“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."

Monday, November 15, 2010

Netanyahu to Freeze West Bank Settlement for 90 Days, To Cost US Taxpayers $3 billion

Netanyahu moves on U.S. incentives for construction freeze in West Bank

Washington Post Staff Writer, Joel Greenberg
Monday, November 15, 2010

JERUSALEM - Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu on Sunday presented his cabinet with a package of diplomatic and security incentives offered by the Obama administration to extend a building freeze in West Bank settlements for 90 days and resume stalled peace negotiations.The incentives were hashed out in more than seven hours of talks between Netanyahu and Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton in New York on Thursday. Netanyahu told the cabinet that details of the proposal were being finalized by Israeli and U.S. teams, and that he would submit the completed plan toa smaller group of ministers known as the security cabinet, which is expected to approve it.

"I insist that any proposal meet Israel's security needs, both in the immediate term and regarding the threats we face in the coming decade," Netanyahu said in public remarks at the start of the cabinet meeting.

Palestinian officials said they were awaiting official word from the United States about the proposal but expressed concern that the extended freeze would not include East Jerusalem, which the Palestinians seek as the future capital of a state.

President Obama called Netanyahu's actions "promising."

"I commend Prime Minister Netanyahu for taking, I think, a very constructive step," Obama said aboard Air Force One, during the flight home from his 10-day trip to Asia. "It's not easy for him to do, but I think it's a signal that he is serious."

According to diplomats familiar with the incentives, they include asking Congress to approve supplying Israel with 20 advanced fighter jets worth about $3 billion and a U.S. commitment to oppose moves at the U.N. and other international bodies to impose terms of a peace agreement on Israel and to delegitimize it or deny its right to self-defense. Talks also would begin on far-ranging bilateral security understandings that would buttress a future peace deal with the Palestinians.

Israel would suspend new construction in West Bank settlements for 90 days, an abeyance that would apply to any building begun after a previous freeze expired Sept. 26. The U.S. would not ask for an additional extension under the terms of the package. The freeze would not apply to construction in East Jerusalem, which Israel annexed after capturing the area in 1967 and claims as part of its united capital.

Peace talks relaunched in early September broke off after the building freeze expired, and the Palestinians said they would not resume negotiations unless there was a complete halt to settlement construction, which they said was eating up territory they seek for a future state. Netanyahu had refused to renew the freeze, citing pressures in his governing coalition, which is dominated by right-wing parties that support the settlements.

The three-month extension is supposed to allow time for efforts to reach agreement on the borders of a future Palestinian state and to clarify areas where Israel could continue building and where it could not.

An Israeli official, who spoke on the condition of anonymity in order to speak freely, said Israel was prepared to negotiate borders, but, "We want to make sure other issues are discussed in parallel," such as the nature of the Palestinian state and Palestinian recognition of Israel as the Jewish state.

Saeb Erekat, the chief Palestinian negotiator, said Palestinians would formulate their position on the proposal after receiving official notification from Washington. But, he added, exclusion of East Jerusalem from the extended moratorium was "a major problem" for Palestinians.

The prospect of a renewed building freeze raised objections from some senior ministers in Netanyahu's Likud party.

Silvan Shalom, a member of the security cabinet, told Israel Radio that negotiating borders during the building moratorium meant that Israel would be bargaining away territorial assets while other core issues of the conflict with the Palestinians remained unresolved.

Despite the vocal opposition from some ministers, analysts said Netanyahu appeared capable of securing a narrow majority in the security cabinet for an extension of the freeze.

Eli Yishai, leader of the ultra-Orthodox Shas party, a key member in the governing coalition, said that he and a colleague could abstain from a vote if building in the settlements were allowed to continue unimpeded after the freeze and in East Jerusalem.

Staff writer Scott Wilson, traveling with President Obama, contributed to this report.


  1. Good old Binyamin. He has not lost his knack at hustling the US taxpayer. For $3 billion he will not build anything in the West Bank for 90 days.

    Let's do the math:

    My goodness, that is over $33.33 million a day for not building something.

    Do you think Detroit, Philadelphia, Hattiesburg, Atlanta, Reno, Tampa or any other American city could use a ninety day shot in the arm of $33.33 million per diem?

    Netanyahu just finished one of his shake down cruises to the US warning us how the US has a moral obligation to start our third Asian war against Iran.

    That must have scared the B. Jesus out of the Obama Administration so $3 billion for another 90 days in paradise is just the thing we need.

    That is a promising first step in the US deficit reduction.

    Israel is currently running its own deficit spending of 6% GDP. The US is running a deficit of $1.4 trillion.

    Why should the US taxpayer care what Israel builds or not? That is their problem.

    We have 17.3% unemployment in the construction field. Do you think we should think about them first?

    Do you think the Republicans or Democrats will even make a whimper of protest? Of course not.

    I propose we halt construction of condos on the West Bank of the Delaware, {which has about the same population as Israel) for ninety days. That would take us until March. Philadelphia could use the $3 billion. Oh, you think the Republicans would object to such wasteful spending?

    You think?

  2. Remember the recent Republican howling over federal money going to schools. Let's put this in context $3.3 billion to compensate Netanyahu not to build for 90 days:

    Jobs bill helps district balance budget

    The $49 million expected this year would spare teachers and programs, the Phila. board was told.

    By Martha Woodall
    Inquirer Staff Writer
    The $98 million the Philadelphia School District expects to receive under the federal education jobs bill could not have come at a better time, according to the district's chief financial officer.

    The district expects to get $49 million this school year, which would make up for lost revenue in its $3.2 billion budget, Michael Masch told the School Reform Commission on Wednesday.

    For starters, the money would help replace $55 million in state aid the district did not receive, he said.

    "We will be able to maintain a balanced budget for the 2010-2011 school year without any teacher layoffs or any cutbacks or reductions of educational programs," said Masch, who gave a presentation during the commission's regular planning meeting.

    The federal funding would pay for the salaries of 524 teachers, he said.

    When the commission adopted the district budget in late May, Masch warned that classroom programs might have to be cut if the legislature did not provide the full $1.68 billion in education funding Gov. Rendell had proposed.

    In addition, district officials were disappointed when Pennsylvania lost out last month in the competition for federal Race to the Top funding for education. The education jobs bill turned out to be an unexpected boon, Masch said.

    The money from the bill, which aims to save or add positions, can be used only for salaries and benefits of school-based employees.

    The bill, which was enacted Aug. 10, provides $10 billion to states to retain or add school-based jobs through September 2012. Pennsylvania is slated to receive $388 million.

    Masch said he had calculated the district's share based on the state's school-funding formula.

    The district expects the remaining $49 million in the 2011-12 school year.

    Read more:
    Watch sports videos you won't find anywhere else

  3. The entire Philadelphia School budget for one year is $3.2 billion. Now imagine the indignation of the fiscal conservatives if it was suggested that Philadelphia receive that amount of money for not doing something for 90 days.

    Had enough yet?

  4. Israel and the Palestinians can work out their differences or not. That is their problem.

    This has been going on for over 40 years. We are going broke. I repeat, we are going broke. If or when we do, not one dollar will come from Israel to help the US. Not one dollar will come from the Arabs.

  5. I take it back; TPaw will have to wait. We gotta have a "Christie."

  6. Somewhere along the line we became the stupidest people in the history of the solar system.

  7. I hate fucking religion.

  8. heheharhar - maybe we've read Obama all wrong, maybe he is an undercover Jew, not a muslim.

    Twenty new fighter planes.

    What a deal.

  9. I'd stop my development for 90 days - even 9 months for a.......oh, a measly 3 million.

  10. As stated many times, the US should withdraw all funding from the Levant.

    Leaving it to the Russians, whose people are there, in Israel in mass, and to the EU who are policing the Lebanese portion of the geography to dispense largess to Israel.

    I'm sure that the Saudis could fill gap we'd leave behind, on the Arab side.

    If neither side received outside funding, it'd matter not a hoot in the Sonoran desert. Where discussions on border security are stalled, too.

    Instead we are paying the Israelis to halt, momentarily, with regards the lands they gained in 1967 and now administer, actions that violate the protocols of the Geneva Accords.

  11. Obama, bob, is a true blue American politico, as "Real" as they come.

    Giving away money that he does not have, to folks that do not deserve it. Folks that are not "Americans" in any shape or form. Not by birthright, culture, nor desire.

    Just another payment to the looters, while gaining nothing that advances US national interests.

  12. As for "going broke" Deuce, that is not the case, at all.

    We have an asset management challenge, that's all. The Federal balance sheet is chock full of under valued real assets.

    Assets whose "book value" are both vastly under appreciated and mismanaged. Exemplifying Federal Socialism at its American best.

  13. So after the never-ending story full of lengthy negotiations, talks, objective proposals and suggestions aimed at resolving this multifaceted issue a package of incentives and financial support should finally accelerate its pace. I can't help but ask why didn't they think it up earlier?

  14. In other wars, the US should heed the call of local elected officials.

    (RTTNews) - The United States has expressed dismay over Afghan President Hamid Karzai's call for whittling down American military operations in the war-ravaged south Asian nation, reports said.

    Instead of expressing "DISMAY" we should celebrate Afghanistan's growing political independence, from US.

  15. While this headline from the Anchorage Daily News exemplifies why Mrs Palin would be an awful Presidential candidate. She has no coattails, even in Alaska

    Murkowski maintains election write-in lead

  16. An interesting aside, now it seems that "Christians" are calling Jews that are not Zionists anti-Semites.

    Referring, of course to Glenn Beck and his recent allegations concerning George Soros.

    While other folks of unknown religious background are coming to Mr Soros's defense. Claiming, as it were, that it is Mr Beck that is truly the anti-Semite.

    Glenn Beck's conspiracy theories are no less bizarre and inflammatory than those of LaRouche, but his nightly audience numbers in the millions. Earlier this year, Americans voted Beck their second favorite television personality after Oprah Winfrey.

    In consequence, he is far more dangerous. It must be a great sorrow to George Soros, who having survived the Holocaust now finds himself the subject of the same kind of conspiracy theories that the Nazis used to demonize the Jews.

    The big bad "Jewish masterminds" of Hitler's day were the Rothschilds, a family of bankers who have featured prominently in anti-Semitic conspiracy theories since the 1800s. Like Soros, they have been accused of controlling the media, instigating war, overthrowing governments, and of course, taking over the world.

    But in 21st century America, a popular television host cannot outright espouse anti-Semitic ideas. Thus, Glenn Beck took pains to present himself as a friend of the Jews. According to Beck, it was George Soros who was the anti-Semite.

    Yes, it is an interesting whirled, where Christians demonize Jews as being anti-Semitic. That's what happens to those that do not toe the Zionist/Armageddon is nearly here line.

    Welcome to the "Glenn Beck Program," where Jews are Nazis and those who exploit ancient anti-Semitic conspiracy narratives are friends of the Jews.

    Beck himself said it best,

    "There are a few working parts to a puppet show. There is the puppet master. Here. There is a stage. There's the audience. There are the strings to each puppet. And then there's the story. There is also why? Why is the story? Why is the show happening? What is the puppet master? What is his motivation? Is it for the money? Is it for entertainment? Is it personal gain? What is it?"

    The opinions expressed in this commentary are solely those of Michael Wolraich.

  17. Hey Lorne, no medical report life insurance person, later this week I may want to speak with you.

  18. Ha'aretz - ‎27 minutes ago‎

    Arab League official:
    Settlement freeze without Jerusalem, eases criticism of Israel won't be acceptable.

    An Arab League official said Monday that a possible three-month-long temporary freeze on settlement construction in the West Bank would be unlikely to be enough to prompt Palestinian and Arab support for Mideast peace talks. . ...

  19. DR, you have no imagination. There is an obvious solution, we pay the Palestinians $3 billion to not build something for 90 days, maybe we could negotiate for 120 days.

    Hillary, SOS, negotiated a hell of a deal. Our State Department needs a backbone transplant.

    The new conservative wave sweeping the country, hankering for a fiscal return to the constitutional purity of the 18th century can start here:

    In 1797 the French had seized several American ships and demanded tribute for their return. The American ambassador to France, Charles Cotesworth Pinckney, said, "No; no; not a sixpence."

    Just watch the Democrats and Republicans in Congress, deeply concerned about our fiscal mess, line up to object to this.

    I am sure all the conservative talk shows, the vanguard to restoring fiscal discipline, will be railing against this as well.

  20. I wonder if the NY Times will be in support of the American taxpayer:

    JERUSALEM — The pledge by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu of Israel to push for a new, one-time-only freeze of 90 days on settlement construction in the West Bank represents a bet by the Israelis and the Americans that enough can be accomplished so that the Palestinians will not abandon peace talks even after the freeze ends.

    But the freeze proposal, which was reached in intensive negotiations with the United States and still needs Israeli government approval — Mr. Netanyahu presented it to his cabinet on Sunday — carries huge risks for all sides. Even before the cabinet began to consider it, both the Israeli right and the Palestinian leadership raised strong objections.

    And for the Obama administration, which promised not to seek any further construction freezes as a precondition for securing this one, it is unclear what will happen to the Israeli-Palestinian peace process if this freeze, like the last one, comes and goes without a Palestinian commitment to remain in negotiations with Israel on creation of a Palestinian state.

    Under the proposed freeze, negotiated by Mr. Netanyahu and Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton during nearly eight hours of talks in New York last Thursday, the Israelis would stop most construction on settlements in the West Bank for 90 days to break an impasse in the peace negotiations with the Palestinians.

    Those negotiations began in Washington in early September, but soon faltered over Palestinian anger at resumed settlement construction, when a previous 10-month freeze ended.

    In return, the Israelis would receive 20 advanced American fighter jets and other unspecified military aid, as well as American promises to oppose any Palestinian attempt to obtain international recognition of statehood in the West Bank, East Jerusalem and Gaza without Israeli agreement.

    I guess not. The amount so trivial, not worth mentioning in dollar terms.

  21. Oh, hold the presses, this 90 day wonder, still needs Israeli government approval. I wonder if $3 billion will be enough to convince them? Perhaps they should hold out for $4B, maybe a new submarine or an aircraft carrier.

  22. Three billion dollars for a 90 day deal. What's a billion dollars to the Obama Administration?

  23. Great story from flopping aces about an old handle here and at the belmont club: possum tater.

  24. Deuce: Oh, hold the presses, this 90 day wonder, still needs Israeli government approval. I wonder if $3 billion will be enough to convince them? Perhaps they should hold out for $4B, maybe a new submarine or an aircraft carrier.

    Your snarky comments have been noted by the anti-Semite police, you Deutscheland Uber Alles-er!

  25. Yes Charles, where is the Possum tater when we need him?

  26. DR: Yes, it is an interesting whirled, where Christians demonize Jews as being anti-Semitic.

    Ironic. It was only with Vatican II in about 1965 that Rome dropped the two-thousand year old charges of deicide against the Jews.

  27. Thanks Selah, but if the Schutzstaffel of politically correct thinking cannot stand the truth, too bad, or as they say in the old country, "If the Schutzstaffel fits, wear it."

    Personally, any Israeli that is a true patriot should be sick and tired of their politicians sucking up and degrading themselves with their tin cup to US politicians. US pols should be sick of the crying wolf schtick. Israel is a major power and should act like one.

    That's life in the NFL.


    Animal Rights Uncompromised: Predator-Reintroduction Programs

    PETA does not support predator-reintroduction programs for myriad reasons. Animals can very often escape artificial boundaries and become a "nuisance," leading to their being poisoned, hit by cars, or shot. In failed attempts to escape, they might become entangled in barbed wire or be shocked by electric fences. Upon introduction to their new homes, their prey scatter, and their lives and behavior patterns are turned upside-down.

    Wolves, bears, lynxes, and boars deserve to lead free, natural lives. Reintroduction programs subject wild animals to capturing and handling, which is always very stressful for them and may eventually put them in the line of fire of farmers who are already angry about predator-reintroduction programs.

    To capture and transport wolves and other predators to a new area, the animals must first be tranquilized. When they recover from the anesthesia, they are released into unfamiliar terrain. This unnatural process causes a great deal of stress to animals and threatens their physical health and well-being.

    Wolves are social animals who live in tightly knit packs. It is nearly impossible to capture and relocate an entire pack, so relocation almost always breaks up a tightly bonded extended family, likely causing loneliness, pining, separation anxiety, depression, and grieving.

    Relocated animals often have difficulty determining where they can find food and shelter. Some of the wolves who were reintroduced into Yellowstone National Park have left their new packs because it is difficult to adapt to the new area and function in their contrived "family" units.

    Reintroducing wolves and other predators into an environment that has been free of such animals for a long time is also traumatic for the animals who already live there, such as deer, birds, and any other animals who suddenly find themselves being stalked and attacked.

    While supporters of predator-reintroduction programs believe in the concept of restoring the "balance of nature," it's not possible to artificially impose this balance. Ecosystems are in a constant state of change, which has been sped up by human expansion and technological advances.

    Our species has wiped out predator populations in many areas of the world but must also realize that the system has evolved and recovered to its current state. Rather than attempting to return wilderness areas to some semblance of an undefined previous state and manipulating populations of animals, we need to focus our efforts on alleviating the suffering and promoting the well-being of those who are there now.

    Many articles and news reports about the wolf-reintroduction program in the U.S. focus on people's interests—the idea that the absence of wolves makes us miss out on a majestic part of nature. Such reports romanticize hearing "the cry of wolves" one day again in Yellowstone but do not consider the extensive suffering that could be expressed in these cries.

    I am now thinking of becoming a member of PETA.

    Melody Sophia Pulchrituda has been right all along, as usual.

  29. Only the heartless from a city like Detroit could find it good to break up a tightly bonded extended family, likely causing loneliness, pining, separation anxiety, depression, and grieving.

  30. Hooooowllll.....makes one sad to even think of it.

  31. By the way Quirk, elk and moose are by far the preferred meals on wheels for the wolves, when available. These guys don't bother with the little stuff, unless starving.

  32. While supporters of predator-reintroduction programs believe in the concept of restoring the "balance of nature," it's not possible to artificially impose this balance. Ecosystems are in a constant state of change, which has been sped up by human expansion and technological advances.

    Philosophically and conceptually in direct conflict with the Green Movement foundational principal that engineered (man-made) design include mitigation measures that restore one, or usually all, of a suite of target variables back to some defined level of 'existing conditions.'

  33. Long live PETA and all PETA supporters!

  34. Thinking this matter over going down to Albertson's to buy the morning paper, I am now resolved to join PETA.

    I'm already a member of Ducks Unlimited.

  35. Charlie walks out, doesn't want to be his own lawyer after all. I think Charlie knows he's going down. A flamboyant exit.


    — A panel of Rep. Charlie Rangel’s peers in Congress are continuing the ethics trial against him after a fiery and frustrated Rangel excused himself, arguing he would not represent himself and had not been given enough time to hire counsel.

    “My role here is as a respondent and I am not here representing myself. I’ve been a lawyer long enough to know that it is very, very unwise for any person, a lawyer or a judge, to be his own counsel at a proceeding like this,” Rangel said after being asked whether he was making a motion to continue the hearing.

    Rep. G.K. Butterfield (D-N.C.), one of the judges on the panel of four Democrats and four Republicans, requested that the hearing go to recess so the panel could discuss whether to continue Monday despite Rangel’s claims that he had not been given adequate time to hire counsel.

    The panel declined Rangel’s request Monday morning and the proceeding – rare in the annals of the House – went forward without the 20-term congressman’s presence.

    Rangel said “50 years of public service has to suffer” because he did not have the money himself to pay for a lawyer, that he did not have enough time to cultivate a legal defense fund, and that free counsel offered to him would be considered a gift and therefore prohibited.

    “I object to the proceeding and with all due respect I’m going to have to excuse myself from these proceedings because I have no idea what [the prosecutor] has put together over two years that was given to me last week, and I just hope that the history of this committee turns to fairness and will be judged for what it is,” he said. “I respectfully remove myself from these proceedings.”

  36. Soros, Beck and the Holocaust

    Beck doesn't come off so badly in this article.

  37. Binyamin should make the deal, then fritter the 90 days away.

    As Americans are salivating in anticipation of the blessings of ObamaCare, the Israelis are about to experience the thrills of another wonderful emanation of the Great Mind -- the ObamaLogic.

    As is well known in certain circles which for some reason call themselves "progressive," and of which our President is a great enthusiast and illustrious leader, the Arab-Israeli conflict is the root of all that is wrong with the Middle East. Establish a Palestinian state -- and Sunnis will embrace the Shias, Arabs will fall in love with the Iranians, Iranians will fall out of love with the atom bomb, Darfur will turn from the scene of butchery to that of brotherly love, Iraq will become a paragon of peaceful coexistence, the Taliban will permit the Afghan ladies to freely pursue their education and whatever else that may contribute to their happiness, and peace, freedom, equality and brotherhood will reign in the Middle East forever and ever, amen. And -- I forgot to mention -- the lion will lie with the lamb, and they will beat their swords into the plowshares.

    It is precisely in the light of the latter consequence of the establishment of the Palestinian state that I find the key part of the deal that Obama administration is offering to Israel (and which is apparently embraced by Israel's Netanyahu) extremely puzzling. According to the New York Times, "Netanyahu Agrees to Push for Freeze in Settlements":

    "in return [for the 90-day settlement freeze that will allow the Palestinians back into the talks on the establishment of the Palestinian state], the Obama administration has offered Israel a package of security incentives and fighter jets worth $3 billion that would be contingent on the signing of a peace agreement."

    Here is why I am so puzzled. According to Obama's above-described position, once the Palestinian state is established and the root of Middle Eastern unhappiness thus removed, there will be eternal peace in the Middle East. What are then the security incentives, and the combat aircraft that are the key part of the deal for?

    That offer would make logical sense if and only if the anticipated result of establishment of the Palestinian state is the worsening, rather than the improvement, of Israel's strategic position. But Obama's entire premise is that this will not happen. On the contrary, peace will reign forever and ever.

    So why are these twenty planes offered?

    Perhaps, in Obama's view, there is just not enough swords in the Middle East so he wants to add some more so there is enough high-tech steel to beat into plowshares.

    Or, perhaps, he reasons a little differently -- and strictly along the "progressive," pro-Islamic lines. The Palestinian state will indeed be a mortal blow to Israel, and that blow needs to be offset with a tempting offer. Put into the form of the classical ad, "twenty combat aircraft -- three billion dollars. Destruction of Israel -- priceless."

    That kind of reasoning on Obama's part would make his offer logical indeed.

  38. On the subject of the thread, $3 billion is chump change. It could be $300 billion. That just about says it all. The Clinton failure proved to me that no amount of money will buy peace in the ME.

    I agree with Rufus: I hate organized religion. In fact, my whole body stiffens in alarm at just about any group activity - why the Beck rally turned me off when the subject turned to one man's personal challenge and redemption. TMI. Re-watching 1984 with Richard Burton torturing John Heard was chilling. Religion at best reminds us of the potential for a better self - at worst, it is little more than first cousin to totalitarian thought.

    Meanwhile, I hope Bernanke has an absorbing hobby:

    A group of Republican-leaning economists will launch a campaign this week calling on U.S. Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke to drop his plan to buy $600 billion more in Treasury bonds, the Wall Street Journal reported on Monday.

  39. Where does the 3 Billion price tag come from? I see nothing in that article to indicate a cost to the US of 3 billion.

  40. We here on the podunk Palouse, not surprisingly, are at the cutting edge of the Cleaning Lady's hopes and dreams ---

    By NICHOLAS K. GERANIOS, Associated Press Nicholas K. Geranios, Associated Press – Mon Nov 15, 9:46 am ET

    PULLMAN, Wash. – Invoking the spirit of "Star Trek" in a scholarly article entitled "To Boldly Go," two scientists contend human travel to Mars could happen much more quickly and cheaply if the missions are made one-way. They argue that it would be little different from early settlers to North America, who left Europe with little expectation of return.

    "The main point is to get Mars exploration moving," said Dirk Schulze-Makuch of Washington State University, who wrote the article in the latest "Journal of Cosmology" with Paul Davies of Arizona State University. The colleagues state — in one of 55 articles in the issue devoted to exploring Mars — that humans must begin colonizing another planet as a hedge against a catastrophe on Earth.

    Mars is a six-month flight away, possesses surface gravity, an atmosphere, abundant water, carbon dioxide and essential minerals. They propose the missions start by sending two two-person teams, in separate ships, to Mars. More colonists and regular supply ships would follow.

    The technology already exists, or is within easy reach, they wrote.

    An official for NASA said the space agency envisions manned missions to Mars in the next few decades, but that the planning decidedly involves round trips.

  41. Been there. Done that.

    Mars is a dive. No climate control. Spacesuit only.

    Now Vega Delta Epsilon. There's a real party planet. 54-hr diurnal cycle. Makes Ladies Night a hoot and a holler to remember. What happens in Vega stays in Vega.

    I really should write a book.

  42. I've joined PETA.

    Lady Godiva and PETA

    Why does PETA use nudity? To catch your attention, of course.

    Ducks Unlimited
    American Automobile Association
    U of W Alumni Association
    Idaho Republican Party
    ELCA (nominal)

  43. I shoulda known you'd been there already.

    And I want a signed copy of your book.

  44. Welcome to!

    Log in as Robert xxxxxx to meet like-minded community members and start participating in valuable conversations. While browsing the community, don't forget to visit the home page, and your user settings page, where you can add a bio and personalize your settings, including controlling email notifications such as these.

    Happy connecting!

    I probably won't do any of this, but I'll read the newsletter.

    And check out the new videos.

  45. The most egregious cost of war is loss of life. I could not care less how many of them kill each other but I am disgusted at the loss of American lives in pursuit of a peace that has little history in that part of the world and even less potential for future evolution in an environment that selectively favors extremes and extremism over moderation and compromise. Adding insult to injury is the financial aid that is designed to discourage them from killing us. I'm no expert but I would say that policy has not been very effective so far.

  46. .
    ...don't forget to visit the home page, and your user settings page, where you can add a bio and personalize your settings,...

    Don't hold back Bob. Let the PETANS get to know you.

    Go in there and explain your issues with the elk and why you think poisoning the wolves is the best option.

    I'm sure you'll start making a lot of new friends almost immediately.

    (Of course, I'm not sure I'd mention the PETA membership to the boys over at Ducks Unlimited).



  47. .
    Only the heartless from a city like Detroit could find it good to break up a tightly bonded extended family, likely causing loneliness, pining, separation anxiety, depression, and grieving...

    The whole prior post on PETA's position is irrelevant as you are not talking about 'reintroducing' wolves. The wolves are there. The question is what to do with them now.

    Geez, Bob.


  48. Chevy returns to Indie with 2.4L Twin Turbo Direct Injected E85 V-6 Rocket.

    Can't wait to get the HP numbers on that puppy.

  49. Ash said...
    Where does the 3 Billion price tag come from? I see nothing in that article to indicate a cost to the US of 3 billion.

    Mon Nov 15, 01:13:00 PM EST

    ...According to diplomats familiar with the incentives, they include asking Congress to approve supplying Israel with 20 advanced fighter jets worth about $3 billion and a U.S. commitment to oppose moves at the U.N.

  50. From Firedog lake:

    $3 Billion In Planes For Ninety Days’ Worth Of Settlement Freeze
    By: Spencer Ackerman Monday November 15, 2010 12:05 am

    Hard not to be cynical about this, especially considering this:

    According to Peace Now’s count, since the end of the [settlement] freeze in October 26th, the settlers managed to start to build 1,629 housing units, and even to dig the foundations for 1,116 of them. The works started in 63 settlements, 46 of them east the Separation Barrier and 17 on the western side of it.

  51. It doesn't pass the smell test - 3 billion for 90 days extension of a freeze that previously ran for 10 months. I figure the US negotiators got to have more on the table than that simple quid pro quo.

  52. The Religious Zealots (re: children) think it's about 'peace in Palestine:' the grown-ups know the Middle East is "All About" the Oil, and keeping Saudi Arabia happy.

  53. "The initial reaction by conservative Israeli politicians was to oppose the deal, saying that the previous 10-month settlement freeze was a one-time gesture and ought not to be extended. They emphasized that for the first nine of those 10 months, the Palestinians did not negotiate. They also argued that if the aim of the 90 days was to establish future borders, too much would be given away by Israel before a comprehensive agreement was reached.

    “Here we are going with a process in which we give up all the land of Israel but the other issues still exist,” Silvan Shalom, minister of regional cooperation and a member of Mr. Netanyahu’s Likud party, told Israel Radio.

    “If Israel has a three-month freeze, the pressure to establish borders will be unbearable.” "

  54. In lexiconal news---

    Palin improves the English Language --

    Palin's 'refudiate' named Word of the Year

    The staff of the New Oxford American Dictionary has named "refudiate" - former Alaska governor Sarah Palin's mashup of "refute" and "repudiate" - as the 2010 Word of the Year, the Anchorage Daily News reports.

    The news organization quotes the staff as saying:

    "From a strictly lexical interpretation of the different contexts in which Palin has used 'refudiate,' we have concluded that neither 'refute' nor 'repudiate' seems consistently precise, and that 'refudiate' more or less stands on its own, suggesting a general sense of 'reject.' "

  55. 12 Year Old Hitboy, Torturer Arrested In Mexico

    Believe the article said about 50/day killed in drug violence now in Mexico.

    And some court just ruled illegals pay only in-state tuition at our schools.

    Dumbest people in the galaxie, just like Ruf says.

  56. Ash,

    Why is any of it a concern or obligation of US taxpayers? Who are the real estate developers who win either way? If they build, they sell them, if they don't the exiting inventory becomes more valuable.

    Bribing them with US military technology, paid for by US taxpayers makes it even worse.
    How much will this cost the US taxpayers?

    Chinese missiles can ravage U.S. bases
    Report cites 5 sites in Asia

    By Bill Gertz-The Washington Times8:38 p.m., Sunday, November 14, 2010ASSOCIATED PRESS

    China's military can destroy five out of six U.S. bases in Asia with waves of missile strikes as the result of its large-scale military buildup that threatens U.S. access and freedom of navigation in East Asia, according to a forthcoming congressional report.

    "The main implication of China's improved air and conventional missile capabilities is a dramatic increase in the [People's Liberation Army's] ability to inhibit U.S. military operations in the region," a late draft of the report by the U.S.-China Economic and Security Review Commission concludes.

    Now, where did China get all this technology that allowed them to develop their missile technology and air defense in such a short period of time? China missile threat to US forces

    The Jerusalem Post points to one place where it came from. In 2005 the Pentagon became infuriated with what Israel was selling to China and used political and economic pressure to make them stop.

    The problem is, it was too late and tough shit for these American bases. Anyone familiar with sophisticated weapons systems can appreciate the time from design to deployment and then training. 6-7 years is nothing. The results of those Israeli sales are bearing fruit for China today.

    Israel is not the only country that does it.

  57. This from FOX:

    "From our understanding, what was allowed under the previous freeze can continue. What was not allowed under the previous freeze cannot continue," the diplomat said. He spoke on condition of anonymity because the details of the deal have not been finalized.

    An Israeli cabinet minister also told Israeli television that the U.S. would guarantee for a year to use its veto power in the United Nations against any unilateral Palestinian U.N. initiatives.

    The U.S. would provide 20 F-35 fighter jets free of charge. That's a $3 billion value. It would be in addition to 20 F-35s that Israel already planned to purchase. Defense Minister Ehud Barak said the supply of the planes was not contingent on concluding a final peace deal.

    The American public should be livid about this.I think it is an outrage and should be stopped.

  58. That's about the one thing that pisses me about Israel, that selling of technology stuff.

  59. China will be selling US F35's in a couple of years.

  60. heh

    Order a free vegetarian starter kit.

    Famous Vegans From PETA

    For some reason they didn't mention Adolf.

  61. CRS, pg 7

    Petraeus warns Afghans about Karzai's criticism of U.S. war strategy

    During this fiscal year, the anticipated cost of running the Afghan operation is $2.3 billion per week.

    Presumably, the US strategy is not dependent upon the compliance of the Afghan “president”.

    To date, not a single US soldier, sailor, or Marine is reported to have been killed fighting alongside the IDF. Hundreds of US personnel will be killed and wounded in Afghanistan during 2010.

    ”Chinese espionage activities are so extensive [IN THE UNITED STATES] that they comprise the [SINGLE GREATEST RISK] to the security of American technologies,”

    I'm thinking Los Alamos, but Intel will do just as well.

    Your analysis is again misguided by your prejudice.

    Right, Whit? :-)

  62. Interesting ideas the people have at the blog..

    3.3 billion to Israel to BUY USA made planes, which will employ how many tens of thousands in America?

    Not a peep from the chorus of Israel bashers about the 500 MILLION in 2010 to the PA, nor the 600 MILLION this YEAR to Hamas, nor the 150 MILLION MORE to the PA for actually doing NOTHING to make peace.

    Not a peep from the chorus for the 100 MILLION to Lebanon's army which goes into Hezbollah's hands..

    and these are ENEMIES of the USA.

    Israel is a valued ALLY of the USA and actually creates ten's of thousands of jobs in the USA.

    Can this be said of EGYPT, someone who gets 3 BILLION a YEAR for DOING NOTHING?

    Not to mention the 11 BILLION we forgave to Egypt in out right DEBT during Gulf war 1 for sitting in the dessert and not getting in the way...

    Yep ALl Israel does is the hustle...

    AND how much did the government DESTROY in actual bondholders value in GM?

    How much debt did it create for the crysler and gm take overs?

    The Banks?

    and now you bitch about 3 billion in f35's to Israel, when we ALL KNOW the very SAME WHITEHOUSE CANCELLED THE F22's that were promised to Israel by Bush.

    This administration also promised to support Israel in the WHitehouse.

    WOw, such a honor..

    Where was the Whitehouse when it came to living up to PAST AGREEMENTS SIGNED BY THE FORMER PRESIDENT?

    Where was this Whitehouse in the UN, when it abstained from supporting Israel when under attack?


    Now they promise in a new deal to be there in the clutch...

    America is spending billions a year on ACORN, UNIONS and destroying the health care and immigration of this nation...

    ONE standard for all, not one standard for Israel.

  63. 3.3 billion for American fight planes...

    Now why does Israel NEED these airplanes?

    FOr security..

    From WHOM...

    The Arab and Iranian hostile forces...

    Oh yeah, those same forces that America and the west pour 100's of billions a year into buying their oil...

    And guess what? America SELLS and GIVES away arms, rockets and training & planes to those very same arabs that are actually in a state of WAR with Israel.

    Hmm... 60 BILLION in arms sales to Arabia and we patrol the shipping lanes for them for FREE.

    So we buy their oil (or Japan does) and Japan gets safe oil, china gets safe oil, the camel fuckers get our cash... they then buy more weapons...

    then Israel has to buy more weapons to DEFEND herself from genocide...


    How about we just develop an alternative to OPEC oil and let the strong survive...

  64. That's about the one thing that pisses me about Israel, that selling of technology stuff.

    I should clarify, I really don't know to what extent this is happening.

  65. Bank of Israel Governor Stanley Fischer said Federal Reserve Chairman Ben S. Bernanke is correct to ease policy in unconventional ways with the U.S. central bank’s target interest rate near zero.


    Bernanke is trying to boost growth after near-zero interest rates and $1.7 trillion in securities purchases helped pull the economy out of recession without bringing down joblessness close to a 26-year high.


    Fischer said monetary policy has taken on greater importance in part because the government has less leeway to take fiscal-policy actions.

    Easing Policy

  66. 3.3 billion to Israel to BUY USA made planes, which will employ how many tens of thousands in America?

    The operable word is "BUY". There is no buy. It is outright tribute to a foreign power, tribute to influence behavior.


    There is a difference between prejudice and experience. Prejudice can be blind, based on nothing. It is a sign of sloppy thinking or non-thinking.

    Experiences are based on facts and past events. The facts and events referred to in my comments, regarding technology transfers, actually happened. The consequences to those facts are yet to be known.

    French military assets sold by the French to Argentina caused a lot of deaths to British soldiers in theFalklands, but they were French weapons.

    Should American soldiers be killed by Chinese weapons, designed from American weapons, originally given to Israel and then transferred to China is not a speculative event.

    The transfer has already happened. It is fact not prejudice. The affect had already caused great cost to American taxpayers in that the military is already spending money to undo the damage done to American defense and deployed bases, bases now within striking distance of China, the striking distance a result of Israeli transfer of American military secrets and technology to China.


    The underlying conflict between Palestine and Israel has resisted American efforts to end the acrimony for over 40 years. The participants may keep that up for an indeterminate number of years, but that is their problem and in varying degrees of their individual and shared responsibility.

    The US should let the belligerents sort the problem out between themselves or not. It is not a problem that can be solved by US payments, transfer of military technology or American diplomacy. It has not worked for 40 years and will not in the next 40 years let alone 90 days.

    I return to my comments of Mon Nov 15, 03:01:00 AM EST. My observations and comments stand.

  67. My feelings for Netanyahu have been consistently expressed in my comments. I loathe him.

    He is the people of Israel's elected choice. That is their business. He can lead Israel where Israel wants to go or has to go. Israel is a major nuclear power in a place and time of its choosing.

    Any national rights that Israel has are established by historic events and facts. All national rights need to be defended to remain credible. That is Israel's problem. Israel is not representing US interests, it represents their own interests, as it should.

    Israel has the right , the power and the means to do what it pleases in the Middle East. Let them.