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Sunday, June 28, 2015

“Mowing The Lawn” - The Callous Disregard And Killing Of Palestinians By The State Of Israel

Any occupied people have the right to resist, dissent and fight against their occupiers and tormenters. The Palestinians in Gaza have that right.

Israel likes to portray itself as the perma-victim but the fact is the ICC is investigating  Israeli atrocities against Palestinian human beings in the apartheid ghettos under Israeli control. 

The International Criminal Court wants to know more about Israeli War Crimes in Gaza to prepare for possible prosecutions.


Michael Ratner is President Emeritus of the Center for Constitutional Rights (CCR) in New York and Chair of the European Center for Constitutional and Human Rights in Berlin. He is currently a legal adviser to Wikileaks and Julian Assange. He and CCR brought the first case challenging the Guantanamo detentions and continue in their efforts to close Guantanamo. He taught at Yale Law School, and Columbia Law School, and was President of the National Lawyers Guild. His current books include Hell No: Your Right to Dissent in the Twenty-First Century America, and Who Killed Che? How the CIA Got Away With Murder

JESSICA DESVARIEUX, PRODUCER, TRNN: Welcome to The Real News Network. I'm Jessica Desvarieux in Baltimore. And welcome to this edition of the Ratner Report.
Now joining us is the man behind the Report, Michael Ratner. He is the President Emeritus for the Center for Constitutional Rights, and he's also a board member for The Real News, and of course he's a regular contributor. Thanks for joining us, Michael.
DESVARIEUX: So Michael, we have this UN report that came out about the war between Gaza and Israel back in the summer of 2014. I know you've been tracking it quite closely. What are some highlights? What have you picked up from this report?
RATNER: Well you know, what I'm left with and what I'm at today really is how much longer is the world, and particularly the United States, going to facilitate and enable Israel in these periodic bloodlettings that they engage in in Gaza. And this report hopefully, like some of the other ones, is beginning to close that window on Israel, and hopefully Israeli officials won't have impunity forever for the murders and killings and devastation in Gaza.
But let's talk about this report. Last week the commission to investigate the violations of the laws of war and human rights violations in the Gaza Strip in 2014 during the war reported back to the UN Human Rights Commission, which can then decide what to do with the report and ultimately go to the Security Council. But what that commission was appointed to do was investigate an operation of the Israelis called Protective Edge.
Now to put that into context, it's the third such military operation by Israel in the last seven years. Major military assault on Gaza, which is essentially an open-air prison, surrounded by Israel, air space controlled by Israel, and occupied territory even though there's no actual Israeli troops on the ground most of the time. This is the third such operation. Operation Cast Lead, which we thought would be the end of this kind of thing because it was so horrible, was in 2008 and 2009, and Operation Pillar of Defense was in 2012.
Israel military strategists call these periodic "operations" mowing the lawn, as if killing thousands of Palestinians is essentially like cutting the grass. Cast Lead--and I've given reports on Real News on that, which was 2008-2009, resulted in 1,300 Palestinians killed. The majority were civilians, 5,000 wounded. Compare that to what happened to Israel. Thirteen Israelis killed, only three of which were civilians.
It resulted in an earlier report analogous to this one. That one became famous. It was called the Goldstone report. Former justice Goldstone wrote that report, and it condemned what was going on particularly in the occupied territories, essentially called it apartheid, and documented the slaughter that Israel had engaged in during that 2008-2009 Cast Lead assault on Gaza. However, because of pressure from the United States, particularly, Judge Goldstone started to retract on some of his findings. Of course, it didn't really mean much, the report was out. The other commissioners didn't retract. It was sort of--it's hard to say, but to some extent it just seems like he bowed to the pressure to perhaps not be an outcast in his own community. In any case, that was a report that condemned what Israel had done.
Many people did not think it could happen again, but of course it did. It did last summer. It began on June 13, the Israeli assault on Gaza called Protective Edge, and this time the numbers were even worse. 2,131 killed, perhaps more, of which 1,473 were civilians, and 500 children. The UN commission report which came out last week gave a figure roughly analogous, 65 percent civilians were killed. That's an astounding figure in a war. There are--of course, civilians are often killed in war. When it's like that it makes you question, was Israel intentionally targeting civilians?
The answer to that, always disputed. In the Goldstone report initially it was said they were. Goldstone retracted, but the report still stands. In this report without saying that explicitly, you can draw the conclusion that on a number of occasions civilians were intentionally targeted. Compare that 2,100 figure to the Israeli figure. 71 Israelis were killed, 55 soldiers, and 5 civilians. So less than 10 percent civilians, compared to 65 percent or over. And as the report said, and it's devastating, really, in Gaza--I'm quoting from it--in Gaza, the scale of devastation was unprecedented. Unprecedented. The killed, the injured, and the infrastructure destroyed. 18,000 houses, 80,000 damaged.
So it's a very strong report documenting what Israel did, and saying Israel had to be held accountable for it. And it also talked about, and this is important, like the Goldstone report it put this attack and really the response of the Palestinians into the context of the occupation, which has been going on since 1967, the settlements which have been continuing even as we speak, the house destructions going on in the occupied territories, the prisons and the treatment of prisoners with cruel, inhuman, and degrading treatment during this period. And it talked about war crimes based on proportionality. You can't kill more civilians than are necessary to achieve your military goal, and you have to distinguish between civilians and military. So it talks a lot about that. It's a good report.
A critique of the report that I have is that it--not that it talks about Palestinian armed groups and what they did. Yes, they sent rockets into Israel. And there were tunnels, although it's not clear that those tunnels were used for any purpose other than for people to go through, soldiers to go through and attack Israeli targets, and not on a great level. But it talks about what Palestine did. Unfortunately to me it begins the report with what the Palestinian armed groups, as it refers to them, are called. And the problem of the report is it looks at them as if there's some symmetry between what Israel did and what the Palestinians did. Of course, there's not.
Clearly, as I pointed out, there's not that in terms of numbers and destruction. Very little was destroyed in Israel. The numbers were, any killed person is serious, but how do you compare a number in the 70s to a number over 2,000. So nothing close. So you can't make a symmetry out of what occurred, the way the war was fought, et cetera.
But you also can't have symmetry in terms of context. In one case Israel is the occupier. Israel is the oppressor. And the other is the oppressed and the occupied. You get rid of the occupation and you won't have the need to resist it. The problem with the report making any kind of symmetry between those two is it plays into the Israeli and to a certain extent the U.S. narrative, that somehow Israel with the support of the U.S. has the right to defend itself. In fact, of course, it's the occupied people that have the right to resist occupation. Israel, what it should be doing, is ending the occupation.
What Israel needs to be doing is ending the occupation. If in fact Israel obeyed international law, followed UN resolutions, the occupation would long be over and there wouldn't be need--and there never has been a need, but Israel wouldn't feel it has any need, and of course I don't think it does, to do what it has done in Gaza.
Despite this drawback, it's still an important report. It's another document by neutral observers of Israeli war crimes. There's been three, there's been responses to it. The U.S. gave one of the more sickening press conferences I've ever looked at. The U.S. essentially is an ostrich, or ostrich-like. They said there's no more need for the UN to do anything here, there's a bias against Israel, et cetera, ignoring the war crimes documented in the report.
And let's just remember this. The U.S., with its over $3 billion a year, is an enabler of Israeli war crimes. It continues to support Israel with military weapons, despite knowing it's committing serious, serious human rights violations. When Israel, Israeli officials, are finally put into the dock, U.S. officials I hope will be going along with them.
Israel's response was simply to not cooperate again with the UN commission. They simply don't respond. Not to any letters, they wouldn't cooperate, are claiming that there's bias against Israel. And then in their actual response they said Israel acted morally. It has moral behavior, and it's terror that it's confronted. And it's been moral in that. Well, that's a complete reversal. The terror here is being committed by Israel, not by the Palestinians. And then they claimed Israel is a democracy. Well, apart from lots of disputes on that and what happens within Israel, and the fact that there's millions of Palestinians who can't vote in any election that Israel has, how does a democracy justify the slaughter that has taken place in Gaza.
The question is, what's next. What's next is this commission report will go to the Human Rights Council. It may well likely be approved there, I hope. Then it could go to the Security Council, but the problem in the Security Council is the United States has a veto. It looms large over it. And the Security Council will therefore be able to do nothing about carrying this report forward to accountability. The Security Council could refer the report, and Israeli violations as well as Palestinian violations, to the International Criminal Court. The U.S. will prohibit that.
And finally let's talk about the International Criminal Court. Palestine, I hope as most of our viewers know, because it's important, joined that court a few months ago. It was recognized in April as a member of the International Criminal Court, and it's recognized as a state by the UN and the majority of countries in the world. Israel has not joined the International Criminal Court, nor has the United States. But unfortunately for Israel, crimes on Palestinian territory can be investigated by the International Criminal Court because Palestine is a member. And today, just as I'm giving this report, there's important news. The prosecutor at the Criminal Court had asked for information from both sides, Israel and Palestine, on what happened in Gaza. And today Palestine submitted hundreds, perhaps thousands of pages of reports, on what war crimes of Israel in Palestinian territory. Israel of course did nothing, did not submit anything.
And it did it in three areas. First in what we've been talking about, the report on the way this war was fought, Protective Edge. And it talked about the war crimes that were committed, the thousands of civilians killed and destruction of tens of thousands of houses. And that report was, that's aspect one of what it submitted to the ICC. Aspect two was the torture and cruel, inhuman and degrading treatment of prisoners, detainees in Israeli jails, many without charges. And thirdly, and this is important and I'm going to end on this point, that they also submitted to the International Criminal Court the question of the settlements. And the settlements, which are of course in occupied territory, are absolutely, 100 percent, slam dunk illegal. They're a war crime. There's no real defense for them. You're not allowed to put settlers of your own country into occupied territories.
And the question remaining now is, will the prosecutor in the International Criminal Court open a full-scale investigation? If she doesn't, in my view it will end any legitimacy that court has left. So let's hope she does. Unfortunately time is running as she considers it, and it can take a long time at the International Criminal Court. During that period operations like the assault on Gaza could happen again. Perhaps if the prosecutor acts rapidly it will dissuade the Israelis from entering into another Gaza war. Let's just hope so.
So there's movement. It's much slower, I think, than the Palestinians need or deserve, but hopefully it will make a difference.
DESVARIEUX: All right. Michael Ratner, joining us from New York. Thank you so much for being with us.
RATNER: Thank you for having me on The Real News.
DESVARIEUX: And thank you for joining us on The Real News Network.


  1. .

    GREXIT: Does it Start Tuesday?

    THE crisis has commenced," declared Michael Noonan, Ireland's normally mild-mannered finance minister, as he left today's Eurogroup meeting in Brussels. It is hard to disagree. One week ago Greece-watchers were wondering whether Alexis Tsipras's left-wing government could strike a deal with its creditors in time to unlock the bail-out money it needs to avoid defaulting on a €1.5 billion ($1.7 billion) IMF payment due on June 30th. It is a sign of how quickly matters have deteriorated in the last 24 hours that the IMF bill, which will now surely be missed, is now a sideshow. Instead, after Mr Tsipras unexpectedly called a referendum over the creditors' latest offer, the question is whether there is still a place for Greece inside the euro zone.

    On July 5th, assuming Mr Tsipras's plan holds, Greeks will vote on whether to approve a set of reforms and fiscal adjustments proposed last week to Mr Tsipras's government by the creditor institutions (the European Commission, European Central Bank and IMF). Announcing the referendum last night, Mr Tsipras made his own view clear. The creditors' offer, he said, proved that "certain partners and members of the institutions are not interested in reaching a viable and beneficial agreement for all parties, but rather the humiliation of the Greek people." After Mr Tsipras's speech Greek ministers fell over each other to say they would recommend a "no" vote.

    Mr Tsipras's declaration seemed an acknowledgement of something his government has long denied: that Greece must choose between the creditors' path of austerity and leaving the euro. But it raises more questions than answers. After having insulted his euro-zone partners last night Mr Tsipras said he would ask them for a "short extension" of Greece's bail-out, which expires on June 30th, to cover the period of the referendum. At their meeting today, finance ministers outright rejected that suggestion. Without a radical change of direction from Mr Tsipras, therefore, the bail-out will expire on June 30th, along with €16.3 billion in potential bail-out support, and Greeks will be voting on a defunct proposal. The meaning of a "yes" vote will be impossible to divine.

    Speaking about this after today's Eurogroup Greece's loquacious finance minister, Yanis Varoufakis, lapsed into incoherence...



    1. .

      Speaking about this after today's Eurogroup Greece's loquacious finance minister, Yanis Varoufakis, lapsed into incoherence. The ministers' refusal to countenance an extension of the bail-out, he said, caused "permanent damage to the credibility of the EU". Why? Because there was a "very high probability" that the Greek people would spurn the government and support the creditors' proposal. Greece, Mr Varoufakis seemed to be arguing, deserved yet another extension of its bail-out to give the government time to advise voters to reject its terms, because that advice might well be rejected.

      Such sophistry aside, Greece now faces two urgent challenges, one financial and one political. The first problem is Greece's banking sector, which has been haemmorhaging deposits in recent weeks...


      Mr Tsipras's second challenge is to think through the consequences of his referendum. Having denounced the creditors' offer to Greece in such scathing terms, it is hard to see how he can stay in office if voters back it...

      A "no" vote, on the other hand, would set Greece on a dangerous path that could lead to Grexit...


    2. He lost his nerve. Polls have shown that the average Greek wants to both stay in the Euro but not have to do what the EU demands to do so. Of course they will vote to stay in the Euro. They do not trust politicians. The EU politicians have money, the Greeks don’t. Let them vote. Declare them in default. Give the banks their haircut and move on.

    3. The Greek banks hold some Greek Government bonds which act as collateral for liquidity funding from the ECB. Once in default those bonds no longer serve as collateral.

      I believe most other banks have dumped Greek bonds wherever possible so it is the IMF, ECB, and various governments that hold them.

      Greece wants the creditors to take a further haircut - they want debt relief. The creditors have said no and basically offered to fund the debt service costs for 4 months. Greece said no and here we sit. No simple solutions I can see.

    4. The EC (European Commission) is the other major player holding Greek debt I believe.

    5. Best to start with reality. Greece cannot repay the debt it owes, ever.

      It can pay some of it.

      What is a reasonable amount of GNP for a country to use as debt service?

      You have to allow for financing of new public infrastructure, but current expenses should be on a pay as you go basis.

      Greek external debt is over 275% of GDP and is probably north of $650 billion. That looks like a cramdown to 20 cents on the dollar. I’d give it to them and force the creditors to take it in drachma. Then the fun part begins. A lot of the retail debt is denoted in foreign currency. You would have to allow them to repay in drachma.

      Treat all creditors the same. No preferences. No seniors. No Subordinates. All in and all out.

    6. Nobody put a gun to their head to loan it to them.

    7. No country has had better debtor’s leverage than Greece. Based on experience throughout Latin America and Iceland, five years from now, all will be forgotten.

    8. You can assume that those that loaned the most did so because they benefited the most. Mercedes taxi cabs in Athens come to mind.

    9. Aristotle can help frame the argument. The philosopher condemned all lending at interest because money cannot create wealth by itself; a loan is just a way for the lender to take advantage of the borrower. Some proponents of Islamic finance make a similar argument, but it is not quite right. Capitalism has shown that loans can indeed produce wealth. If the lent funds are invested well, enabling the borrower to improve his lot and the world’s, then interest payments are the lender’s just reward for providing the fruitful funds.

      But Aristotle’s moral logic remains relevant; his condemnation is appropriate for loans that do not share wealth justly between borrower and lender. Unfair loans should not be made, and where they have been, full repayment only compounds the original injustice.

      Libertarians, believers in the right of individual to make their own decisions, have another contribution to the moral discussion. They point out that loans are freely agreed contracts that should be honored. Both sides should understand the possible consequences of their free choices. Borrowers should repay, even if that requires making sacrifices, and creditors who make bad lending decisions should suffer losses.

      In the euro zone, some libertarians (and most Germans) consider the borrowers’ obligations to be paramount. The governments of Greece and the other over-extended nations can and should repay all their agreed debts. The citizens just have to work harder and pay more taxes.
      Other libertarians take the opposite moral line. Losses are the just
      punishment for the foolish creditors. And the Aristotelian logic may justify forgiveness. The lent money has mostly been spent unproductively, so the borrowers now have few gains to share with the lenders. The original loans turned out to be unjustly generous to the debtors, but the terms have become unjustly harsh.

      Which side has the stronger moral logic? Forgiveness looks right for Greece, where the debts are particularly high and the government and economy are particularly inept. For the rest, it is a closer call.

    10. http://english.alarabiya.net/articles/2011/10/27/174022.html

    11. Bottom line. Make a decision. There is only one to make:

      Default - Cram Down - Back To The Drachma - Stop The Madness

    12. Yes the Greek debt burden is onerous and too high for Greece to handle. They are in default. How things go foward will be interesting. I don't think they will find many willing lenders in the near term, especially denominated in a new Drachma but maybe Russia will step up though their price would be high. How Greece and the EU work will also be interesting to see. I think there will be some immediate short term pain for the average Greek. I sure would hate to have my personal finances caught up in such a mess. The average Greek has a tasty pension to carry them through - no? ;)


      You don’t have to be a weatherman to see where the wind is blowing:

      Russia anticipates becoming a key manager of China’s proposed Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB), a Moscow representative said in Beijing Saturday. China’s alternative to the Asian Development Bank, International Monetary Fund and World Bank would seek to finance much-needed Asian infrastructure projects, an effort Japan and the U.S. both view as a challenge to their influence in the region.

      “Russia would at least be among AIIB’s top five countries, so it would qualify for an appropriate voting share and a relevant share of the bank’s management,” Andrey Denisov, the country’s first deputy foreign minister, told its official RIA Novosti news agency. Russia is one of 57 nations that have signed on to become prospective founding members of the Beijing-based $100-billion development bank that was launched last October.

      Several European countries, Brazil, Australia and almost all Southeast Asian nations are bidding for founding-member status. While Russia is facing Western sanctions over its annexation of Crimea and disputed support of pro-Russian separatists in Ukraine, Beijing and Moscow have been forming closer ties.

      Representative of the AIIB’s prospective founding members will converge in Beijing Monday for a signing ceremony centered on the bank’s legal framework, which will lay down the rules, including members’ voting powers and its decision-making processes. “If everything goes to plan, the AIIB will start operation by the end of 2015,” Chen Fengying, a researcher with the China Institute of Contemporary International Relations, told the country’s official Xinhua News Agency.

      China has agreed to eschew veto power over AIIB decisions in an attempt to win support. This week, Australia’s Treasurer Joe Hockey said the AIIB will offer his country new opportunities. “We are absolutely satisfied that the governance arrangements now in place will ensure there is appropriate transparency and accountability in the bank,” Hockey told Sky News.

      Note to our rulers and masters in The GOP Likuds Force: NICE WORK ASSHOLES

  2. Grexit sounds an awful place.

    Does Godot live there perchance ?

    I wouldn't want to be on the road to Grexit, particularly if my ATM had been shut down.

    If I were a Greek, then, like all Greeks, I'd want to come to America.

    The sentence directly above is a glancing reference to a Hemingway short story.

    Things never seem to change in Greece.

    May be time for another military government........

    Aristotle would say it's inevitable, in any case.

  3. By the way, if you need a little spending cash, Quirk, as you usually do, you might still be able to get on with the hot shot crews out this way.

    You're supposed to undergo some training, but if you tell them you worked for the Detroit Fire Department, you'd pass.

    We will have fires jumping in a week, mark my words.

    1. Since the elk in the high country have nearly all been killed off by the wolves, or have moved down to Wayne's farm, and my place for safety, this year's fire season will go easier on them than is normally the case.

      Some of these hot shot gals are quite hot themselves. There is that aspect to it too.

      You might enjoy yourself.

    2. Just don't volunteer to be a water buck. That's the worst of it.

    3. Robert "Draft Dodger" Peterson is lying to us about he elk in he 'High Counry".
      The Idaho Game and Fish report the truth of the mater

      The Smoky-Bennett Zone east of Boise and north of Mountain Home and Glenns Ferry was a new survey for 2015 that combined the former Smoky Zone with the adjacent Bennett Hills Zone based on elk movements between the two areas.

      The Smoky-Bennett Zone elk herd totaled 4,871 animals, with cow elk (2,712) and calf elk (1,173) making up the majority of the count.

      Nearly 1,000 bulls were counted, including 337 spikes, 349 "raghorn" bulls and 300 mature bulls.

      The Smoky-Bennett Zone calf/cow index was calculated at 43 calves/100 cows, while the bull/cow ratio was calculated at 36 bulls/100 cows.

      “Both the calf/cow and bull/cow ratios are encouraging,” Fish and Game wildlife manager Daryl Meints said. “Both ratios are signs of a very healthy elk herd.”

      When the Smoky-Bennett Zone was established in 2014, new population objectives were developed as well.

      “Objectives for this zone, as laid out in the elk management plan, called for 2,000 to 3,000 cow elk, 620 to 930 total bulls and 400 to 595 adult bulls,” Meints said. “Our January counts have this herd at the top end of the cow elk objective and over objective in both bull categories. That bodes well for the 2015 elk season.”

      Read more here: http://www.idahostatesman.com/2015/02/20/3653683/fg-reports-robust-elk-herds-in.html#storylink=cpy

    4. Further confirmation that Robert "Draft dodger" Peterson is lying ...

      The myth goes like this: Since wolf re-introduction 15 years ago, they have devastated Idaho’s elk populations. Hunters are not finding elk and people are not seeing elk any more.

      The Idaho Department of Fish and Game states Idaho’s elk population is doing fine. During the last 15 years, its elk population has dropped by 20 percent, due to factors such as habitat loss, wildfires, weather, increased numbers of black bears and mountain lions, along with the presence of wolves. The elk population remains above 100,000 and elk harvests by hunters have mostly remained stable during this time.
      The Lolo Zone, however, is the poster child for wolf predation. That elk population has plummeted by 70 percent from a high of 16,000 in 1988. The IDFG stated this decline began before wolves, because of deteriorating habitat and harsh winters, ...


    5. .


      Just ask Wayne.

      Worse, you might want to also ask him about the miscegenate wolf/coyote mutant "wolfyotes" rampaging across his land.


    6. .

      The "wolfyotes" are the latest diabolical adaption in the rapid evolution of these merciless predators.

      Wayne whines, "Bob, how the hell can I shoot one? They are so damn small you can hardly even see them."

      [Obumble grimaces, turns his head slowly back and forth, and takes another sip of his drink.]


  4. This chart goes a long way to explaining the rancor:


  5. Here is how we handled German debt in 1953:

    The London Agreement on German External Debts, also known as the London Debt Agreement

    1.The parties that were involved besides West Germany included Belgium, Canada, Denmark, France, Great Britain, Greece, Iran, Ireland, Italy, Liechtenstein, Luxembourg, Norway, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, South Africa, the United States, Yugoslavia and others

    2. The total under negotiation was 32 billion marks

    3. 16 billion DM of debt resulting from the Treaty of Versailles owed to government and private banks in the U.S., France and Britain.

    4. 16 billion DM represented postwar loans by the U.S. Under the London Debts Agreement of 1953, the repayable amount was reduced by 50% to about 15 billion marks and stretched out over 30 years

    5. While West Germany ran a trade surplus, repayments were limited to 3% of export earnings.

  6. For some time we have been posting themes on the levels of corruption in Washington DC. I believe that it is corrupt beyond redemption. It is past being managed by the people it was designed to serve. The examples of votes relating to Israel are indicative to the level of corruption and political depravity of the US Congress. Washington is owned by the lobbies.

    Check this out by Gary Hart, who was one piece of ass away from the Oval Office:

    Gary Hart: America’s Founding Principles Are in Danger of Corruption
    Gary Hart June 26, 2015

    Welcome to the age of vanity politics and campaigns-for-hire. What would our founders make of this nightmare?

    Four qualities have distinguished republican government from ancient Athens forward: the sovereignty of the people; a sense of the common good; government dedicated to the commonwealth; and resistance to corruption. Measured against the standards established for republics from ancient times, the American Republic is massively corrupt.

    From Plato and Aristotle forward, corruption was meant to describe actions and decisions that put a narrow, special, or personal interest ahead of the interest of the public or commonwealth. Corruption did not have to stoop to money under the table, vote buying, or even renting out the Lincoln bedroom. In the governing of a republic, corruption was self-interest placed above the interest of all—the public interest.

    By that standard, can anyone seriously doubt that our republic, our government, is corrupt? There have been Teapot Domes and financial scandals of one kind or another throughout our nation’s history. There has never been a time, however, when the government of the United States was so perversely and systematically dedicated to special interests, earmarks, side deals, log-rolling, vote-trading, and sweetheart deals of one kind or another.

    What brought us to this? A sinister system combining staggering campaign costs, political contributions, political action committees, special interest payments for access, and, most of all, the rise of the lobbying class.

    Worst of all, the army of lobbyists that started relatively small in the mid-twentieth century has now grown to big battalions of law firms and lobbying firms of the right, left, and an amalgam of both. And that gargantuan, if not reptilian, industry now takes on board former members of the House and the Senate and their personal and committee staffs. And they are all getting fabulously rich.

    This development in recent years has been so insidious that it now goes without notice. The key word is not quid-pro-quo bribery, the key word is access. In exchange for a few moments of the senator’s time and many more moments of her committee staff’s time, fund-raising events with the promise of tens, even hundreds, of thousands of dollars are delivered.

    Corruption in a federated republic such as ours operates vertically as well as horizontally. Seeing how business is conducted in Washington, it did not take long for governors of both parties across the country to subscribe to the special-interest state. Both the Republican and Democratic governors’ associations formed “social welfare” organizations composed of wealthy interests and corporate executives to raise money for their respective parties in exchange for close, personal access to individual governors, governors who almost surely could render executive decisions favorable to those corporate interests. A series of judicial decisions enabled these “social welfare” groups, supposedly barred from political activity, to channel virtually unlimited amounts of money to governors in exchange for access, the political coin of the realm in the corrupted republic, and to do so out of sight of the American people. Editorially, the New York Times commented that “the stealthy form of political corruption known as ‘dark money’ now fully permeates governor’s offices around the country, allowing corporations to push past legal barriers and gather enormous influence.”


    1. http://time.com/3937860/gary-hart-america-corruption/

    2. It is a long article, worth the read and in my opinion, it is not fixable by peaceful means.

    3. Oh oh..............

      not fixable by peaceful means

      I have been concerned that this sort of rhetoric might raise its ugly head.


      W H Auden

      You need a 'time out', Deuce.

      I can get you a seat on a ten day float down the Middle Salmon.

      It might be your salvation.

      It's spendy, about $40,000, chump change to a Limo guy, though.

  7. Foreign Investment in Israel down by 46% in one year.


    1. .

      No thanks to the US.

      In line with the post Deuce put up above concerning the corruption endemic in government,

      Lawmakers Are Using Trade Rules to Blacklist Critics of Israel

      Legislation to fast track new trade pacts specifically targets supporters of the BDS movement against the Israeli occupation.

      Sheldon Adelson, a billionaire GOP super donor and staunch supporter of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, recently launched a “Campus Maccabee” initiative to combat increased activism around the BDS movement on college campuses in the United States. He says it’s to protect Jewish students from anti-Semitism. But all students have the right to free speech, and advocacy and boycotting are constitutionally protected activities.

      Legislative activism against BDS has a similarly chilling effect, both on civil liberties and on global movements for human rights. Hitching their political wagons to regressive “free trade” agreements such as the Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement, uncritically pro-Israel lobbyists like AIPAC have taken aim against companies that comply with the global movement to boycott Israel and its illegal settlements in the West Bank by making trade contingent on opposition to BDS. This is a decidedly McCarthyist approach.

      The “fast-track” Trade Promotion Authority bill recently debated in Congress contains provisions that would make discouraging BDS a central objective of U.S. trade policy. The bill includes language prohibiting “state-sponsored unsanctioned foreign boycotts against Israel or compliance with the Arab League Boycott of Israel by prospective trading partners.” Such proscriptions are likely to accompany any future version of the TPP and other pacts.

      The related Trade Facilitation and Enforcement Act, versions of which have now passed the House and Senate, also discourages the adoption of BDS tactics, asserting that “among the principal U.S. trade negotiating objectives for trade agreements with foreign countries are to discourage actions to boycott, divest from, or sanction Israel.” Further, in language redolent of McCarthyism, the bill “requires the President to report annually to Congress on politically motivated acts of boycott against, divestment from, and sanctions against Israel.” Effectively, this bill authorizes the State Department to create a blacklist of companies as well as individuals that have adopted non-violent sanctions against Israel.

      Current legislative proscriptions against the global BDS movement represent an assault on civil liberties. Suppressing BDS is, to borrow a McCarthyist phrase, simply un-American. In this case, it also advances the anti-egalitarian, pro-corporate agenda of “free trade.”

      By outlawing a key non-violent tactic for political change, the proscription against BDS adds to the potentially chilling impact that pacts like the TPP will have on global movements for human rights. “Free trade” agreements work to delimit the power of grassroots movements for labor, environmental, and human rights...


      Disgusting. One more reason to oppose the trade deal that is being shoved down our throats.


  8. The Lolo is not the exception, but the rule.

    Anyone that has followed this as long as I have knows.

    Idaho Fish and Game numbers are mostly bullshit.

    They are 'playing defense'.

    1. .


      :o) :o)

      :o) :o) :o)

      :o) :o) :o) :o) :o) :O) :o) :o) :0) :0) :0) :O) :O) :O):O)......

      Stop it. You're killing me.



    2. Those with a brain might wonder why the helicopter gunships are on mission against the wolves in the back country if things are so OkayDokay.

      This has been about as effective as the "rat Doctrine" against ISIS, to make a comparison.

      I expect the Idaho Fish and Game to take non sense from the Obama Administration, and go with some new "Lily Pad" offensive against the wolves one of these days.........

      When this occurs, I will forthrightly get Quart a job out there on a "Lily Pad" in the Lolo....

      That should shut his flap for a while.....

      He could write an action piece "Life and Survival on the Lily Pads of Lolo" by Quart Q Quagmire and get on the New York Times Best Seller List.

      Morons back east would eat it up.

      Or why there are over a hundred elk wandering around the Wayne and Bob farms, when we never ever had any before, ever, never never ever.

      I get itwhy this thought doesn't arise in the case of our lamentable Quart Q Quagmire, Esquire.

      It takes long decades to totally ruin a mind with Vodka, but it can be done.

    3. With Quart lily padding in the Lolo, and Deuce on 'time out' on the Middle Salmon, this place might start to make some sense, if rat hole stays away, and Rufus stays dead drunk and asleep.....

    4. .

      Those with a brain might wonder why the helicopter gunships are on mission against the wolves in the back country if things are so OkayDokay.

      "Don't be concerned. The helicopter gunships are just out there hunting wolves."

      That's the story and the local yokels eat it up like gravy.

      Crazy, the credulity that runs rampant in the Ideeeho boondocks.


    5. .

      Next, they will be believing in wolfyotes.


    6. .

      Or why there are over a hundred elk wandering around the Wayne and Bob farms...

      Sounds like an 'over-population' problem to me.

      Looks like Fish and Game is falling down on their herd management role. Probably should be doing a bit of culling.


  9. The Idaho Fish and Game Department would do well to try and count the elk and wolves out around the Wayne and Bob farms, and along the Clearwater River Breaks.

    Don't expect them to do so, however. They are busy changing the oil in their pickup trucks.

    They have roughly 50% more pickup trucks than employees in the entire idiotic agency, you know.

    It's a big headache, keeping the fleet running....

    1. .

      Sounds like Fish and Game should consider exercising eminent domain and turning Wayne and Bob's farms into the Wayne and Bob Elk Preserve. Sounds like a good habitat.



  10. The Arabs of the middle east are occupying many people's lands.

    From the Jews to the Druze, Copts to the Africans.

    More Jews were driven from their homes in 1948 than Arabs.

    Arabs that live in the 899/900th of the middle east that are occupied (illegally) by the arabs need to be resisted

    Any occupied people have the right to resist, dissent and fight against their occupiers and tormenters. The all of the non-arabs of the arab occupied in middle east have that right.

    1. It's time for the natives of north africa to resist, dissent and fight (to kill) the arab occupiers of their lands.

      Arabs belong ONLY in a small part of Arabia.

      Now is the time for change.

      Thanks Deuce for educating us.

    2. Berbers arise in arms...

      Kill the Occupiers...

    3. Druze arise and kill or drive out the arab occupiers....

    4. Copts of Egypt!!!! Arise and kill or drive out the arab occupiers...

    5. Time for the africans to drive out or kill the arabs that have no place in africa!!!!!

      Arabs are occupiers of african lands...

    6. Thanks Deuce... :)

      Oh and Jews? They predate the arabs in north africa and Israel by 1000 years.

      there is no ancient palestinian people, it's a modern invention...

      So too if they are arabs?

      They are occupiers of the Jews lands.

      Back to arabia, (but not the jewish parts)

    7. I've read the muzzie has been on the war path from the very beginning, 1400 years ago, ever since they attacked the Jewish city of - Khobar (?) - in what is now Saudi Arabia.

      I compare the muzzie to the wolves of Idaho, outsiders, intent on murder of the local peaceful populations....

      Taken in historical perspective, It's all they do, it's all they know how to do......

      In Iran they chant "Death to the West" and some fools here seem to admire them.......

      It's inexplicable.

  11. Air conditioner on full blast here, room is sealed, iced tea are brewed, I'm hunkering down to 'beat the heat' -

    It's going to be a real mother out there today...........

    I bet it goes over 110 degrees......

    Will write OGF in Vegas and see how things are going there.....they are usually about 8 degrees over the highs in Idaho.....

    1. Bob,
      Egads it's only 102 here and the high today will be 106. You poor folks aren't used
      to those 110's. Hunker down! :) ..............

      ...........Almost the Fourth of July. My favorite holiday! Hope we can find a good spot to
      watch fireworks. I miss the fabulous display we used to be able to attend at the
      country club. I think we can get close enough to watch though. He! He!


      Always been big on the 4th of July, she has.

      Didn't get it from her uber liberal cello playing music professor father, that's for sure....

      Maybe she just likes explosions...

  12. Israeli atrocities against Palestinian human beings in the apartheid ghettos under Israeli control.

    Wow, Gaza is an "apartheid ghetto"?


    If it is it's an apartheid ghetto because of Hamas, the elected folks that are partners in the PA unity government that is now recognized as a state by even the POPE...


    1. Yes, Gaza is an apartheid ghetto, another bogus Bantustan.

    2. Actually the palestinians of Syria live in a ghetto..


      Rat, Deuce you both cry wolf... read the story.. learn...

  13. This comment has been removed by the author.

  14. Warsaw Ghetto

    was the largest ghetto containing at its height more than 400,000 people. It was the site of the first urban uprising in occupied Europe.
    The Warsaw shared many characteristics with other ghettos: Conditions worsened over time as did accompanying mortality from starvation and disease; social welfare organizations ministered to the needy; there was a rich cultural life;
    the ghetto was administered internally by a Judenrat and policed by the Jewish Police;


    a Jewish council created under German orders which was responsible for internal matters in a ghetto.
    In the beginning the members tried to resist German pressure. However, as time went on, the Judenrat was forced to deliver Jews to the deportation trains that were bringing them to their deaths. Under pressure many members of the Judenrat cooperated with the Germans.

    Jewish Police
    (Judischer Ordnungsdienst),

    the Jewish police units organized in the ghettos by the Judenrat. The Jewish police collected people for forced labor, guarded the ghetto fences and gates and eventually seized people for deportations.
    There was often misconduct and corruption among the police, and they were regarded with apprehension by the ghetto community. They and their families were, at first, exempt from deportation, but this exemption was rescinded when their usefulness to the Germans ceased.


    1. Good to see Rat can cut out of context and paste shit as usual...


      I hope the Palestinians of Gaza experience a "Warsaw" moment, of course it will be against the Egyptians....


    2. More than 80,000 Jews died in the Warsaw ghetto.

      So Jack are you saying Israel has to kill an additional 77.800 palestinians to fit your label?

    3. Not at all, "O"rdure.
      The comparison is to the 'self-rule' permitted by the keeper of the ghetto, the Zionist having improved upon the terror techniques of both the National Party of South Africa and the NAZI.

  15. Here's a little more insight into the Juan Cole character, often cited as an intellectual source around here -

    Robert Spencer in PJ Media: Michigan Professor Juan Cole Thinks the Charleston Race Murders Are My Fault

    June 27, 2015 10:45 am By Robert Spencer

    juancoleIn PJ Media I take apart the latest farrago from a leader of the academic left.

    …University of Michigan professor Juan Cole, showing an imaginative reach that would arouse envy in J. K. Rowling, blames Roof’s murders on … Pamela Geller and me. He reveals how uninterested in truth and rational analysis the academic Left and the “Islamophobia”-mongers really are….

    Cole grandly announces:

    …[Breivik’s] passions were whipped up … by reading anti-Muslim hatemongers such as Robert Spencer, Pamela Geller and Daniel Pipes (whose ‘Campus Watch’ is an Israeli settler-oriented attempt to deny tenure to American academics critical of Israel’s oppression of the stateless Palestinians, and to harass more senior professors with character assassination).

    That Breivik was a lone psychopath, not the vanguard of an army of “right-wing terrorists” stirred up by Pamela Geller and me, has been for nearly four years now a keen disappointment to Cole and his comrades.

    In their need for bogeymen, they have no alternative other than to keeping trotting him out. They hope that their readers won’t notice his murders were singular and not part of a movement, that they took place years ago, and that Breivik himself criticized me and the others who are supposed to have incited him to homicidal rage for being “to [sic] scared to propagate a conservative revolution and armed resistance.”

    In other words, Anders Breivik hated us for rejecting violence, while according to Juan Cole, we goaded him to commit violence.

    Even more devastating for Cole’s argument: contrary to Cole’s claim about Dylann Storm Roof’s insane “manifesto,” Roof never once mentions me, or Pamela Geller, or Geert Wilders, or Marine LePen, or Daniel Pipes, or Islam, or Muslims….

    Cole, for all his handwringing about our baneful influence, would never dare debate me or Pamela Geller or anyone else he is so intent to defame.When one has as willingly and even eagerly foregone the use of the tools of genuine intellectual discourse in favor of propaganda and defamation as he has, one fears taking them up again, particularly in a debate setting. When one has become used to playing Julius Streicher, it becomes more and more of a stretch to play Abe Lincoln (or Stephen A. Douglas).

    He knows, in other words, that he’d get waxed. The truth has a way of coming out, despite the best efforts of people like Juan Cole to obscure it.


  16. Well, it's sad.

    I see the place is going down the shithole again, now that the crapper is back.

    Same old bullshit from the crapper.

    What a lovely break, though.

    1. (I was hoping he'd run off and joined up with his good buds in Hamas)

  17. By the way, Sisi in Egypt is attempting a reform of the education system there. He's a good fellow. He is predictably running into stiff opposition from the clerics who want to continue to teach the 'kill the infidel' type of Islam.

    Sisi has zero desire to go to war with Israel. His predecessor is now in jail under a death penalty ruling, where he should be. Morsi was beginning to re militarize the Sinai..

    Sisi has put a stop to this nonsense.

    Nor does Sisi think highly of the apes in Gaza.

    He is not an idiot.

    My OGF's Egyptian friend has said she is not going back to Egypt. She likes Vegas. This intelligent learned Egyptian lady supports Sisi.

    She says, her people, the Egyptians, are like little children that don't want to grow up, and badly need a 'father figure' like Sisi to try and see them through puberty.....

    1. This high class, elegant, well educated Egyptian beauty ain't from Mississippi as the old saying has it.

    2. The alumni of the US Army War College is Carlisle, PA, General Sisi is the current US proxy in Egypt.
      He is probably more dependable than Mubarak and definitely the choice of General Dynamics.
      Those 1,400 M1 Abrams tanks assembled at the General Dynamics facility in Cairo, a tidy piece of business.

      The Egyptian Army and the US set the Muslim Brotherhood up to take the fall, got them out of the shadows and into the spotlight.
      Another of the wins garnered by the US's recent foreign policies.

  18. If Jim Webb gets into the Democratic race, as I hope he does, Bernie's day in the sun is likely quickly over.

    His would be the first more or less sane, non criminal face over there on the Democratic side of our politics.

  19. The funny news?

    The Arab occupiers of the middle east are getting pressure, both from inside and outside their communities.

    What was the "arab" world" is changing....

    America bombing them thousands and thousands of times of course is just killing a few ten thousand but whose counting.......

    Meanwhile the persians are helping destroy them...

    and you folks are focused on the shiny object called Israel...


    Gaza is Hamas, Hamas is the SAME as ISIS...


    1. .

      Hamas is the only thing keeping ISIS out of Gaza.


  20. “Mowing The Lawn” - The Callous Disregard And Killing Of Palestinians By The State Of Israel

    LOVE the headline....

    How is Israel, doing to Hamas any different than what America is doing 9000 thousand miles from it's borders to ISIS/ISIL in Iraq and Syria, except Israel has killed far fewer civilians?

  21. “Mowing The Lawn” - The Callous Disregard And Killing Of Palestinians By The State Of Israel

    Not very effective...

    2,200 dead, over half terrorists...

    Population of Gaza 1.816 million.....


    Not such a great number of deaths considering the tens of thousands of Israeli airstrikes...

    Maybe it's time for a better pair of shears....

    1. 1,816,000 people (including terrorists)
      2,200 people (including terrorists) dead...

      wow... what %is that?

    2. .

      Hey, buck up. Don't sell yourself short.

      Progress is erratic but you were able to increase the body count by over 50% since 2009.

      The trend is your friend.


    3. Thanks quirk, but the count is still small and meaningless compared to the number that America, Assad and Iran have racked up....

      Hardly a Dresden.... :(

    4. Apparently Hamas wants more death...


      It seems they are BRaGGING about their NEW and improved Terror Tunnels under and into Israel...

      I guess more palestinians will need to be "mowed" soon...

    5. .

      Not such a great number of deaths considering the tens of thousands of Israeli airstrikes...

      Well, you have to remember that they missed with a couple of their torpedoes at point blank range back in 1967 too.


    6. hmmmm.....0.12%


      1.2 %

      Someone check my math.....

    7. But to address Quirk's point?

      The numbers of deaths from the Israelis? TINY compared to the death tolls around it....

      Rufus was celebrating 13,000 dead head cutters just weeks ago...

      Assad and Iran (with Hezbollah) have racked up over 300,000 (including 12,000 palestinians)

      Not to mention Sudan, Libya, Somolia and such...

      Nope the Gazans have not had it bad, relatively, if they could only get rid of Hamas? they might have a chance...

    8. And, unbelievable though it may sound, because of desire and will, it is working. Last year, 180,000 Palestinian citizens entered Israel to receive treatment. 3,000 emergency patients were transferred from Israeli to Palestinian ambulances using the “back to back” method, without warning. “Ultimately, this is a rewarding experience. There is frustration, of course there is. But on the other hand, there are people who see me on the street or in hospitals, hear my name and say ‘You saved my son’s life’. When you get home in the end of the day and examine your life, you know that you saved lives. You know you did a lot of good.”

      wow.. 180,000 gazans treated by israel in ONE year...


    9. .

      Right, they would be doing great, just like their bros in the West Bank.

      Out of solitary confinement and into the general population.


    10. Quirk, with all due respect? You don't KNOW shit....

      You have never been there...

      You have not seen with your own eyes the real reality, you just parrot the propaganda...

      So excuse me, but your bullshit doesn't really fly...

      Now go ask a palestinian in syria or lebanon what life is like...

    11. .

      WiO, with all due respect, save your bullshit.

      Just like you, I know what is going on in Israel between the current government and the Palestinians. I can read it and see it every day (the marvels of science). The history is clear and the trends are plain. If you really believe the bull you put up about that Palestinian Club Med you are wasted here. You should be out proselyting for AIPAC memberships. But save your time with me. I've seen AIPAC in action. The example are many but the story I posted above says it all. Typical AIPAC. If there is opposition to Israel, get the US Congress to put in legislation to punish those involved. Stifle any dissent. McCarthyism at its best. 1984 redux.


    12. Club Med?

      You just likened it to a prison.. Now you say I am calling it a "club med"!!! I call bullshit on you.

      the over whelming majority of the west bank's population of arabs have to go out of their way to even see an israeli....

      Any conditions that they live under is the PA's call...

      The Palestinians of Gaza? It's a shit hole and it's all the Hamas's doing...

      As for your knee jerk mccarthy-like aipac labeling?

      I quit aipac a year ago, not right wing enough for me...

    13. This comment has been removed by the author.

  22. Hey I've been thinking this whole Gaza Problem over and think I am have come up with a solution.

    What do you think of this:

    1) Iran quits shipping/smuggling missiles into Gaza


    2) the Gazans quit launching them into Israel

    Gaza, by the way, was supposed to have been disarmed long ago under some long forgotten UN agreement or some such.

    Anyway, I think I may have hit on something of a good idea here.

    Alas, I don't think it will happen though because:

    Both Hamas and Iran are pledged to the genocide of all Israelis and wiping Israel off the map.

    This is the frozen brick in my wonderful warm peaceful pie, and I don't know how to overcome it.

    Any suggestions ?

    1. Quirk ?

      You're the only one left here except for WiO and I with enough rationality left to hazard an answer.

    2. .

      Don't be stupid, Bob. Any answer I gave you wouldn't like.


  23. How about the US quits shipping missiles to Israel?

    1. ... Saudi Arabia?


      US approves billion-dollar arms sale to Pakistan

      The US Defence Security Cooperation Agency delivered the required certification notifying Congress of this possible sale.

      “This proposed sale will contribute to the foreign policy and national security of the United States by helping to improve the security of a country vital to US foreign policy and national security goals in South Asia,” the certification said.

      “This proposed sale of helicopters and weapon systems will provide Pakistan with military capabilities in support of its counter-terrorism and counter-insurgency operations in South Asia,” it added.

      The agency informed US lawmakers that this proposed sale would provide Pakistan with “a precision strike, enhanced survivability aircraft” that it can operate at high-altitudes.

      Missiles ... they are in the package deal, too.

      Is the US About to Sell 1,000 Missiles to Pakistan?

      Islamabad will receive new attack helicopters and other military hardware worth almost $1 billion.

      In detail the package includes:

      (….) 15 AH-1Z Viper Attack Helicopters, 32 T-700 GE 401C Engines (30 installed and 2 spares),
      1000 AGM-114 R Hellfire II Missiles in containers...

    2. Good idea, arms to Israel.

      They should be helped all they need to defend themselves against savages.

      We should be helping the Kurds as well. And making nice to Sisi.

      I like particularly the Iron Dome missiles, which are manufactured here (I think).

      Iron Dome was a joint USA/Israeli project IIRC.

      Is there any chance at all that you will finally accept my offer of a one way ticket to Gaza, rathole ?

      You have to go there and walk around in public in Jewish garb for two weeks.

      Thus I am giving you the chance to show the world once and for all what a wonder of multiculturalism Gaza really is......an example to the whole world, indeed.

      Rufus and Deuce have also been offered this once in a lifetime opportunity.

    3. Maybe if America stopped supplying and funding the arabs with a trillion in weapons Israel could take care of it's self..

      Oh wait, America protest the OIL shipping lanes for free....

    4. America has stopped missile shipments to Israel

      Obama Reportedly Blocks Israel Missile Shipment

      US administration officials stop missile transfer, order all future transfers to be scrutinized in sign of further cooling ties.


      Of course, this will cause Israel to both use others and it's self for the supply AND not use as high precision weapons for it's defense thus causing more collateral damage. IE civilians...

      So if you want more palestinians to die? Cut off the more precise weapons to Israel. that's Jack's suggestion, he wants more palestinian civilians to die...

  24. Israel could, of course, to continue our Home and Garden metaphors, simply spray the whole god awful lawn of Gaza with Wipe Out instead of periodically going to all the trouble of simply mowing the lawn.

    Rest assured that the Gazans and Iranians would do just that to Israel if they were able.

    The Israelis won't do this, of course, because they are Jews, mostly, and have a regard for life.

    If one of these missiles from Gaza should contain a nuke though, or a dirty bomb, then however all bets are off.

    Gaza will disappear into the mists of history, as it should in that case.

  25. Heroin surpasses Marijuana in Mexico's drug production
    Lucio R. Borderland Beat republished from Reforma

    In the last four years the production of heroin in Mexico has surpassed marijuana.

    Marijuana entities have given way to the poppy, the precursor opium gum and heroin, a more addictive drug and yielding higher profits for Mexican organized crime groups trafficking into the United States.


    1. It's tough to make it in the Marijuana market in the States these days.

      It's everywhere, legal in two or three states, with more sure to come.

      The homeless rate has skyrocketed in Denver, Colorado, and the deleterious effects on SAT scores are yet to come, only a few years away.

      We will be less able to compete on the international intellectual market, but we won't care any longer.

      Our places will be taken, are now being taken, by, say, Hindu women for instance, with true fire in the gut and heart, true intellectual curiosity, and true grit.

      They will get the prize, because they deserve it, and have earned it.

  26. Sydney Morning Herald -

    The euro has plunged nearly 2 per cent against the US dollar in the first signs of the market turmoil about to be unleashed by Greece's failure to agree

  27. The best solution to the middle east issues?

    Devalue OIL.

  28. Those two escaped cons went the wrong way.

    They should have tried to make it to New York City and disappear into the millions.

    So it's back to The Clinton Correctional Institute for the one survivor, exactly where Hillary Clinton herself should be housed.

    1. Along with a nearly unending list of other Democrats too, starting with Harry Reid......on an on and on...down The Long List.....

  29. .

    I call bullshit on you.


    the over whelming majority of the west bank's population of arabs have to go out of their way to even see an israeli...

    That's because they can't see over the walls Israel keeps putting up.

    The Palestinians of Gaza? It's a shit hole...

    Most prisons are. I don't know any who would choose to live in one.

    As for your knee jerk mccarthy-like aipac labeling?

    I call them like I see them. The US has been covering Israel's ass for decades. Providing money to keep it afloat. Assuring it has cutting edge weapons which give it a qualitative military edge over the others in the ME. Covering its back in the UN where in absence of the US veto, Israel would have been formally condemned and likely sanctioned long ago. And what thanks does the US get? ZIP! NADA! NONE! Need I once again put up Bibi's comments on his views of the US, the contempt with which he holds this country? And AIPAC is an agent of Israel. You only have to go to their website to see it. However, their latest trick getting amendments attached to US trade deals that Israel isn't even a party to takes the cake. Punishing people and organizations for expressing opinions and choosing when and where and with whom they will trade is straight up McCarthyism, stifling dissent, the opposite of free-trade.

    I quit aipac a year ago, not right wing enough for me..

    Why doesn't that surprise?


    1. Alrighty then, that does it, you are now invited to a free one way trip to Gaza, two weeks with a skull cap, Star of David on your back, and Hebrew Bible in your hands, and "Yes, I am Jewish" on your lips.

      Gaza is not a prison. Your rhetoric betrays your prejudice.

      Gaza is much better described as a human shit hole.

      You are invited to find that out with your one way free ticket to Gaza, conditions attached.

      Think of it, if you survive you will make FOX NEWS!

      You might even be invited to be a weekly commentator there:

      'The Man Who Proved Gaza Is A Humane Welcoming Society'

      Having a brain, and a survival instinct you are going to turn this offer down.

      Which reminds me I must finish my Thought Experiment sometime this week.

      I will put it up soon. But not tomorrow.

    2. quirk spouts:

      That's because they can't see over the walls Israel keeps putting up.

      The fence, 98% and the wall 2% (the wall portion to stop palestinian sniper fire) keeps terrorists out of Israel.

      It's amazing your hypocrisy...

      I only hope that you and your family get some nice jihadist next door neighbors someday...

      you deserve it.

    3. The Palestinians of Gaza? It's a shit hole...

      Most prisons are. I don't know any who would choose to live in one.

      Fast and lose with fact ole Quirk is...

      A hamas shit hole... Created by the them, when the Jews lived there? it was fine...

      but the Israelis threw the jews out for peace...

      then the PA took charge with looting, ransacking and the games began.

      Remember the Hamas throwing Fatah members off roof tops?


      I do...

      Remember the european inspectors RUNNING to Israel for safety from Hamas?

      I do...

      Its a self inflicted prison.

      Hamas, the Palestinian version of ISIS.

    4. Quirk has a selective memory.

      It all stems from his lengthy experience in American courts as a defendant.

    5. .

      Bob, your post is just plain silly. Why would I want to visit Gaza? Why would I want to visit any part of occupied Palestine? Why would I want to visit Israel? Why would I want to visit anyplace in the godforsaken ME?

      Gaza is not a prison.

      Really? Do you prefer internment camp, ghetto, goal, work camp? Let's face it, the people in Gaza do not have free ingress or egress. They are surrounded with a fence on three sides with a no-man's land which is covered by watch towers. Entering that no-mans land can and has resulted in people getting shot. The West side of Gaza fronts the Mediterranean. For the past decade, Israel has maintained a blockade of the Gaza coast. Trying to get into or out of Gaza by sea can result in your getting shot.

      Fishing is restricted. Development of natural resources within the blockaded area is restricted by the Israelis. For instance, Gaza can't develop its natural gas reserves unless it is willing first ship the gas through Israel through Israel pipelines to their final destinations.

      They pay for utilities coming from Israel. The power can be cut off at the whim of the Israelis. There are a few checkpoints controlled by the Israelis. Most of the food they eat has to come through the checkpoints. Any materials they need comes through the checkpoints. The types of food and material and the quantities allowed are all controlled by the Israelis. The checkpoints themselves can be and often are shut down by the Israelis.

      The Gazans can't come and go as they please. What do you call that? Prison? Internment?

      From Wiki,

      A prison,[a] correctional facility, penitentiary, gaol (England), or jail[b] is a facility in which inmates are forcibly confined and denied a variety of freedoms under the authority of the state as a form of punishment…

      Outside of their use for punishing civil crimes, authoritarian regimes also frequently use prisons and jails as tools of political repression to punish political crimes, often without trial or other legal due process; this use is illegal under most forms of international law governing fair administration of justice. In times of war, prisoners of war or detainees may also be detained in military prisons or prisoner of war camps, and large groups of civilians might be imprisoned in internment camps.

      What do you call Gaza?


    6. .

      ...but the Israelis threw the jews out for peace...

      Right, Ariel Sharon was a real pussycat. The reason he pulled the Jews out of Israel is the same reason the PA has a police force and maintains the peace in the West Bank, its a hell of a lot cheaper. Occupation is expensive. Much cheaper to run a prison or a ghetto. Israel doesn't have the manpower to run all the services and control the peace in Gaza and the West Bank. Even if they did they would go broke trying to pay for it.


    7. Looking on the bright side, some progress seems to have been made here. You have admitted - contrary to the continual assertions of one or two other posters here - that the West Bank is not, at least, Israeli occupied territory, or Gaza either:

      >> the PA has a police force and maintains the peace in the West Bank, its a hell of a lot cheaper. Occupation is expensive. Much cheaper to run a prison or a ghetto. Israel doesn't have the manpower to run all the services and control the peace in Gaza and the West Bank<<

      The issue of ingress and egress from Gaza - I don't have much of an answer to that. You don't expect the Israelis to allow free ingress and egress to Israel proper from Gaza do you ? Obviously they cannot do that. Over on the other side, you will have to take it up with Egyptian President Sisi.

      As to the sea, it would be very helpful if the Gazans didn't continually try to and often succeed in smuggling weapons and missiles into Gaza from Iran to shoot at Israel.

      How do you propose the Israelis stop this from occurring ?

      Admit it now, things have gone downhill since Gaza was taken over by Hamas.

      Somewhere back there in the past I believe there was a Resolution of some kind to disarm Gaza. Help me out on this if you can.

      What do you actually propose the Israelis do to stop being rocketed from Gaza ?

      No one can be expected to put up with that.

      Given the mind set of Hamas and Iran I do not think a solution is in the making any time soon.

      You could ask Iran to quit with the weaponizing of Gaza, I guess.

      What good it would do you I don't know, but I don't think it would do much.

      If Gaza were magically transformed into a population of Swedes, Swiss, Americans or Hindus, all would suddenly be well.

      None of these groups has the mind set to genocide the Jews.

    8. >>Bob, your post is just plain silly. Why would I want to visit Gaza?<<

      Only a fool would want to visit Gaza.

      Because it is a hell hole.

      That is my very point, you silly.

      And if you were forced to visit either Gaza or Israel, you would visit Israel, has you are intelligent and have a survival instinct.

      And, to prelude my Thought Experiment, if you had the choice, and only the choice,(no fair saying Michigan, or Idaho) between having your beloved daughter grow up in and live in Gaza or Israel, you would choose Israel, for the well being of your daughter, whom you love.

      I am trying to point out the cultural differences between these groups.

      When we think of the situation from the point of view of the well being of our beloved daughters, everyone of us, including Rufus, would choose Israel over the Moslem 'societies', save perhaps rathole.

      Because we love our daughters, and wish them free, voting, responsible, educated on and on and on WOMEN in the fullest sense possible to the greatest extent of their abilities.

      And they have o so much a greater chance of that in Israel.......

    9. Gaza has a choice.

      Stop building tunnels and rocket shops or choose peace.

      it's their choice.

    10. Here is a novel idea. Get out of their land.

    11. Here is a novel idea....

      Israel is legal, legitimate and authentic.

      Gaza's population is in fact filled with arabs from Arabia with no historic connection to the land.

      Oh and for cherry on top?

      Deuce, get the heck out of the native's of America's lands.

    12. But wait, you deny the right to Jews to self determination, call them land thieves....

      but what are you?

      You have no historic connection to the lands of america....

      and yet you live here....

      an occupier...

    13. The arabs of gaza have no claim on Israel lands...

      deuce, why does it anger, sicken you to think that the Jews have a right to a homeland in Israel?

      look in the mirror

    14. it's interesting that deuce loves to come back to the meme that Israel has no right to be....

    15. but deuce is Not an anti-semite, just hates Israel, it's people, it's existence and of course any connection to the Jews with the lands as fantasy, fiction and myth,...

      No problems with the islamic and arab claims...


  30. Scalia is by far the best Justice on the Supreme Court, the best Justice we've had in decades -

    Scalia's Full Dissent on Same-Sex Marriage Ruling
    "I write separately to call attention to this Court’s threat to American democracy."
    June 28, 2015

    I join THE CHIEF JUSTICE’s opinion in full. I write separately to call attention to this Court’s threat to American democracy.

    The substance of today’s decree is not of immense personal importance to me. The law can recognize as marriage whatever sexual attachments and living arrangements it wishes, and can accord them favorable civil consequences, from tax treatment to rights of inheritance.

    Those civil consequences—and the public approval that conferring the name of marriage evidences—can perhaps have adverse social effects, but no more adverse than the effects of many other controversial laws. So it is not of special importance to me what the law says about marriage. It is of overwhelming importance, however, who it is that rules me. Today’s decree says that my Ruler, and the Ruler of 320 million Americans coast-to-coast, is a majority of the nine lawyers on the Supreme Court. The opinion in these cases is the furthest extension in fact— and the furthest extension one can even imagine—of the Court’s claimed power to create “liberties” that the Constitution and its Amendments neglect to mention. This practice of constitutional revision by an unelected committee of nine, always accompanied (as it is today) by extravagant praise of liberty, robs the People of the most important liberty they asserted in the Declaration of Independence and won in the Revolution of 1776: the freedom to govern themselves.............


    Read it and weep, American serfs.

  31. June 29, 2015
    The Lesson From Pope Francis and Queen Elizabeth II
    By Michael Curtis

    During the last year, Pope Francis has spoken out on a number of controversial political issues, including poverty, the environment, immigration, the fate of Christian communities in Arab countries, and the need for peace in the world. He has issued formal statements, most notably his encyclical letter concerning global warming, pollution, and family planning.

    More surprisingly, in impromptu remarks while in Turin, Italy, on June 21, 2015, he entered the thorny historical arena with a challenging question. Why didn’t the Allied powers bomb the Nazi extermination camps? Those in power at the time, the pope said, had intelligence information that minorities were being transported to concentration camps across Europe. The great powers had photographs of the railroad routes that trains took to the concentration camps, such as Auschwitz, to kill Jews and also Christians, Roma (gypsies), and homosexuals. Why, he asked, did not those powers bomb those railroad routes?

    The pope raised a moral and historical question that has troubled many others. The Allied powers were indeed well-informed and had known about the issue since the Polish resistance fighter Jan Karski reported on it in November 1942 to the exiled Polish government in London, and then to Allied leaders including the British government and President Roosevelt. His message concerned the destruction of the Warsaw Ghetto and the mass extermination of Jews that was occurring in German-occupied Poland. In spite of the consequent calls in the U.S. and the U.K. for the death camps, especially the three camps of Auschwitz, to be bombed by the U.S. forces, no action was taken.

    Three arguments were given for this refusal. The first argument, one that was relevant for only a few weeks, was made by David Ben-Gurion, then head of the Jewish Agency. He thought it undesirable to bomb places where there were Jews. However, in a few weeks, he changed his mind when he realized that Auschwitz was a death camp, and he then supported a strike.

    The second argument, prevalent in Washington, D.C., was that total concentration should be on winning the war, not on the fate of the Jews. Therefore, resources should not be diverted from that overriding priority of attacking military targets to win the war as quickly as possible.

    The third argument, overlapping the second, was that U.S. aircraft did not have the capacity to make air raids on the camps, and in any case, it was difficult to do so, and there was little likelihood of success. The main person making this argument was John J. McCloy, U.S. assistant secretary of war, who held that bombings were impracticable, could be done only by diversion of considerable air support, and would have doubtful success. His responsibility for the refusal to bomb is recognized, but more senior officials including Secretary of State Cordell Hull and Secretary of War Henry Stimson, and even President Roosevelt, were involved in the decision.

    1. The McCloy argument is at best specious reasoning. The U.S. Fifteenth Air Force was engaged in a bombing campaign in the area near Auschwitz. From June to November 1944, more than 2,800 U.S. bombers were active in the area. On June 26, 1944, B-17 heavy bombers flew close to three rail lines to Auschwitz, and the next day, the Fifteenth bombers flew along those lines to bomb an oil refinery, the I.G. Farben works, not far from the extermination camp of Auschwitz. George McGovern, the brave pilot of a B-24 Liberator, bombed the oil facilities and later thought, “We should have gone after Auschwitz.”

      American forces did not bomb the camp of Auschwitz, and most of it was destroyed by the Germans a day or so before retreating. The Soviet Army liberated it on January 27, 1945. American forces liberated other concentration and death camps, including Buchenwald on April 11, 1945; Dachau; and Mauthausen.

      On April 15, 1945 the British 11th Armored Division liberated the Bergen-Belsen camp, near Hanover, the camp where the 15-year-old Anne Frank and her sister Margot had died a month before. It was not an extermination camp, but 50,000 had died there as a result of dysentery, starvation, or medical experiments conducted on them. The inmates had no food, water, or basic sanitation. About 20,000 Russian prisoners of war there were killed. The British Medical Corps burned the camp to the ground to contain the spread of typhus, from which Anne Frank had died, and nothing remains. Yet, even in 2015, new mass graves have been discovered in the area.

      It was an important meaningful gesture that a ceremonial visit on June 26, 2015 was made to Belsen by Queen Elizabeth II and the duke of Edinburgh. She laid a wreath on the monument there and stopped at the stone honoring Anne Frank. The queen did not speak at the place, resembling the behavior of General Eisenhower, unable to describe the horrors he was witnessing when he visited the liberated Ohrdurf camp on April 12, 1945.

      The queen’s visit is symbolically important not only in itself, but also implicitly to refute and rebuke the atrocious fabrications of Holocaust deniers, such as Mark Weber, director of the Institute for Historical Review, who have argued that the image of Belsen is essentially a product of hateful wartime propaganda.

      The remarks made and the question posed by Pope Francis, and the visit of Queen Elizabeth II to Belsen, remind the world today of the hatred and intolerance of extremist forces in the past. Today, there are echoes of the past Nazi brutalities in the actions and rhetoric of Islamist terrorists. The pattern in past and present is similar: mass graves, indiscriminate murders, villages and towns burned, historic sites destroyed, barbarism at the gates of civilization, the misuse of children to commit war crimes, the extent of human evil and depravity.

      In his speech on June 4, 2009 at the camp of Buchenwald, where 56,000 had been murdered, President Barack Obama was conscious of the Nazi crimes and of the need to be vigilant about the spread of evil in our own time. At a moment when the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria is expanding its control of territory and when European and American youngsters are joining IS and becoming jihadists, the Western world must recall the results of evil. The lesson must be learned. The Western democracies must act decisively to counter Islamist terrorism and overcome those who exhibit and are eager to implement their capacity for evil and anti-Semitism.

      Read more: http://www.americanthinker.com/articles/2015/06/the_lesson_from_pope_francis_and_queen_elizabeth_ii.html#ixzz3eRc1dA2a
      Follow us: @AmericanThinker on Twitter | AmericanThinker on Facebook

  32. The Awesome Gratuitousness of the Greek Crisis

    Barry Eichengreen asks himself why his influential analysis, suggesting that the euro was irreversible now appears wrong. Surely in a direct, mechanical sense what we’re seeing is the process I warned about five years ago:

    Think of it this way: the Greek government cannot announce a policy of leaving the euro — and I’m sure it has no intention of doing that. But at this point it’s all too easy to imagine a default on debt, triggering a crisis of confidence, which forces the government to impose a banking holiday — and at that point the logic of hanging on to the common currency come hell or high water becomes a lot less compelling.

    But doesn’t the ultimate cause lie in wild irresponsibility on the part of the Greek government? I’ve been looking back at the numbers, readily available from the IMF, and what strikes me is how relatively mild Greek fiscal problems looked on the eve of crisis.

    In 2007, Greece had public debt of slightly more than 100 percent of GDP — high, but not out of line with levels that many countries including, for example, the UK have carried for decades and even generations at a stretch. It had a budget deficit of about 7 percent of GDP. If we think that normal times involve 2 percent growth and 2 percent inflation, a deficit of 4 percent of GDP would be consistent with a stable debt/GDP ratio; so the fiscal gap was around 3 points, not trivial but hardly something that should have been impossible to close.

    1. Now, the IMF says that the structural deficit was much larger — but this reflects its estimate that the Greek economy was operating 10 percent above capacity, which I don’t believe for a minute. (The problem here is the way standard methods for estimating potential output cause any large slump to propagate back into a reinterpretation of history, interpreting the past as an unsustainable boom.)

      So yes, Greece was overspending, but not by all that much. It was over indebted, but again not by all that much. How did this turn into a catastrophe that among other things saw debt soar to 170 percent of GDP despite savage austerity?

      The euro straitjacket, plus inadequately expansionary monetary policy within the eurozone, are the obvious culprits. But that, surely, is the deep question here. If Europe as currently organized can turn medium-sized fiscal failings into this kind of nightmare, the system is fundamentally unworkable.


  33. .

    Looking on the bright side, some progress seems to have been made here. You have admitted - contrary to the continual assertions of one or two other posters here - that the West Bank is not, at least, Israeli occupied territory, or Gaza either:

    >> the PA has a police force and maintains the peace in the West Bank, its a hell of a lot cheaper. Occupation is expensive. Much cheaper to run a prison or a ghetto. Israel doesn't have the manpower to run all the services and control the peace in Gaza and the West Bank<<

    Your paucity of intellect is on display here daily. Rather than admit that Israel is an occupying power, you would rather Gaza and the West Bank be viewed by the world as Israeli state-controlled prison and ghetto. Remember, the Warsaw ghetto also had a police force.


    1. .

      The rest of your comments are specious mewlings.

      The issues between Israel and the Palestinians currently preventing a peace agreement could have been resolved years ago, decades ago for that matter, through negotiations had there been the will on either side. At least the original issues, not the ones Israel continues to add.

      Israel has no intention of reaching a solution on this matter, neither through a two-state solution nor through absorption of the Palestinian population in the occupied territories into a one-state solution. It is clear to anyone with eyes to see or ears to hear.

      Assertions to the contrary are moonbeams and fairy dust.


    2. .

      None of these groups has the mind set to genocide the Jews.

      Your main concern is Israel. My main concern is the US.

      The idle threats to the US by some ME mullah who lacks any means of carrying them out concerns me far less than being played for a sucker by a so-called ally or the open-contempt and ingratitude expressed by its leaders towards the US and its people and representatives.

      Need I again replay the videos or list the transcripts of those leaders.

      You play the role of the useful idiot, Bob.


  34. QuirkMon Jun 29, 12:17:00 PM EDT

    The rest of your comments are specious mewlings.

    The issues between Israel and the Palestinians currently preventing a peace agreement could have been resolved years ago, decades ago for that matter, through negotiations had there been the will on either side. At least the original issues, not the ones Israel continues to add.

    Israel has no intention of reaching a solution on this matter, neither through a two-state solution nor through absorption of the Palestinian population in the occupied territories into a one-state solution. It is clear to anyone with eyes to see or ears to hear.

    Assertions to the contrary are moonbeams and fairy dust.

    A state of Palestine could have been created in 1948.

    It was turned down by the arabs.

    Spin it anyway you wish, that is a fact Jack.

    1. .

      If that's the case, why doesn't Israel just come out and admit they have no intention of giving back the Palestinian lands they have conquered. Then they would no longer be occupiers merely conquerors.

      I would suggest its because they don't have the balls. They prefer the kabuki, the slow stall, the expansion of settlements and built up of facts on the ground. Through this subterfuge they can still claim they are the victim.


    2. Israel has returned over 97% of all lands that were acquired in defensive wars.

      3% of the lands will not be returned and MORE other lands have been offered to compensate for those justly taken lands.

  35. Quirk: Your paucity of intellect is on display here daily. Rather than admit that Israel is an occupying power, you would rather Gaza and the West Bank be viewed by the world as Israeli state-controlled prison and ghetto. Remember, the Warsaw ghetto also had a police force

    To compare the Warsaw Ghetto to either Gaza or the West Bank is specious.

    It shows the weakness of your argument and how you have stopped using actual fact, logic or rational thought on the topic.

    1. This comment has been removed by the author.

    2. .

      I got a new laptop and the keyboard sucks. It keeps sticking.


    3. This comment has been removed by the author.

    4. .

      It shows the weakness of your argument and how you have stopped using actual fact, logic or rational thought on the topic.

      Nonsense, it shows the weakness of Obumble's brain. If he could still jump, he would have been jumping for joy at a faulty word choice on my part even if it means he has to accept the idea that Gaza is a prison and the West Bank a ghetto for millions of people.

      Worse he assumes I am the one who defines 'occupation'. The word is clearly spelled out in international law. There is no doubt Israel is an occupying power.

      The degree to which they abuse those powers is what is in question.


  36. Quirk's obviously on the sauce again today.

    He says outright that Israel is NOT an occupying power, occupation being "too expensive" then sauced brain comes up with:

    >> Rather than admit that Israel is an occupying power, you would rather Gaza and the West Bank be viewed by the world as Israeli state-controlled prison and ghetto<<

    It is simply not possible to conduct a conversation with a gentleman as deeply into his cups as Quart Q Quagmire is this morning.

    Maybe I'll give it try again tomorrow....

  37. .

    But wait, you deny the right to Jews to self determination,...

    You continually bring up this absurd argument while Israel daily denies the same right to the Palestinians.


  38. This comment has been removed by the author.

  39. .


    I've addressed this issue before. Would you force me to address it again?

    Israel put up the barrier (including along the Egyptian border) around Gaza in 1994. In 2005, they closed off the strip completely adding the blockade along the Mediterranean coast. At the same time, they turned over control to Egypt that portion or the barrier that fronts Egyptian territory.

    Egypt now controls about 1/11 of Gaza's border (including coastline) while Israel controls the other 10/11th. Israel controls Gaza's airspace, coastal waters, utilities, food, imports, exports, resource development, water supply, etc. etc. etc. If you want to make the absurd argument that Gaza's current economic problems are Egypt's fault, I will call you a fool. If you want to make the inane argument that Egypt shares in responsibility for Gaza's current economic problems, I won't object but merely chuckle. However, it makes little difference. Today, Gazan exports have dropped to 2% of what they were in 2005. The Gazan population lacks both adequate food and adequate water and no ability to substantially improve their lot through anything other than charity.


  40. whooooeeeiiee!!!!

    Call from Niece in Germany !

    She is going to be able to get her Ph.D right there at Max Planck using some of her research papers as thesis.

    Yiipppiee !

    "I am on top of the world now, Uncle Bob"

    Indeed !

    AND, she thinks she will settle in USA next year.

    Whoopie !

    No wasted talk about the Moslems with her!

    She has her own well based and settled opinion about the issue, and it is not complimentary to our Islamic friends. After an estimated 80 million dead Hindus over the centuries, one can understand her point of view.

    It's not an ending if it's not a happy yet, Uncle Bob

    She is an absolutely wonderful person.

  41. Paul Krugman: Greece Over the Brink

    Just say no:

    Greece Over the Brink, by Paul Krugman, Commentary, NY Times: It has been obvious for some time that the creation of the euro was a terrible mistake. Europe never had the preconditions for a successful single currency....

    Leaving a currency union is, however, a much harder and more frightening decision than never entering in the first place...

    But the situation in Greece has now reached what looks like a point of no return. Banks are temporarily closed and the government has imposed capital controls... It seems highly likely that the government will soon have to start paying pensions and wages in scrip, in effect creating a parallel currency. And next week the country will hold a referendum on whether to accept the demands of the “troika” ... for yet more austerity.

    Greece should vote “no,” and the Greek government should be ready, if necessary, to leave the euro.

    To understand why I say this, you need to realize that most ... of what you’ve heard about Greek profligacy and irresponsibility is false. Yes, the Greek government was spending beyond its means in the late 2000s. But ... all the austerity measures ... been more than enough to eliminate the original deficit and turn it into a large surplus.

    So why didn’t this happen? Because the Greek economy collapsed, largely as a result of those very austerity measures, dragging revenues down with it.

    And this collapse, in turn, had a lot to do with the euro, which trapped Greece in an economic straitjacket. Cases of successful austerity ... typically involve large currency devaluations... But Greece, without its own currency, didn’t have that option. ...

    It’s easy to get lost in the details, but the essential point now is that Greece has been presented with a take-it-or-leave-it offer that is effectively indistinguishable from the policies of the past five years. ...

    Don’t be taken in by claims that troika officials are just technocrats explaining to the ignorant Greeks what must be done. These supposed technocrats are in fact fantasists who have disregarded everything we know about macroeconomics, and have been wrong every step of the way. This isn’t about analysis, it’s about power — the power of the creditors to pull the plug on the Greek economy, which persists as long as euro exit is considered unthinkable.

    So it’s time to put an end to this unthinkability. Otherwise Greece will face endless austerity, and a depression with no hint of an end.

    Economist's View