“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."

Friday, November 23, 2012

and the real winner is Muslim Brotherhood Egyptian President Mohammed Morsi and Hamas

Israeli Press Declares Victory for Hamas
By Ulrike Putz in Beirut SPIEGEL

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has sought to claim Wednesday's ceasefire deal as a personal success. But not many seem to agree. Influential commentators in Israel believe that Hamas came out ahead -- and that the Islamist group has now been elevated to the status of negotiating partner.
If you believe Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, the Gaza offensive, which just came to a halt as a result of the Wednesday evening ceasefire agreement, was the jewel in the crown of his political career. "We need to navigate this ship of a state in stormy waters with responsibility and wisdom, that's how a responsible government acts," he said in praise of himself during a statement to the nation on Wednesday. "We've executed a military action but also stayed open for a diplomatic solution."
His comments were anything but brief, but the message was not a complicated one: Israel won, in part due to the brilliance of the prime minister. A leader, the subtext continued, who deserves to be re-elected in the January 22 vote. His statement, wrote the Jerusalem Post, "effectively ended an eight-day military campaign and began an election one."

Unfortunately for him, however, the Israeli press is not joining Netanyahu in praising Netanyahu. To be sure, most analysts agree that the current ceasefire bringing the Israeli Gaza operation "Pillar of Defense" to a halt is a positive development due to the return of calm to southern Israel. But in the Israeli press, Netanyahu's name was not among the victors listed on Thursday morning. Rather, leading commentators in the country agree that the primary beneficiaries from the week-long clash are the Hamas leadership and Egyptian President Mohammed Morsi, who negotiated the truce.

A member of the Muslim Brotherhood, Morsi's summertime election had led to significant distrust in the West. Now, writes Anshel Pfeffer in the influential Israeli daily Haaretz, the crisis has propelled Mursi into the role of an important regional statesman. The proof: As the ceasefire was being finalized this week, US President Barack Obama telephoned with Morsi multiple times.

Minor Victories
Pfeffer emphasized that even Israeli Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman saw it necessary to thank Morsi for his role in bringing about a truce. Given Lieberman's hard-line stance, such a move counts as a mini-sensation in Israel. After all, the Israeli foreign minister is hardly a fan of Egypt or Hamas, having in the past called for the bombardment of the Aswan Dam and demanded that the Gaza Strip be treated as the Russians do Chechnya.
Hamas too has managed to extract minor victories from the conflict, according to analysts. For one, the Islamist leaders of the Gaza Strip inserted a clause in the ceasefire agreement which calls for at least a partial lifting of the blockade Israel imposed on the Palestinian area after Hamas came to power in 2006. Furthermore, the fact that the Hamas leadership didn't collapse in the face of heavy bombardment, along with the fact that their rockets continued to rain down on Israel throughout the conflict, has been interpreted as a success.
But even more important for the Islamists, according to Haaretz, is that their rockets were able to hit both Tel Aviv and Jerusalem. And they were able to position themselves as a negotiating partner for the Israeli leadership, guaranteeing them a role as an actor in the Middle East for at least the immediate future.
Indeed, one could argue that the Netanyahu administration has marginalized moderate voices in the Palestinian Territories in the last three years and prepared the groundwork for a Hamas resurgence. Simon Shiffer, the veteran writer for Israeli daily Yedioth Ahronoth, writes that Hamas has now become the most influential Palestinian power because Netanyahu has undertaken negotiations with them while ignoring the Palestinian Authority and its President Mahmoud Abbas.
A Failed Adventure?
Shiffer's colleague at Yedioth, Alex Fishman, would seem to agree. "Hamas has morphed from the enemy that must be brought down to the enemy that is the lesser of two evils," Fishman writes. Although Israel's official position remains that of not recognizing Hamas as a potential negotiating partner, he writes, Israeli leadership has now used the group to exert control over even more radical groups in the Gaza Strip. "Until just a few days ago, such ideas would have been considered blasphemy," Fishman writes.

The deal struck between Israel and the Islamists calls for an immediate stop to all aggression, to be followed by talks aimed at a lasting ceasefire. Border crossings into the Gaza Strip are also to be reopened soon. The goal is to make it easier for both goods and people to cross into the coastal territory following years of Israeli blockade. Hamas has said that the border crossings are to be opened within 24 hours of the beginning of the ceasefire. Egypt has been charged with monitoring the deal.

In the Gaza Strip, thousands took to the streets on Wednesday evening to celebrate what they see as a victory over Israel. Foreign journalists reported chaotic scenes of joy involving Hamas fighters firing machine guns into the air. Hamas chief Khaled Mashaal, currently in Egypt, has also claimed victory. The government in Jerusalem, he said, had failed with its military "adventure."


  1. "We need to navigate this ship of a state in stormy waters with responsibility and wisdom, that's how a responsible government acts," he said in praise of himself during a statement to the nation on Wednesday. "We've executed a military action but also stayed open for a diplomatic solution."

    He didn't use the 'I' word, as another might have done. (perhaps some might say he was using the royal 'We'?)

    I don't understand this situation. Israel is dependent on the USA for some parts, and some types ammo, I've read. Maybe they didn't want to run their supply low, fearful of being cut off?

    1. November 22, 2012
      Gazans celebrate 'victory'
      Rick Moran

      One of the reasons it is so difficult to make peace in the Middle East is that much of the population - including governments - operate on a different plane of reality than the rest of us.

      After getting pummelled for a week by Israeli planes and missiles, Gazans are celebrating a "victory" over the IDF. Most of their rockets were either shot down by the Iron Dome anti-missile system or fell harmlessly to earth. They lost several high ranking members of Hamas, and their means of hitting Israel with any kind of weapon was seriously degraded.

      Some victory.


      Despite the death and destruction, many were buoyant, echoing assertions of the Gaza Strip's Islamist Hamas rulers that their rocket salvoes, which reached Tel Aviv and Jerusalem for the first time, had trumped Israel's military might.

      "Congratulations on your victory," passersby said as they shook hands with Hamas traffic policemen back on the streets after days in hiding to avoid Israeli bombs and missiles.

      But joy mingled with grief as many Palestinians walked by wrecked houses and government buildings, glimpsing shredded clothing, ruined furniture and cars half-buried in the rubble.

      Fighting ended late on Wednesday after the Hamas movement and Israel accepted a truce, although doubt abounded on both sides that this would be anything more than a pause in a deadly struggle between deeply distrustful adversaries.

      Jubilant crowds celebrated in Gaza, most waving green Hamas flags, but hundreds with the yellow emblems of the rival Fatah group led by Western-backed Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas.

      "Today our unity materialized, Hamas and Fatah are one hand, one rifle and one rocket," senior Hamas leader Khalil Al-Hayya told several thousand people in the main square of Gaza.

      Nabil Shaath, a senior Fatah figure, even shared the stage with leaders of Hamas, Islamic Jihad and other factions.

      The striking images of reconciliation broke a prevailing pattern of bitterness since Hamas gunmen drove Fatah from the Gaza Strip in 2007, politically reinforcing the territory's physical separation from the Israeli-occupied West Bank.

      Abbas was sidelined in the Gaza crisis, taking no part in the indirect negotiations in Cairo that produced the truce.

      But he called Hamas's Gaza chief and prime minister, Ismail Haniyeh, to "congratulate him on the victory and extend condolences to the families of martyrs", Haniyeh's office said.

    2. This does not bode well for the future:

      This time, the spirit is different, with Hamas feeling it now has a genuine friend in Egypt's new Islamist leadership and winning de facto recognition as Arab dignitaries flocked to Gaza on solidarity visits during the fighting.

      "Israel learnt a lesson it will never forget" said 51-year-old Khalil Al-Rass from Beach refugee camp in Gaza City. "We are the spearhead, we don't want anything from Arab countries, we only need weapons. We have achieved what no other country did."

      The Hamas authorities declared Thursday a national holiday, keeping closed whatever government offices survived Israeli attacks that flattened the Interior Ministry, police stations and official buildings, along with many apartment blocks.

      A Palestinian flag flew defiantly over Gaza City's police headquarters, bombed into a mess of broken masonry.

      It is probable that the Obama administration will buy into the nonsense that Morsi is some kind of "partner for peace" when he actually tilted far in favor of his Muslim Brotherhood allies in Hamas. Morsi himself will see a rise in stature as a result of America essentially browbeating Israel into accepting the cease fire. That, too, can't be a good thing.

      This cease fire will hold only as long as Hamas decides it will. The next round probably won't take 3 years to materialize as this one did - not with Egypt and several Arab states now committed to a Hamas "victory."

      ((( Morsi himself will see a rise in stature as a result of America essentially browbeating Israel into accepting the cease fire.)))

    3. polnick

      Arabs are celebrating in Gaza, they know that each will receive a part of the 200 million left by Hillary. After the party is over and the money spent missiles will again be lobbed at Israel.

  2. Essentially, an Egyptian protectorate has been declared over Gaza.

    Netanyahu’s coin has been debased and IMO, a positive development, in that war with Iran is far less likely.

    Egypt, under The Muslim Brotherhood’s Morsi, can now claim stature with enhanced diplomatic credentials.

    President Obama appears vindicated that in this case diplomacy worked and that diplomacy can work to persuade the Iranians to give up their nuclear ambitions.

    With Hamas missiles having hit Tel Aviv and Jerusalem, Israel is far less likely to want a hot war with Iran.

  3. President Obama appears vindicated that in this case diplomacy worked and that diplomacy can work to persuade the Iranians to give up their nuclear ambitions.


  4. Netanyahu may have learned the lessons learned by the US in Iraq and Afghanistan, that great military power cannot guarantee diplomatic victory.

    1. leetabin

      If there had not been a LBJ who lost a war that could easily have been won, the United States would not have been afraid of winning wars, and a naif like Obama never would have been president. Jihadist Islam would have been brought to heel long ago if it were not for this moral weakness we have and also the refusal to use the kind of force that would end this savage enemy's ability to wage war. It would probably take about eight weeks.

      Not that I totally agree with this but see his logic. We seem to always fight with one hand behind the back, and then pull out.

  5. Occam's razor Razor might say Obama is pro muslim - The future must not belong to those who slander islam - If the political winds change I will side with the muslims - My muslim faith, oops - The sweetest sound on earth is the call to morning prayer,ect - and would like to see Israel destroyed. Maybe the USA, too.

    1. monostor

      It goes much deeper than all that. The "peace treaty" with Hamas, as idiotic as it sounds was already in place before Hillary arrived. What she, as a rep of the obama regime did in fact, was to declare null and void the original cold peace with egypt. She sold Gaza to the MB bringing egypt back onto israeli soil. Netanyahu allowd egypt to enter sinai at the outbreak of the phony arab spring. Hillary put on top of that faux pas a shovel full of deceit. The process by which the ummah was to annihilate israel has been accelerated with the help of washington.

  6. Israeli Defense Minister Ehud Barak clarified that the cease-fire was not an agreement with Hamas, but rather a document of "understandings" -- between Israel and Egypt, on the one hand, and Egypt and Hamas, on the other. During an interview with Israel Radio, Barak insisted, "There is no agreement. I am holding the paper in my hands." Moreover, Barak and the IDF believe that despite Hamas' public triumphant crowing, the Gaza regime was privately aware of the significant level of damage its jihadist infrastructure had sustained during Operation Pillar of Defense.

    Read more:

  7. November 23, 2012
    Daniel Joppich

    The Obama administration has been actively trying to control the conversation on Benghazi via deception and distraction. Their brain-dead media minions are taking it hook, line, and sinker.

    Remember reports that Axelrod was always in the room while Obama was being briefed on drone strike targets? Is anybody to believe that his campaign wasn't in the room on September 11?

    Overlooked thanks to Obama's redirection of the conversation is that there is the likelihood of an illegal arms transfer to extremist rebels in Syria. If this were to be uncovered, it would change the comparison from Watergate to the Iran Contra affair.

    Therefore, my new name for all of this is Benghazicontragate.

    Just in The Washington Post press room:

    "Mr. Woodward, Mr. Bernstein. There's somebody on the line named Deep Throat saying he knows exactly what was going on in Benghazi and why Obama left the ambassador to die."

    Woodward, "Ask him if he has any pictures of Petraeus and Broadwell naked in bed. Then we'll talk. Otherwise, just take a message."

    "But they say there's a chance that it was a gun deal gone bad."

    Bernstein: "Hey we couldn't sell papers with Fast & Furious. Nobody's going to buy this story. We need smut! Give me smut!"

    Suspected illegal arms deals between CIA operatives and Muslim extremists from secret locations. Terrorist attacks on American embassies by an organization that the president claims he eliminated. Instead of embassy personnel held hostage, we have the murder of four Americans, including a highly respected American ambassador. Failure by the military to render immediate aid for undisclosed reasons. The president's re-election held in the balance. Outrageous and ever-changing cover stories seemingly coming from the presidential campaign headquarters. High-level staff lying to the press and to Congress.

    This story has all the earmarks of a Benghazicontragate.

  8. Let me just file that under 'Shit I don't give a flying fuck about'.

    1. Well, it was a big deal to the Ambassador, in fact, his last deal of all.

  9. The Twinked out Mensa Society chimes in:

    According to Reuters, Hostess employees are saying they don’t regret going out on strike, and would rather be out of work rather than concede any more to a company that they say sought to reduce benefits along with wages.

    One worker, Kenneth Johnson, told Reuters: “I’d rather go work somewhere else or draw unemployment” than take another pay cut from Hostess, which he said had lowered his salary, with overtime, to $35,000 last year from about $45,000 five years ago.

    Said Johnson, who’d worked for Hostess for 23 years: “They’re just taking from us.”

    1. I read that Hostess, in closing down, would be shutting 30 some odd plants in the States killing about 18 thousand jobs.

      Seems the business plan is bankrupt the joint, sell the brands and let someone make the product off-shore. Those twinkies never rot so a long ship ride from China shouldn't be a problem.

  10. Saudi women now subject to electronic tracking. Aw, Gawd, what next? Ankle bracelets and embedded chips probably. Can't go out of the house without some man. Covered up like a black ghost.

    People ought to worry about this, not the Palestinians.

  11. IDF soldiers spell out "Bibi loser" for not using ground forces in Gaza, accepting truce favorable to Hamas

    Growing frustration with the unwillingness of leaders -- any leader -- to confront the jihad. "Soldiers spell out critique of Netanyahu as a ‘loser’ for not using ground forces in Gaza," by Aaron Kalman in the Times of Israel, November 22 (thanks to Pamela Geller):

    The IDF Spokesman’s Office said Thursday it was looking into a photograph circulating widely on Facebook in which 16 IDF soldiers arranged their uniformed bodies on the sand, to spell out the Hebrew words “Bibi loser” — in a deft physical critique of Prime Minister Benjamin (Bibi) Netanyahu’s failure to send ground troops into Gaza during the just-ended Operation Pillar of Defense.

    Netanyahu warned throughout the operation that a wider military assault on Hamas might be about to unfold. The IDF called up tens of thousands of reservists and deployed large troop contingents close to the Gaza border, and some troops were reportedly ordered more than once to gear up for an incursion, only to be ordered to stand down at the last moment.

    “We were twice ordered to gear up and told that we are going in, and then we were called back to Israel,” one soldier said Thursday; others said they had even opened border gates before being told to return....

    Many commenters on the photo said that the soldiers should be court-martialed; many others empathized with the soldiers’ evident sense of frustration at having been wound up for battle and then wound down, calling Netanyahu a coward and criticizing the prime minister for preventing the IDF from “getting the job done” and “giving it to Hamas.”...

    photo here -

    1. .

      I have little sympathy for Netanyahu. That being said, he was in a no-win situation with regard to Gaza.

      Had he invaded with ground troops, he would likely have incurred the wrath of the liberal dicks who run half the world. More importantly, he would have driven a further wedge between his country and its biggest supporter, the US.

      The hypocrisy here is palpable but it's a problem Israel will continue to have moving forward.

      To current PC driven Western political thought, being a victim is an admirable state. However, being a victim while also being the biggest swinging dick in the valley is unforgivable.


    2. heh that is unforgivable, so it seems.

    3. Maybe we should allow the gazans to resettle in Texas?

  12. .

    Three points were made in the initial post that I believe to be true.

    First, Netanyahu lost. However, he lost not because of Hamas directly but because of

    Point two, the Hamas rise signalled a Fatah loss. Fatah and Abbas on the West Bank have been a moderate presence in the ongoing affair with Israel. They have been given responsibility for setting up a functioning government in the West Bank and they have taken the ball and run. They have a functioning police force and have controlled their more radical elements. They have progressed to the point where they are requesting recognition from the UN.

    While I don't follow developments there on a daily basis; what I have seen would indicate to me that Netanyahu has done zip to improve relations with Fatah and that he has in fact gone out of his way to marginalize them with policies such as increased settlements.

    In the alternative universe of Muslim thought, Hamas has won and their radical approach has won over the moderation of Fatah, not a good thing except for the MB.

    Third, while as noted above, this may delay or forstall any plans Israel had for attacking Iran, to believe negotiations won in this case is at best premature and, more likely, thoroughly naive. I would expect the next round of fighting will occur sooner rather than later.


    1. Barky doesn't seem to have any problem at all with the MB. All part of that 'arab spring' thing. Most recently seems to have been running guns into Syria. One wonders.

    2. "The Arabic Call to Prayer is the most beautiful sound on Earth"

    3. Netanyahu has done zip to improve relations with Fatah and that he has in fact gone out of his way to marginalize them with policies such as increased settlements.

      Which is the centerpiece of the Netanyahu-Petraeus conflict that went public awhile back. My personal view is that Petraeus engaged in a mid-life crisis of his own making but it is hard not to wonder about the "blow-back" from his role in the hornet's nest benignly labelled the ME.

    4. Increased settlements being another realization of Israels goals.

    5. Increased settlements of the arabs of the westbank is off the chart...

      why one standard for only Israelis?

      by the way, is not Canada a settlement?

    6. Maybe Canada should steal some more land and give it to the Palestinians to create a state?

  13. Things are so bad in Spain they can't afford a proper funeral -

    Seems it's hard to remember Spain ever being anything but poor, mostly, or Greece without riots.

    1. .

      Spain is also continuing in the same direction as other western "democracies".

      There are ongoing demonstrations there against austerity programs. In a number of cases, videos of police beating protestors have been put up on YouTube. Amnesty International and other such groups have become involved.

      The government response? Police are covering their badges and other identification so that they can't be identified and a bill will soon be voted on that will ban any videos of police activities being posted or commented on.

      The same type legislation was being talked about in Italy.

      Thirty years late but it's a 1984 world.


    2. Or a 1930's world. In Greece Golden Dawn is getting more popular.

      On a weekday evening, the Golden Dawn headquarters opposite Athens' main station in the neighbourhood of Kolonos is teeming with supporters. A burly man with a thick silver chain around his neck stands at the door. His black T-shirt reads: "Against all."

      Nice positive slogan 'Against all'.

  14. Hey look at this, MB headquarters torched in Egypt. The secularists and the liberals don't like the "new pharaoh" assuming the powers of a dictator.

    Will Hillary speak up? Will Obama?

    Protesters set fire on Friday to the offices of the Muslim Brotherhood, the party of Egyptian President Mohammed Morsi, a day after he assumed broad new powers not subject to appeal. Pro- and anti-Morsi rallies erupted in cities across Egypt.
    By News Wires (text)

    Protesters torched Muslim Brotherhood offices on Friday, state media said, as supporters and opponents of President Mohamed Morsi staged rival rallies across Egypt a day after he assumed sweeping powers.

    The offices of the Freedom and Justice Party (FJP), the Muslim Brotherhood's political arm, were set ablaze in the canal cities of Ismailiya and Port Said, state television said.

    An FJP official told AFP the party's office was also stormed in the Mediterranean city of Alexandria, where clashes broke out between rival demonstrators.

    In Cairo, an array of liberal and secular groups, including activists at the forefront of the protest movement that forced veteran strongman Hosni Mubarak from power early last year, planned to march on Tahrir Square, Cairo's iconic protest hub, to demonstrate against the "new pharaoh"

  15. WASHINGTON — The conflict that ended, for now, in a cease-fire between Hamas and Israel seemed like the latest episode in a periodic showdown. But there was a second, strategic agenda unfolding, according to American and Israeli officials: The exchange was something of a practice run for any future armed confrontation with Iran, featuring improved rockets that can reach Jerusalem and new antimissile systems to counter them.

    It is Iran, of course, that most preoccupies Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and President Obama. While disagreeing on tactics, both have made it clear that time is short, probably measured in months, to resolve the standoff over Iran’s nuclear program.

    And one key to their war-gaming has been cutting off Iran’s ability to slip next-generation missiles into the Gaza Strip or Lebanon, where they could be launched by Iran’s surrogates, Hamas, Hezbollah and Islamic Jihad, during any crisis over sanctions or an Israeli strike on Iran’s nuclear facilities.

    Michael B. Oren, the Israeli ambassador to the United States and a military historian, likened the insertion of Iranian missiles into Gaza to the Cuban missile crisis.

    “In the Cuban missile crisis, the U.S. was not confronting Cuba, but rather the Soviet Union,” Mr. Oren said Wednesday, as the cease-fire was declared. “In Operation Pillar of Defense,” the name the Israel Defense Force gave the Gaza operation, “Israel was not confronting Gaza, but Iran.”

    88% shoot down rate. That is really something. We should want an Iron Dome too.

    1. Yeah, those damn Kasam rockets lurking in Canada and Mexico are a real threat worth guarding against!

    2. To guard against crazy people like Ash and the Chinese and the Russians and the Iranians. Think how well we would sleep!

    3. Sleep well as you borrow or print ever more money for your beloved military.

    4. The printing money by the USA screws the world just as much as the US taxpayer...

  16. Does Morsi call the shots with Hamas in Gaza?

    It's been said that Hamas was an armed "mission" of the Egyptian Brotherhood.

  17. Hamas won!? I dunno.

    Not having followed the details closely it seems the Israel acheived its goal - stopping the firing of rockets from Gaza into Israel. Hamas got an 'understanding' to ease the border restrictions going into Egypt. It is a sign of good negotiations if folks think they won. The Israelis are best advised to let Hamas celebrate as they quietly acheive their goals.

    Overall, not a lot of progress in the larger conflict in the area.

    1. ...and getting the rockets to stop with out a costly ground game is a good thing for Israel, and BIBI!!

    2. I don't really understand this temporary outcome, nor who is pulling whose strings, nor who has more influence with Hamas, Egypt or Iran with its missile supply, or maybe Hamas acted on its own.

      Israel may have temporarily stopped the missiles but I don't see anything to suggest any progress with stopping the supply.

      Maybe Bibi did what he thought was expedient with the elections coming up but a lot of Israelis seemed disappointed in the outcome.

    3. All outcomes are temporary, especially in the Middle East.

      The rockets have stopped (for now), they've damaged the supply chain (most of the tunnels were squashed) and they've killed a bunch of Hamas leaders (not necessarily a good thing in my view). The cost to Israel was relatively low. What additional gains were to be made by a ground war? Not much in view of the cost. In short I think the Israelis netted out pretty good.

    4. Another bonus was they tested out the Iron Dome. Lots of data for them to munch on as they mull over the Iranian situation.

    5. I wish the Hamas leaders lived in your settlement and dated your kids...

  18. Has Obama been on a mission for the MB?

    "The future must not belong to those who slander the profit of Islam."

    So we went from having a US-friendly dictator who managed to keep a lid on the Muslim Brotherhood and enforced the peace treaty with Israel, to having a dictator from the Muslim Brotherhood in charge of the Suez Canal. And the only people who couldn’t apparently predict this very outcome were the people in the White House proclaiming their foreign policy as “smart power.”

  19. In my opinion, everyone lost but I am more concerned with the why and the when of this latest "boil over". Hamas turned up the heat with rocket launches forcing Israel strike back. To beef up Morsi's credentials? For $20 billion in aid? Is this some sort of con game Iran and Morsi are playing on the west?

    Innocent lives were sacrificed for what? If you can't see the evil nature of an organization that would put its own people in harms way like this, you're a fool. If militant Islam has demonstrated one thing, it is that they don't give a rat's ass about innocents. To them, murder and mayhem is an acceptable form of warfare. We'd best remember this before we get to cozy with the Muslim Brotherhood and Brother Morsi.

    1. I think you are making a bunch of wrong assumptions with the main one being that the folks launching the missles are obediant in a military chain of command. In fact their are many disparate groups and individuals operating on their own in Gaza with only marginal obediance to top down command and control. The second problematic assumption is that Hamas "started it". For decades the Israelis and Palestinians have gone through cycles of violence with each 'side' claiming they were responding to transgressions of the other.

      Morsi seems to have some sway with Hamas et al given his MB history so he's got some power but his game is hardly and easy one or guaranteed of succuess. His recent move to be 'Pharoah' could be costly. And, by the way, war is always full of murder and mayhem and it is only the television watching citizen who may think otherwise.

  20. .

    When speaking of the value or lack thereof of negotiations its always good to remember the underlying principle, "We can negotiate a peace accord that will make you our goodest and bestest friend forever, or at least, until you are not."

    We brow beat Ghaddafi with attack and sanctions until he agreed to stop all work on his nuclear program. Then, US officials called him our staunch ally in the WOT, that is, up to the point that we attacked him for 'humanitarian' reasons and had him killed.


  21. 88% shoot down rate. That is really something. We should want an Iron Dome too.

    Sorry, it does not work that way . 12% got through. That is considerably better than conventional bombs or artillery.

    1. What was the "shoot down" rate of the Palestinians against the IDF?

      Oh yeah...


      Not a drone shot down, not a helicopter even clipped...

      Not one airplane downed.

      1500 sorties by the IDF and not even one wounded soldier.

      The deaths that the Hamas caused? By rockets, 2 soldiers, 4 civilians.

      Maybe Israel should just give up the Iron Dome stuff and just start shooting rockets blindly at the civilians of the Gaza Strip.

      yeah now that would be funny...

  22. “What a lot of Christians don’t understand is the importance of realizing both people have legitimate connections to the land,” said Deatherage. “You don’t have to reconcile them; you have to appreciate that both peoples have legitimate desires to live in dignity and peace. A lot of people on both sides want to do that. Both sides have rejectionists who don’t want that. Both sides have read the story to be that the only thing that works is violence; the only thing the other side understands is violence. But there is no military solution to this conflict. This has to be solved through negotiations.”

    We need a new paradigm....


    Deatherage urges American evangelicals to understand the Palestinian perspective. “Palestinians have a need for dignity and respect, and a deep attachment to the land,” he said. “That is why they will not leave; they are tenacious about staying on their land and that they have their own place. There is a deep attachment to place. The Palestinian Christians who are there are the inheritors of the early church. They have kept the flame of Christianity alive for the last 2,000 years. They are descendants of the first Christians.”

    Don't know about all of that (least of all the 'new paradigm' part), but it presents the case for violence driven by a cause, as opposed to gratuitous violence, which is arguably, driven by the psychological profile of the individual. My considered opinion is "unholy mess."

    I watched a quite good movie called "Act of Valor," the act in question being a soldier who falls on a grenade and saves the operation which was targeting terrorists using suicide bombers. You get the full spectrum of violent behavior - from the "batshit crazies", generally running the show, to the crying women with explosives wrapped around their waists listening to encouraging lectures about how nice a place heaven is going to be.

    I have no understanding of the concept of being attached to a place, except in the time frame of a human life span. But attachment to the land of my grandparents and back, means nothing to me. I have no desire to live in Norway. Attachment to a land where I can pursue my life in peace would mean everything. I conclude that violence in the ME is more opportunistic (conducted in bad faith) than causal (conducted in good faith), which gives Israel the edge.

    As noted, the art of successful negotiations is calibrated by all parties feeling as if they have "won." That will likely require some "de-invention" of the various engaged parties. If SoS Clinton really pulled this off, she's got a place in history.

    Honest to god: I wish the UN had carved the state of Israel out of east Texas. Just don't have the patience for it.

    1. The UN did not carve the State of ISRAEL. The Jewish people that LIVED there got self determination.

  23. What is to like in a shit sandwich?


    However let's look at this for a moment.

    Egypt has used Hamas (with iranian weapons) to poke the lion (israel). This has caused a few 100 million in damages to Hamas and the a hundred dead palestinians (so what?)

    Israel got to take out a 12 top hamas leaders, good... Target and hit 1500 hamas bases and ammo depot.

    Just think of the logistical destruction Israel has given the victors? Tunnels, time, planning, smuggling all blown up.

    Yes Hamas are the winners, they will now have a fresh new pile of crushed concrete to recycle.

    And egypt? gets to fleece the arab world and the usa for 15 billion in aid dollars...

    But what value is the aid? The saudias sell gas for triple than they sold it 4 years ago. Food and fuel costs 3x what used to...

    So who wins? The Moslem Brotherhood... It set up the war, then with obama made the "peace".

    Iran loses. Cost them alot to prove that their weapons are ineffective.

    Israel wins and Bibi wins, they get to punch the crap out of Hamas without having a ground war.

    Hamas wins over Fatah, but nothing changes in the Gaza Strip.

    And it is MORE likely now that Israel will do something with Iran before April now that Hamas's big punch has been reduced to noise.

    1. I'm not sure that is all the punch Hamas had. It was simply the punch from Gaza and they exist in more places then just that city prison.

    2. Then there is Hezbollah, Islamic Jihad and

      Syrians, and Jordanians and Lebanese and, well, a whole bunch of Shia the ME over.

    3. gaza aint a prison.

      it's got vast open spaces and it's main city Gaza City? is 1/4 as dense as Tel Aviv.

      Obviously there is no shortage of food, medicine, water, cars, motorbikes and even zoo animals in the Strip.

      They have no problem getting 18 foot long multi-stage rockets, sniper rifles and large numbers of mortars.

      At last check I know of no "city prison" that has fishing fleets, shopping malls and military grade weapons.

      Call it what it is. A stateless area of land controlled by a terrorist gang.

      The good news? they can leave thru Rafah anytime they wish...

    4. The ONLY military that has EVER held it's punch is Israel.

      If Israel fought on the same level of morality that let's say the USA does?

      Gaza would have been leveled years ago.

      America doesnt fight with it's hands tied behind it's back, oh I stand corrected.

      America has since Obama changed the Rules of Engagement.

      Not to worry Obama and his predator drones are far sloppier than israel's kill missions...

  24. The Iron Dome seems to be about the same stage of development that the Patriot was before the Patriot III.

    1. You have to think of the Iron Dome as part of a "layered" defense. Any rockets coming in from Iran will first be met by the Arrow, and Patriot III Missile Defense Systems. Anything that makes it through that will have to get past the Iron Dome.

    2. That's a happy thought. Wasn't really thinking of it that way.

    3. Iron Dome was and is more effective than the Patriot rev.1, that was garbage and did not shot any rockets down from Iraq during the Gulf War.

      The Iron Dome was and is much better. That being said?

      62k per shot verses 600 dollars? It's not cost effective.

      I hear that cluster bombing and napalm MUCH better value. Make the USA could teach Israel how to spray napalm and cluster bombs on the target... (yeah I know Israel uses cluster bombs. Just only AFTER the battle field is cleared of people, not the way most all governments that USE clusterbombs them on active populations)

      The message is clear.

      Defensive weapons are fine, but a usage of offensive weapons would be cheaper and more successful.

      Maybe If Hezbollah starts some shit again? Well now that Hezbollah is part and parcel of the Lebanese government? Well take out the grid, the water supply, the sewage treatment plants, the port, the airport and yes, drive the population north, way north... maybe they should all move to syria and turkey. After all why should the Lebonese be attached to any specific piece of land. Maybe we could resettle them in west texas?

  25. But attachment to the land of my grandparents and back, means nothing to me. I have no desire to live in Norway.

    I am with you there. I have no desire to live in Sweden.

    1. It's different for many Jewish people though, a whole different set of circumstances, etc.

    2. Every set of circumstances is different. If one runs with the "special" argument, then religion becomes front and center. Being agnostic, I frown on that.

      However, having said that, the number of untrustworthy volatile factions who have selected violence over peace is too large to permit much hope for any near-term lasting stability, let alone peace. What a waste. Hope their god is worth it.

  26. Meanwhile, Victoria's Secret has been over run.

  27. From comments section of Kirsten Powers piece on Christian evangelicals:

    1 hour ago

    This article overlooks the basis of many evangelicals uncritical view of Israel. They believe that Israel is the portent of the Second Coming and have therefore objectified Jews in some great cosmic scenario ofEnd Times.

    In fact, the Book of Revelation in the Christian Bible was written around 70 A.D (Christianity did not yet exist, the followers of Jesus were a Jewish sect) when the Jewish community in the Middle East was under siege by the Roman Empire. It is a coded message hoping for the end of the Roman Empire, not the world.

    What is needed is a democratic, secular state in the area which represents the rights of Israelis and Palestinians equally.


  28. Oh, and thanks to all for the great music last night; I followed the links to some groups I wasn't familiar with.

    btw, I messed up the turkey (don't ask.) :)

  29. .

    Some are tired of the Susan Rice story so I wouldn't bother with the following link except that the last half of this article from RealClearPolitics points out the inconsistencies of the sexist, race-baiters of the left.

    The Problem with Susan Rice


  30. Replies
    1. How did the U.S. do in that survey?

    2. .

      Look it up.

      The article was in the Globe and Mail.


    3. I clicked on your link, but I didn't find a link to survey, itself.

  31. Ash and Rufus, pay attention to the immediate above.

    How Good is the Canadian Healthcare System?

    1. Pretty good, but, yes, there are problems.

  32. In effect, Israel had created the first Palestinian state ever, something never granted by fellow Muslims — neither the Ottoman Turks nor the Egyptians who brutally occupied Gaza for two decades before being driven out by Israel in the 1967 Six-Day War.

  33. .

    But then there are those who say "Let me just file that under 'Shit I don't give a flying fuck about'.

    Of course, living in Australia would tend to give one a certain detached nonchalance about events in the US.

    E-mails? What E-mails?


    1. I live in the U.S., and I don't "give a flying fuck" about what happens in the Middleeast.

    2. And -

      WH Won't Release Photos of Obama Team During Benghazi Attack

      by Ben Shapiro 21 Nov 2012 445 post a comment

      Today, the White House officially refused to release photos of US officials during the September 11 terrorist attacks on our consulate in Benghazi, Libya, that ended with the deaths of four Americans. CBS News requested the photos on October 31; the White House has routinely released photos showing members of the Obama administration in their hero poses during national security crises. That happened most famously with pictures of the Obama administration key players clustered into the White House situation room during the raid on Osama Bin Laden’s compound in Pakistan.

      The White House told CBS to ask the White House Photo Office; that office then delayed for nearly three weeks. Finally, the Office said they wouldn’t release any photos without the permission of the White House Press Office, which has been utterly unresponsive to this point. CBS News has also not been told any details about the Obama administration’s actions during the Benghazi events.

      So much for Obama’s pledged transparency, despite Obama’s words at his bloviating press conference of November 14, 2012:

      We have provided every bit of information that we have, and we will continue to provide information …. we will provide all the information that is available about what happened on that day.


      Including 451 negative comments, such as -


      A kenyan, a mooslime, a marxist, a liar and a murderer walk into a bar. The bartender says "What'll it be barry?"

    3. We already knew that, Rufus.

  34. The World Health Organization Ranks the U.S. 37th.

    WHO Rankings

    1. That is because we do operations on premature babies at 5 months and stuff. And other marvelous things that others don't that get taken into the statistics. But you really did know that.

    2. It's mostly because we have 45 Million Uninsured. A number that, probably, no other nation in the world can lay claim to.

  35. Wouldn’t it be great to have a president, when asked to pardon the turkey, turns thumbs down?

    1. Says, "You know what? I'm hungry; sorry turkey."


  36. Mohamed Morsi has come a long way since he was derided as a “spare” when his name emerged as the Muslim Brotherhood’s candidate for the Egyptian presidency after a more charismatic candidate had withdrawn.

    In the space of 24 hours this week the engineer-turned-politician has been praised internationally for brokering a ceasefire between Israel and the Palestinians in Gaza and excoriated at home as a "new pharaoh" who has seized dictatorial powers and betrayed the revolution that overthrew Hosni Mubarak last year.

    It is not the first time Morsi has surprised friend and foe alike by combining deftness and ruthlessness – but always touching a raw nerve among those Egyptians who fear that, after all their hopes and sacrifices, they will end up being ruled by a "Mubarak with a beard".

    Morsi was sworn in July after a very narrowly election victory that was a triumph not only for democracy but also for the long-banned Brotherhood, the world's oldest Islamist movement.

    It was not supposed to happen that way. The original candidate of the Brotherhood's Freedom and Justice party was Khairat al-Shater, a businessman who spent years in Mubarak's prisons but who was disqualified on a technicality. Morsi, by contrast, was a colourless backroom operator whose enemies waved tyres at his rallies to underline the "spare" jibe.

    Still, in August he impressed many by outmanoeuvring the ageing generals who had dominated Egypt since forcing out Mubarak – but without a confrontation. Commentators called it Morsi's "night of power" – an unmistakable reference to the Qur'an, which the Brotherhood calls "our constitution".

    In September Morsi was criticised for reacting slowly when demonstrators angered by an Islamophobic film stormed the US embassy in Cairo. The incident on the eve of his first official visit to Washington prompted Barack Obama's alarmingly tepid comment that Egypt was "not an ally but not an enemy". By comparison, the US secretary of state Hillary Clinton's lavish praise over his Gaza performance must have sounded sweet.

    Naturally enough, it is in the domestic arena where Morsi has faced his biggest challenges. The Islamists – including ultra-conservative Salafis who oppose the president – and their enemies are deadlocked, so the decision to impose a solution on old-regime judges looks likely to cause further trouble.


  37. {…}

    Pleasing populist gestures towards the “martyrs” of last year's uprising – on pensions and retrials for those who killed demonstrators – were "clearly aimed at appropriating revolutionary legitimacy and using it to strengthen the position of the Muslim Brotherhood-controlled presidency", says the analyst Hesham Sallam.

    "There is an issue here about the balance of power between the Brotherhood and the nationalists and liberals, who appear unable to unify themselves," warned Abdallah Homouda, who writes for Egypt's leading independent newspaper al-Masry al-Youm. "The fear is that will leave the Brotherhood in a dominant position."

    Many say Morsi has acted clumsily compared with his sophisticated approach to the military in the summer.

    "Morsi inherited a country with a great number of very serious problems that nobody could address in months or very possibly in years," said the commentator Elijah Zarwan. "He came to power at a time when Egypt and the region were in crisis. His handling of some of these issues, including the war in Gaza, was effective and even surprisingly adroit. In other cases he has made mistakes. His handling of the judiciary has been probably been his biggest. It is very difficult to see how he can climb down."

    Others say it is all a question of how much support the president can command. "This is a move that might be pulled off by an overwhelmingly popular national leader," said Issandr El-Amrani, who blogs from Cairo as the Arabist. “But [it] goes a little too far for someone elected by only 51% of the electorate in an ever-more divided country.”

    You can take an ME country away from a strongman, but you can’t take the strongman out of an ME. country>

  38. Is there really a mid-life crisis or is life a crisis with phases of contentment cynically dispersed to give hope and forward momentum?

    1. OR, is life a period of, mostly, contentment interspersed with periods of Crisis to add an element of "urgency, and fear" in order to bring about some degree of Forward Momentum? :)

    2. There ain't no end to it.

    3. In Roethke there is almost always a crisis, a falling, and finally the crisis resolves at a higher level. I'll go with that. A crisis ridden spiral upwards.

      One step back, two steps forward.

    4. Except, with "Median Family Income" falling, now, for 13 years, that spiral seems to be going in the "other" direction (at least, in the United States.)

    5. Well, he wasn't really speaking of things financial. :)

    6. When the "financial" is bad, Everything is about the financial.

    7. I don't know the answer (to the original question) but existential burden is non-uniformly distributed among families. That, coupled with declining wages since 2000, defines a demographic that is struggling, not for lack of abortion doctors and personal discipline, but the elusive (and controversial) "other" circumstances. Republicans say "That's life. Deal with it." Dems say "Yes It Is - And we are."

      Yes, Virginia, there are Other Circumstances, and, no, they are not all immaculately conceived by poor decision-making.

      The minority (and Caucasian) gangs that threaten urban stability should not be conflated with the middle class, which is exactly what the Republicans did in the recent election. (This might be the first presidential election that was lost out of sheer rudeness.) How big is the middle class? Say, approximately, 100% - 1% (rich) - 47% (poor) = 52% of households that depend on income over capital gains (and carried interest.)

      Conservative commentary says the State is evil because it is coercive. Choice and the freedom of self-determination are compromised in the exchange for material comfort: The Faustian Bargain. My question is this: would you really rather depend on your fellow man (the secular triumvirate of neighbors, church and charity) to provide assistance when those "other circumstances" kick in? Not me. Hell fucking no. Those who consider federal privacy invasiveness alarming and inappropriate have obviously never resided in Small Town USA where everyone from the mayor to the animal control technician knows what size garbage bags you prefer.

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