unilateral deadlines directed at Israel, with whom the United States shares basic, fundamental, and strategic interests."

    The statement criticizes the administration's "escalated rhetoric" as "a distraction from the substantive work that needs to be done with regard to the urgent issue of Iran's rapid pursuit of nuclear weapons, and the pursuit of peace between Israel and all her Arab neighbors."

    "We strongly urge the Administration to work closely and privately with our partner Israel, in a manner befitting strategic allies, to address any issues between the two governments," the statement says.



    "...a distraction from the substantive work that needs to be done..."

    Gee. That was my reaction the day the story broke.

    The narrative seems to have headed elsewhere, however.

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  52. trish, a core issue in the Palestinian/Israeli conflict is the status of Jerusalem. Israel has consistently insisted it is all theirs and acted as such. The announcement of the building of new units during Biden's trip underscores this unhelpful position taken by Israel. Israel, it appears, needs to be reminded that all Jerusalem is not destined to be theirs alone. This is hardly a 'side issue' to the main show.

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  53. I've been listening to Lady Gaga's Poker Face.

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  54. The dispute as to those lands, it is not to the ownership of them, but the legal administration of them.

    As long as it remains with Israel, they are in violation of international standards that the Israelis themselves agreed to abide by.

    As to "misdirection's" litany of other crimes, that are occurring in Israel and the lands it continues to occupy and administrates in violation of the Geneva Accords. Seem to more of the same old same. Nothing new, that's fer sur.

    The US and Israel have financed both Arabfat, before he passed on, and his surviving entourage of political hacks, for decades.

    Just sayin', that's the reality.
    Nothing new.

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  55. Ash, you are right. But I anticipated that the specific incident, touching as it does upon the US-Israel relationship, would quickly dissipate.

    I misjudged.

    Would you like some blood?

    One of the interesting things said to me is that Israelis themselves would be none-too-pleased with the perceived - what does dear host call it? - "shanking."

    That showed itself to some extent in Israeli media the following day, but for all I know a goodly portion of the country was popping champagne corks. And I can't imagine that the Palestinian leadership in turn was anything but delighted.

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  56. You want to play some Texas Holdem?

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  57. Once upon a time rufus made an Old Maid joke pertaining to foreign affairs in one context or another - that I got good mileage out of in Colombia.

    And for the life of me I cannot remember how I used it.

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  58. Go Fish.

    Do you remember the joke? If so, I'll call.

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  59. It's Monday night in the USA. Time to go watch Jack Bauer deal with the bad guys.

    Have to admit though, the show has gotten predictable.

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  60. "Do you remember the joke?"

    Nope.

    It must've been very early on in the tour.

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  61. I wonder if 24 will travel the world well, like say, Dallas.

    JR was a whirled-wide hit. Jack Bauer, I doubt it.

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  62. I got a kick out of the lady gaga video posted the other day. The "Plenty of Fish" dating website was worth a chuckle.

    Bush caved on day 1 to the Israel middle east schtick. Sharon was very effective when he took visitors up in a helicopter and pointed from one side of Israel to the other (at its narrowest point of course) and said 'we are surrounded'. Obama, it seems, has a much more fine tuned sense of the history of the conflict and, apparently, will not put up with the BS out of the dominant party in the conflict. "facts on the ground" was Sharon's characterization of the 'settlements' - just 'facts on the ground' that can't be rolled back. Hopefully the US admin will grow a spine and stand up to the incremental BS.

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  63. It is well worth watching -in a confront/and learn your culture kinda way.

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  64. oh, well, the same goes for 24 on the opposite side of the spectrum. I was referring to the Lady of gag.... aa

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  65. mind you, after 2 seasons of 24 it ain't worth watching...

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  66. As a matter of fact I just changed the channel for Criminal Minds reruns.

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  67. "Hopefully the US admin will grow a spine..."

    Which would consist in doing what, precisely?

    And why leave the Congress out of it? Because if you were looking for any new and noteworthy backbone, it would be within that branch of government historically more consistently pro-Israeli than the WH.

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  68. Ash said...
    trish, a core issue in the Palestinian/Israeli conflict is the status of Jerusalem. Israel has consistently insisted it is all theirs and acted as such.


    You are such a fucking liar.

    If that is the case why is there 20% of Israel ARAB

    Why do the arabs still have the Temple Mount?

    WHY?


    ASH: The announcement of the building of new units during Biden's trip underscores this unhelpful position taken by Israel. Israel, it appears, needs to be reminded that all Jerusalem is not destined to be theirs alone. This is hardly a 'side issue' to the main show.


    again, you are full of shit....

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  69. Precisely - stand up to Israel and not put up with there incremental pushing of the line. Put some teeth in our objections -i.e. start withdrawing our 'aid' as a 'stick'.

    Congress - do they actually have ANYTHING to do with foreign policy :0??? It sure doesn't appear to be the case from the outside looking in.

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  70. WiO,

    The broad brush strokes for settlement revolve around two states and a shared Jerusalem as a capital. I know, I know, you'll protest til the cows come home - but, hey, ya can't always get what you want... suck it up dude.

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  71. Ash said...
    WiO,

    The broad brush strokes for settlement revolve around two states and a shared Jerusalem as a capital. I know, I know, you'll protest til the cows come home - but, hey, ya can't always get what you want... suck it up dude.


    Sure, how about this?

    Jordan is Palestine...

    Jews have a shared right to Hebron, Bethlehem and Gaza, all historic Jewish lands...

    Jews should also have the right to own land anywhere they want to buy it....

    so suck it up right back at ya...

    sharing Jerusalem is fine, let's see the arabs admit that Jews have ANY rights to the temple mount..

    come on, show us the arab declarations of JEWISH rights...

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  72. Ash said...
    Precisely - stand up to Israel and not put up with there incremental pushing of the line. Put some teeth in our objections -i.e. start withdrawing our 'aid' as a 'stick'.


    go ahead, cut aid..

    but cut aid to the arabs too...

    and stop aid in the form of opec oil purchases and while we are at it?

    Let Israel win at war...

    Stop stopping them...

    Oh that's right ash you are from canada right? our ball-less brothers to the north?

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  73. I cannot say "Next Year in Jerusalem" when Israel refuses to discuss the serious suspicions that Mossad stole the identity of Diaspora Jews during the recent assassination of a Hamas militant in Dubai. (And I'm not laughing at the fact that an Israeli supermarket chain has seen fit to satirise the whole episode by spoofing the surveillance footage in a recent advertising campaign that culminates with the line 'We offer killer prices'.)

    I don't expect that my personal boycott of Passover will achieve anything at all. But I believe that those Jews - and I don't think I'm alone here - who feel alienated by the behaviour of the Israeli government and the excesses of the settler movement should feel free to make a gesture of silence this Passover instead of following the rituals of the festival.

    I look forward to saying "Next Year in Jerusalem" at a time when Israel's government acknowledges the values that Passover is meant to represent.


    Not Next Year in Jerusalem

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  74. "Congress - do they actually have ANYTHING to do with foreign policy :0???"

    Oh, you're shitting me, right, Ash?

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