“Soft despotism is a term coined by Alexis de Tocqueville describing the state into which a country overrun by "a network of small complicated rules" might degrade. Soft despotism is different from despotism (also called 'hard despotism') in the sense that it is not obvious to the people."

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Apartments and Nuclear weapons

I'll never leave you and I'll always love you unconditionally sounds romantic coming from a lovestruck teenager but is it a sensible foreign policy statement?

Barack Obama has reassured Jewish American leaders that his administration's commitment to Israel remains "unshakable" despite recent tension between Jerusalem and Washington over a moratorium on Jewish construction in the West Bank.

Surely there must be some act or decision so in opposition to the interests of one party that it is unacceptable to the other. For instance, building apartments.

This morning, Haaretz is reporting that Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has rejected the Obama administration's demands to freeze construction in East Jerusalem. That is the right and the business of Israel.

Israel should do what is in its best interest, especially apartment construction.

The United States should do the same. Clearly, we would all be better off if we built more apartments.

The Obama Administration has also stated that no option has been taken off the table when it comes to Iran.

Iran seems more interested in nukes than apartments.

Where is this going?

Iran is determined to build a nuclear weapon system. The Russians and the Chinese are not being helpful in stopping it. Both the Russians and the Chinese have nuclear powers on their borders and they include India, Pakistan, and North Korea. They have found that to be acceptable if not desirable.

China and Russia, coincidentally, both major nuclear powers are major constructors of apartments.

The United States is in no position to be contemplating a third war in the Middle East. Iran knows that and is determined to test the United States.

Obama is not going to war over Iranian nuclear ambitions. Neither is Israel.

There is an obvious solution.

We need to go to the UN and force Iran to stop building bombs and force them to build more apartments.


U.S. President Barack Obama reassured Jewish American leaders Thursday that his administration's commitment to Israel remains "unshakable" despite recent tension between Jerusalem and Washington over a moratorium on Jewish construction in the West Bank.

In a letter from Obama to Alan Solow, Chairman of the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations, the President wrote that his administration is committed to "special relationship with Israel and that will not change.

"Our countries are bound together by shared values, deep and interwoven connections, and mutual interests," he added. "Many of the same forces that threaten Israel also threaten the United States and our efforts to secure peace and stability in the Middle East. Our alliance with Israel serves our national security interests.”

“As we continue to strive for lasting peace agreements between Israel, the Palestinians, and Israel’s neighbors, all sides should understand that our commitment to Israel’s security is unshakable and that no wedge will be driven between us. We will have our differences, but when we do, we will work to resolve them as close allies.”

The President added that “for over 60 years, American Presidents have believed that pursuing peace between Arabs and Israelis is in the national security interests of the United States.” He also addressed the peace negotiations, asserting that he would not impose “peace from the outside; it must be negotiated directly by the leaders who are required to make the hard choices and compromises that take on history.”
Jerusalem Post


  1. Obama Backs Down on Sudan

    Memo to Mr. Obama: When a man who has been charged with crimes against humanity tells the world that America is in his pocket, it’s time to review your policy.
    Until he reached the White House, Barack Obama repeatedly insisted that the United States apply more pressure on Sudan so as to avoid a humanitarian catastrophe in Darfur and elsewhere.

    Yet, as president, Mr. Obama and his aides have caved, leaving Sudan gloating at American weakness.


    My own hunch is that the north hasn’t entirely decided what to do, and that strong international pressure can reduce the risk of another savage war.

    If President Obama is ever going to find his voice on Sudan, it had better be soon.

    - Nicholas Kristof

  2. Obama's entire posture as POTUS is to allow things to happen and vote present...

    Concerning the world? He WANTS America to be humble and post-American, he views America being anything more than the 4% our population represents is arrogant.

    He is giving us a "teaching moment" in afghanistan, no humbrus, no success, learn that America can't change the world.

    In Iran? He's not against America losing it's superpower position, he wants to see a multipolar world where America is just one of 2 dozen nations...

    Israel he views as arrogant and the problem of the middle east and that if only israel was cuckolded peace would reign.. Now maybe that's how obama plays with michelle, but that's not how Israel rolls...

    Obama is cuckholded and he loves it.

    There is a quote which i shall mangle:

    Funny a world more concerned with a Jew building an apartment than Iran building a nuke....

    welcome to CHANGE....

  3. The interests of the United States are the most important.

    The interests of all others pale in comparison. The effort is being made to isolate Iran politically, that is in the US interest.

    Our "allies", in the Levant, do not want to assist US in this effort.
    Our adversaries in the Kremlin see no reason to help US and our business partners in China, they do not see sanctioning Iran for nuclear development as being in their best interests, either.

    So, it seems that none of the "important" folks want to help US stem Iranian nuclear ambitions.

    We've allowed Israel to maintain its' Administration of occupied lands, in violation of the Geneva Accords, for forty years. That error in moral judgment is coming back to bite US, and our "friends".

  4. Building apartments violates the Geneva Accords of 1949, a cornerstone of the modern international scheme of things, while building nukes, that is every sovereign Nation's right.

    Part and parcel of Self-defense.

  5. Nuclear energy has been so demonized, in the US.

    We're like scared children, ducking for cover.

    Both Nagasaki and Hiroshima were livable within a year of a nuclear strike. Gaza, Haifa and Tehran would be no different.

    MAD will deter, it has, it will continue to.

  6. desert rat said...
    Building apartments violates the Geneva Accords of 1949, a cornerstone of the modern international scheme of things, while building nukes, that is every sovereign Nation's right.

    Part and parcel of Self-defense.

    Spoken like a true Jew hating, Israel hating piece of shit...

    Good morning nazi....

  7. the nazi rat states: Building apartments violates the Geneva Accords of 1949, a cornerstone of the modern international scheme of things

    Interesting how the Nazi Rat ignores the 1948 UN resolution creating Israel and the arab world's refusal and call for genocide of Israel...

    Oh that's right, Rat's a Nazi...

    Jew's building apartments on contested lands unravels the world order, Iran building nukes a martha steward moment or a "good" thing...

    Rat you are a Nazi....

    Clear and Simple...

  8. Some things are clear.

    Iran will have nuclear-tipped missiles.

    Israel will build apartments.

    Palestinians will kill Jews.

    Iraq has an acceptable Sovereign Government.

    Oil is going to "sky-rocket" whatever we do.

    Reasonable responses:

    Wrap up the "occupation" of Iraq.

    Wind down in Afghanistan.

    Cut off foreign aid to ALL parties in the Middle East.

    Build Missile Defense, and Laser shoot-down capability.

    Build Ethanol biorefineries in all 3,000 Counties.

    Require all new cars sold in U.S. to be flexfuel.

  9. "That is the right and the business of Israel."

    Exsqueeze me. While fully recognizing the First Precept of Foreign Relations - that is, that sovereign nations act that way - Israel is a client state.

    To declare that new construction is simply "the right and business of Israel" strikes me as a little...nonchalant.

    BTW. I'd like to thank Quirk for his marvelous astrological contributions here.

  10. Correction: Make that "the First Percept."

    I slept a lot during DOD's Diplomacy For Dummies.

  11. Deuce wrote:

    "Israel should do what is in its best interest, especially apartment construction."

    trish responded:
    "To declare that new construction is simply "the right and business of Israel" strikes me as a little...nonchalant."

    I was going to word things quite a bit more scornfully but discretion is the better part of valor sometimes.

  12. And while the Middle East appears to be, drama aside, a real sleeper at the moment, I'll lay money along with my buddy King Abdullah II on an unhappily active summer.

  13. rufus said...
    Some things are clear.

    Iran will have nuclear-tipped missiles.

    Israel will build apartments.

    Palestinians will kill Jews.

    Iraq has an acceptable Sovereign Government.

    Oil is going to "sky-rocket" whatever we do.

    Reasonable responses:

    Wrap up the "occupation" of Iraq.

    Wind down in Afghanistan.

    Cut off foreign aid to ALL parties in the Middle East.

    Build Missile Defense, and Laser shoot-down capability.

    Build Ethanol biorefineries in all 3,000 Counties.

    Require all new cars sold in U.S. to be flexfuel.

    Additional Reasonable Responses:

    Israel will bomb Iranian NUKE sites and Oil refineries

    As Palestinians murder Jews, Israel will respond and target the leaders responsible for such murders and take them out, but not with as much collateral damage the USA does in Pakistan

    The USA should cut off all economic aid to the Middle East. (Israel has been cut off for several years)

    As for military aid to the Middle East? Israel should get aid for NOT nuking it's enemies, let America cut off all military aid to the middle east (most notably Israel and live with the consequences) and stop funding Israel's enemies with cash, weapons and training

    America should stop providing security for Middle Eastern oil, unless they PAY FOR IT. America can be rented out for protection (for a price)

    America should also stop money and weapons to pakistan and any other so called ally...

    At the same time, America should stop purchasing all OPEC oil, after all that is AID to enemies of America.

    And America should cancel the transfer of American Green Technology to 41 Islamic nations (and China) and set up a new green technology base in America

    Rufus, to simply cut off aid to Israel and let her hang in the wind would be fair if we as America stopped the trillions we spend on supporting the Islamic rouge nations that spend hundreds of billions on wiping Israel off the map...

    If America cuts off all aid to the middle east and expects Israel to sit quietly in the corner surrounded by genocidal enemies? Not a chance..

    If you think the world will be fine after a nuke exchange?

    You are dreaming

  14. to ash and all that are concerned with Jews building apartments in NORTHERN Jerusalem, in an undisputed area?

    kiss my ass...

    If you were so concerned about land being disputed PUT THAT SAME ATTENTION to EVERY OTHER LAND DISPUTE in the WORLD or shut up....

    talk about hyper bullshit....

    Do you speak about ARABS BUILDING settlements in Jerusalem?


    Do you speak of Tibet?


    Do you speak of any of the OTHER 1200 land disputes ANYWHERE else besides what Israel does?


    Get over it...

    Jews have a right to BUILD on lands they own in jerusalem

    Notice no talking about the 1948 Jordanian SEIZURE of Jewish LAND in Jerusalem, the thousands of Jewish Schuls LEVELED in 1948....

    We newsflash folks... Jerusalem was LIBERATED in 1967 and for the 1st time in 2000 years people of ALL FUCKING FAITHS can live anywhere they want...

    Get over your hypocrisy

    Or dont

    But please return Washington DC to the Indians, Return all stolen Jewish property from the 20 nations of the arab world, return AZ & CA to the mexicans, Tibet to the Tibetians 1st and then we will consider your request to keep Jews from LIVING in Jerusalem, the center of Jewish living for 3000 years....

  15. Shia Extremism is a *hot* topic.

    Better begin brushing up now.

  16. We can probably encourage What Is to give a PowerPoint.

  17. Further reasonable responses:

    Remove All troops from S. Korea.

    Remove All troops from Japan.

    Remove All troops from Europe.

    Build out more Missile Defense, and Stealth Warplanes.

  18. Cancel ALL Foreign Aid.

  19. Nobel Prize-winning author and Holocaust survivor Elie Wiesel today took out a full-page ad in the Wall Street Journal, in the form an open letter to President Obama, with whom Wiesel visited the Buchenwald death camp last year.

    The text of the letter.

    For Jerusalem

    It was inevitable: Jerusalem once again is at the center of political debates and international storms. New and old tensions surface at a disturbing pace. Seventeen times destroyed and seventeen times rebuilt, it is still in the middle of diplomatic confrontations that could lead to armed conflict. Neither Athens nor Rome has aroused that many passions.

    For me, the Jew that I am, Jerusalem is above politics. It is mentioned more than six hundred times in Scripture-and not a single time in the Koran. Its presence in Jewish history is overwhelming. There is no more moving prayer in Jewish history than the one expressing our yearning to return to Jerusalem. To many theologians, it IS Jewish history, to many poets, a source of inspiration. It belongs to the Jewish people and is much more than a city, it is what binds one Jew to another in a way that remains hard to explain. When a Jew visits Jerusalem for the first time, it is not the first time; it is a homecoming. The first song I heard was my mother’s lullaby about and for Jerusalem. Its sadness and its joy are part of our collective memory.

    Since King David took Jerusalem as his capital, Jews have dwelled inside its walls with only two interruptions; when Roman invaders forbade them access to the city and again, when under Jordanian occupation. Jews, regardless of nationality, were refused entry into the old Jewish quarter to meditate and pray at the Wall, the last vestige of Solomon’s temple. It is important to remember: had Jordan not joined Egypt and Syria in the 1967 war against Israel, the old city of Jerusalem would still be Arab. Clearly, while Jews were ready to die for Jerusalem they would not kill for Jerusalem.

    Today, for the first time in history, Jews, Christians and Muslims all may freely worship at their shrines. And, contrary to certain media reports, Jews, Christians and Muslims ARE allowed to build their homes anywhere in the city. The anguish over Jerusalem is not about real estate but about memory.

    What is the solution? Pressure will not produce a solution. Is there a solution? There must be, there will be. Why tackle the most complex and sensitive problem prematurely? Why not first take steps which will allow the Israeli and Palestinian communities to find ways to live together in an atmosphere of security. Why not leave the most difficult, the most sensitive issue, for such a time?

    Jerusalem must remain the world’s Jewish spiritual capital, not a symbol of anguish and bitterness, but a symbol of trust and hope. As the Hasidic master Rebbe Nahman of Bratslav said, “Everything in this world has a heart; the heart itself has its own heart.”

    Jerusalem is the heart of our heart, the soul of our soul.

  20. Further reasonable responses:

    Shut down the Southern border.

    Legalize marijuana, and tax it.

    Require FDIC-insured banks to make their money "Banking" (exit the "trading" business.)

    Tax all income (cap gains, etc) at the income appropriate rate.

  21. rufus said...
    Cancel ALL Foreign Aid.

    are you including protecting arab oil shipping lanes?


    you are including aid in the form of oil purchases?

    all are AID....

    and while we are at it...

    do you support cutting 6 billion to africa for aids/hiv?

    and do you support stopping all immigration from islamic and arab nations to the USA on taxpayer's dime?

  22. Got anything else on that wish list, rufus?

    Like, sit on the veranda, cold gin and tonic in hand, watching with gentle amusement the misery and mayhem of a safely distant world?

    In the news: Secretary of State Hillary Clinton will receive the Distinguished Diplomat Award from Virginia Military Institute when she visits the post on April 28.

  23. Foreign Policy Passport two days ago:

    The U.S. State Department summoned Syria's top diplomat in Washington, Zouheir Jabbour, to rebuke his government for transferring arms to Hezbollah. This was apparently the fourth time in recent weeks that the United States had raised these concerns with the Syrians -- but one of the first times that it had been done publicly. The State Department statement "condemns in the strongest terms the transfer of any arms, and especially ballistic missile systems such as the SCUD, from Syria to Hezbollah."

    A few quick points on this news. When this story broke last week, skeptics -- including the United States's erstwhile ally, the prime minister of Lebanon -- were quick to dismiss it as Israeli propaganda. The public criticism of a Syrian diplomat should put an end to the talk that this is solely an Israeli disinformation campaign. The U.S. intelligence community obviously believes there is something behind this story, though the details remain blurry. The question now is whether this transfer actually took place, whether Syria transferred parts of the SCUDs to Hezbollah, or whether they merely had the intention to transfer the weapons.

    Secondly, when the State Department wanted to call a Syrian official to task, they had to settle for Zouheir Jabbour, the deputy chief of mission. Where is Syrian Ambassadar Imad Moustapha? On vacation, apparently -- where he has been since this crisis broke last week. As we're in a particularly fraught point in the U.S-Syrian engagement process, this is a strange point for Syria's top envoy in Washington to be taking a breather.

    The Syrian embassy responded to FP directly, in such language indicating that the Syrians are FOS.

  24. Yes, I said ALL foreign aid.

    NATO is a joke. Oil prices are going to skyrocket regardless of what we do in the shipping lanes.

    ALL = All.

  25. Let me think, Trish. There must be "Something" else.

    We can't afford this nonsense any longer. It's time for the Euros, and Koreans to defend themselves, and for the NGOs, and Diplomats to go get real jobs.

  26. and if South Korea should fall to North Korea - say la vie?

  27. S. Korea would go through the Norkors like a hot knife through butter.

  28. "Korea is a $1 trillion economy and is the United States' eighth largest goods trading partner. Korea's commercial relationship with the United States is largely complementary. In 2009, two-way trade between the two countries totaled more than $69billion. In 2009, U.S. goods exports to Korea were $28.6 billion, a steady increase over the previous five years.

    In 2005, U.S. foreign direct investment in Korea totaled roughly $18.8 billion and was concentrated largely in the manufacturing, banking and wholesale trade sectors. Korea currently enjoys broad access to the U.S. market and the United States is Korea's second largest market, importing 17 percent of Korea's worldwide exported goods. "

    Just let the NORK take all that capital hunh? Shit would happen that's fer sure.

  29. "There must be 'Something' else."

    Having hell freeze over, maybe?

    Sympathetic though I am on occasion (and for entire years during the last administration) to the notion that our nationalsecuritymilitarydiplomatic apparatus is a self-licking ice cream cone if ever there was, the sort of blithe retreat you indicate isn't...well, it just isn't in us to undertake. With apologies to Eisenhower, who was a swell guy, it goes against our nature. It's just not US, know what I mean?

    We're abnormal.

    Hell, Canada is looking for... keep deployed and deployable troops stationed abroad. It's convenient.

    Granted, we're talking small numbers and they won't go broke doing it, but even they realize that closing shop in South Asia won't mark the end of their activities.

    Sooner or later we'll again talk them into one hot mess or another.

  30. And Ash brings up a good point: As long as NoKo exists in its current guise, there will be US troops stationed in the ROK.

    North Korea is a big bag of just fucking insane.

    Make the prospect of a nuclear-armed Iran appear downright sunny and wholesome by comparison.

  31. Yep, the South Koreans are getting rich under our protection. Well, 'scuse me folks. I don't give a fuck. I ain't getting rich off of North Korea getting rich.

    They have a hell of a first world military, and they have plenty of money to make it bigger. We're just being played for suckers so some generals can make rank.

    Time to go.

  32. Hey Rufus...

    Let's get all those American Troops out of Israel too..

    Oh that's right...

    there are none.

  33. rufus said...
    Sure there are.

    Not defending Israel, and if you are referring to the secret xharm radar that the USA has a base that doesnt allow any Israeli onto?

    that aint there for Israel, it's there for America.

  34. EPA shoots across the bow of oil industry.

    A lot of smoke but no fire. As some say, same as with Goldman Sachs.

  35. From what I've heard, the Arabs are playing Obama like a fiddle.

    Latest scuttlebutt has Hamas making strong inroads into Fatah membership.

    BHO will have to learn the hard way, unfortunately it looks as though it will be at the expense of Israel.

  36. PARIS (AP) - Muslims in the Arab world are incensed and Muslims in France are walking a delicate line after President Nicolas Sarkozy pushed for an all-out ban on full Islamic veils.

    "Ridiculous" and "misplaced," said a Muslim vendor Thursday at an outdoor market in a working class, ethnically mixed Paris suburb. "Racist," said a Sunni Muslim cleric in Lebanon.

    Thankfully, there is at least one voice of reason:

    The rector of the Muslim Institute of the Paris Mosque, however, held off on harsh criticism, saying only that any ban should be properly explained, and noting that the Quran does not require women to cover their bodies and faces.

    Read the rest

  37. Charlie Cook:


    Combining its own race-by-race calculations with the results of national polls, The Cook Political Report officially projects a Republican gain of 30 to 40 seats. I suspect that the GOP will do even better if the trend over the past seven months continues.

    On the other hand, the Intrade electronic markets give Democrats a 56 percent chance of holding the House. The views of other experts vary as well. Most political scientists who have weighed in tend to think that Democrats will suffer serious losses but retain control. Analysts who look at individual races and then add "macro" national dynamics to the mix, however, largely expect Democrats to have real trouble hanging on.

    Despite all of this disagreement over whether the House will flip, there is pretty much of a consensus in the political community that President Obama's chances of getting re-elected will rise if his party loses the House or Senate. (In my book, the latter is quite unlikely.)

    There are two arguments supporting the notion that the president might benefit from divided government. First, a GOP-controlled House would provide Obama with a foil. Republicans would have some governing responsibility; Democrats wouldn't "own" Washington and automatically get the blame for everything that does or doesn't happen. A strong case can be made that President Clinton would not have been re-elected in 1996 had Democrats not lost control of Congress in 1994.

    The second contention is that losing control of the House would allow (or force) Obama to take a more centrist approach, to replicate the "triangulation" that worked well for Clinton in 1995 and 1996. Positioning himself and his administration as less liberal than congressional Democrats and less conservative than congressional Republicans, Clinton became the moderate honest broker in policy, riding that course to victory over Republican Bob Dole.

    Divided government certainly seems to have benefited the Democratic president who preceded Obama, and it might be even more helpful to the current one because the politics of 2010 are considerably more polarized. It's not just the country that is much more divided along red and blue lines than it was a decade and a half ago: Ideological purges are breaking out in both parties. Look no further than Republican Sen. Robert Bennett of Utah, who may not even survive his state party convention to get on the primary ballot. Likewise, Democrat Blanche Lincoln of Arkansas, the Senate Agriculture Committee's chairwoman, is facing a barrage of negative ads from organized labor and liberals for not being sufficiently pure, despite representing a very conservative state.

    In a world where Bennett is considered too liberal for Utah Republicans and Lincoln too conservative for Arkansas Democrats, anything that helps presidents move to the middle in time for a general election is likely to boost their chances of winning re-election. Think of the battering that Obama took from many liberals for failing to include a public option in the health care bill. With Republicans in control of the House, will the White House still get that kind of pressure? The short answer: No.

  38. A colony of Russian expats, on the shores of eastern Med, really is of little concern to the people of the "West" in general, or the United States, in particular.

    The rights and privileges enjoyed by those Europeon expats, no more sacrosanct than the rights and privileges denied the Arabs of the occupied territories of the Levant.

    Let the US withdraw its' $3 billion in military aid, and watch the reality of demographics take hold.

    Who will stand against sanctioning Israel, a rouge nuclear weapons capable power, if the US does not?

  39. How long did "Jim Crow" South Africa last, after the US pension funds withdrew their financial interests in firms doing business, there?

  40. This comment has been removed by the author.

  41. Israel's foreign allies are leaving her.

    South Africa, gone and forgotten.
    Turkey, the door missed their ass, on the way out.
    US, gettin' the bum's rush, from our "bestest ally".

    They're sayin' the don't want US around giving instructions, but for our treasure, and of course. our blood.

    It's US troops dyin' to contain Iran and the Islamoids, not Israelis.

    The Israeli shoot the women and children of Gaza, crimes of a similar nature we prosecute our troops for, not protect them from the demands of justice, for the crimes of war that have been alleged or actually committed.

    They continue to violate the Geneva Accords, in Gaza and on the West Bank, as they have for forty years.

    No change in course, except there are no more Russians contributing to the immigrant pool.

    Fewer Americans.

  42. Those that are not with US, are against US.

    One either supports the United States or one supports its' enemies.

    That applies to the government of Pakistan as well as Israel.

    It applies to US residents, as well.

  43. A total ban on burqas?

    The Euro is in the tank.

    Greece is about to bring down the EU.

    Carla is getting dressed to go out for another "night with the girls".

    The mistress keeps bitching about that damn necklace she wants.

    And Sarcozy is worried about burgas.

    Good lord.

    The French.


  44. Did Rush really say he'd be moving to Costa Rica?

    Send Rush His Boarding Pass

    Rush Limbaugh vowed to move to Costa Rica when health care reform passed.

    Now that it has, send him his boarding pass. We'll deliver a copy in your name to Rush's studio.

    It’s time for Rush to drink margaritas on the beach – permanently.

    © 2010 Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee

    If Rush goes to Costa Rica ...
    Guess he'd be leaving Florida, the United States, but staying in America.

    Like I've been saying.
    Vote with your feet, if you feel the need.

  45. With all the people threatening to leave the US (Rush, Alec Balwin, Seal, Heidi Klum, Garafolo, et al) they should get together and negotiate tour group rates.


  46. You're walkin' on the fightin' side of me

    If you don't love it, leave it @ 54 seconds.

    Better believe it.

  47. South Park Portrays Muhammad. Well Sorta

    For all that Comedy Central portrays itself as "edgy", they appear pretty cowed by Islam.


  48. Lets see, if Deuce, Rush, whit, me and untold others migrate to Central America, the impact will be substantial and positive for US.

    No way that Charlie Chi-com could possibly compete with tens of thousands reasonably well funded entrepreneurial Americans, so close to home.

    Unforeseen consequences, it'll all be good.

    Stay on the sunny side, trust in Adam Smith's hidden hand.

  49. "Latest scuttlebutt has Hamas making strong inroads into Fatah membership."

    They both have ambitions to govern both territories. Neither has the ability.

    As it was put to me, this is what actually makes a two-state solution impossible: There are, and will remain, three political entities. As a practical matter, there will be three states - or one state and two distinct, sovereign territories.

    The fact that there is no Palestinian political unity or even common identity puts Israel at something of an advantage which, according to some, it would be wise to strenuously press. Within a year. Draw. That. Border.

    Fatah can be dealt with; Hamas cannot. The West Bank has a possible, if dim, future. Gaza does not. And the Israelis are going to watch, with whatever amount of schadenfreude, the Gazans' own leadership devour it.

    Jerusalem is, for all intents and purposes, a dead issue. It WILL belong to Israel in its entirety. Let the UN weep. Nobody gives a shit, as long as Israel extends all of its residents the rights of Israeli citizens.

  50. Mrs. Weaver Goes to Washington

    "Today in Washington: actress Sigourney Weaver testifies before the Subcommittee on Oceans, Atmosphere, Fisheries, and Coast Guard of the Senate Committee on Commerce, Science and Transportation Committee on the topic of ocean acidification. Because, you know, she played an environmental scientist in Avatar. It’s the best fit since Jane Fonda, Jessica Lange, and Sissy Spacek — all of whom had played farm women — testified on America’s agricultural crisis."

    Sigourney Weaver to Testify on Acidity

    Trust Me I am a


  51. "Lets see, if Deuce, Rush, whit, me and untold others migrate to Central America, the impact will be substantial and positive for US."

    Mixed blessing at best.


  52. Hold up in Honduras, but don't get desperate.
    Dad's sendin' lawyers, guns and money!

  53. That's true, trish, if the Europeons applied US civil rights to their Jim Crow society, a lot of the tension would cease.

    The place for that process to start, those apartments.

    A low level issue, that if it is truly nonnegotiable for the Israeli, there is no reason to negotiate further, the Israeli are unwilling to compromise.

    That none of the three entities are capable of unsubsidized independence, an interesting aside.

  54. Noah Millman at The American Scene responds to Julian Sanchez's observations on epistemic closure among conservatives:


    Blame the times. No analysis of where conservatism has gone wrong would be complete without an utterly fatalistic analysis, so here it is. Political movements have their life cycles like anything else: they are born; they grow; they mature; they decay. The conservative movement was born in the 1950s, grew in the late 1960s and 1970s, matured in the 1980s and early 1990s, and decayed from the mid-1990s through today. You can lament being born at the wrong time, but you can’t do anything about it.

    To a considerable extent, the life cycle of movements derives from the life cycle of the people who grow up within those movements. Young conservatives in the late 1980s and early 1990s saw their movement go from strength to strength – and learned that conservatism was always right and that people who didn’t see that were fools. These same folks in the Bush years tutored their successors in appalling intellectual tactics: bullying and sophistry and identity politics. By contrast, the generation of liberals who came of age in the Bush years had to weather that bullying, had to cut through that sophistry – and were vindicated by events. I am continually impressed by the intelligence and sophistication of liberals ten years younger than I am. They are the leaders of tomorrow’s left even more than today’s, and the right is just not in the same league. It was, once, in 1960s and 1970s, when left-wing ideas were dominant and left-wingers intellectually complacent – even as their intellectual roof was falling in. The bright young things who saw that the roof was falling in, and who debated what their new home should look like, became the rising generation of conservative leaders.

    I have a lot of sympathy for this kind of explanation, simply because I’m temperamentally conservative. I think it’s very hard for people to change once they are set, and so the formative experiences of a generation have a lasting political and intellectual impact. Intellectually, the children of the Bush Administration on the right are a lost generation. They may grow in wisdom, chastened by experience, but this will come at a price of lost confidence; or they may retain their confidence, but this will come at the greater price of never attaining wisdom.

    An open mind seeks wisdom, first and last.

  55. As compared to what, Quirk?

    Charlie given free rein in Costa Rica and Panama. Nicoland as a matter of course.

    That's the cream of the crop, Salvador is a slum, Honduras and Guatemala not much of anything, nor with much potential to become such.

    Having free spirited US citizens of a conservative/libertarian mindset emigrate to Central America, positive for all involved.
    Excepting those that lose their money to the local ways and customs.

    Pierce Brosnan of Jame Bond fame played the handler of one such a character the "Tailor of Panama".

    Another movie that did not live up to its' potential, casting Brosnan as the spy was a poor choice, playing against the expected Bond like behavior, which detracted from both the character and the story.

  56. You could be right Trish; however, I personally disagree with you on at least three aspects of you comment.

    First, Fatah seems to be getting their shit together in the West Bank. Admittedly, they've got a long way to go, but they seem to be making slow progress.

    Second, Abu Mazan has indicated that if there is no progress on negotiations he will declare an independant Palestinean state in 2011. If this happens it will precipitate a crisis. Israel will cut off negotiations (initially) and disavow any previous agreements. However, it is likely much of the world will eventually recognize the new state. In the long run, politics and demographics will dictate that Israel will be forced to negotiate.

    The other alternative that has been discussed is that the Palistineans disavow a two state solution. In the long run under this scenario, Israel will again lose due to politics and demograophics.

    Third, there will be some palistinean/muslim control over East Jeruslaem. Reason. See two above.

    Obviously a less than optimal solution. To assure freedom of religion and to reduce incidents, Israel probably should control in a united Jerusalem. Not because of silly talk about "historic homelands" or that the city was promised to them by god, but simply because they are the most qualified to maintain order there.

    This is not a slam at Israel. Obviously they are one of our more important allies. It merely reflects reality.


  57. "The place for that process to start, those apartments."

    I think you're missing the point. Jerusalem is already gone for the Palestinians as a geographic entity over which they will be able to lay claim to administer in any part.

    I'm sure the Admin wishes it were otherwise.

    Israel is perfectly capable at this moment in time of officially, unilaterally assuming all of it.

    To do so, it has to draw its own map. Drawing its own map will be the best thing it can do in shitty circumstances.

    You can't really add any more fuel to the fire of the Palestinian issue. There's so much out there already.

    What you can do is say, "Enough of this crap." And let the chips fall where they may.

    The apartments issue *has* been ginned up by elements of this Administration, to no fruitful end.

    It is Israel that is in the driver's seat, that has the distinct advantage.

    The Admin is going to just have to suck that one up.

  58. "First, Fatah seems to be getting their shit together in the West Bank. Admittedly, they've got a long way to go, but they seem to be making slow progress."

    I don't disagree with this. Hence the observation that Fatah can be dealt with. They can be directly negotiated with and Israel will do so.

    But Fatah is never going to be able to assume Gaza as well. They really are two politically distinct territories.

  59. "Noah Millman at The American Scene responds to Julian Sanchez's observations on epistemic closure among conservatives:"

    Two comments:

    1. Excellent. It's funny enough that I may use it as part of next month's funny horoscope.

    2. People are liberals when thay are young and become conservative as they age.

    Those that do not fall into this pattern suffer from retarded developemnt syndrome brought on by drinking too much Kool-aid and eventually morph into either neocons or MSDNC viewers.



  60. We will see on Gaza. The last time I saw anything specific to its politics it was a couple articles talking about Hamas' growing unpopularity there.


  61. "Second, Abu Mazan has indicated that if there is no progress on negotiations he will declare an independant Palestinean state in 2011."

    Statehood itself is not the problem for Israel. It finally allows them to hold someone accountable for actions taken against them from the territories, which they've never been able to do.

    But it just so happens that when it comes to Palestinian statehood, there is no "there" there. No common identity, shared territory, or governance. And no means by which to create these.

    Israel is going to preempt any such move by Mazen. Probably this fall.

    Removing the cache by extending statehood, and simply declaring that Jerusalem is wholly a part of Israel.

    The Palestinian "state," as such, will be in perpetual civil war. Disunited as far as the eye can see.

  62. "Pierce Brosnan of Jame Bond fame played the handler of one such a character the "Tailor of Panama".

    Another movie that did not live up to its' potential, casting Brosnan as the spy was a poor choice, playing against the expected Bond like behavior, which detracted from both the character and the story."

    Say you are getting pretty good at this rat. Maybe you should think about opening up a Movie Review section here at the EB.

    Maybe Trish would be interested in handling the Travel and Leisure section and/or the Food section.

    We already have an Energy/Pending Apocolypse section with Rufus.

    And you and WiO could arrange a lively bi-annual "Point/Counterpoint" section on Israel to keep us all informed.



  63. "People are liberals when thay are young and become conservative as they age."

    Movement conservatism has always sought to inspire and attract the young, as much as the Left. I belong to the generation with which it had the greatest success in this.

  64. "Israel is going to preempt any such move by Mazen. Probably this fall.

    Removing the cache by extending statehood, and simply declaring that Jerusalem is wholly a part of Israel.

    I would be very suprised to see this happen given the current administration in Israel.

    If it did happen, it would't stand for the reasons I've previously stated.

    I could be wrong, but you seem to be implying that any solution there will be decided solely on the basis of Israeli and Palistinean action.



  65. I never read much of his stuff, Quirk.
    I haven't seen a point

    He starts with quotes that are not italicized, I then skip down, since I've already read what's already been posted.

    Since there is no indication as to where his original work begins, I skip to the next post.

    Then again, once he uses vulgarity, as is his wont, I quit reading his original work, as well.

    That is usually in his first or second posted response of the day. After that I just hit back on the expected high points, which keeps him trolling.

    Lineman should just about have the script ready for a reading.

  66. "I could be wrong."

    You could be. We shall see.

    If I am wrong, I will take the matter up with my team of bold, slightly intoxicated observers.

    What Is is going to show up in the morning in any event to unpack the entire thing and tell me I have holes in my head. Or maybe Ash. Or maybe both.

    Can't a gal enjoy a little wild-eyed, unchallenged assertion now and again?

    I mean, what is this place good for, hm?

  67. Hell, Trish.

    I went back and reread all your posts and they do make an awful lot of sense.

    I don't know what the hell I was thinking of.



  68. In truth, no matter what you had said I would probably have thought up some argument against it.

    I'm a bad boy.

    (P.S. Don't you be planning on leaving. There are already enough turned over cups on that shelf at the back of the bar.)



  69. "I never read much of his stuff, Quirk. I haven't ..."

    I assume this is about the "Point/Counterpoint" comment rat. My whole post was merely a mild (obviously unsuccessful) attempt at humor. Don't worry about it.

    Not doing to well with anyone tonight and the Tager game is almost over, so I guess I'll sign off and try again tomarrow.


  70. Observers have also feared the travel chaos may cause a profound psychological impact on passengers, making them think twice before choosing the plane.

    But travel experts have ruled out any long-lasting impact on the air industry, predicting a quick rebound in the number of passengers.

    The Eyjafjoell volcano was spewing far less ash on Thursday and the plume of smoke was low. Scientists are also closely observing the neighboring Katla volcano, which is also likely to erupt.

    Aftermath Assessed

  71. I stay because this is the only place of which I am aware that does not have 25, or 50, or a hundred people enforcing and reinforcing a collective point of view, narrative, or theme. Aside from some economic blogs. It's relatively easy to be in political flux or transition here. Or in doubt.

    There is much deplorable ugliness. But to quote someone I despise, "Freedom is messy."

  72. Also, it satisfies my narcissistic side.

  73. Hundreds of riot police have moved up to confront red-shirt anti-government protesters in Bangkok's city centre.


    The police moved right across the main Rama IV road to face up to the red-shirt barricades for about two hours early on Friday, only to pull back again.


    Some of the "anti-red" protesters - who have gathered alongside the troops - and have called on the government to be more firm against the reds, our correspondent says.

    Violent Night

  74. A provincial official acknowledged there had been some initial looting initially when relief was being distributed "but this has been promptly stopped by the government," according to Xinhua.

    Geng Yang, director of the Qinghai Provincial Department of Civil Affairs, denied reports that some people had stockpiled aid and then resold it at high prices.

    He said the quake relief program has been transparent, and encouraged the public to supervise the relief operations by calling a special phone number to report any misconduct.

    Quake Area

  75. Why, thank you, Sam!

    Yes, I am vain. Unaccountably vain.

    But - and you'll have to take my word for it - only here.

  76. :)

    No prob, Trish. All in good fun.