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151  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Media Issues on: August 21, 2014, 07:45:48 AM
I am not bothered by bias (or wierdness) at the Huffington Post in the same way I am with ABC, NBC, CBS, NYT, LAT, Mpls Startribune, etc., so called mainstream.  They can do what they want with their brand name, and we can call them out on it.
152  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: The Hillbillary Clintons long, sordid, and often criminal history on: August 21, 2014, 07:30:56 AM
POTH tries to explain the unexplainable:

But if her election is already a certainty, why lose the Senate.  Those are 6 year terms!
153  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: The Hillbillary Clintons long, sordid, and often criminal history on: August 21, 2014, 12:11:59 AM
 I love the personal story. It's hard to say what we can learn from Nixon. He was both a fool and a political genius. He won 49 states that year.

Hill doesn't just need loyalty, she is obsessed, with it. Something is amiss here IMHO.

What greater loss did O have than losing the House? And now the Senate.
154  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: The Hillbillary Clintons long, sordid, and often criminal history on: August 20, 2014, 10:43:49 AM
I believe the point of stumping for others is to create loyalties and political indetedness .  I can think of only one scenario where she won't ever need that.
155  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Science, Culture, & Humanities / Re: Race, religion, ethnic origin, LGBT, "discrimination", & discrimination. on: August 19, 2014, 11:55:10 AM
Anyone heard anything on the autopsy of  the US ambassador to Libya?

Was he as valuable as this guy?

Maybe we can send Eric Holder there to get at the "truth".  And interrupt a golf trip to announce it.

I have long complained that equal protection under the law has no meaning with this group of ruling bullies or to anyone else on their side of the aisle.  They don't even have equal curiosity.
156  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Science, Culture, & Humanities / Re: Race, Ferguson, MO on: August 19, 2014, 11:35:53 AM
Strange, strange story.  Proves me right on one thing.  Look away from these breaking stories, unless there is something you can do to help, until the facts begin to come in.

More than a dozen witnesses - plus three autopsies - corroborate the police story (that I never heard in the media).  He was coming toward the officer.

But what was the uproar about?  Too many black getting shot by whites?  Really?  The odds are 15-fold higher in the other direction.  In fact, the fear of a black being shot is to be shot by another black.  That is tragic.

Did "protesters" really believe he was gunned down in broad daylight for no reason?  Did the officer have a history of that?  Did the police department have a history of that?  No.  But if that is what he had done, the man isn't any more dead the last 40 to be gunned down in Chicago.  But this one rose high in the news.  Partly because the news ran it wrong.  And partly because the protests are planned and orchestrated, not spontaneous.

One might ask, as I have done in the "America's Inner City" thread, what else is going wrong in these neighborhoods and with these people that is keeping them out of productive activities and responsibilities.  Comments?
157  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: The Hillbillary candidacy on: August 19, 2014, 11:24:02 AM
While it appears to all observers (including myself) that I am losing my bet that she won't run, won't win the nomination if she does run and won't win the Presidency if she does run, today a couple of articles today seem to show the tides may be turning:
Hillary Clinton's SUmmer Slide, Hillary is inevitable no longer
By Tom Keane,  Boston Globe Columnist   August 19, 2014
Clinton’s numbers have dropped by 10 or more points
(Not much new here except that someone besides us is saying it.)

Hillary Clinton Not Campaigning Much for her Party in 2014
By Michael Barone - August 19, 2014

Just about everyone noticed Hillary Clinton's scathing comments on President Obama's foreign policy in her interview with The Atlantic's Jeffrey Goldberg.  But almost no one has noticed where Clinton hasn't been seen. That's on the campaign trail or at fundraisers for Democrats running for the Senate.

Why isn't she out campaigning for Democrats?
a)  This is going to be a lousy year for Dems.
b)  The candidates don't want her there.
c)  She isn't very good at campaigning.
d)  She doesn't like doing it.
e)  She doesn't want to face the difficult questions that come with being out there:

 Barone:  "That might force her to weigh in on Obamacare, illegal border crossings and fracking."

In other words, maybe she isn't running after all.   )

158  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Energy Politics & Science on: August 19, 2014, 11:08:46 AM
"Latest scientific study points to volcanic activity and magma displacement being responsible for glacial melting and rising oceans"

Don't get your hopes up for this to fly in the MSM.  Next thing we know this too will be explained away as being due to fracking.

It was a great post nonetheless.  There is a lot more going on in climate than the alarmists would like to tell us.  People seem to understand this in polling.
159  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: The Hillbillary Clintons long, sordid, and often criminal history on: August 19, 2014, 11:06:20 AM
As I have been hammering for several years now, the Reps are utterly divided on foreign affairs and much of the core attitude that used to underlie Rep political strength on foreign affairs is gone.  With good reason the American people do not trust the competence of either party to lead this nation in war.  Which is a real big fg problem because it sure looks like a big war is coming!

Looked at through a political lens, Hillary's strategy is very interesting, potentially quite dangerous for us. 

Riddle me this:  How will the Reps respond to it?  More hawkish?  More Dovish?  How will each of the potential Rep nominees respond to it?  The American voter?  Given the American voter's well-earned distrust and looming war, is he/she likely to go for untested neophytes like Cruz or Paul? or Rubio? or?

(Oh and by the way, how does it square with what each of us thinks is best for American and the world?  This probably would be better answered in the Foreign Policy thread where I also posted it.)

Tangent:  I wonder why no one seems to note that Hillary's recent distancing from Baraq by pointing out that she, Petraeus, and Sec Def Paneta also supported arming the FSA in the early days of Syria, is also exactly what Sen. John McCain and Lindsay Graham advocated , , ,

She chose to serve BHO and carry out his vacuous foreign policy.  Now, assuming she's running, she needs to both distance herself from him - on foreign policy - while still getting 100% support from him and his staff, loyalists and band of campaign outlaws.  So she gave an interview ripping him, then immediately called him to "clarify".  Got ripped back badly by Axelrod, and still failed to distance herself.  (And WE are the ones screwed?)

Republicans will have the same heart wrenching debate over foreign policy that Americans are having with themselves.  Marco Rubio is hawkish. Rand Paul is dovish.  Mike Pence is busy exercising his executive experience.  This will play out.  The hawks need to demonstrate they aren't warmongers and the doves need to convince people they aren't pushovers.  The key will be to keep the debates positive and substantive.  In the end, we need to strengthen America from within and they all agree on that.

It is the Dems who can't run on abstractions.  They had their chance and they blew it.

Forgotten about Hillary Clinton's empty foreign policy experience is that her victorious rival named a special envoy to all the difficult areas, 24 in all, leaving her free to take unlimited trips to nowhere.
Obama administration’s 24 special envoys represent an unprecedented expansion of this mechanism
160  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Congressional races: And the Least interesting... on: August 19, 2014, 10:47:33 AM
Steven Hayward says Montana Democrats have found someone who can sit comfortably next to fellow MENSA member Barbara Boxer:

Less than 2 minutes will give you a good feel for the depth of the Dem field.
161  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / The Most Interesting Candidate - Jeff Bell, NJ Senate on: August 19, 2014, 10:42:07 AM

The Most Interesting Candidate in the World
Column: Jeff Bell and the Republican future
It's not a party unless it's a Jeff Bell party

It's not a party unless it's a Jeff Bell party

BY: Matthew Continetti
August 15, 2014 5:00 am

Jeff Bell was a reform conservative before it was cool. He’s spent his career arguing with a risk-averse Republican establishment. He pushed Ronald Reagan to embrace the supply-side doctrine of tax cuts before deficit reduction. He spent the 1990s warning the GOP that its tax policy favored investment capital over human capital, corporate interests over working families. He designed a family-friendly flat tax that reduced payroll taxes, increased the child tax credit, taxed capital gains and regular income at the same rate, and ended business expensing. Payroll tax relief and a generous child tax credit are elements of today’s reform conservatism. Bell was there first.

Bell’s career has been a mix of thought and action. He was born and raised in New Jersey, and graduated from Columbia University. He fought in Vietnam. He was an aide to Richard Nixon and to Ronald Reagan, and was active in the conservative movement more generally. In 1978, he upset liberal Republican Clifford Case in the New Jersey Senate primary, losing to Bill Bradley in the general election. He’s the rare political consultant whose views of the world are more expansive than those expressed on Morning Joe.

While advising clients, Bell published two books—both recommended—and articles for National Review and the Weekly Standard. I got to know him when I joined the Standard in 2003. I’ve been in awe of his theoretical and practical intelligence ever since.

I once asked Bell which books best represent the future-oriented, dynamic, cheerfully populist, optimistic, supply-side worldview of President Reagan and Jack Kemp. He thought for a moment and told me to read The Cultural Pattern in American Politics and The Transatlantic Persuasion by Robert Kelly, and The Economy in Mind by Warren Brookes. Try getting that response from James Carville.

Bell repeated history in June of this year when he won, for the second time, the New Jersey Republican primary for Senate. He’s continued to surprise a lot of people by keeping the race between him and incumbent Cory Booker within 10 points. The press has largely ignored his campaign for horserace reasons. Washingtonians don’t think he’ll win.

The other day I watched an interview Bell gave to NJTV news. The questions dealt with process: where the polls stood, how much money has been raised, what the “ground game” looks like. But the questions missed the point. The reason to study Bell’s campaign isn’t his social media strategy. It’s his agenda.

Bell isn’t just running against Booker. He’s also running against the Federal Reserve’s zero interest rate policy, which began in 2008 under Ben Bernanke and continues under Janet Yellen. Defenders of the Fed say its actions since the financial crisis have prevented a depression and sustained the recovery that began in June 2009. Bell says the Fed is responsible for the dreariness of that recovery—its shallow growth, its mediocre job creation. He says the Fed has helped deficit spenders in government, CEOs, and Wall Street bankers and investors. It’s harmed consumers and savers.

“While Washington has gotten free financing from the Fed, families planning for college, retirees living on a fixed income, and everyone else hoping to earn a decent return on their savings rather than speculating in the markets have fallen behind,” Bell writes on his website. “It is a travesty that our monetary policy has deprived seniors, parents, and savers in billions of income so Congress can rack up more debt.”

The value of the dollar is the top issue of his campaign. Bell attacks Yellen and the Fed as much as he attacks Booker. Indeed, one of his chief attacks is that Booker voted for Yellen. Bell has a plan to establish a new gold standard. Most importantly, though, he frames his agenda in terms of “restoring middle class prosperity.” The economy remains voters’ top concern, but voters continue to resist Republican economics as favoring business, the rich, and the connected. By focusing on the Federal Reserve, money, and the rising cost of living, Bell is doing more than trying to win an election. He is reshaping the Republican economic message.

Most of the GOP candidates on the trail this year will criticize the Obama economy. But, when it comes to saying what they would do differently, they won’t be more specific than calls for budget cuts and income and corporate tax cuts. They will be parroting the GOP message of the last 30 years, a message that has been producing diminishing returns.

Bell’s diagnosis is radical, comprehensive, and visceral. He knows that voters who aren’t conservative find it difficult to draw the connection between the Balanced Budget Amendment and their daily life. Talk about how these voters are paying more for less, though, and you are likely to find an audience.

I have become leery of single explanations for our troubles. I cannot say that adopting a gold standard would magically restore American prosperity. But I do think the case for the Federal Reserve has been overstated. The Fed can’t take credit for avoiding a depression while shirking responsibility for our subpar economy. The news is so disappointing that some economists have said we are in the middle of a long-term secular stagnation.

Since history runs only once, and in just one direction, there is no way of proving the counterfactual that things would be worse without zero interest rates and quantitative easing. The progressive heirs to Franklin Roosevelt’s belief in “bold, persistent experimentation” should be the last people to dismiss proposals from outside of the mainstream.

It is precisely the outlandishness of Bell’s vision that makes it worthy of attention. Even as America is rocked by domestic malaise and global crises, our elites return to the same old ideas. This should be a moment for contrarian original thinking. Confidence in government is low. The gap between the public and the caste is wide.

Obamacare is less popular than ever, yet Republicans don’t talk about it. A majority wants to see the illegal immigrant children from Central America returned home—in fact, a majority wants to see reductions in legal immigration—yet Washington’s priority remains comprehensive immigration reform. Americans overwhelmingly support Israel in its fight against terrorists, yet the picture painted by the media is one of Israeli aggression and Palestinian helplessness.

If you relied only on polling data, you’d be knowledgeable of the priorities and wishes of voters. But you wouldn’t have a clue about the priorities and wishes, the buzzwords, action items, clichés, and worldview, of the bipartisan American elite. For that, you’d have to turn to the media, whose concerns are entirely orthogonal, and even harmful, to the interests of the American people.

Nowhere is the divergence clearer than in perceptions of inflation. It’s true that the rampant inflation some conservatives predicted when the Fed announced its “extraordinary measures” has not appeared. But it is also true that inflation is difficult to measure, that growth in wages has been slow, that the cost of health care and tuition continue to rise. Voters complain about rising prices even as experts say the voters don’t know what they are talking about. Who is a politician better off siding with?

Last year, American Principles in Action, a group associated with Jeff Bell, released its own autopsy of the 2012 election. The report noted that, after unemployment, voters in the 2012 exit poll said “rising prices” were their top concern. “What voters dubbed ‘rising prices’ is really a declining standard of living,” the report said, “which many perceive to be the consequence of the ‘shrinking value of the dollar,’ as one Ohio focus group participant told us.” Experts may dismiss Jeff Bell’s calls for monetary reform, but that focus group participant in Ohio is likely to listen—and vote.

The report issued six recommendations to GOP candidates: Don’t avoid social issues but use partial-birth abortion and Common Core as wedges against your opponent; use the social issues to appeal to religious Hispanic voters; call for an end to the Fed’s inflationary policies; attack Obamacare for lessening the American standard of living; go after “the student loan racket”; and celebrate middle-class workers instead of “job creators.” As far as I can tell, Jeff Bell is the only Republican Senate nominee to adopt such an agenda wholeheartedly.

While I disagree with him on immigration reform, and believe an amnesty would hurt precisely those Americans he is trying to help, I am excited to see, for once, a candidate try something bold and original. Jeff Bell may be a lone voice in 2014, but he was also a lone voice calling for supply-side tax cuts in 1978.

Thirty-five years ago, Bell prophesied the future of conservative politics. He’s doing the same today.
162  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Total European Economic Growth, 2nd Qtr 2014 = Zero on: August 15, 2014, 01:41:54 PM
Economic growth in Europe came in at zero in the second quarter of 2014. That's not the growth that Europe — with its huge unemployment rate of 12 percent, or roughly 19,130,000 people out of work — needs.
Euro-Zone Economy Stalls in Second Quarter as German GDP Slips

Problems of Europe failing/floundering from a US point of view:

1) Our economies are linked.  The EU is the largest trading partner of the US with $367.8 billion worth of EU goods going to the US and $268.6 billion of US goods going to the EU as of 2011, totaling approximately $636.4 billion in total trade.

2) We are copying their failed economic model.

3) We are backing their currency and bailouts:

"The gloomy numbers out of the euro zone—whose roughly $13 trillion economy accounts for 17% of the world's gross domestic product—join a litany of similarly sour reports this week from Asia, all pointing to signs of sudden weakness among many major economies." - WSJ link

Brian Wesbury remains optimistic, sees buying opportunities...
163  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Immigration issues: Second illegal immigrant wave of 30,000 coming in Sept-Oct on: August 15, 2014, 09:42:42 AM
A second wave of some 30,000 unaccompanied illegal minors from violence-ravaged Central American nations is expected to swamp the U.S.-Mexico border in September and October, a crisis that could be worse than the one that has already pushed 62,000 children into the U.S., according to a top immigration group.

(I disagree.  This will not be the "second wave".)
164  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Energy Politics & Science: Wind farm requires 700 times more land than Fracking on: August 15, 2014, 09:38:33 AM
Energy Politics, Pathological Science Liars and Cognitive Dissonance of the Left all rolled into one:

Wind farm 'needs 700 times more land' than fracking site to produce same energy

Shale gas site 'creates the least visual intrusion' compared with wind or solar farm for same energy, according to Government's former chief scientific advisor on energy

By Emily Gosden, Energy Editor 14 Aug 2014
A wind farm requires 700 times more land to produce the same amount of energy as a fracking site, according to analysis by the energy department’s recently-departed chief scientific advisor.

Prof MacKay, who is Regius Professor of Engineering at the University of Cambridge, said that a shale gas pad of 10 wells would require just 2 hectares of land ...
By contrast, a wind farm capable of producing the same energy would span an area of 1,450 hectares, requiring 87 turbines each 328-foot tall.  The large area covered by the farm as a whole would mean it would be visible from a surrounding area of between 5,200 and 17,000 hectares.

A solar farm generating equivalent energy would span a 924 hectare area, directly building on 208 hectares of it.

A spokesman for Cuadrilla said: "This comparison by David MacKay clearly demonstrates that, contrary to what some people may assume, exploration for and production of shale gas would actually have less far less impact on the countryside than wind or solar energy.  "To supply an equivalent amount of energy a shale gas site would occupy just a small fraction of the land required for either wind or solar sites..."

The Department of Energy and Climate Change caused controversy last autumn when it published and then deleted from its website a graphic showing that onshore wind farms covering 250,000 acres would be required to generate as much power as the proposed Hinkley Point C nuclear power station in Somerset, which would cover 430 acres.

165  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / On Martha's Vineyard... on: August 15, 2014, 08:35:30 AM
President Obama walked into a local bank in Martha's Vineyard to cash a check. He was surrounded by Secret Service agents. As he approached the cashier he said, "Good morning Ma’am, could you please cash this check for me?”

“It would be my pleasure sir. Could you please show me your ID?”

“Truthfully, I did not bring my ID with me as I didn’t think there was any need to. I am President Barack Obama, the President of the United States of AMERICA!”

“Yes sir, I know who you are, but with all the regulations and monitoring of the banks because of 9/11, impostors, forgers, money laundering, and bad mortgage underwriting not to mention requirements of the Dodd/Frank legislation, etc., I must insist on seeing ID.”

“Just ask anyone here at the bank who I am and they will tell you. Everybody knows who I am.”

“I am sorry Mr. President but these are the bank rules and I must follow them.”

“I am urging you, please, to cash this check.”

“Look Mr. President, here is an example of what we can do. One day, Tiger Woods came into one of our bank branches without ID. To prove he was Tiger Woods he pulled out his putter and made a beautiful shot across the bank into a coffee cup. With that shot we knew him to be Tiger Woods and cashed his check.”
“Another time, Andre Agassi came into the same place without ID. He pulled out his tennis racquet and made a fabulous shot where as the tennis ball landed in a coffee cup. With that shot we cashed his check.
So, Mr. President, what can you do to prove that it is you, and only you, as the President of the United States?”

Obama stands there thinking, and thinking, and finally says, “Honestly, my mind is a total blank…there is nothing that comes to my mind. I can’t think of a single thing. I have absolutely no idea what to do and I don’t have a clue.”

“Will that be large or small bills, Mr. President?
166  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Islam - Europe, Muslims are not a minority on: August 12, 2014, 10:51:03 AM
IIRC "Mohammed" is the second most common name of new borns in Rotterdam.

Number one according to this:
Muslim demographic bomb
Muslims are Not a Minority
By Daniel Greenfield  July 25, 2013

...Muslims are not a minority. There are 1.5 billion Sunni Muslims worldwide, outweighing Catholics as the next largest religious faction at 1.1 billion and Hindus at 1 billion. They are still a minority of the overall population in Western countries, but a demographically trending majority.

In the UK more people attend mosques than the Church of England, that makes Muslims the largest functioning religious group there. Mohammed was the most popular baby name last year, ahead of Jack and Harry. In France, in this generation, more mosques have been built than Catholic churches and in southern France there are already more mosques than churches. Mohammed-Amine is the most popular double name, ahead of Jean-Baptiste, Pierre-Louis, Leo-Paul and Mohammed-Ali.

In Belgium, 50 percent of newborns are Muslim and empty Belgian churches are being turned into mosques. The most popular baby name is Mohammed and of the top 7 baby names, 6 were Muslim. A quarter of Amsterdam, Marseilles and Rotterdam and a fifth of Stockholm is already Muslim. The most popular baby name in Amsterdam, Utrecht, Rotterdam and The Hague is… Mohammed.

Europe’s Muslim population doubled in the last generation, and is set to double again. By 2025, (a decade and a half away), a third of all births in the EU will be Muslim
167  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Cognitive Dissonance of His Glibness - Media catching up? on: August 12, 2014, 10:43:35 AM
"Doug, I don't see him losing the media at all. "  - ccp recently

I owe you an example or two of that.  Here is Dana Milbank, a leftist caricature of a MSM columnist from my point of view, writing almost identical words to what we have saying here for years.

My post, this thread, June 19, 2014: "Keeping up with our leader while the world is engulfed in flames:  Middle East burns while Barack Obama played his 175th and 176th (18 hole) rounds of golf as president."

Dana Milbank, Washington Post, August 12, 2014:  "Obama vacations as the world burns"
"Obama responded [to Hillary Clinton's criticisms] with not one but two rounds of golf. As the criticism became public, Obama was doggedly sticking with his plans to go on vacation — a decision that, if not in the category of stupid stuff, could fit under the heading of “tone deafness.” ...  after returning from the beach, ... He freshened up at his 8,100-square-foot vacation home...  Criticism from Clinton. War with the Islamic State. Trouble with Maliki. It’s enough to make a man hook his drive into the sand trap."

"President Barack Obama follows through on a swing while golfing at Farm Neck Golf Club as golfing partner former NFL player Ahmad Rashad, right, sits in a cart."

I played tennis with Rashad at his home during his last year with the Vikings.  Ahmad is such an amazingly nice guy in private and off-camera that Pres. Obama could very easily believe that he likes him.

Apparently Michelle is happy to have him out of the house.
168  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: The Cognitive Dissonance of the left on: August 11, 2014, 12:15:20 PM
Pres. Obama and the Dems are trying to keep multinational corporations in America by passing laws, issuing executive orders and deeming things to be law retroactively, instead of competing with other countries and economies on a level playing field based on business climate, regulations, taxers etc.  Witness firms like Walgreen and Minnesota's Medtronic dying to leave.

I wrote last year or so that California cannot solve its fiscal problems by raising tax rates - unless it bars the exits.

Minnesota's Governor is fighting the migration-out problem by attempting to levying state tax against the snowbirds even if they are gone for most of the year.

Glenn Beck noted in this context that the Berlin Wall was built and armed to keep people in, not to protect a border from outsiders as we think of it.

Is that what this country has come to - under liberal-fascist rule?  Really?
169  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Time Magazine, Senator Marco Rubio: Obama Needs to Dig In for a Fight in Iraq on: August 11, 2014, 12:04:21 PM
Senator Marco Rubio: Obama Needs to Dig In for a Fight in Iraq
Marco Rubio Aug. 8, 2014

WASHINGTON, DC - June 28: Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla., during the Senate Foreign Relations markup of legislation (S J Res 20) that would authorize limited U.S. military force in support of a North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) humanitarian intervention in Libya.

Hamas and other Palestinian terrorist groups continue to threaten Israel. The United States and its allies have been forced to close their diplomatic missions in Libya because of fighting between secular militias and al Qaeda-affiliated groups. The Taliban is going on the offensive in Afghanistan as the United States and coalition partners continue to draw down.

ISIS, an extreme Sunni militant group that emerged from al Qaeda, has been occupying and razing churches across Iraq, pulling down crosses, destroying religious documents and holy sites, and forcing Christians and other non-Sunni Iraqis to convert or face death. It is capturing young girls and the widows of men they have executed for their own unmarried fighters. It has seized bridges, dams and other infrastructure that Iraqi towns and communities rely on for subsistence.

The United States is right to intervene in Iraq to provide humanitarian assistance to persecuted religious minorities—including the Yazidis currently surrounded by ISIS forces in northern Iraq and Iraqi Christians, who have been brutalized as ISIS has swept through their villages, massacring thousands and conducting forced conversions of those they do not kill.

But America’s security interests extend well beyond the fate of Iraq’s religious minorities. Because ISIS, with thousands of foreign fighters, many of them from the West, will not rest once it has taken Erbil or Baghdad. Its expansionist ideology will lead it to attack U.S. allies in the region and eventually Europe and the United States.

We have seen time and again in recent decades that terrorist groups, once established, use safe havens to launch attacks on the United States and our interests. We ignore this history at our own peril.

Instead of confronting this challenge head on, President Obama has until now avoided taking decisive action. He has let the civil war in Syria simmer for years, creating the space for this jihadist threat to grow and letting instability spread to Syria’s neighbors. Even after ISIS captured Iraq’s second largest city, Mosul, in June, the President was hesitant in his response, sending several hundred military advisors but not confronting ISIS directly even as it made military gains. Now, we are rightfully providing food and water to people who face slaughter from extremists who have pledged to kill them.

Given the threat that ISIS poses to not just the central Iraqi government in Baghdad, but also to our Kurdish partners in northern Iraq, the President was right to begin to strike ISIS targets. We also need to strike supply routes from Syria, leadership, and frontline military units from the air. We should target the oil refinery in Syria they are using to fund their operations. And we should go after other assets and funding networks to deny them the financing they need to carry out their operations.

We need to significantly increase our military and humanitarian assistance to the Iraqi government, as well as the Kurdistan Regional Government. Baghdad has in recent days taken action to assist the Kurds with air support, providing some hope that a political settlement that unites all Iraqi political factions remains possible.

The Kurds in particular need urgent U.S. assistance, including weaponry and training for their peshmerga forces that are now facing an adversary equipped with more advanced weaponry, some of it of U.S. origin stolen from the Iraqi military. The Kurds are also hosting more than a million refugees from other parts of Iraq and Syria that have fled their villages in the face of ISIS’s advance. Due to ongoing disputes between Erbil and Baghdad, the Kurdish government has limited resources to continue to provide for these refugees and for their own people.

President Obama rightly stated that he decided to use military force to protect U.S. diplomats and military personnel in Iraq. But this should not be our only goal.

ISIS’s continued rise is not just a problem for Iraq or its neighbors. If we do not continue to take decisive action against ISIS now, it will be not just Iraqis or Syrians who continue to suffer, it will likely be Americans, as a result of a terrorist attack on the U.S. homeland or on our personnel overseas. America was faced with the same choice President Clinton faced in the 1990s during the emergence of al Qaeda: take action now, or we will be forced to take action in the future.

It is time to begin reversing this unprecedented tide of jihadist victories. America’s security and the safety of the American people are at stake.

Marco Rubio, who represents Florida in the U.S. Senate, is a member of the Senate’s Foreign Relations and Select Intelligence Committees.
170  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Healthcare, Rubio: Congress must act to block health insurance bailout on: August 11, 2014, 11:58:54 AM
This should also go in the President Rubio thread.

More ObamaCare woes: Congress must act to block health insurance bailout
By Sen. Marco RubioPublished August 08, 2014FoxNews.comFacebook431 Twitter217 livefyre325

As evidence mounts of a looming taxpayer-funded bailout of health insurance companies under ObamaCare, the urgency grows for Congress to take this possibility off the table for good.

As expected, ObamaCare's costs are rising, and health insurers are passing them along to patients in the form of higher premiums and deductibles.

Just this week, a majority of insurers offering health plans in Florida announced rate increases ranging from 11 to 23 percent. This means that if patients balk at paying this sharp increase and drop their coverage, these health insurers will have to make up the difference somehow.

Enter section 1342 of the ObamaCare law, which established so-called "risk corridors".

According to this provision, taxpayers will make up the difference for health insurance companies whose plans lose money under ObamaCare. Last November, as it became clearer what this section of the law actually meant, I introduced legislation repealing it and protecting taxpayers from being forced to cover insurers' ObamaCare losses.

Afterwards, as pressure from taxpayers mounted on the Obama administration, it announced that it had no intention of operating this bailout program at a net cost to the American people. As expected, health insurers and their lobbyists revolted. I called the administration's bluff, and introduced new legislation that would codify into law what they have promised and prohibit this "revenue neutrality" from being achieved through use of taxpayer funds. Not surprisingly, it's gone nowhere in the Democratically-controlled Senate, and the White House won't go anywhere near it.

In recent weeks, the public has learned that senior White House officials have been working closely with insurers behind the scenes to make sure that their earlier bailout deal, which helped assure ObamaCare's passage in 2010, would stand and that a taxpayer-funded bailout was still, in fact, on the table.

According to a recent investigation conducted by the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee chaired by Darrell Issa, insurers widely expect to receive funds from the bailout program. One large health insurer recently filed financial statements claiming they expect part of their revenue to come from American taxpayers via the ObamaCare bailout "fund".

This "fund" brings us to another dimension of the Obama administration's maneuvering to make sure that health insurers get paid. Knowing that the current U.S. House of Representatives will never appropriate money for this bailout, the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) figured out a way to use general funds available through the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services to pay off health insurers. The effect is to circumvent Congress' power of the purse for the purpose of bailing out health insurers with taxpayer funds.

On this ObamaCare bailout, as with so many issues, Washington politicians are misleading average Americans and planning to stick them with the bill. This is government favoritism and corporate cronyism at its worst.

With ObamaCare's costs rising and projected to cost more than $2 trillion over the next decade, its damage on people's jobs and work hours continuing, and the prospect of a taxpayer-funded bailout of health insurers still alive and well, it's clear this law has failed. It's time to repeal and replace it, but at the very least, we should make it the law of the land that health insurers won't be bailed out by taxpayers because ObamaCare has not proven to be as profitable as its proponents hoped it would be.

Republican Marco Rubio represents Florida in the U.S. Senate. He is a member of the Senate Committee on Commerce, Science and Transportation.

171  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Sen. Rand Paul on: August 11, 2014, 11:42:15 AM
"...he seems to be hemmed in by his previous isolationism"

Yes.  Also, so far he has always been able to avoid explaining and distancing himself from a long record of controversial remarks by his dad.  As he rises in stature, the need to clarify will become greater.

For better or for worse, he would be slowest to respond to these situations as they arise, such as the bonfire once called the Middle East.  If these two were the nominees, Hillary sadly would win the peace through strength argument.
172  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Immigration issues, James O’Keefe Crosses US Border Dressed As OBL on: August 11, 2014, 11:33:00 AM

James O’Keefe Crosses The US-Mexico Border Dressed As Osama Bin Laden

Investigative filmmaker James O’Keefe exposes the U.S.-Mexico border’s vulnerability to terrorism in his latest undercover project, obtained exclusively by The Daily Caller.

O’Keefe’s Project Veritas video reminds viewers of recent statements by the president and Obama administration officials that the southern border is secure. O’Keefe then proceeds to Hudspeth County, Texas, to easily cross back and forth cross the Rio Grande wearing the costume of modern history’s most recognizable terrorist.

“I see no border patrol. I see no security,” O’Keefe said in the video before donning a bin Laden mask. “Thousands of people have stood in my footsteps right now. They’ve come from South America, Honduras, Guatemala, and they’ve all crossed the border. And if they can cross, anybody can cross.”

Read more:
173  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: SOFA up from the memory hole on: August 11, 2014, 12:41:24 AM

It would not be fair to these other creatures to call him a weasel or a snake for the way he passes blames and shifts positions.
174  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Sen. Rand Paul, foreign policy on: August 11, 2014, 12:37:31 AM
Rand Paul said in June he would not rule out air strikes in Iraq, but still it would seem that he is to the isolationist side and to the left of Pres Obama and potential foe Hillary Clinton on Libya, Iraq, Syria and foreign policy in general.
175  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Sen.Ted Cruz on: August 10, 2014, 11:32:53 PM
The political result of the "shutdown" is not exactly what the media-based conventional wisdom tells us. It was a 17% "shutdown" for 16 days.  Republicans only delayed the rollout of one failed new program, Democrats shut down the government.  Republicans clarified their opposition to Obamacare just before America found out it was a disaster.  The poll that matters is Nov 2014, not Oct 2013.  Polls today say Democrats now have no chance of taking the House and every chance of losing the Senate.  But Cruz and Mike Lee et al were wrong to rock the boat?!  Our Mike has this right (IMHO), rock the boat.

Ted Cruz has no executive experience.  Marco Rubio, Rand Paul, Paul Ryan, all have that same missing piece, and Abraham Lincoln too!  While the governors with executive experience mostly lack foreign policy and national policy experience, as Reagan did.  But we will have to choose on of them anyway.

Crafty wrote:  "Humans have four basic modalities: thinking, feeling, sensation, and intuition.  Cruz is OVERWHELMINGLY a thinker-- who for all his considerable IQ has little idea how to communicate effectively with other modalities."

Very well put.  More simply I would ask whether or not Cruz has the charisma and ability to connect with people who are not already conservative, and draw tens of millions to the cause if placed at the top of the ticket.   I don't know the answer to that.  I will be supporting the one who I think can do that.
176  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: WSJ: Israel-Egypt Alliance on: August 08, 2014, 12:40:49 AM
I can't figure out what they think went wrong.

"But their miscalculations [Egypt and Israel] triggered a crisis."

What did they miscalculate?  Had this not happened, the tunnels would still be operational with terrorists and explosives getting free passage in.  This is not a crisis.  It is an operation that is disarming and dismantling an active terror group.  A crisis is what they had before the war.
177  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Sen.Ted Cruz on: August 08, 2014, 12:25:40 AM
Not sure what to make of this article about Cruz.   Especially from the Post.  The "established" insider right is clearly going after Cruz.   I don't get the impression anyone one of them is necessarily trying to form any alliance with him.

It looked to me like a sweeping hit piece that landed no punch.  Cruz, they say. is burning bridges and has no loyalty - right while he is making the biggest splash since entering the Senate of any new Senator since Obama, and he has done it with substance, not sizzle.  His loyalties are to principles and his following is with the people not the Bob Doles, Trent Lotts of the Senate cloak room.

They were just accusing him of being Speaker Cruz when he called House Republicans together and stopped Boehner and a bad immigration bill.  That is a lot of national clout for a freshman, junior Senator from a party out of power, on a very big issue.

But he is going about it all wrong, lol.

178  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Allen West's proposed strategy on: August 06, 2014, 05:13:15 PM
Supporting/working with the Kurds makes sense to me:

Agree.  To not help them is to throw away the last remnant of everything we fought for.

The original theory on not helping Kurds directly I believe was that it would undermine our relationships with Turkey and Iran.  Now Turkey seems to be a full fledged enemy and Iran has been that for 35 years.  It seems to me we could use an ally (and a base) in the region, if invited and the terms were right.  Maybe there are other considerations.  I wish we had a Commander in Chief looking our for our interests.
179  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Political Economics on: August 06, 2014, 04:56:22 PM
Famous people caught reading the forum...

I have been alleging repeatedly on these pages that the rate of real new business startups is at a record low.  I have been alleging but not backing it up with anything.  I say it is hard to measure because people file LLCs to protect assets with no intention to ever hire any employees. 

I also have been alleging that the stock market going up (until recently) while the economy is stagnant happens because the DOW, S&P, etc. measure only the performance of entrenched players in each industry, who benefiting unfairly from the fact that over-bearing over-regulations are locking out start ups, innovation and the normal process of dynamic, creative destruction.

Now enter Robert Samuelson of Newsweek/Washington Post fame, writing today to fill in the missing details.  He poses the question so delicately, interviewing economists:  What happened to all the entrepreneurs? Good question.  We do not have an explanation, ... One theory is that the cumulative effect of regulations, he says, discriminates against new businesses and favors “established firms that have the experience and resources to deal with it.” What allegedly deters and hampers startups is not any one regulation but the cost and time of complying with a blizzard of them.

Yes, that's right!

Where have all the entrepreneurs gone?

By Robert J. Samuelson  August 6

We may have a “senile economy,” says economist Robert Litan of the Brookings Institution. That’s senile as in old, rigid and undynamic.

We are taught otherwise. Americans are reared on the notion that we’re the most entrepreneurial of peoples — and many success stories seem to prove it. There’s a long legacy from Thomas Edison to Mark Zuckerberg. Our economy is constantly kept young by the “next new thing.”

Litan dissents. What’s happening now, he says, is that the economy is increasingly dominated by older firms tied to proven products and familiar business methods. Litan is not just blowing smoke. In a new study, he and Ian Hathaway measured the age of U.S. businesses. They were astonished by what they found: From 1992 to 2011, the share of U.S. firms that were 16 and older jumped from 23 percent to 34 percent.

“Like the population, the business sector of the U.S. economy is aging,” they write. The trend “has occurred in every state and metropolitan area, every firm size category, and in each broad industrial sector.”

Even more startling, they argue, is the main source of this aging: a sharp drop in entrepreneurial activity. They define entrepreneurship as the number of startups — new firms ranging from plumbing to biotechnology. From 1978 to 2011, startups fell from about 15 percent of all firms to 8 percent; the slide was gradual until the 2008-09 financial crisis, when it accelerated. By these numbers, the economy’s rejuvenation from below is weakening; though conspicuous, the Internet’s influence is exaggerated.

Other studies reach similar conclusions. Shrinking entrepreneurship is hurting job creation and productivity, write economists Ryan Decker and John Haltiwanger of the University of Maryland and Ron Jarmin and Javier Miranda of the Census Bureau in the Journal of Economic Perspectives.

Start with jobs. From 1980 to 2010, U.S. employment increased by an average of 1.4 million jobs annually, report the economists. Over the same period, employment gains by startups averaged 2.9 million annually. By this math, startups accounted for more than the total gain in U.S. employment.

That is probably not true, because many of those jobs later disappeared. Most new firms fail within five years. Still, many surviving startups grew rapidly and generated much of the gain in total employment. Companies five years and older don’t much increase overall employment, note the economists. Some older firms add jobs, others subtract them; on balance, gains seem modest. The economy needs the employment boosts of startups.

Something similar is happening to labor productivity. (Productivity is economists’ jargon for efficiency and is measured as output per hour worked.) Higher productivity supports higher living standards. Competition among firms, write the economists, raises productivity. More efficient firms drive out the less efficient. One study attributes 35 percent of productivity gains to this “churning” of firms; the fall in startups dampens these improvements.

All this is consistent with an economic recovery characterized by weak investment, low productivity gains and mediocre employment growth. Older firms serving mature markets have limited opportunities for increased investment and hiring. With some market power, they may also cling to outdated and costly practices. Just recently, Procter & Gamble — the consumer brand giant that makes Tide, Pampers and Crest — said it might eliminate dozens of poorly performing brands and concentrate on big winners.

What happened to all the entrepreneurs? Good question.

“We do not have an explanation,” write the University of Maryland and the Census Bureau economists. Neither does Litan. “One theory is that the cumulative effect of regulations,” he says, discriminates against new businesses and favors “established firms that have the experience and resources to deal with it.” What allegedly deters and hampers startups is not any one regulation but the cost and time of complying with a blizzard of them.

Economist Haltiwanger says the falloff in entrepreneurship changed character after 2000. Before, it was “concentrated in sectors like retail trade and services” and, in part, reflected “mom and pop retail firms being displaced by large . . . firms like Wal-Mart” — a productivity-enhancing shift. Since then, the decline has spread to high-tech sectors and even successful startups create fewer jobs than before.

None of this is reassuring. It challenges the conventional wisdom that the Internet’s relentless advance attests to the economy’s underlying vitality. Old-line companies will change or be replaced by new tech-savvy companies. This may be wishful thinking that conceals deeper forces holding the economy back. We need to discover what they are and what, if anything, might be done about them.
180  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Government programs: Americans Got $2 Trillion in Federal Benefits in 2013 on: August 05, 2014, 08:41:11 AM
Americans Got $2 Trillion in Benefits from Federal Government in 2013

That is more than half the budget.  (SOME of these people deserve federal benefits.)

Benefits are nice, if you can get them, but for the most part, THEY HAVE NOTHING TO DO WITH GOVERNING.

In other news, new debt under this one President is now over 7 TRILLION DOLLARS.

Hope and change?  Throwing money at problems is not exactly new.
181  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Cognitive Dissonance of the Republicans - Why did Eric Cantor resign early? on: August 05, 2014, 08:33:35 AM
Why did Eric Cantor resign early?

If you lived in the Virginia - DC area, or thought for a moment about what the greatest  industry of American 2014 is, the answer would be obvious.  He resigned to start the clock 5 months early on the ban on revolving door lobbying.  To hell with representing the people of Virginia, the big money is in selling back all that influence and he can't wait to get started. 

Prove us wrong Eric, but it looks like your core principles are power and influence and the people of your district got it right.
182  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: The Cognitive Dissonance of His Glibness on: July 31, 2014, 10:54:31 AM
Why would anybody trust the US again?  We abandoned Iraqis who helped us just like we abandoned the Kurds and just like we abandoned S. Vietnamese who helped us.
Shimon Peres on CNN saying he trusts Obama and Kerry?  Oh common!   Give me a break. 

Add to that Polish Foreign Minister saying alliance with US is worse than no alliance because of any false sense of security [that comes from our leader's lips moving].

The answer: Make promises carefully and keep them.  Then repeat for a half century or so until people begin to believe us.  Same goes for enforcing our borders, embracing free trade and free markets, backing up the dollar, etc.
183  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: US Economics, the stock market , and other investment/savings strategies on: July 30, 2014, 09:43:11 AM
That is a strong response by Scott Grannis.  These guys working in the same field are kind of tough on each other.  Hussman missed the entire run-up.  Most on Grannis' side of it missed the entire crash, also a pretty big event of the last decade.  Taking the middle ground, I say you don't get to compare performance only from rock bottom unless you called both the crash and rock bottom.

As interesting as the images in the rear view mirror are, the point between the optimists and pessimists today is who is right today.

Scott does a nice job of both hedging and backing up his view.  This is a post worth re-reading after the market makes its next move in either direction.  If it is up 224% every 5 years and you believe current polls then the DOW hits 38,000 at the end of Hillary's first term.  Back up the truck, as we used to say.

But then Scott would also be right if, as he says, "eventually, of course, [Hussman] will be right and the market will suffer a correction, and perhaps a serious one."

We are all lousy market timers.  I know a number of people who do large money management.  I would take the compensation but wouldn't want the responsibility of getting all of the market returns for their clients now while fully protecting them against the next, inevitable, serious correction.

To me, the stock market offers you cloudy title to a company.  You share ownership with people who have very different time frames, objectives and systems for getting in and out of ownership than you do.  Psychology, emotions and subtle tipping points that trigger other events matter, and most of that we can't see.

Scott G:  "The standard PE ratio of the S&P 500 is 18, as compared to its long-term average of 16. That is not particularly stretched, in my view, especially in light of the fact that corporate profits are close to record levels relative to GDP and long-term interest rates are exceptionally low."

From here record profits could continue to go up forever (lol), or go down in a very possible recession, or stay flat for years.  The DOW still at 17000 in 5 years not at all out of the realm of possibilities, nor a worst case scenario.  Artificially low interest rates will most certainly go up the instant moment we quit holding them artificially down.  And reserves parked safely is still money created (out of thin air).

Good luck to everyone who is in.  I lost all my stock market money last time I was dead wrong.

184  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: The US Congress; Congressional races on: July 29, 2014, 01:33:56 PM
Supporting Hamas isn't seen as a bad thing to many dems.

No, but they are fighting for that elusive Georgian swing voter.  There were quite a few other extreme left causes in that document.
185  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Maybe it was the Dems this year who didn't fully vet their Senate candidates on: July 29, 2014, 10:08:15 AM
National Review writer Eliana Johnson (daughter of the Powerline co-founder who helped take down Dan Rather) breaks the story of Michelle Nunn, Georgia Dem Senate candidate and her charity's ties to terrorism and Hamas, and other extremist work.

Though the campaign plan recommends emphasizing Nunn’s accomplishments at the Points of Light Foundation, which she has done on the campaign trail, her strategists express enormous concern about attacks that might arise from her work there. She has served as CEO of Points of Light since 2007 and, according to the document, it has made grants to “terrorists” and “inmates” during her tenure. The document also makes reference to a 2010 audit that concluded Points of Light’s accounting system was “not adequate to account for federal funds.”

According to the IRS Form 990s that Points of Light filed in 2008 and 2011, the organization gave a grant of over $33,000 to Islamic Relief USA, a charity that says it strives to alleviate “hunger, illiteracy, and diseases worldwide.” Islamic Relief USA is part of a global network of charities that operate under the umbrella of Islamic Relief Worldwide. Islamic Relief USA says on its website that it is a legally separate entity from its parent organization, but that they share “a common vision, mission, and family identity.”

Islamic Relief Worldwide has ties to Hamas, which the U.S. designates as a terrorist organization. In June, Israel banned the charity from operating in the country because, according to Israeli officials, it was funneling cash to Hamas. In 2006, Israelis arrested Islamic Relief Worldwide’s Gaza coordinator, Ayaz Ali. They said he was working to “transfer funds and assistance to various Hamas institutions and organizations.” Ali admitted to cooperating with local Hamas operatives while working in Jordan and, on his computer, Israeli officials found photographs of “swastikas superimposed on IDF symbols,” and of Nazi officials, Osama bin Laden, and al-Qaeda in Iraq leader Abu Musab al-Zarqawi.

Islamic Relief USA highlighted the work of Islamic Relief Worldwide in Palestine in its 2012 annual report, in which it talks generally about the work of Islamic Relief charities in the region without drawing a distinction between the branches. The organization has raised eyebrows before. According to a 2012 report, its bank account was closed by UBS and it was “under constant scrutiny by other banks due to nervousness about counterterrorist regulations.” The group’s terror ties extend beyond Hamas, according to a former Israeli intelligence official. He says that Islamic Relief Worldwide’s country director in Palestine, Muneed Abugazaleh, met in April 2012 with Dr. Omar Shalah, a leader of the terror group Islamic Jihad and of the Riyad al-Saleheen Charitable Society, which is affiliated with the group. He is also the brother of Ramadan Shalah, the leader of Islamic Jihad.

But she has such a peaceful sounding last name.

See if THIS is in the NY Times this morning, lol.  The Atlanta Journal Constitution has it!
Leaked doc: Michelle Nunn non-profit validated grants to charity with Hamas-tied affiliate

The National Review got hold of a 144-page internal document drafted for the Michelle Nunn campaign in December. It includes plenty of juicy revelations on campaign strategy, including a potentially serious issue with a Points of Light connection to a charity that has ties to Hamas, which is now at war with Israel.

Full document:
186  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Housing/Mortgage/Real Estate on: July 29, 2014, 09:38:34 AM

US Home ownership rate in 2013 was 65%

Labor Force Participation Rate for 25-29 Year Olds Hits Record Low,

As a landlord I can tell you it is tough as hell collecting rent in the Obama economy.

Areas of US facing record rates of evictions.  Blacks, women and children are hit hardest.

Just some random, unconnected thoughts.

San Francisco eviction map:

Meanwhile, DOW is over 17,000.  Crisis?  What crisis?
187  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Israel, and its neighbors on: July 29, 2014, 09:05:12 AM
Thomas Sowell:
" If ceasefires were the road to peace, the Middle East would easily be the most peaceful place on the planet."
Cease the Ceasefires     (read it all)

Victor Davis Hanson:
"Hamas sees the death of its civilians as an advantage; Israel sees the death of its civilians as a disaster. "
"When Israel wins militarily, it seems to lose politically. When Hamas loses, it seems to win."

"Timidity explains much of the Europeans’ easy damnation of Israel. Putin escapes the disdain accorded to Netanyahu, because Netanyahu governs a small nation and is predictably reasonable; Putin governs a large one and is predictably unreasonable. Trashing Putin might involve some risk; trashing Netanyahu brings psychological relief. If Israel were large and Netanyahu demonic, and if Russia were small and Putin Westernized and reasonable, then our cheap scorn would be leveled at Russia and not Israel."

" If Israel blows up Hamas’s tunnels, dismantles its arsenals, destroys its missiles, devastates its military, and leaves Hamas weak and discredited, the world will quietly turn its attention away in a sort of grudging admiration of Israel’s success, with an unspoken conclusion that Hamas may have gotten what it asked for. And those left amid the wreckage that Hamas brought upon them will among themselves blame Hamas as much as Israel for their miseries — in the tradition in which losers blame their own dictators as much as they blame the victors."

"Israel must ensure that Hamas nevertheless loses far more than Israel itself does, not because the world will publicly sympathize with the cause of the Jewish state, but because, for all its ideological chest-pounding, an amoral world still privately gravitates to the successful and distances itself from the failed. Only if Israel finishes its ongoing dismantling of Hamas will the current war end."
188  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Science, Culture, & Humanities / Re: viriliter agite on: July 29, 2014, 08:47:05 AM

Excellent, Bigdog!

"Benjamin Franklin, Teddy Roosevelt, and Winston Churchill ...all were proficient in Latin."  And it was my Dad's 'foreign language'.

Another I like, post hoc ergo propter hoc, describing the logic fallacy, after this, therefore because of this.  Also means, that logical fallacy is as old as the Latin language.
(I see it comes up in the comments along with other good ones.)
189  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Wesbury on Fed's huge power grab on: July 29, 2014, 08:32:45 AM
The Fed’s Massive Power Grab
...The Fed has seamlessly morphed from an institution that occasionally intervened in financial markets to a monster that apparently wants to control a great deal of the US financial system.

I like the Brian Wesbury who speaks out boldly against failing policies much better than the one who tells us things will be just fine no matter how badly we screw things up.
190  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: The Cognitive Dissonance of His Glibness on: July 28, 2014, 09:22:55 PM
"Doug, I don't see him losing media at all.  As for public support I don't see that either."

The media is still liberal, but he has let them down with his undeniable failures.  I should have said that he has lost a step with them, not lost them.  They would still vote for him.  

He is upside down in Gallup daily job approval by 11 points, 41% qpproval, 52% disapproval.  At his Hyde Park speech height his approval was roughly 70% compared to 20% disapproval, a 50% spread and a 61% swing, just by us getting to know him and seeing the results of his policies.

As an aside, Hillary was and is a clone of the guy (without the charisma) who was up by 50 points and is now down by 11 points with ties to him that run all the way from Hillarycare to Libya to the Russian reset button.  Who would like to be the Obama clone to run next??  

People hate Obamacare, the world is going to hell, and the economy is in decline.  Median household is down something like 35% since liberalism won over America.  Biased headlines and spin don't make that go away.

Conservatism needs to capture the disillusioned people who dabbled with liberalism and lost.   African-American voters would be a good place to start - how are liberal policies working out for you?  Who will give gays more liberty and rights, the people who brought you gay marriage or the people that would give you all your liberties including property rights and keeping the fruits of your labor?  Young voters, how is that Obama thing and all the liberalism they taught you in school working out for you?  Have you ever heard about rebelling against institutional authority?  My parents had a great basement but at some point its better out there on your own.  
191  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Rules of the Road/Fire Hydrant on: July 28, 2014, 08:39:21 PM
Yes, welcome Robert!.
"I'm a Christian Conservative Republican."
There aren't many places where you can say that anymore, lol.

"along the lines of Reagan, and George Washington, if I had to choose. I believe in limited government, as they are only supposed to be there to create a safe environment for the purpose of our individual growth, to the benefit of us all. Strong individual States......United."

Very well put! That is a message I wish we could share with the tens of millions of people who have recently become disillusioned with the false promises of big government liberalism.

Imagine for a second that we allowed, even encouraged people to prosper without limit instead of stomping out success,  And then in a Judeo-Christian spirit, the people who succeed help others who actually need and deserve help.  Those who achieve and give back would feel rewarded instead of robbed and those receiving help would feel thankful, instead of entitled.  It is a debate or question I call tax vs. charity.  I would like to hear a liberal explain why that wouldn't work in place of the all-powerful government system that is failing so badly.  The liberal argument comes down to condescension; people are too greedy to help others without coercion, but that isn't true.

Anyway, welcome and see on the other threads...
192  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: US Economics, Q2 'growth' could be 1%, could be negative on: July 28, 2014, 09:06:17 AM
If second quarter "growth" comes in below 2.9%, we are net-negative for the year.  Consensus estimates are something like 3% which is net-zero growth for the year.  Economist Gary Shilling says that may be closer to 1% growth and could be negative making this a recession since the first of the year.  Remember that last quarter we did not learn of the decline until revisions came in months later.  This time that should be right around election time.

Gary Shilling: "Q2 GDP Was Closer To 1% Than To 3%. It Could Even Be A Negative Number"
193  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Money, the Fed, Banking, Monetary Policy: Too Loose for Too Long on: July 28, 2014, 08:56:37 AM
The President of the Dallas Fed says there are dangers from having monetary policy be too loose for too long.  Both Wesbury and Scott Grannis think the Fed has already been "too loose for too long'.  Why do we think there will be no consequence from that?

The Danger of Too Loose, Too Long
With an improving labor market and an uptick in inflation, the danger now is to wait too long to tighten.

July 27, 2014 6:14 p.m. ET
I have grown increasingly concerned about the risks posed by current monetary policy.

First, we are experiencing financial excess that is of our own making. There is a lot of talk about "macroprudential supervision" as a way to prevent financial excess from creating financial instability. But macroprudential supervision is something of a Maginot Line: It can be circumvented. Relying upon it to prevent financial instability provides an artificial sense of confidence.

Second, I believe we are at risk of doing what the Fed has too often done: overstaying our welcome by staying too loose, too long. We did a good job in staving off the deflationary and depression risks that were present in the aftermath of the 2007–09 financial crisis. But we now risk fighting the last war.

Given the rapidly improving employment picture, developments on the inflationary front and my own background as a banker and investment and hedge fund manager, I am increasingly at odds with some of my respected colleagues at the policy table of the Federal Reserve as well as with the thinking of many notable economists. The economy is reaching the desired destination faster than we imagined.

Third, should we overstay our welcome, we risk not only doing damage to the economy but also being viewed as politically pliant.

The Fed has been running a hyper-accommodative monetary policy to lift the economy out of the doldrums and counteract a possible deflationary spiral. Much of what we have paid out to purchase Treasurys and mortgage-backed securities has been put back to the Fed in the form of excess reserves deposited at the Federal Reserve banks. As of July 9, $2.517 trillion of excess reserves were parked on the 12 Fed banks' balance sheets, while depository institutions wait to find eager and worthy borrowers to lend to.

But with low interest rates and abundant availability of credit in the nondepository market, the bond markets and other trading markets have spawned an abundance of speculative activity.

There are some who believe that "macroprudential supervision" will safeguard us from financial instability. I am more skeptical. Such supervision entails the vigilant monitoring of capital and liquidity ratios, tighter restrictions on bank practices and subjecting banks to stress tests. All to the good. But whereas the Federal Reserve and banking supervisory authorities used to oversee the majority of the credit system by regulating depository institutions, depository institutions now account for no more than 20% of the credit markets.

I am not alone in worrying about this. In her recent lecture at the International Monetary Fund, Fed Chair Janet Yellen said, "I am also mindful of the potential for low interest rates to heighten the incentives of financial market participants to reach for yield and take on risk, and of the limits of macroprudential measures to address these and other financial stability concerns." She added that "[a]ccordingly, there may be times when an adjustment in monetary policy may be appropriate to ameliorate emerging risks to financial stability."

I believe that time is fast approaching.

Some are willing to tolerate the risk of financial instability because the Fed has yet to fulfill the central bank's mandate of "promot[ing] effectively the goals of maximum employment and stable prices." Where do we stand on those two fronts? Answer: closer than many think.

While it is difficult to define "maximum employment," labor-market conditions are improving smartly, quicker than the principals of the Federal Open Market Committee expected. The commonly cited household survey unemployment rate has arrived at 6.1% a full six months ahead of the schedule predicted only weeks ago by the central tendency of the forecasts of FOMC participants. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics' so-called Jolts (Job Openings and Labor Turnover Survey) data indicate that job openings are trending sharply higher, while "quits" as a percentage of total separations continue to trend upward—a sign that workers are confident of finding new and better opportunities if they leave their current positions.

Wages are beginning to lift. Median usual weekly earnings collected as part of the Current Population Survey are now growing at a rate of 3%, roughly their pre-crisis average. In short, the key variable of the price of labor, which the FOMC feared was stagnant, is beginning to turn upward. It is not doing so dramatically, but wage growth is an important driver of inflation.

The FOMC has a medium-term inflation target of 2% as measured by the personal consumption expenditures (PCE) price index. The 12-month consumer-price index (CPI), the Cleveland Fed's median CPI, and the so-called sticky CPI calculated by the Atlanta Fed have all crossed 2%, and the Dallas Fed's Trimmed Mean PCE inflation rate has headline inflation averaging 1.7% on a 12-month basis, up from 1.3% a few months ago. PCE inflation is clearly rising toward our 2% goal more quickly than the FOMC imagined.

I do not believe there is reason to panic on the price front. But given that the inflation rate has been accelerating, this is no time for complacency either. Some economists have argued that we should accept overshooting our 2% inflation target if it results in a lower unemployment rate. But the notion that we can always tighten policy to bring down inflation after overshooting full employment is dangerous. Tightening monetary policy once we have pushed past sustainable capacity limits has almost always resulted in recession, the last thing we need.

So what to do? My sense is that ending our large-scale asset purchases this fall will not be enough. The FOMC should consider tapering the reinvestment of maturing securities and begin incrementally shrinking the Fed's balance sheet. Some might worry that paring the Fed's reinvestment in mortgage-backed securities might hurt the housing market. But I believe the demand for housing is sufficiently robust to continue improving despite a small rise in mortgage rates. Then early next year, or potentially sooner depending on the pace of economic improvement, the FOMC may well begin to raise interest rates in gradual increments. (more at link)

Mr. Fisher is president of the Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas. This article is excerpted from his speech on July 16 at the University of Southern California's Annenberg School for Communication & Journalism.
194  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: US Economics, stock market: An equity bubble? on: July 28, 2014, 08:46:57 AM
This was published in USA Today:
"Yes, this is an equity bubble"
John Hussman, PhD Stanford
Not easy to dismiss.
195  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: The Cognitive Dissonance of His Glibness on: July 28, 2014, 08:33:11 AM
Yes Obama accomplished those things and ccp has been right all along about him wanting to make as many as possible dependent on the government for cynical political purposes and flood the country with millions of new Democrats to ensure the future.  Must also point out though that he lost the House, will lose the Senate, is losing the media, lost public support, lost world peace, and is proving to history that liberalism is a failed economic idea.

He is a very strong failure.

Where is that reset button?
196  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Politics at the State & Municipal level on: July 28, 2014, 08:22:08 AM
Good points.  Just to clarify on Reagan, I didn't mean immigration but just that he brought a lot of people over to his way of thinking on policy and philosophy that were previously headed a different direction.  Blue collar Democrats in particular.

On immigration I think Reagan would agree with you that what they did back then failed.  There is no reason to think he would be soft on border security today or let gangs control our southern border in this age of terrorism.  I'm guessing the 1987 law would have worked had it been followed.

In the context of Calif, the issues where Kashkari is wrong to our thinking  tend to be things out of the Calif governor's control and might actually help him with credibility in some demographics on the other fronts such as personal responsibility and reining in the role of government.

We don't need conservative purity in the deep yellow (blue) states.  We need a little traction and momentum wherever we can find it.
197  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Campaign slogans featuring Hillary Clinton's foreign policy experience on: July 27, 2014, 05:40:07 PM
"When smart diplomacy became a punchline."
198  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: California, Neel Kashkari on: July 27, 2014, 05:26:22 PM
Oops, I put my post on this in the states thread instead of in 'California'.
199  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: prediction on: July 27, 2014, 05:02:25 PM
Nominees for the Democratic ticket will be:

Hillary for Prez
Elizabeth Warren for V Prez

Can only one imagine the liberal and their MSM hoopla over this?
They will trumpet this as the seminal turning point in human civilization.

Very possibly right. So many campaign slogans are possible with those two, perhaps "unify by polarizing".  I am still betting against Hillary being the nominee, but it occurs to me that if nominated she might pick Biden!
200  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Israel vs. Hamas, THE GAZA WAR, When Strategies Collide, Walter Russell Mead on: July 25, 2014, 07:31:58 PM
WRM writes a bit like Stratfor and explains his analysis of motives and calculations on both sides in a very understandable way.  The way that Egypt and Saudi come into it is quite interesting.  I wonder if people here see it similarly.

In understanding both sides thinking it is pretty easy to predict this conflict goes on beyond our lifetimes unless you are quite a bit younger then me! Since Israel will never completely annihilate them this ends when Hamas and the people of Gaza give up their quest to destroy Israel which is also never.  Both sides have a strong motive to see the current conflict continue.

Walter Russell Mead
Published on July 25, 2014
When Strategies Collide
Many wars are fought over accidents and misunderstandings. This is not one of those times. With key interests at stake, the conflict in Gaza is likely to continue.

As the politicians, pundits, and foreign policy panjandrums of the world Western world wring their hands over the chaos and carnage in Gaza, it’s worth noting that there are solid reasons why peace is proving so elusive. Both sides have reason to think they can pull off a significant victory in the current round of fighting, and neither side thinks it can live with the consequences of a defeat. Until something happens to change the thinking on one or both sides, a cease fire will be hard to achieve.


Israel continues to fight because it believes that with more time, it can destroy enough tunnels and inflict enough damage on Hamas to significantly degrade the organization’s military strength and weaken it politically. Furthermore, both Saudi Arabia and Egypt are, perhaps for the first time, quietly rooting for Israel to crush the Muslim Brotherhood-affiliated Hamas. Given this, Israeli officials presumably think they have a golden opportunity for the extended and crushing war that they really need to inflict serious damage. Any war with the Palestinians involves political costs and setbacks for Israel, but at this particular moment, war in Gaza is less politically expensive than at other times. Given that Hamas is a significant and growing danger, Israeli leaders are likely to think, why not use the opportunity for all it is worth?

Hamas on the other hand is elated by its success in temporarily but significantly hampering operations at Ben Gurion Airport (arguably the most significant single Palestininan tactical accomplishment since the 1948 War). In addition its fighters have had unexpected success killing Israeli soldiers on the ground, and the Arab street is electrified by the conflict. The resulting publicity offers Hamas an opportunity to emerge from the isolation it faced after the overthrow of the Morsi government in Egypt. Since more Israeli progress on the ground will inevitably and tragically mean more civilian deaths, Hamas can also hope for big propaganda victories to offset any military setbacks that prolonged hostilities will bring. Hamas and its Turkish and Qatari allies can also hope that the longer the war lasts, the worse Egypt and Saudi Arabia will look. The Gaza war isn’t just a war between Israel and Hamas; it is a stage in the struggle between the Muslim Brotherhood and its Arab opponents. The longer Hamas can bear up under Israel’s military pressure, the more success it has in the intra-Arab struggle.

The hope of victory is one reason the two sides keep fighting; both Israel and Hamas also believe that defeat would impose unacceptable costs.


For Israel, there are three big reasons why losing is unacceptable. First, as a small country surrounded by enemies and facing hostile public opinion in the world at large, Israel’s security depends in large part on its reputation for military supremacy. That reputation, Israelis feel, deters many more attacks and keeps opposition passive and political rather than encouraging it to be active and military. This is an advantage that Israel will not lightly give up; hostilities are unlikely to end until and unless the Israelis feel they have made their point.

That motive is always present, but it became much more important after a rocket from Gaza caused a significant interruption in service from Ben Gurion Airport. People don’t travel much across Israel’s land frontiers; the airport is Israel’s vital link with the rest of the world. Hamas and anti-Israel forces everywhere were wildly elated by this success, and Israel’s enemies now think they can imagine a new strategy to drive the Jewish state to its knees by cutting it off from the outside world. Israeli defense officials likely feel that they must now do two things: eliminate the capacity of Hamas to repeat this attack, and make the consequences so wounding and expensive to Hamas as to reduce the attractiveness of repeat efforts. This new factor is a military game-changer, and it greatly raised the stakes of the conflict. (The biggest political mistake of the war so far? The American officials who banned U.S. flights from using the airport made a cease fire much harder to obtain.)

Second, there are specific political reasons why Israel is intent on hitting Hamas as hard as it can. Some of this is about Palestinian politics. Fatah may be corrupt, incompetent and in the eyes of many Palestinians fatally compromised by its willingness to compromise with Israel, but the more the ‘resistance’ path championed by Hamas looks like a historical dead end, the less Fatah’s flaws matter in the competition for Palestinian leadership.

But Israel is after much bigger game than Hamas in this war. Weakening Hamas isn’t just an Israeli project: Riyadh and Cairo are rooting for the Gazan terrorists to lose as well.  This strange new band of brothers is Israel’s Plan B alliance in case the U.S. folds on Iran. The Saudis and their Egyptian allies also hate and fear Hezbollah; from an Israeli point of view a successful war against Hamas could be the first step in cooperative action against Hezbollah and, beyond it, Iran. Israel wants this war to go well because it could pave the way to more effective cooperation with the most populous and wealthiest of the Arab states.

It’s also worth noting, from the standpoint of very-long-term Israeli interests, that the willingness of the Saudis and Egyptians and their friends, even silently and tactically, to align with Israel is a promising sign that Israel may someday be accepted in the region. Israel has been given a chance to audition for the role of a tacit ally of the Sunni Arab world against both Sunni and Shia radicals; it doesn’t want to blow this chance and its desire to build its relations with neighboring Arab states may outweigh its concerns about annoying Europe or even the U.S.

The third big reason why Israel needs a win is the one that most of the press commentary focuses on: security. Hamas has developed a network of tunnels and a capacity to launch missiles against much of Israel. Israeli officials will want to see that capacity significantly degraded. From the Israeli point of view, the price of a war in Gaza is high, but the incremental political cost of a few more days of combat, could now be less than the benefits from substantial progress in dismantling tunnels, breaking up Hamas’ leadership and destroying its weapon and missile stockpiles.

Thus from an Israeli point of view, the costs of this particular war are lower than usual, thanks to the tacit Arab support from Hamas’ many Arab enemies, and the need for decisive military results is greater than usual. That would suggest that Israel is likely to want to continue fighting until either its goals are reached or it is clear that they cannot be within a manageable time frame or at an acceptable cost. That point doesn’t appear to have been reached yet.


Like Israel, Hamas’ war strategy seems to be guided by solid calculations about the organization’s vital interests, and the leadership appears to believe that this is a war that the movement can’t afford to lose.

The chief problem and the real enemy for Hamas is not, however, Israel. Israeli hostility is something Hamas understands and can deal with. The real problem for Hamas is the Saudi-backed Sisi government in Egypt. The current Egyptian government sees Hamas as an ally of the Muslim Brotherhood, and crushing the Muslim Brotherhood as thoroughly as possible is Egypt’s top priority these days. Egypt’s Saudi patrons feel the same way; the Muslim Brotherhood looks to the Saudis like a challenge to their claim to lead the forces of orthodox Sunnism—and Hamas in the past has been willing to ally itself with Saudi’s arch enemies in Syria and Iran.

The change in the status quo that led to war with Israel had nothing to do with Israel itself; what has happened is that Egypt has systematically intensified the blockade of Gaza, hoping to throttle Hamas, disrupt its support, and put enough economic pressure on Gaza to force Hamas from power.

For Hamas, the pre-war status quo was a death sentence, allowing Egypt to quietly strangle Gaza. The business networks dependent on smuggling were hurting, civil servants weren’t getting paid, and residents were increasingly unhappy with a lousy economy and no progress in sight. Hamas is a cornered animal striking out in desperation. A return to the status quo ante is not acceptable to Hamas, which feels it absolutely must gain some relief or it will go under.

There are reports of splits between the political and military leaders of Hamas in the run up to war, but it seems clear that whoever is now calling the shots in Gaza, so to speak, believes that Hamas is in a war for survival, and short of crushing defeat, Hamas is unlikely to accept a cease fire that restores the status quo ante.

Hamas wants a cease fire that will allow it to import enough goods into Gaza to keep the economy going and to allow it to rebuild its military stockpiles. If Israel and Hamas were the only two entities involved, this might not be so hard to arrange. They have had cease fires before, and while each hates the other and wants it destroyed, on a pragmatic, day by day basis, Israel and Hamas have managed to work things out for long periods of time.

The trouble is that it is hard for Hamas to force Egypt and Saudi Arabia to accept this deal. The Saudis and their allies are happy for Israel to pay the political price for a war against Hamas that they want the Jewish state to win. Meanwhile, it is Egypt that ultimately can decide on peace or war: when Egypt feels that Hamas has been weakened and punished enough that it’s OK to show it some mercy, then the balance of forces will shift and some kind of truce will become much easier to achieve.

Under the circumstances, Hamas’ strategy is a convoluted one: Hamas is trying to create such a hot crisis by staging a war with Israel that the U.S., Europe and an enraged Arab street will force Egypt and Saudi Arabia to give up their drive to starve Hamas out. That may yet work, but it is unlikely to work all that quickly. Neither Egypt nor the Saudis are particularly unhappy if Israel is getting bad press around the world; as far as they are concerned, if rampaging mobs burn every Israeli embassy in Europe, it is no skin off President Sisi’s nose.

This suggests that for Hamas as well as for Israel, the high price of a long (by Israeli-Palestinian standards) war may make sense. It will take time for the kind of political pressure to build that would lead Egypt to soften its blockade of Gaza; it’s hard to see a good reason (except for the obvious humanitarian one) why Hamas would give up before giving its strategy time to work.


Many wars come about by accident or by misunderstanding. This particular war, however it was originally triggered, seems to be driven by the real interests of the chief parties involved. In such cases, peace is hard to make until the parties have seen how things go on the battlefield.

This doesn’t necessarily mean a long, drawn-out war. Gaza is a very small place and Hamas’ reserves are not very deep. It is not in Israel’s interests for the war to drag on and some more-horrendous-than-usual event could so shock public opinion around the world and in Israel itself that the calculus could change.

Nevertheless, the peacemaking wannabes have a tricky task ahead of them and the U.S. administration in particular will not enjoy some of the choices it must make. Barring a Hamas collapse, a political solution to the war involves getting not only Israel but also Egypt (and its Saudi backers) to accept some kind of arrangement that loosens the blockade enough to let Hamas survive.

The trouble is that neither the Egyptians nor the Saudis seem interested in making Barack Obama’s life any easier these days. Both countries bitterly resented his support for the Morsi government, and the ineffectiveness of his support deepened their contempt without dulling their anger. They do not trust him over Iran, Syria or Iraq, and they increasingly feel that they must organize the defense of the region without deferring to him. They may take a certain grim satisfaction in his discomfort if a Washington failure to broker a Gaza cease fire makes the Obama administration look weak.

Unhappily for the Obama administration, the best way for the U.S. to hasten the arrival of a durable cease fire in Gaza is to promise a more robust and hawkish policy in the rest of the region. The Israelis will be more willing to make concessions on a Gaza cease fire if they believe that the U.S. will back them more effectively against Iran, and the Saudis and Egyptians are more likely to give ground in Gaza if the U.S. offers real support in the rest of the region.

This is the opposite of the way much of the left and the press understands how the Middle East works, but the new Middle East is a more complicated place than it used to be. The battle between Sunni Arabs and Israelis is no longer the most important issue on the table for key Arab governments as well as for Israel. While that old conflict has not disappeared, it has been eclipsed by the new conflict between a resurgent Iran and the leading Sunni Arab states.

We must hope that American diplomats and other hopeful peacemakers grasp the new and sometimes counterintuitive dynamics of the region. Otherwise the Gaza war could drag on as the peacemakers chase red herrings and run up blind alleys. Fundamentally this war is one of the many dangerous consequences of the regional perception that the United States is in retreat; only by changing that perception can the Obama administration hope to stabilize the region and bring the killing, in Gaza and elsewhere, to an end.

Clausewitz wrote that in war, “the side that feels the lesser urge for peace will necessarily get the better bargain.” Both of the combatants are used to pain, loaded for bear, and feel their essential interests are in play. The most likely outcome is probably an uglier and longer war than usual, followed by another unhappy truce.
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