“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, June 28, 2016

Trumpism and the Revolt Against Technocracy


  1. Gaza’s Millionaires and Billionaires — How Hamas’s Leaders Got Rich Quick

    Abu Marzouk is one of the major billionaires in Hamas. “Arab estimates peg his fortune at 2-3 billion dollars,” Elad says. Another senior-official-turned-terror-tycoon is Khaled Mashaal, head of Hamas’s political wing. “Global estimates say Mashaal is worth $2.6 billion,” but Arab commentators, with other sources, say he is worth between 2 and 5 billion, “invested in Egyptian banks and Gulf countries, some in real estate projects.”

    Next on the list is Ismail Haniyeh, who until the recent signing of a unity deal between Hamas and Fatah was the Prime Minister of Gaza. “His fortune is estimated at 4 million dollars, and most of his assets in the Strip are registered in the name of his son in law Nabil, and a dozen children of his and other less known Hamas officials,” Elad says.

    According to Elad, Ayman Taha, a mid-tier official, “was born in desolate poverty at the El Buraj refugee camp, but recently built a house worth at least a million bucks. He is in charge of coordinating Hamas operations inside and outside the Gaza Strip and is not even a senior member, but he’s already a member of the millionaire club.”

    Most of their money comes from misused donations to the Gaza Strip, since every dollar passes through Hamas’s pipeline. Elad assesses that smuggling of goods through tunnels generates hundreds of millions a year and those who control the siphon became wealthy along the way. There are several hundred millionaires in Gaza and there would be hundreds more if smuggling would continue unabated. The man pulling the strings in Egypt is Khirat el Shatr, who is No. 2 in the Muslim Brotherhood. His connection to Hamas is allegedly based on a shared religious outlook, “but in effect it’s a thriving business, with a revenue of millions.”

    Pan-Arab London based paper, Asharq al Awsat, which is considered a reliable media outlet, recently ran a story saying there are 600 millionaires in Gaza. Elad explains how the corrupt officials charge: Every car load smuggled through the tunnels was taxed by a fixed sum of $2000 and additionally 25% of the value of goods. Between June 2007 and 2010 the tunnel smuggling business generated $800 million. Hamas also taxed all merchants in Gaza, from car retailers to sellers of fruit and vegetables. Hamas also took over lands and then resold them at a profit.

    1. How Much Is Mahmoud Abbas Worth?
      Try $100 Million

      by Khaled Abu Toameh
      May 18, 2012 at 4:30 am

      The Palestinian Authority in the West Bank has just discovered what every Palestinian child knows -- that hundreds of millions of dollars had been embezzled during the era of Yasser Arafat.

      The "discovery", however, was not the result of a thorough and long investigation ordered by Palestinian leaders in Ramallah with the hope of restoring public funds.

      Instead, it came after one of Arafat's most trusted aides, Mohammed Rashid, threatened to expose corruption scandals in the Palestinian Authority.

      For many years, Rashid served as Arafat's financial advisor and was given a free hand to handle hundreds of millions of dollars that were poured on the Palestinian Authority and the PLO by US, EU and Arab donors.

    2. Maybe the Palestinians should be thinking about new leadership?

  2. In 2003, a year before his death, Forbes Magazine placed Yasser Arafat on their list of the world’s wealthiest kings and despots with a net worth of 300 million dollars. This number was on the low end of the estimates that had been made of the fortune of the leader of the Palestine Liberation Organization. Israeli intelligence had estimated Arafat’s net worth at 1.3 billion dollars and an audit conducted by American accountants, authorized by the Palestinian Authority, turned up 1 billion dollars in investments. While an exact number may never be arrived at, Time Magazine’s report that Arafat’s wife had received a 200,000-dollar-a-month allowance, gave one small glimpse into the lifestyles of the rich and infamous of the Palestinian Authority.

  3. In addition, official Palestinian media have used funds to produce a steady stream of anti-Israel, and anti-Semitic, propaganda and incitement.

    Even more problematic, that aid helps finance generous salaries and bonuses to about 5,000 convicted Palestinian terrorists, according to The Telegraph.

    Under the Palestinian “Law of the Prisoner,” those convicted of terror offences are immediately placed on the Palestinian Authority payroll. Salaries are reserved for those “resisting the occupation” only– not those guilty of other crimes.

    The more serious the offence, the more money is paid. The longest-serving terrorists receive £2,075 per month, plus bonuses for wives and children. Grants made upon release can be as much as £50,000. That is substantial, as the average Palestinian wage is about £312 per month.

    The European Union Wednesday announced that it has made available €200 million ostensibly to provide basic services to the Palestinian people, reports Parliament Today. The EU provides over €300 million annually to the Palestinians.
    About two-thirds of that money is slated to go directly to the Palestinian Authority, particularly to pay the salaries of PA “public workers.” But there are serious questions as to where that aid money actually goes.

    I hope the EU collapses into a big pile of shit.


  4. Under the Palestinian “Law of the Prisoner,” those convicted of terror offences are immediately placed on the Palestinian Authority payroll. Salaries are reserved for those “resisting the occupation” only– not those guilty of other crimes.

    The more serious the offence, the more money is paid.

    Jeez, that kinda promotes terrorism, doesn't it ?

    I'm shocked, shocked, I tell ya.

    It doesn't sound to me that people like that are really striving for peace.

    And those billionaires in Gaza, why do the Israelis put up with that ? Seeing that they have very effectively annexed and occupied the place ?

    It's almost as if the Israelis really don't have any 'peace partners' here.

    I'm shocked, shocked.

    Hell, it's liked it was back in Martha Gellhorn's day....except more extreme and corrupt.

  5. Trey Gowdy is talking about the conclusions of the 800 page 'Benghazi Report', just released.

    President O'bozo promised during the last campaign to 'get to the bottom of this'.

    He never did, of course.

    But Trey has been on it for the American people.

    1. In case you didn't know, it wasn't a video released by some unknown out in California that caused the attack.

  6. Once again, you Israeli-firsters, obsessed with Israel, trash a post that has no relationship to Israel, occupied Palestine or apartheid Zionism.

    1. Who wouldn't be obsessed with Israel ?

      After all, they control the US Congress and the banks.

      I'm focused on Trey Gowdy now, though.

    2. Two for three...They don’t control the banks, but they totally control the media and absolutely control the US Congress.

  7. Your source is The Algemeiner Journal, a New York-based newspaper, covering American and international Jewish and Israel-related news who Senator Joseph Lieberman described as an “independent truth telling advocate for the Jewish people and Israel”

    No bias or axe to grind there.

    1. Sure there is an axe to grind, but it doesn't change the FACTS

      I can put up a dozen reports of hamas leaders pocketing billions of dollars.

      If you don't like the message? Shoot the messenger.

    2. Here is another lovely report, this one from Abbas;s Fatah

      Palestinian Authority (PA) Chairman Mahmoud Abbas's Fatah faction went on the offensive Thursday, claiming that Hamas in Gaza is corrupt and "doesn't represent the Palestinian people."

      The Fatah spokesman claimed that while Gaza is one of the poorest places in the world, there are 1,700 millionaires among Hamas members, hinting that the terror group imposes steep taxes on its citizens for goods entering from Egypt and Israel, and that this money finds its way into Hamas officials' pockets.

      But according to an investigative report published in the pan-Arab newspaper Asharq Al-Awsat, there are at least 600 millionaires living in the Gaza Strip. The newspaper report also refutes the claim that the Gaza Strip has been facing a humanitarian crisis because of an Israeli blockade.

  8. As to the topic of the thread I'm all against government by unrepresentative, unresponsive, sometimes unelected, secretive elites !

    And I really do feel we are in danger of losing our country at this point.

    The Constitution won't mean a damn thing if Hillary gets in....

    It makes me sick.


    Among some groups 21% test positive for TB.

    My Grandfather died from TB in the 1940's.

    I don't like this....