“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."

Tuesday, May 12, 2015

OOrah! - Getting killed and maimed in the US military fighting the Neocon wars


  1. There is nothing inspiring about any of it. The bravado and the pathetic “I would do it all again” is the desperation of the broken trying to cope with the horror of the truth.

  2. Replies
    1. Maybe if we used something called "sanctions" on Iran that could prevent another war.....

      Oh well, Obama has fought them and gutted them to help iran have a path to a nuclear program. Joe Biden last month admitted that iran had enough material for 8 bombs already.

      Couple that with Iran's ICBM program and it's military sites known and UNKNOWN that will never see the light of day by any UN inspectors?

      Iran will go hot and there will be war.


      it's a progressive gift.

  3. Dubya said that he and these guys embarked on a great "adventure."

    1. Yeah, he really did say that.

      When he had those injured guys riding bicycles down at his "ranch."

    2. It was a "Crusade", Rufus, ole GW said that, too.

  4. It's interesting how you whitewash or ignore the bipartisan nature of every military engagement that this nation has conducted and seek to blame one group....

    1. I was just thinking that myself. Afghanistan had ONE dissenting vote, Barbara Lee from California, who thought the Resolution was too broad.

      Bush the Elder's war was actually the closest vote.

      >>>The Persian Gulf War Resolution

      January 12, 1991

      {The following resolution, House Joint Resolution 77, was adopted by the House of Representatives by a vote of 250 to 183. The Senate approved the measure (originally introduced as Senate Joint Resolution 2) by a vote of 52 to 47.}<<<

      This conflict had nearly the entire world on board, so the entire world must be neo-cons.

      Bush the Younger had healthy majorities in both chambers.

      Yet it's always the mythy so called 'neo-cons' for Deuce.

      It's just a little propaganda tool to him, and I think most people find the sound of it really stupid.

    2. Did you ever watch the Leslie Clark video? I posted it about five times. NEOCONS, no myth.

  5. I'll have more to say about the elections in the days ahead, but for now let me offer a whole-hearted good riddance to Ed Miliband, the now departed Labour leader who, in a desperate last-minute pander, offered to "outlaw Islamophobia". That was the British political establishment's contribution to a rough couple of weeks for free speech, culminating in the attempted mass murder in Garland, Texas.
    That's what it was, by the way - although you might have difficulty telling that from the news coverage. The Washington Post offered the celebrated headline "Event Organizer Offers No Apology After Thwarted Attack In Texas", while the Associated Press went with "Pamela Geller says she has no regrets about Prophet Muhammad cartoon contest that ended in 2 deaths". The media "narrative" of the last week is that some Zionist temptress was walking down the street in Garland in a too short skirt and hoisted it to reveal her Mohammed thong - oops, my apologies, her Prophet Mohammed thong (PBUH) - and thereby inflamed two otherwise law-abiding ISIS supporters peacefully minding their own business.
    It'll be a long time before you see "Washington Post Offers No Apology for Attacking Target of Thwarted Attack" or "AP Says It Has No Regrets After Blaming The Victim". The respectable class in the American media share the same goal as the Islamic fanatics: They want to silence Pam Geller. To be sure, they have a mild disagreement about the means to that end - although even then you get the feeling, as with Garry Trudeau and those dozens of PEN novelists' reaction to Charlie Hebdo, that the "narrative" wouldn't change very much if the jihad boys had got luckier and Pam, Geert Wilders, Robert Spencer and a dozen others were all piled up in the Garland morgue.
    If the American press were not so lazy and parochial, they would understand that this was the third Islamic attack on free speech this year - first, Charlie Hebdo in Paris; second, the Lars Vilks event in Copenhagen; and now Texas. The difference in the corpse count is easily explained by a look at the video of the Paris gunmen, or the bullet holes they put in the police car. The French and Texan attackers supposedly had the same kind of weapons, although one should always treat American media reports with a high degree of skepticism when it comes to early identification of "assault weapons" and "AK47s". Nonetheless, from this reconstruction, it seems clear that the key distinction between the two attacks is that in Paris they knew how to use their firepower and in Garland they didn't. So a very cool 60-year-old local cop with nothing but his service pistol advanced under fire and took down two guys whose heavier firepower managed only to put a bullet in an unarmed security guard's foot.
    The Charlie Hebdo killers had received effective training overseas - as thousands of ISIS recruits with western passports are getting right now. What if the Garland gunmen had been as good as the Paris gunmen? Surely that would be a more interesting question for the somnolent American media than whether some lippy Jewess was asking for it.

    1. Deuce ☂Mon May 11, 09:50:00 PM EDT
      She wanted to taunt, to get in their face just like some crazed hater would conduct a “Draw the Jew” contest. It worked. Out of the hundreds of thousands, two deranged fools took her bait.

      She is a sordid pig. Scum, a vile ugly bitch that succeeded in spreading her hate.

    2. By Deuce's logic, or lack thereof...

      The Hundreds of thousands of Islamic fighters that go and kill civilians are just a "few deranged fools"

      Well there are 1.2 BILLION moslems and they say ONLY 20% are radical... or 240 MILLION....

    3. Good comments by the two posters directly above.

    4. Israel had three teens killed and then went for revenge killing 2500 in Gaza. How many Muslims has the US killed since 911. You don’t think they want revenge? Jews and revenge, no problem. Muslims and revenge, terrorists.

  6. How many US citizens died fighting in Vietnam that the Democrats gave us?

    58,000 (including my Uncle)

    How many US fighting folks died in the so called "neocon wars"?

    Afghanistan War 2,300
    Iraq War 4,500


    1. "O"rdure's Uncle Ho and Robert "Draft Dodger" Peterson' Auntie a pair to draw to

      No one is speaking to the partisanship of the debacle in Vietnam, or in Iraq.
      Just naming the names of those involved in the decision making.

      JFK and his "Best and Brightest", were not.
      They were liar and thieves, like Robert "Draft Dodger" Peterson.

      The grand strategy in both Vietnam and Iraq, well, it failed.
      A lot like the Chocolate Emporium.

      One act closes and another opens ...
      Get your treats at Ellies!

    2. My Uncle, unlike you, served and died with valor for this nation.

    3. "O"rdure's Uncle Ho survived the war, in Vietnam ...

    4. Nobody dies for valor. Look at the faces of the three above. You think they got that for valor?

      How absurd.

  7. I'm not sure the Republicans will ever win another National election.

    The Christian share of adults in the United States has declined sharply since 2007, affecting nearly all major Christian traditions and denominations, and crossing age, race and region, according to an extensive survey by the Pew Research Center.

    Seventy-one percent of American adults were Christian in 2014, the lowest estimate from any sizable survey to date, and a decline of 5 million adults and 8 percentage points since a similar Pew survey in 2007.

    The Christian share of the population has been declining for decades, but the pace rivals or even exceeds that of the country’s most significant demographic trends, like the growing Hispanic population. It is not confined to the coasts, the cities, the young or the other liberal and more secular groups where one might expect it, either.

    The Christian share of the population has been declining for decades, but the pace rivals or even exceeds that of the country’s most significant demographic trends, like the growing Hispanic population. It is not confined to the coasts, the cities, the young or the other liberal and more secular groups where one might expect it, either.

    “The decline is taking place in every region of the country, including the Bible Belt,” said Alan Cooperman, the director of religion research at the Pew Research Center and the lead editor of the report.

    The decline has been propelled in part by generational change, as relatively non-Christian millennials reach adulthood and gradually replace the oldest and most Christian adults. But it is also because many former Christians, of all ages, have joined the rapidly growing ranks of the religiously unaffiliated or “nones”: a broad category including atheists, agnostics and those who adhere to “nothing in particular.”

    1. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

    2. The Pew survey, which included 35,000 adults, offers an unusually comprehensive account of religion in the United States because the Census Bureau does not ask Americans about their religion. Most other nongovernmental surveys do not interview enough adults to allow precise estimates, do not ask other detailed questions about religion or do not have older surveys for comparison.

      The report does not offer an explanation for the decline of the Christian population, but the low levels of Christian affiliation among the young, well educated and affluent are consistent with prevailing theories for the rise of the unaffiliated, like the politicization of religion by American conservatives, a broader disengagement from all traditional institutions and labels, the combination of delayed and interreligious marriage, and economic development.

      Over all, the religiously unaffiliated number 56 million and represent 23 percent of adults, up from 36 million and 16 percent in 2007, Pew estimates. Nearly half of the growth was from atheists and agnostics, whose tallies nearly doubled to 7 percent of adults. The remainder of the unaffiliated, those who describe themselves as having “no particular religion,” were less likely to say that religion was an important part of their lives than eight years ago.

      The ranks of the unaffiliated have been bolstered by former Christians. Nearly a quarter of people who were raised as Christian have left the group, and ex-Christians now represent 19 percent of adults.

      Attrition was most substantial among mainline Protestants and Roman Catholics, who have declined in absolute numbers and as a share of the population since 2007. The acute decline in the Catholic population, which fell by roughly 3 million, is potentially a new development. Most surveys have found that the Catholic share of the population has been fairly stable over the last few decades, in no small part because it has been reinforced by migration from Latin America.

      Not all religions or even Christian traditions declined so markedly. The number of evangelical Protestants dipped only slightly as a share of the population, by 1 percentage point, and actually increased in raw numbers. Non-Christian faiths, like Judaism, Islam and Hinduism, generally held steady or increased their share of the population. Over all, non-Christian faiths represented 5.9 percent of the population, up from 4.7 percent in 2007.

      Younger adults have been particularly likely to join the unaffiliated in recent years. In 2007, 25 percent of 18-to-26-year-olds were unaffiliated; now 34 percent of the same cohort is unaffiliated.

    3. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.


    4. But the unaffiliated share of the population is increasing among older Americans as well. The Christian share of the population born before 1964 has dipped by 2 percentage points since 2007.

      There are few signs that the decline in Christian America will slow. Although some might assume that young people will become more religious as they age, the Pew data gives reason to think otherwise.

      “It’s not that they start unaffiliated and become religious,” Mr. Cooperman said. “In fact, it’s the opposite.”

      At the same time, every new cohort has been less affiliated than the last, with even the youngest millennials proving less affiliated, at 36 percent, than older millennials, at 34 percent.

      The changing religious composition of America has widespread political and cultural ramifications. Conservatives and Republicans, for example, have traditionally relied on big margins among white Christians to compensate for substantial deficits among nonwhite and secular voters. The declining white share of the population is a well-documented challenge to the traditional Republican coalition, but the religious dimension of the G.O.P.’s demographic challenge has received less attention, perhaps because of the dearth of data.

      Mr. Romney received 79 percent support among white evangelicals, 59 percent among white Catholics, 54 percent among nonevangelical white Protestants, but only 33 percent among nonreligious white voters.

      A Declining Share of a Declining Demographic

    5. No, Robert "Draft Dodger" Peterson, it is you who have bestowed the title of "Military Expert".

      It is not claimed by anyone who posts, here.
      All that has been claimed, here, by a contributor, is that Robert "Draft Dodger" Peterson is a thief.

      bob Thu May 27, 12:52:00 AM EDT

      But I did rip off the bank for $7500 hundred dollars, when I was on my knees, and fighting for my economic life, on my aunt's credit card. But that wasn't really stealing, just payback. …

    6. Interesting Jack, when you have nothing of value to say?

      Cut and paste bullshit...


      You are getting lamer by the hour and day..

      Or WEAK.

    7. Robert "Draft Dodger" Peterson stole money from the bank, but worse than that ...

      He stole his Aunt' honor, her good name, her reputation ...

      They couldn't do a damn thing about it, I put her in the rest home, age 96. What you going to do, when she is institutionalized?


    8. Robert "Draft Dodger" Peterson violated the trust his Aunt had bestowed upon him.

    9. .

      I'm not sure the Republicans will ever win another National election.

      Not well thought out, IMO. Perhaps it is just wishful thinking on the part of the author. History argues against it. At some point, the voting public will get so pissed at whoever is holding office and there will be a shift and the cycle will continue. History tells so.

      As for the demographics, it used to be the baby boomers that represented the largest factor age wise. Now, it is the millennials who are notably non-partisan. The Hispanic are a large bloc and growing but so far their voter participation rate has been low and despite what the author says their vote is primarily concentrated in states that are rarely contested. As for Christians, the Catholics are the largest Christian group in the country and while their politics have been more aligned with the Dems historically their voting patterns shift at the national level depending on who is running. And except for the evangelical and fundamentalist Christians, religion is low on the priority list of issues for most Christians.

      Economics are typically what drives elections, foreign policy to a lesser extent (until things go bad).

      That being said, it may take longer than I thought for the GOP at the national level. I assumed the GOP would be hurting until the old guard died off, the McConnells, the McCains, and the Lindsays. Unfortunately, it appears they are being replaced by a younger generation of the same ilk, the Cruzes, the Rubios, the Cottons. The only thing they have going for them right now is they are running against Hillary. But then, it was this same group that took over both houses of Congress this year.

      There are other trends besides demographics that will drive future elections. Half the families and growing in this country are receiving some sort of government benefit now. The workforce participation rate is historically low. The work force itself has shifted with many doing part time work or holding two jobs to make ends meet. Wage growth lags. Income inequality continues to grow. You never know where the next foreign crisis will show up. The peoples faith in the government is low. Political scandals abound.

      There will be plenty to drive future elections beside demographics.



    10. You are assuming that the "Two Party" ystems survives, with the two established Parties maintaining their dominion.

      That is where the system will break.
      Much as it did in 1860.

      The economic pressures are different, but no less intense.

    11. .

      Bob and rat, two of a kind. What do predictions about how quickly the war in Iraq will be over or Bob's aunt have to do with a post on future elections trends in the US you might ask? Why interrupt a post with an article discussing such trends when they could easily have put their bullshit in a separate post using 'Add Comment' rather than 'Reply'? Why ask why? It is Bob and the rat.


    12. Rat remains a figment of your imagination, LegionnaireTue May 12, 10:57:00 AM EDT

      The reason that Robert "Draft Dodger" Peterson's Auntie is germane, Robert is the quintessential Republican.

      Character assassination started with "O"rdure's comment and was amplified by Robert "Draft Dodger" Peterson.
      When he behaves that way, the response is scripted.

      The fact that Robert "Draft Dodger" Peterson was not sage enough to take your advise, Legionnaire, not the fault of anyone else but Robert "Draft Dodger" Peterson.

    13. .

      You are assuming that the "Two Party" ystems survives, with the two established Parties maintaining their dominion.

      I don't claim omnipotence, merely history and Occam's Razor. I could be wrong but I don't see the current trends changing given the fact that the rich continue to get richer and it is money that drives politics. The parties, the money guys, and even the courts support the current system.

      For the shift you are talking about, it would require a tipping point and, IMO, that tipping is well in the future if at all, long after you and I are gone. Currently, there are still too many people in the US that are 'getting by' or even getting by comfortably for the shift to come. We are not yet like Russia in 1917. Not yet.


    14. .

      The reason that Robert "Draft Dodger" Peterson's Auntie is germane, Robert is the quintessential Republican.

      An inane comment that doesn't come close to addressing the issue raised. You are sounding more and more like Bob. Or vice versa. It's hard to tell anymore.


    15. You should read the Host's remarks with regards to Robert "Draft Dodger" Peterson and his representativeness.
      He is the personification of what the Republican Party has become.

      As you noted, Legionnaire.
      The 'next' generation of GOP as disingenuous as the previous.
      They spout sanctimonious bullshit, while stealing from their family.

    16. Jack posts and posts and posts and says nothing....





  8. Next head of 'Civil Administration' said Palestinians are sub-human

    After the Oslo Accords, the Israeli army renamed the Military Government of the West Bank the Civil Administration. MK Eli Ben-Dahan was just appointed to oversee the Administration, which oversees the theft of Palestinian land, settlement expansion and controls the movement of millions of Palestinians.

    “[Palestinians] are beasts, they are not human.” — MK Rabbi Eli Ben-Dahan, Aug 1, 2013. (Hebrew)

    “A Jew always has a much higher soul than a gentile, even if he is a homosexual.” — MK Rabbi Eli Ben-Dahan, Dec 27, 2013. (Hebrew/English)

    1. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu finalized the formation of a new government this week when he signed a coalition agreement with far-right settler party Jewish Home. As part of the agreement, Rabbi Ben-Dahan will be Israel’s next deputy defense minister, responsible for the army’s “Civil Administration.”

      The Civil Administration is responsible for all aspects the occupation that don’t involve boots-on-the-ground security operations — it administers planning, building, and infrastructure for both Jews and Palestinians in Area C of the West Bank. It also administers the Palestinian population database and is responsible for granting and revoking entry and travel permits for Palestinians, controlling every aspect of their movement.

      In other words, the man slated to take charge of an organization entrusted with supervising the theft of Palestinian land and supervising Palestinians’ lives, is a racist who said he does not see them as human, but rather as animals (nothing against animals, of course, but we can be fairly certain Ben-Dahan didn’t mean it as a compliment).

      That’s more or less like appointing a member of the local Klu Klux Klan chapter to investigate claims of violence and discrimination against the Baltimore Police Department — that is, if Baltimore residents were deprived of citizenship and the right to vote.


    3. SO What?

      Palestinians and YOU call Jews and Israelis scum and non-human and all sorts of other vile diatribes..

      If bad words are the worst thing you can come up with?

      You are getting WEAK.

    4. Jack "the WEAK" Hawkins...

      SO upset that Israelis used a BAD word to describe the Palestinians...

      OH MY!!!

      It's a war crime I tell ya...

      thanks Jack for making laugh you sub-human piece of garbage...

      ah that DOES feel good...

      Jack "the sub-human" Hawkins...

    5. Jack Hawkins is a fictional character, "O"rdure.

      Go tell it to the NASI
      Practice you enunciation, in a mriror.

    6. Practice your enunciation, in a mirror.

      While I work on spell checking the posts.


    7. As to the conclusions that can be drawn from the people that are populating Bibi's 'government', well ...

      Anyone with a brain can see the writing on the wall.
      Whether or not they can comprehend what they are reading ...
      What the foreseen consequences are gong to be.

      Well, that's on them.
      "O"rdure does not see a problem, because he is part of it.

      “It is time to honestly admit that Israeli society is ill – ...”
      - Reuven Rivlin, President of Israel

    8. Reuven was right, he said the Palestinians are the what is causing Israel to be ill.

      Maybe the Palestinians should relocate to AZ?

    9. No, "O"rdure, that is not at all what Mr Rivlin said.

      He placed the responsibility for Israeli society's problems squarely where they belong, on those governing the society.

      “I’m not asking if they’ve forgotten how to be Jews, but if they’ve forgotten how to be decent human beings.
      Have they forgotten how to converse?”

      - Reuven Rivlin, President of Israel

      The selection of Bibi's government proof positive that those in control still have not learned the lessons of the past 2,000 years.

    10. Mr Rivilin not so ignorant as to blame the victim.

      Bu it does illustrate the level of thinking provide to us, by "O"rdure.

    11. But it does illustrate the level of thinking provided to us, by "O"rdure

    12. Jack, lying by omission is still a lie..

      And you cut out of context lines....

      so you lie.

      But the problems that Israel faces?

      Are the rabid dogs of Islamic and arab nationalism

      You should know them will...

  9. Regarding my post, above:

    It looks to me like the Republicans' prime demographic (White Christians) could shrink by as much as 5% between 2012 and 2016.

    Considering as how Obama beat them by 4 points in the last election, they're prospects might be getting a little shaky, to say the least.

    1. The GOP's share of the Presidential vote, in Arizona, has been in steady decline.
      If they cannot hold on in Arizona, the GOP will not be able to hold anywhere.

    2. Yeah, any one election can go against the trend - to a point,

      but, overall, I don't like their bet. :)

    3. They lost Virginia and the entire Northeast. California.

      Florida and Texas will be the last gasp.


  10. It does look like the "Small Government" ideologues are abandoning the GOP.
    That was a substantial part of their coalition, and those folks have lost any hope that the Republicans can change the course.

    As Legionnaire noted, the numbers of folk that receive benefits from the government is substantial.
    Many of whom are Republicans. So to demonize those folks, while not addressing the "Waste and Fraud" that permeates the "Defense Establishment", a losing proposition.

    Demonizing Social Security, and its beneficiaries, not going to win elections.

    1. Financing 1,400 M1Abrams main battle tanks for the Egyptians, now that just not going to become part of the debate.
      Funding coups in the Ukraine, not germane to demonizing our fellow Americans.

      A trillion dollars pissed away in the sands of Arabia, not likely to be discussed as the Neocons pump up the volume for another opportunity for waste, caused by their frauds, in Iran.

    2. Six, or is up to seven hundred US military bases spread across the globe ...

      Not likely to be discussed as "Over Kill".
      Modernizing the nuclear weapon arsenal, not likely that the Republicans will be quoting Ronald W Reagan in the Senate when the appropriations are debated.

      “We seek the total elimination one day of nuclear weapons from the face of the Earth.”
      Ronald Reagan, Inaugural Address, 1985

      More "Waste & Fraud" funded by the government on "Defense" systems, the scale of which never was needed to defend US from aggression, but was required for the delusional dream of global governance.

    3. .

      When speaking of neocons, my view of them is inclusive. There are plenty of neocons who are Dems. It all depends on where their interests lie, its who lobbies them which in turn depends on what committee seats they hold, its what military base or defense contractors they have in their state, and in some cases, maybe most, they take to heart the neocon mantra that it is America's duty to spread the light of our culture and values to the unwashed masses whether they want it or not.


    4. The spread of some cultures has been an extremely good thing, whether they want it or not.

      The spread of the light of our culture, or Europe's, or that of India to the Moslems would be an extremely good thing, whether they it or not.

      The Spanish put an end to human sacrifice down there to the south of us, the Cherokee were put out of the slavery business, all sorts of old practices have gone by the way side in India by the spread of English culture.....the list is extremely long.

      You might be able to think of an example yourself if you try hard.

    5. A shorter way of saying what I just said is that you are just passing gas, Quirk.

    6. The gas passed here by rat's ass, Rufus, Deuce, and, to a much lesser extent, by Quirk and Ash, could heat a large village.

  11. :):):):):):)

    Ben Carson: “Probably Not” Helpful To Call Obama A Psychopath But It Was Accurate

    “I said he looks like — he reminds you of one. And if anybody knows what a psychopath is, they would agree.”
    posted on May. 11, 2015, at 3:09 p.m.
    Andrew Kaczynski
    Andrew Kaczynski
    BuzzFeed News Reporter

    Bill Pugliano / Getty Images

    Retired neurosurgeon Ben Carson, who launched his presidential campaign last week, says people would agree with calling him calling President Obama a psychopath if they just knew what one was.

    “Like most psychopaths,” Carson said in a lengthy GQ profile when discussing Obama’s State of the Union speech. “That’s why they’re successful. That’s the way they look. They all look great.”

    Carson told local Concord News Radio Monday that if people knew what a psychopath was, they would agree with him — though he said it was probably not helpful for the political process.

    “Uh, probably not and that was an off-the-record comment that was put on the record,” Carson said, when asked whether the comment was helpful. “I said he looks like — he reminds you of one. And if anybody knows what a psychopath is, they would agree. But when you say certain things, people can’t look at what you’re saying they just hear the word and that’s not helpful. So I agree.”

    Here’s the audio:


    1. rat's ass and Obama have one thing in common - both are pathological Liars.

      9 posters have said so about rat's ass, and everyone knows all about Obama's continual lies.

      I think it helpful to say so.

  12. Were the Christmas carpet bombings of Hanoi by The United States Air Force war crimes ?

    1. We had no business in Viet Nam. We accomplished nothing of any good. There were many war crimes, My Lai, just one of them. Chemical warfare is a war crime. Agent Orange sprayed on civilians and civilian property is a war crime. Why that one clinked into your brain is anyones guess. A B-52 is a strategic bomber. It always carpet bombs or drops nuclear weapons.

    2. Then why criticize me for my student deferments, and risking the draft lottery ?

      The dems got us in, the dems got us out.

      Miss T, Quirk, and I all used to agree on Vietnam.......our betters in D.C. had not read their history assignment.

      The reason they speak Vietnamese instead of Chinese is that they had successfully fought them off several times before, back for 1,000 years or more.

      Chinese, French, Japanese, French, USA.......

  13. an interesting piece in The Stone yesterday:

    "Making It Explicit in Israel

    By Anat Biletzki
    May 11, 2015 6:50 am

    In Israel, we are used to hearing that everything is more “complex” than one might think. Situations are typically described as variegated, imprecise or intangible and they seem almost intentionally so. Implicitness — about politics, religion, military actions, and human rights — rules. But I would argue that that situation has changed. In the past year in Israel, things have become clear and precise. Things have become explicit.

    The government that will be formed this week is the most clearly articulated, narrowest, most right-wing, most religious and most nationalistic government ever assembled in Israel. A combination of the fundamentalist Orthodox clerical parties with the nationalistic chauvinism of the Jewish Home, led by Naftali Bennett who makes no attempt to hide his annexation plans, has been orchestrated by Benjamin Netanyahu in no uncertain terms. Along with Likud, Netanyahu’s home, which is the largest party in Israel today, and Kulanu (All of Us – a breakaway of Likud), this whole bloc is unambiguous in its Jewish, nationalistic agenda.

    Twenty years ago, the philosopher Robert Brandom, in his momentous book, “Making It Explicit,” presented us with a new way of looking at language and meaning. Using the work of a number of philosophers — from Kant and Hegel, to 20th-century thinkers like Ludwig Wittgenstein, Gottlob Frege, W.V. Quine, Michael Dummett and many others — he showed us how to move the fulcrum of our attention from representation to inference, from the molecular to the holistic, from the individual to the social, and from the factual-descriptive to the normative. In short: Brandom explained that it is through social, communal norms that we give meaning to our words.

    According to Brandom, we, as rational beings looking for reasons, make assertions that commit us to the connections (through inference) between the things we say, yet this is actually part of a game of making explicit what is already there, in our social, moral and political norms.

    In Israel, the unambiguous move to explicitness began in July 2014 — more exactly between July 8 and August 27 of last year — when Israel engaged in the military operation called Tsuk Eitan. That means “Firm Cliff,” not “Protective Edge,” as translated by the army spokesperson, a phrase expressing implicit defensiveness. The precise goals of the operation were never clearly articulated, moving from the reported objective of stopping Hamas rockets from falling on Israeli territory to that of destroying the tunnels to weakening Hamas to returning quiet and security for Israeli communities in the South to achieving a responsible, militarily weakened sovereign in Gaza.

    1. By the operation’s end, more than 2,100 Gazans were killed, a majority of whom were civilians, around 500 of those children. Seventy-three Israelis were killed during Firm Cliff — almost all of them soldiers. In the aftermath of the horrors — or sometimes even during them — journalists, diplomats, politicians, academics and pundits engaged in assessment of the summer’s events and their potential consequences. Amazingly, they produced two diametrically opposed appraisals. On the one hand, there was the familiar, weary lament that “there is nothing new under the sun” (and the implied “there never will be”); Israelis and Palestinians, it was said, would continue their decades-long “conflict,” with constant low-level violence and occasional high-level flare-ups. On the other hand, there was a newly formulated perception that this time something essential had changed. That summer brought a novel phenomenon, whose precise contours were still elusive and whose impact was yet to be gauged. I submit that in the summer of 2014 things were made explicit.

      Explicitness surfaced right after the abduction and killing on June 12,,, 2014, of three Israeli teenagers by Palestinians. It emerged in the frenzied atmosphere that engulfed Israel until the discovery of the bodies on June 30, and the consequent vengeance killing of a Palestinian teenager by Jewish Israelis on July 2. During those three weeks, Israeli leaders openly called for retribution, with Prime Minister Netanyahu openly quoting the national poet Haim Nachman Bialik’s “Vengeance like this, for the blood of a child, / Satan has yet to devise.”

      When the Firm Cliff fighting officially started, the Israeli media, whether on its own or while quoting political, cultural, religious and military leaders, was replete with clearly voiced messages of racism and hate toward any and all Arabs or Palestinians. “Death to the Arabs,” a call previously shrugged away as an instigation used mainly by erstwhile extremists and soccer fans, could be heard loud and clear. And antiwar protesters, now encountering without police protection the so-called “nationalist” supporters of the war, heard the loud and explicit “Death to the Leftists.” The long-brewing enmity between Jew and Arab, which had always been understood but sometimes unspoken, came out in full force, rising to the boiling surface. We were facing the nebulous — but no less substantial for that — move from the implicit to the explicit.

      In March of this year we were witness to elections in Israel. Three days before the elections the polls showed Netanyahu trailing his opponent Isaac Herzog (leader of the “center-left” Zionist Union). In those final days, Netanyahu made two astonishing statements. First, in a newspaper interview on the day before the election, he said there would be no Palestinian state established during his term in office as prime minister. Second, on Election Day itself, he called his voters to come out to vote for his party, warning that Arabs were voting “in droves.” What exactly was he doing?

      Specifically, Netanyahu voiced an “anti-norm” — what he made explicit were not universal democratic values, which are often loudly touted in official Israel, but the bald, unadorned Zionist norms of exclusive Jewish rights and exclusion of Arab citizens. These norms might be implicit; they might lie in hiding in Israeli society (even in what is perceived as center-left Zionism) but are, for that reason, no less regulative, indeed constitutive, of Israeli Jewish society. Making those norms explicit reminded Jewish voters of how they should vote.


    2. Netanyahu’s statement against the idea of a Palestinian state being established during his term was also an “anti-norm” — it seemed to fly in the face of several years of diplomatic efforts. But what is diplomacy, if not implicitness brought to the hilt? Yes, Netanyahu had proclaimed his support of a “Palestinian state” in his (in)famous Bar-Ilan speech of 2009. But anyone following his actions and talk since that one statement could have, should have, been wise to his real intentions. It was Netanyahu’s move to explicitness that upended the implicit diplomatic games.

      With these two statements, Netanyahu made explicit the implicit beliefs and attitudes which are the real norms of Zionist, Jewish Israel — or, at the very least, of many of its citizens.

      We might ask which is better – the hypocrisy of pretending to accept universal democratic norms or the truthfulness of denying them in favor of parochial discriminatory ones? Which is better, implicitness or explicitness? Brandom tells us that “political norms… end up being a matter of making explicit things that are implicit in living a life of giving and asking for reasons.” But what if the overarching system of implicit norms is itself reprehensible? Or, even if there is a conflict between different implicit norms, some universalistic, others exclusivist — is there any value in making precisely the latter explicit? That seems to be the rub.

      The story of Israel is a sad story; and that story has now become sadly explicit. Still, we might look to Brandom for a sliver of hope: he suggests that “having made [it] explicit, now you’re in a position to be critical about it.” Making the norms that rule in Israel explicit might, beyond shocking the conscience of mankind, open up a conversation that has been sorely lacking in the United States. For Brandom, the implications are philosophical, but no less political for that: “[I]f you can bring it out into the open as something we can discuss and give and ask for reasons for, then these implicit inferences that are curled up in our concepts don’t have power over us anymore. They’ve come into the light of day where we have the power of reasoning about them.”

      Perhaps such reasoning, now in explicit political contexts, might even lead to the power of changing them.

      Anat Biletzki is a professor of philosophy at Quinnipiac University and at Tel Aviv University. She has written and edited several books, and was the chairperson of the Israeli human rights group B’Tselem from 2001 to 2006."

    3. The 'Palestinians' haven't come anywhere close to showing that they deserve a state, and I doubt ever will.

      out for now

      Cheers !!

    4. ISIS doesn't deserve a state either.

      I can think of several other groups as well.

    5. Ash,

      Your post is bullshit.

      Simply put?

      IF the Palestinians were worthy of being a peace partner? there would be a 2 state solution.

      Since the palestinians have joined a genocidal group as part of their unity government? They have made the 2 state solution obsolete.

      Bibi is simply telling it as it is...

      No peace partner? No peace.

  14. .

    We can only judge trade deals by their effect and while they may increase trade overall and usually work to the benefit of the wealthy and the multinationals, there is an argument that can be made that they can work to the detriment of workers and citizens in the countries involved.

    The following describes a questionable practices purported to be in the new TPP deal Obama is pushing,

    A rigged process leads to a rigged outcome. For evidence of that tilt, look at a key TPP provision: Investor-State Dispute Settlement where big companies get the right to challenge laws they don’t like in front of industry-friendly arbitration panels that sit outside of any court system. Those panels can force taxpayers to write huge checks to big corporations — with no appeals. Workers, environmentalists, and human rights advocates don’t get that special right.

    Most Americans don’t think of the minimum wage or antismoking regulations as trade barriers. But a foreign corporation has used ISDS to sue Egypt because Egypt raised its minimum wage. Phillip Morris has gone after Australia and Uruguay to stop them from implementing rules to cut smoking rates. Under the TPP, companies could use ISDS to challenge these kinds of government policy decisions — including food safety rules...