“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 19, 2012

in Israel the question was how to respond to aggression from Gaza, and in Gaza the question was how to respond to aggression from Israel. And each side considered its own use of force--what the other side called provocation--a response to provocation.

Who Started the Israel-Gaza Conflict?

NOV 16 2012, 6:02 PM ET - ATLANTIC

On Monday my Atlantic colleague Jeffrey Goldberg began a post with this sentence: "Rockets are flying from Gaza into Israel at a fast clip, and Israelis, it is said, are divided on the question of how to respond."
That same day I came across this report from Ma'an, a Palestinian news agency:
GAZA CITY (Ma'an) -- Palestinian factions met on Monday in Gaza City to discuss Israeli attacks and threats of a wider operation in the enclave. 

Hamas called the meeting to try and avoid further casualties after Israeli forces killed six Palestinians in Gaza since Saturday, said Democratic Front for the Liberation of Palestine leader Talal Abu Tharefa. 

Abu Tharefa told Ma'an any truce with Israel must include an end to Israeli airstrikes and attacks, adding that the Palestinian resistance would retain the right to respond to Israeli aggression.

So in Israel the question was how to respond to aggression from Gaza, and in Gaza the question was how to respond to aggression from Israel. And each side considered its own use of force--what the other side called provocation--a response to provocation.
On Thursday, after Israel had killed a senior Hamas military commander and his son, and a rocket from Gaza had killed three Israelis, I aired this question on twitter: "Does anybody know of a truly symmetrical timeline of Israel-Gaza escalation--including missiles from Gaza and Israeli strikes?"
A number of people sent links, but none of the timelines seemed wholly objective; all seemed to have at least a wisp of Israeli or Palestinian perspective. Happily, Emily Hauser, an American-Israeli writer who lived in Tel Aviv for 14 years, offered to do her best to assemble a symmetrical timeline from available sources. You'll find it below, with fatalities in boldface.
Since Emily didn't want to devote the rest of her life to this project, she had to choose a starting date, and she chose Nov. 8. But her preamble acknowledges that picking any date is in a sense arbitrary.
So examine this timeline and draw your own conclusions. I'll save my conclusion for the bottom of this post.

A summary of events in the renewal of Israeli-Palestinian hostilities, Nov 8 - Nov 15

By Emily L. Hauser
Recent events in Israel and the Gaza Strip have been unusual only in scope. Violence and fear of violence is a near-daily reality for the residents of Gaza and Israel's southern communities. There's a constant back and forth, and on both sides, there's always something or someone to avenge.
For instance, some Palestinian sources date the start of this latest round of violence back to November 4, when Reuters reported the death of "an unarmed, mentally unfit man" who strayed too near the border fence, did not respond to reported Israeli warnings, and was then shot. Palestinian medics report that Israeli security personnel prevented them from attending to the man for a couple of hours, and say that he likely died as a result.
But it's genuinely impossible to date today's hostilities conclusively to one incident or another; even the "two-week lull" that some outlets have said preceded Nov. 8 (when the timeline below begins) was, according to Reuters "a period of increased tensions at the Israel-Gaza frontier, with militants often firing rockets at Israel and Israel launching aerial raids targeting Palestinian gunmen."
According to Israel's Ministry of Foreign Affairs, as of November 13, Palestinian militants had fired 797 rockets into Israel in the course of 2012 , and according to the Israeli human rights organization Btselem, between January 2009 (the conclusion of the last all-out Gaza war) and September of this year, 25 Israelis were killed by Palestinians, and 314 Palestinians were killed by Israeli security forces, with six more being killed by Israeli civilians.
Thursday, November 8
In an exchange of fire on the border of Gaza with militants from the Popular Resistance Committees (PRC), Israeli forces killed a 12 year old (or 13 year old ) Palestinian boy. "The PRC said it had confronted an Israeli force of four tanks and a bulldozer involved in a short-range incursion beyond Israel's border fence with the Gaza Strip." Later, Palestinian fighters blew up a tunnel along the Gaza-Israel border, injuring one Israeli soldier. Reuters
Israel's Ministry of Foreign Affairs reported the incident as follows: "An IDF [Israeli military] engineering force located a number of powerful explosive devices to the west of the fence. After the IDF disarmed charges found on the Gaza side of the border, and were repairing the border fence, explosives in an underground tunnel were detonated, causing a large explosion...damaging a jeep and lightly injuring a soldier."Israeli MFA
Saturday, November 10
An IDF force patrolling near the border, inside Israel, was hit by an anti-tank missile fired from inside the Gaza Strip. Two soldiers were seriously injured. MFA
In retaliation, Israeli tanks fired into Gaza, killing four Palestinians; Palestinian fighters retaliated in turn with rockets into Israel; an Israeli air strike targeted a rocket crew, & killed a militant. "Popular Resistance Committees, said it had fired rockets at communities close to the border and the towns of Sderot and Netivot in southern Israel, in what it called 'the revenge invoice' for the deaths in Gaza." The IDF reports that "over the past few hours, 25 rockets fired from the Gaza Strip hit southern Israel." Reuters
In addition to the four Palestinians killed immediately by Israeli fire, 38 were injured, one of them dying on November 13. As a result of additional Israeli artillery fire that day, 11 Palestinians, including a 10 year old child, were also injured. An Israeli drone fired a missile at members of the armed wing of Islamic Jihad in north Gaza, killing one militant. Palestinian Center for Human Rights
Sunday, November 11
Israeli government reports four civilians injured in rocket fire from Gaza; Israeli attacks result in one Palestinian civilian killed and dozens injured. Institute for Middle East Understanding
Sixty-four rockets and several mortars were fired into Israel; two Israeli homes hit directly. "A number of Israeli civilians were wounded by the rocket fire, although not seriously; several were treated for shock and there was extensive property damage." MFA
Ynet reported that over 100 Qassam rockets, mortar shells and Grads fired from Gaza into Israel in the course of 24 hours; the Israeli air force "struck several terror hubs in the Strip." Ynet
A Palestinian civilian was injured by Israeli artillery fire, and a militant killed in drone strike. PCHR
Monday November 12
Israeli warplanes opened fire on three different Gaza targets between the hours of 2:20 and 3:20 am; no casualties reported. PCHR
In the morning, damage was done to a private home inside Israel when a rocket hit its yard. A ceramics factory was later hit, and that evening, two rockets were intercepted by Israel's "Iron Dome" defense system. MFA
At 9:07 PM, HaAretz reported that "The representatives of Palestinian militant groups in the Gaza Strip announced an agreement to hold their fire on Monday, following days of persistent rocket attacks.... However a matter of minutes later, two rockets [exploded] in open fields near [the southern town of] Sderot. No casualties or damage reported." HaAretz
Tuesday November 13
Hamas Prime Minister Ismail Haniyeh praised Gaza's main militant groups in Gaza for agreeing to the truce: "They showed a high sense of responsibility by saying they would respect calm should the Israeli occupation also abide by it," he said." Reuters
A rocket exploded in an open area in Ashdod. MFA
Wednesday November 14
Reports emerged that Israel has targeted Ahmed Jabari, head of Hamas's military wing; Israel confirmed the assassination, citing his "decade-long terrorist activity," and said that killing was the part of an operation in which the military struck 20 different targets across Gaza. HaAretz [Note: Later reports indicate that Jabari was considering a permanent truce agreement at the time of his assassination]
Over the course of the day, Israeli strikes killed 8 Palestinians, leaving 90 injured. The dead include a 65 year old man, a pregnant 19 year old, a 7 year old girl, and an 11 month old boy. Ma'an News Agency
At 10:17 PM, HaAretz summarized the day's rocket attacks: 60 rockets fired, of which the Iron Dome defense system intercepted 17; later entries for that night show another 12 rockets, some of them intercepted. HaAretz
One rocket hit an Israeli shopping center, damaging stores and a vehicle. MFA
Thursday November 15
At 6:45 AM, HaAretz summarized the early morning in Israel: "Throughout the night some 25 rockets fired from Gaza toward Israel; since the beginning of Operation Pillar of Defense 104 rockets have been fired toward Israel; 28 people suffer anxiety; two lightly wounded."
At 6:50 AM HaAretz reported: "Three Hamas operatives killed in two separate Israel Air Forces airstrikes.... Israel Defense Forces strikes in the Gaza Strip throughout the night leave 15 wounded."
At 7:32 AM, HaAretz reported that "According to a military source, overnight strikes in Gaza damage a substantial portion of Hamas' long-range missile infrastructure."
HaAretz reported that three Israelis were killed in Kiryat Malachi, about 20 miles north of Gaza, after more than a dozen more rockets were fired over the course of the morning and one hit the apartment building in which the Israelis had lived. HaAretz
Three Israeli civilians killed [as reported by HaAretz above]; two others seriously injured, one boy moderately injured, and two babies lightly injured. Elsewhere, rockets also struck a residence and a school. MFA
At 7:23 PM, HaAretz reported that the Israeli military reports striking 250 sites in Gaza since the start of the current operation, during which time 274 rockets had been fired at Israel, 105 of them intercepted .
At 9:50 PM, Israel reported having hit an additional 70 targets in Gaza.
At 11:00 PM, HaAretz reported that "according to Hamas figures, 16 Palestinians have been killed and 151 wounded in Gaza since the start of Operation Pillar of Defense (on Nov. 14). Hamas says it has fired 527 rockets at Israel, while Islamic Jihad has fired 138." HaAretz
At midnight, Ma'an reported that "on Thursday, Israel killed 11 Palestinians in Gaza [presumably including the 3 Hamas operatives noted above], including two toddlers, and militants returned fire killing three Israelis [as reported above by HaAretz et. al.] in a rocket attack on southern Israel. Islamic Jihad fired a Fajr missile at Tel Aviv [Israel's cultural center, and the farthest any rocket had ever been fired] and Hamas said it downed an Israeli reconnaissance drone over eastern Gaza." Ma'an
Note: I depended on a variety of sources to prepare this timeline because none, other than Reuters, can be considered strictly "objective" in the conflict - each comes from within the societies that have been at war with each other for decades, and as Americans learned during the Gulf War, that can lead venerable NGOs or news organizations to err on the side of national loyalty, even if unintentionally (and of course, Israel's Ministry of Foreign Affairs is a direct party to the conflict).
Emily L. Hauser is an American-Israeli writer. She lived in Tel Aviv for 14 years and has studied and written about the contemporary Middle East for 25; she writes for Open Zion on The Daily Beast, and also at her own blog. She can be followed on Twitter at @emilylhauser.


  1. November 8 does seem an arbitrary timeline, to say the least. Starting from the turnover of Gaza to the Palestinians in 2006 might be better.

    Rocket hits in Israel since the Hamas takeover of Gaza, 2006. Nice graph in the link below.

    You'd have to believe the Israeli Ministry of Foreign Affairs to believe this. Or perhaps your own radio, if you had been paying attention.


  2. Chambliss: WH had to have changed CIA talking points on Benghazi
    posted at 9:01 am on November 19, 2012 by Ed Morrissey

    Yesterday, the White House claimed it had nothing to do with changes to the CIA’s briefing notes on which UN Ambassador Susan Rice reportedly relied when she told five different Sunday talk shows five days after the sacking of the Benghazi consulate that there was “no evidence” of terrorism. That comes as news to Senator Saxby Chambliss, who notes that everyone else in the chain of custody of those talking points testified to his committee about their handling of them except the White House, and all of them said that the CIA’s assessment of the likelihood of terrorism was still in the notes when they had them:

    Leaders from the State Department, FBI, CIA, including former CIA Director David Petraeus, testified on Thursday and Friday. Regarding the allegations that the original CIA talking points had been changed so that terrorist involvement was not included, Sen. Chambliss said, “Everybody there was asked do you know who made these changes; and nobody knew. The only entity that reviewed the talking points that was not there was the White House.”

    If the White House was so adamant about this position, where were they during the hearings? Why not send someone to testify to their actions in the dissemination of a false narrative during the presidential election?

    However, both Chambliss and Joe Lieberman correctly state that the real question is why this consulate was allowed to remain open in the first place:

    Sen. Chambliss told Chris Wallace, “We’ve got to get some State Department officials in to really explain why you send an ambassador basically unguarded with a few Libyan guards.”

    Sen. Lieberman added, “In my opinion it was irresponsible to have our State Department personnel there with only three security guards.” He went on to say that, “Either we should’ve given them the protection they deserved, or we should’ve closed that mission in Benghazi as the British government had done a short while before.”

    In that sense, Susan Rice is not exactly small potatoes, but she’s not the central question. What took place a few days later is less important than the decisions, actions, and lack of action before the attack and during the attack. Still, that’s not to say that what took place after the attack might not have some bearing on the White House’s attempt to escape responsibility for what took place before and during it, too.

    video included

  3. Israel Under Fire

    (Israel Ministry of Foreign Affairs)

    Rocket attacks from Gaza

    2006 - 974
    2007 - 783
    2008 - 1,159
    2009 - 925
    2009 - 158
    2010 - 103
    2011 - 375
    2012 - 1597

    2009 was when the Israelis put a stop to it for awhile, IIRC. That's why there are two numbers there, before/after.

  4. "Who Started the Israel-Gaza Conflict?"

    hee hee haw haw, HEE HEE HAAA HAAA BWAHAAHAAHAA!


    Carry on.

  5. Why that was an excellent post, Ash. Very good. I assume you are saying that since Hamas is dedicated to pushing Israel into the sea they must be the ones, but you failed to say so.

    Co-founder Sheik Ahmed Yassin stated in 1987, and the Hamas Charter affirmed in 1988, that Hamas was founded to liberate Palestine from Israeli occupation and to establish an Islamic state in the area that is now Israel, the West Bank, and the Gaza Strip.[17][18]

    Maybe the Iranians started this round, in a way, providing Hamas with some new rocketry, and urging them on. That too might be a possibility. The Iranians are dedicated to wiping Israel off the map as well.

    1. Maybe it started in 1947/48 when the refugees who fled the war were not allowed to return home?

    2. Why stop there? You could take it back to when they picked up their muslim ways. Or back to when Mohammed attacked that Jewish group in Arabia.

    3. You may be slow but you seem to be catching on.

    4. Why thank you, Ash. You have been a great help.

      But my opinion is, for practical purposes, the Gazans started it.

    5. oops, that last dropping of yours demonstrated that you aren't catching on. I guess no surprise there.

  6. This will go on until the end of time - or until one side is dead.

    The performance of the "Iron Dome" was interesting.

  7. All is quiet on the Jordanian front. For now anyway. Has been for some time. Plenty of Palestinians there. Maybe if the King is overthrown, as might happen, they being the majority, the others can all go to Jordan, one big happy family.

    1. Happy families are all alike; every unhappy family is unhappy in its own way.

  8. According to Alhomayed, the Iranians tried heating up the fronts on the Israeli borders via their agents. When unsuccessful on the Syrian and Lebanese fronts, they chose the Gaza Strip. "When the Golan front did not move quickly enough for al-Assad and Iran, they resorted to the Gaza front, because this can be inflamed far quicker, whilst it is also easier for Israel in this regard. For Israel, Gaza is like a punching bag that can be used for training and muscle flexing, whilst success in Gaza would strike several “files” in one go ".

    Another idea from some Arab source -

    Arab paper: Syria, Iran instigated Gaza conflict

    Asharq Alawsat editor claims Syria, Iran caused escalation between Israel, Gaza to aid Assad regime,7340,L-4308320,00.html

    According to this fellow, it wasn't the Israelis that started it.

  9. Then there is Gertrude Walker, the 32-year-veteran election supervisor of St. Lucie County, who has spent much of the last two weeks explaining why her office completely botched the count. She admitted that her office had acted in “haste” in issuing election results, and that “mistakes were made.” Among her mistakes was failing to count 40 of the 94 precincts under her jurisdiction on Election Night — and then counting the other 54 twice. Indeed. On Friday, her office announced it had “discovered” 304 additional early votes left in a box. None had been counted.

    Allen West may be getting screwed.

  10. No, Harry Truman, and the United Nations were the ones that took kicked a few million people out of their homes, and off their farms, and gave the land to a group of interlopers from another continent.

    George Marshall warned him.

  11. As to Q's comment that the 'Consulate' in Benghazi was not being a consulate, at all, being a trivial matter.

    Until the status of the facility is known, who was managing it remains a clouded issue. Hence assessing responsibility for management failures is difficult to do accurately.

    Surfice to sat...
    General P is out of the loop

    Doubtful that his pecker led him there.

    1. And, something else people should understand: The job of the Embassy Marines is Not to provide "Travel Security" for Ambassadors. In fact, their MAIN job is not to protect Ambassadors, but to protect the Infrastructure (read: electronics.)

    2. .

      It's likely that at this point most everyone is aware of the marines role in embassy security but what exactly is your point?


    3. .

      Poppycock, rat?



      The basic fact at Benghazi is that terrorists attacked Americans. Ultimately, it is the terrorists that have to be blamed. That applies whether the buildings in question were under State or CIA control. It also makes no difference whether we are talking a consulate, a CIA safe house or annex, or a Wendy’s restaurant.

      Why you would bring up the question as to who controlled the building is beyond me especially since the State Department calls it a consulate. Stevens was there to talk to the Turkish ambassador. And unless we think they were talking about their golf games, it is likely safe to say he Stevens was acting in his role as ambassador. In addition, numerous reports have stated that the guys at State had requested increased security in Benghazi prior to the attack. Given your scenario, we have to ask why State would be asking for additional security for the CIA.

      Now, if in fact, the building was a CIA cover, it may bear on the reason Stevens was in Benghazi, but it doesn’t bear on the questions that have been raised regarding the attack.

      These remain:

      1. If Steven’s wasn’t in Benghazi because of his role as ambassador what was he doing there? (No one is actually asking this question, at least yet, however, I added it for your benefit.)
      2. Why did the administration mislead the American people (and the world) on the reason for the attack? Where the reasons those of politics, policy, or faulty intelligence?
      3. Why did adminstration officials continue to blame the video for events in Benghazi weeks after it was obvious it played no significant part?
      3. The White House denies it edited the intelligence information they were provided; yet, every other department that was involved in the interagency review of the total intelligence package said that what they saw included the references to a terrorist attack; yet all of the agencies also state they were not the one who deleted those references. Who did?
      4. The embassy in Libya, based on recent terrorist actions and the upcoming anniversary of 911 requested additionally security in Libya including in Benghazi. That request was denied. What was the reason for that denial? Was it based on policy, politics, or faulty intelligence?
      5. Once the attack began, Charlene Lamb was aware of what was going on there in near real-time through audio feed. A while later there were drones providing video of the scene. Who within the administration, the military and the intelligence community, was aware of what was going on and when? Who made decisions regarding a rescue mission or a response? What were they?

      Panneta indicated he was aware of the situation but didn’t have enough information or assets close enough to respond. Perhaps, this is a reasonable response though one hardly comforting to other Americans that are being sent into harm’s way. But were there any other available assets in the area that might have helped if asked? Some have mentioned British and Turkish forces in the area for instance.
      6. Why has it taken over two months to get responses to any of these question. Clearly, the 'lessons learned' are critical for other situations as we move forward.

      I would like to know the answers to these questions despite Rufus’ opinion that no one cares. However, if the answers involve national security concerns, real national security concerns not bullshit excuses, then I don’t need to know. However, what I do need to know is that the people responsible for oversight on these matters, the responsible committees in Congress, are doing their jobs. It appears they are. There are four bi-partisan committees that will be reviewing the questions laid out here, two of them in the GOP controlled House and two in the Dem controlled Senate.


    4. Pretty much what I'd like to know as well, and millions of other people, Rufus excluded.

  12. Moody's downgrades France's government bond rating to Aa1 from Aaa, maintains negative outlook.

  13. Abdurrahman Fayez, a teacher, lost his 16-year-old brother, Abdelrashid, in the first day of Israel's Operation Pillar of Defence. "I used to think we were so lucky not to have anyone die in my family the last time they attacked this place.


    "Now we just wait. How many have we lost so far, a hundred?

    There will be more, we know that. And why is this taking place? Because the Israelis are having an election soon and their leaders want to look tough."

  14. From bustling Miami to sleepy Goffstown, New Hampshire, from San Diego to Minneapolis, recipients of New Mexico’s welfare funds use their state-issued EBT cards every day to spend money far from the Land of Enchantment. In a two month period examined by New Mexico Watchdog expenditures of the state’s welfare funds occurred in 45 states.


    Nearly 196,000 EBT (electronic benefit transfer) cards issued by the New Mexico Human Services Department are active each month. Substantial numbers of EBT transactions occur in and around El Paso, TX.

  15. Everyone knows the girls are clobbering the boys in school. They get higher marks and graduate at higher rates.


    But schools can’t give them everything they need. Boys also need the company of men – men who will guide, instruct, esteem, respect and understand them.

    When asked about the happiest experience of their lives, boys often say it was the time they made something with their fathers. Their mothers matter, too – but, sometimes, there’s no substitute for Dad.

  16. A political party dedicated to an honest dialog that cannot face the facts if science?

    GQ: How old do you think the Earth is?

    Marco Rubio: I’m not a scientist, man. I can tell you what recorded history says, I can tell you what the Bible says, but I think that’s a dispute amongst theologians and I think it has nothing to do with the gross domestic product or economic growth of the United States. I think the age of the universe has zero to do with how our economy is going to grow. I’m not a scientist. I don’t think I’m qualified to answer a question like that. At the end of the day, I think there are multiple theories out there on how the universe was created and I think this is a country where people should have the opportunity to teach them all. I think parents should be able to teach their kids what their faith says, what science says. Whether the Earth was created in 7 days, or 7 actual eras, I’m not sure we’ll ever be able to answer that. It’s one of the great mysteries.

  17. Replies
    1. .

      I started to worry about Rubio when I heard him giving a speech to a Christian college in the south. His was more a faith based pep-talk than a discussion of GPD or economic growth.

      The question becomes, what do we make of it. He is, after all, a politician. Does he actually believe what he says or is it designed for a particual audiance? We have seen Romney's flip-flopping. We have seen the same from Obama, flip-flopping and pandering. It's all about the votes. Is Rubio merely your run-of-the-mill politician or truly a nutjob? Time will tell.

      That being said while beliefs 'specific' to certain religions have no place in politics, there are questions of morals and values that are universal and define a society or culture and therefore frequently end up in the political arena.


    2. I don’t think I’m qualified to answer a question like that.

      I'm not sure what is really wrong with his answer. These days most folks go back to the Big Bang some 12 or 15 billions earth years ago, but that may not be all there is to it. Perhaps the Big Bang is a local event, etc. Perhaps Big Bangs are happening all the time out and about. Perhaps the universe has always been here and just phases, like the Hindus speculate. What's a universe? Sometimes nowadays we read about multiple universes. I don't feel like I'm qualified to answer a question like that either. Are you?

    3. Perhaps the Eternal One breaks into the Many Timely.

    4. Perhaps time, quality, quantity, and the rest are modes of human perception, categories of human understanding, and they render frustrate the apprehension of the source, as Campbell would say.

    5. Morals and values should not conflict with science. Without science you have no medicine. Medicine is impossible without chemistry and biology. Humanity suffered for hundreds of thousands of years because of ignorance of things not then discovered by mankind.

      Man discovered the universe and defined and recorded the accumulated knowledge and both used it and misused it.

      Scientific discovery takes you where it takes you and that advances knowledge. To deny science, to fear truth and cling to superstition at the expense of the logical use of an applications that improves lives is neither moral nor does it represent values that are worth keeping.

      How refreshing it would be to overthrow all this fear and nonsense about some ethereal tyrant and sadistic slave master and celebrate the greatest of fortune and be alive to enjoy the privilege of knowledge.

      The man lacks the courage to tell the truth. Who needs him?

    6. Stupid question to ask someone in the first place.

    7. The question verified that he is in constant fear of the religious right, the evangelicals.

      If he is afraid to answer that question, what else will he kow-tow to them on?

    8. Why would anybody ask a politician about his views on a scientific question?

      This depresses me more than anything since the election. Personally, I’m not sure that the universe wasn’t just created 5 seconds ago.

      Rubio, another promised one, dances around a question of science and refuses to give an unapologetic answer. Republicans are seriously defending young earth nonsense?

      No wonder we can’t win an election.

      The Creation story itself was written in ancient Babylon, probably by someone related to Karl Rove.

      I am still undecided if coffee is good for you. I’ll check back with you after
      I figure it out.

    9. The question didn't verify shit. No one on earth can answer that question, dufus, not even you, who claims to know all.

    10. GQ, now that's a think tank to rely on. Sounds like one of Rufus' "go to" references.

    11. Gag, most people smart enough to be elected Senator are aware that the Scientists figure Fourteen, or Fifteen Billion Yrs (probably no one would be upset if a candidate said "14.5" if the answer was "15.4;" but most of us would expect the candidate to understand that the scientists are somewhere in that range.

      And, of course, he does know that. He was just afraid to admit that the Scientists estimates are no better than the mythologists . . . . . . . er, evangelicals "creationism" (young earth - 9,000 years old) theory.

    12. Coffee's okay.

      Ethanol's better, but

      Coffee's okay.


    13. .

      If he is afraid to answer that question, what else will he kow-tow to them on?

      Whatever, it takes to get votes.

      Just as Romney did on abortion, on healthcare, on the auto industry.

      Just a Obama did on gay marriage, on immigration, on the Patriot Act.

      And these a just a few of the examples.

      Dicks. They are all dicks.

      (And you can add Petraeus to the list. His dickdom becomes more and more manifest the more I learn about the man. It amazes me how everyone, Dem or Pub, who talk about this guy have nothing but good things to say about him. He obviously realizes that since the lawyer he recently hired is not known for criminal law but for book deals. Makes me want to spit. Sorry, had to get that off my chest.)


    14. Oh, and thanks, Jennie, for the little factoid about Creationism, and Babylonia.

    15. This depresses me more than anything since the election. Personally, I’m not sure that the universe wasn’t just created 5 seconds ago.

      Perhaps it is being created all the 'time'.

      The Jews were not so simplistic as people often like to make out these days.
      First they, at least some, knew full well their creation story was mythy. And second if you do a little math with the ages of the Patriarchs, as Campbell pointed out, you come out with an analogue of 432, 4320, 432,000 going back to the Sumerians and the Hindus.

      That is back to fate, and from the Greeks we know that even fate is stronger than the gods.

      The question Campbell found interesting was by what transcendent genius did those who wrote this reconcile fate, creation, and an involved creator. He didn't have an answer.

    16. Only a fool would say that, so I'm not surprised if you do.

      If you would try to read not with your mind, but through the minds of those writers that know so much more than you, you might begin to quit talking like an oaf.

    17. The Big Bang, Rufus, doesn't explain anything. It is no more an explanation of how consciousness came to be than an old Cherokee tale about humans coming up from underground through a hollow log. (can't remember if that is a Cherokee legend or not, but it is a Native American one, and you get the point, maybe)

      Since you talk about the scientists, many these days are aware of the almost miraculous fine tuning as they call it of natural forces to produce a universe capable of our type of life at all. Some even see the finger of God in it all.

      But not old Ruf. He sees talk of seven days, and 15 billion years, and says patoooey, I'm smarter than they are and cracks a Bud Light.

    18. First, you define an action that meets all the criteria of the word "Scam," then you get upset that I refer to it as such. Religion is a bitch, eh?

    19. Only a fool....and I'm not upset. I have learned to expect it. But I am still amazed, if anything.

    20. Of course, not being smart enough to be elected, Senator, I blew the answer, my good damned self. :)

      I was stuck on reading something earlier about the "age of the Universe," and, immediately, went to 14.5 Billion yrs, when the age of the earth is given, very precisely, nowadays, as 4.54 Billion Years.

      Whatever, it's still a long way from 9,000 years.

  18. Crude-oil prices rose 2.7%, to settle at $89.28 a barrel as fighting between Israel and Palestinian militants intensified, raising the threat of broader conflict in the Middle East. Gold prices gained 1.1%, to settle at $1,734 a troy ounce.


    In corporate news, Lowe's LOW +6.19% climbed after reporting third-quarter earnings that topped estimates.

    Tyson Foods TSN +10.90% surged as the meat processor's chicken business returned to profitability in its most recent quarter, offsetting weakness in its beef and pork segments.

  19. One day a golfer accidentally overturned his buggy.

    Elizabeth, a very attractive and keen golfer,

    who lived in a villa on the golf course,

    heard the noise and called out,

    "Are you okay, what's your name?"

    "It's John, and I'm OK thanks," he replied.

    "John forget your troubles.

    Come to my villa, rest a while and I'll

    help you get the buggy up later."

    "That's mighty nice of you," John answered,

    "but I don't think my wife would like it."

    "Oh, come on," Elizabeth insisted.

    She was very pretty and persuasive.

    "Well okay," John finally agreed, and added,

    "but my wife won't like it."

    After a restorative brandy, and some driving

    and putting lessons, John thanked his hostess.

    "I feel a lot better now, but I know my wife is going to be really upset."

    "Don't be silly!" Elizabeth said with a smile ,

    "She won't know anything. By the way, where is she?"

    "Under the buggy!" he explained.

  20. An 8-year-old girl went to her grandfather, who was working in the yard and asked him, "Grampa, what is a couple sex? The grandfather was surprised that she would ask such a question, but decided that if she's old enough to know to ask the question then she's old enough to get a straight answer. Steeling himself to leave nothing out, he proceeded to tell her all about human reproduction and the joys and responsibilities that go along with it. When he finished explaining, the little girl was looking at him with her mouth hanging open, eyes wide in amazement. Seeing the look on her face, the grandfather asked her, "Why did you ask this question, honey? The little girl replied, "Well, Grandma says to tell you that dinner will be ready in just a couple secs.

  21. John Bradford, a Dublin University student, was on the side of the road hitchhiking on a very dark night and in the midst of a big storm.
    The night was rolling on and no car went by. The storm was so strong he could hardly see a few feet ahead of him.
    Suddenly, he saw a car slowly coming towards him and stopped.
    John, desperate for shelter and without thinking about it, got into the car and closed the door.... Only to realize there was nobody behind the wheel and the engine wasn't on. The car started moving slowly. John looked at the road ahead and saw a curve approaching. Scared, he started to pray, begging for his life. Then, just before the car hit the curve, a hand appeared out of nowhere through the window, and turned the wheel. John, paralyzed with terror, watched as the hand came through the window, but never touched or harmed him.
    Shortly thereafter, John saw the lights of a pub appear down the road, so, gathering strength; he jumped out of the car and ran to it. Wet and out of breath, he rushed inside and started telling everybody about the horrible experience he had just had.
    A silence enveloped the pub when everybody realized he was crying... And wasn't drunk.

    Suddenly, the door opened, and two other people walked in from the dark and stormy night. They, like John, were also soaked and out of breath. Looking around, and seeing John Bradford sobbing at the bar, one said to the other.....

    Look Paddy....there's that fooking idiot that got in the car while we were pushing it!!!!'

  22. Polls show a majority of Israelis back their government, but Mr Netanyahu may be running out of time. Echoing warnings from President Obama, David Cameron and other leaders, opposition leader Shaul Mofaz, a former army chief of staff, and Giora Eiland, a former general and national security adviser, said there was no need to invade Gaza and urged the government to negotiate.

    "An agreement with Hamas could be reached within a few days, and it would be preferable to a ground operation," said Mr Eiland.

    Turkish and Qatari officials have joined mediation efforts to end the latest round of hostilities.

  23. Question

    What is the truest definition of Globalization?

    Princess Diana's death.

    How come?

    Answer :
    An English princess with an Egyptian boyfriend
    crashes in a French tunnel, riding in a German car with a Dutch engine, driven by a Belgian
    who was drunk on
    Scottish whisky, followed closely by Italian Paparazzi, on Japanese motorcycles, treated
    by an American doctor, using Brazilian medicines.

    This is sent to you by a Canadian, using
    American Bill Gates' technology, and you're probably reading this on your computer, that
    uses Taiwanese chips, and a Korean monitor,
    assembled by Bangladeshi workers in a
    Singapore plant, transported by Indian truck drivers, hijacked by Indonesians, unloaded by
    Sicilian longshoremen, and trucked to you by Mexican illegals...... .

    Now That,my friend,is Globalization !

  24. Whatever gulf separates the rich from the poor, an even greater chasm separates the ignorant from the educated.

    - Alvin Toffler

  25. Since the election, we've seen more interest in secession. Hundreds of thousands Americans in all 50 states have petitioned to secede.


    So why talk about seceding? Well, partly to register disapproval.

  26. On this day in 1863, President Abraham Lincoln gave the Gettysburg Address, which is characterized by some as one of the greatest speeches in American history.

  27. I would like to share an experience with you, about drinking and driving. As you well know, some of us have been known to have had brushes with the authorities on our way home from the odd social session over the years.

    A couple of nights ago, I was out for a few drinks with some friends at the Marriott Hotel and had a few too many beers and some rather nice red wine. Knowing full well I may have been slightly over the limit, I did something I've never done before: I took a bus home.

    Sure enough I passed a police road block but as it was a bus, they waved it past. I arrived home safely without incident, which was a real surprise; as I have never driven a bus before and am not sure where I got it.

  28. The findings, published in the Annals of Neurology, showed that those with a AA genotype tend naturally to wake up about an hour earlier than those with GG, and the AGs wake up almost exactly in the middle.


    The study’s lead author Andrew Lim, from the Department of Neurology at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center in Boston, Massachusetts, said: ‘The internal “biological clock” regulates many aspects of human biology and behaviour. It also influences the timing of acute medical events like stroke and heart attack.’

    Clifford Saper, chief of neurology at BIDMC, said: ‘So there is really a gene that predicts the time of day that you’ll die. Not the date, fortunately, but the time of day.’

  29. Modern Einsteins: Part 2,046 gazillion, or thereabouts:

    8 Governors, so far, have elected Not to take the Federal Money (100%) for expanded Medicaid

    (the new, higher medicaid limits will join up with the bottom level of the ACA, to insure that all Americans have Access to Healthcare.)

    So, Now, taxpayers in those states, Mississippi being one, will be paying for expanded Medicaid Coverage for OTHER States, while a subset of their own poor will still be uninsured.

    1. .

      I think you are mistaken (at least in limiting this to the states that refused the expanded Medicaid).

      SCOTUS ruled that the FEDS can't use the threat of cutting off 'all' medicaid funds in order to force states to accept newly classified (under Obamicare rules) additions to the medicaid roles. However, those people will still be offered subsidies by the FEDS to cover them.

      So instead of these states picking up their share of the costs (minimal to begin with) the rest of us will be paying for it. Over time, it was planned the states would be picking up a larger share. That won't happen in those states that refused. One more reason that on net Obamacare will not meet it's cost containment goal.


    2. So, those left to fall between the cracks will do . . What?

      Well, there's only one thing they can do. They'll continue to overuse the emergency room for painful, chronic, but, temporarily, non-life threatening conditions.

      They will, of course, be unable to pay, so the hospitals will continue to pass the costs along to the "Insured." This will, of course, raise the costs of insurance to the other citizens of the states.

    3. .

      I was wrong on the individual mandate being constitutional. I suspected but wasn't sure that the unfunded mandate on Medicaid would be shot down. But from the beginning, I was positive the 'cost controls' projected for Obamacare by its proponents would never come to pass.


  30. .

    Got an issue?

    Rage Against The Machine has a song.

    My New Favorite Band


  31. South Korea's Kospi advanced 0.6%, with index heavyweight Samsung Electronics 005930.SE +2.25% up 2%, helping the overall market after the International Trade Commission said it would review its initial decision that Apple AAPL +7.21% hasn't infringed on the Korean firm's patents.

    Japan's Nikkei was up 0.1%, taking pause after soaring 5.6% over the last three sessions due to expectations that a government in favor of aggressive monetary easing will come to power following an election next month.

    Videogame company Nintendo 7974.OK -3.18% dropped 2.7% in Japan despite a sound kick-start for the Wii U, its first console in six years, with investors noting the launch was factored in.

  32. One would imagine that if (a) if our people in Benghazi were urgently warning of an imminent organized assault several hours before it occurred, and (b) if people inside the White House watched the raid unfold in real time over a video feed for seven hours, and (c)if there were reports of an Al Qaeda affiliate claiming credit for the attack within two hours, the president probably would have been informed about the terrorism intel far sooner than 72 hours later — even if he did sleep through the attack itself, during which our besieged personnel were pleading for back-up that never came.

    If those two SEALS had done what they did the number of the dead might have been far higher.

  33. In the beginning there were the waters, still and deep. And the God Barley breathed upon the waters and fermented the waters. And the waters gave forth Budweiser Can Made In America, and the God Barley popped the pull tab. Lo! And spewed forth ambrosia and bubbles and froth, and the bubbles were men, and the First Man the God Barley named He named him Rufus.....

    from The Book of Mississippi Creation, Chapter 1, Verse 1


  34. Article:
    Why Pot Makes Some People Psychotic

    Phyllis Boniface · Washington University in St. Louis

    Early marijuana use causes profound and permanent alterations in the neural networks of the brain, especially in the frontal lobe and the hippocampus. There is hard evidence of this on f MRI brain imaging and by neuropsych testing as well as clinical observations of users. If one has the genetic predisposition to psychosis using MJ will precipitate it 2-3 years earlier than the norm and will amplify the psychosis. The heinous crimes of the Colorado shooter, the bizarre face-eater in Miami and the pentagon shooter had only marijuana in their systems at the time of their crimes and were known to be heavy, early MJ users. MJ puts latent psychosis on steroids.

    1. The genetic marker in question is one variation of a gene call AKT1. The new finding confirms earlier research, which also linked this marker with the risk of psychosis after smoking pot.

      The AKT1 gene is known to be involved in the signaling of the brain chemical dopamine, which is abnormal in those with psychosis, Di Forti said.

  35. The guys are well-trained, and brave;

    but this bunch of fucking officers are dumber than the ones we had in Vietnam. As dumb as Those fuckers were, at least they made an attempt to stake out the "high ground."

    The Battle of Outpost Keating

  36. Marines forming first F-35B Squadron

    It's a kick-ass plane, but almost too expensive to take into battle in a place like Afghanistan. But they will anyway. :)