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1  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Jordan: on: August 11, 2017, 03:00:28 AM
Though interesting, no-- this is the PA.

I had a Syrian taxi driver (educated man in Syria) tell me an interesting story-- something along the lines of the Jordanians wanted  of a deal wherein they provided Israel w water and the Israelis said no.
2  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / WSJ: Jeff Brown: Are stock prices too high? on: August 11, 2017, 02:57:36 AM
Are Stock Prices Dangerously High? It Depends How You Look at It
These three P/E measurements are alarming. So why hasn’t it mattered?
Each of the major P/E measures is currently higher than its long-term average. Still, the market hit its latest high on Friday.
Each of the major P/E measures is currently higher than its long-term average. Still, the market hit its latest high on Friday. Illustration: Davide Bonazzi for The Wall Street Journal
By Jeff Brown
Aug. 6, 2017 10:13 p.m. ET

U.S. stocks have set record after record this year, pleasing investors who might have expected a postelection slump. But have prices soared to levels that are too risky?

Just as a 50-degree day is cool in August and warm in January, share prices can look high or low depending on the frame of reference. Still, by almost any standard, share prices are indeed high today—sobering for anyone with a serious stake in the market. Consider the three most popular measures: trailing price-to-earnings ratio, forward P/E ratio and cyclically adjusted P/E ratio.

“Each of the measures is currently higher than its long-term average, prompting many market analysts to predict an impending market decline,” says Brandon Thomas, co-founder and chief investment officer at Envestnet , ENV -3.70% a Chicago-based research and advice provider for financial advisers.

Yet some experts make a case that stocks are not overpriced by important measures and will continue to rise. What’s an investor to do?

Here’s a look at what the top barometers are showing—and why stocks continue to defy them—along with the pros’ arguments about what comes next.

• Trailing P/E Ratio: The classic price-to-earnings ratio, or P/E, looks at the current price divided by the company’s total earnings for the past 12 months.

Today, the P/E for the stocks in the S&P 500 index is about 24, meaning investors pay $24 for every $1 in corporate earnings. That’s quite high compared with the historical average of about 15 or 16, but not so high compared with some periods of crisis in the past—more than 40 around the dot-com bubble and above 100 after the financial crisis broke. To return to average, prices would have to tumble or earnings skyrocket.

Some experts note, however, that it isn’t unusual, or particularly risky, for the P/E to be somewhat higher than average when interest rates and inflation are unusually low. If you’ll earn only a tad over 2% on a 10-year Treasury note, paying $50 for every $1 in interest income, why not pay 24 times earnings on a stock? That would be a 4% earnings yield (earnings divided by price). Also, a low earnings yield is easier to stomach if little will be lost to inflation.

Andrew Kleis, co-founder of Insight Wealth Group, a wealth-management firm in West Des Moines, Iowa, says that “in times of incredibly low interest rates, like today and the last several years, investors put their money into the equities markets because they believe that is their best opportunity for risk-adjusted returns. That drives up P/E ratios. It’s happened before, and it’s happening again.”

This view assumes investors own stocks to share in current or future earnings, even though not all earnings are paid out as dividends. Undistributed earnings used for plant expansion, research and development or stock buybacks should boost the share price.

• Forward P/E: For another look, many experts use a P/E based on projected or forecast earnings, usually from company estimates and a consensus among analysts. Because many analysts are predicting earnings will grow in the near and medium term, this view produces a P/E a little less frightening—currently about 19 for the S&P 500, close to its long-term average.

Jim Tierney, chief investment officer for concentrated U.S. growth equities at AllianceBernstein asset management in New York, says “forward earnings are what we care about the most,” and notes that Wall Street analysts expect healthy earnings gains, producing a forward P/E just shy of 19 this year and close to 17 in 2018. “A bit elevated, but not excessive in a world where the 10-year Treasury as at 2.37%,” Mr. Tierney says.

Of course, a forward-looking P/E can be off if earnings later come in higher or lower than expected. Earnings estimates sometimes have a bit of wishful thinking, and experts say many analysts currently assume earnings will be boosted by a big Republican corporate-tax cut.

Craig Birk, executive vice president of portfolio management at Personal Capital, an investment-management firm in San Carlos, Calif., says he prefers trailing P/E because it relies on established facts. “Forward-looking P/E is also useful, but it must be taken in the context that earnings projections tend to change meaningfully,” Mr. Birk says.

• CAPE: Robert Shiller, the Yale economist known for his book “Irrational Exuberance,” which warned of price bubbles in stocks and housing, devised a different approach to reduce distortions from short-term factors. His “cyclically adjusted price-to-earnings ratio,” or CAPE, divides the S&P 500’s current level by the average of 10 years of earnings adjusted for inflation.

That produces a frightening figure—a P/E today around 30, matching the level on Black Tuesday in 1929, and nearly double the long-term average of about 17 (but still below the peak of nearly 45 in 2000).

While CAPE is less volatile than the other two P/E gauges, some experts caution that it can be misleading at times. Right now, the 10-year earnings average is dragged down by the poor results during the financial crisis, pushing the CAPE ratio up.

Steve Violin, senior vice president and portfolio manager, F.L. Putnam Investment Management in Wellesley, Mass., prefers a CAPE using a five-year earnings average instead of 10, feeling it captures the current business climate and avoids distortions from events too far back to matter.

“A five-year CAPE ratio tends to be reasonably stable by avoiding estimates and smoothing out annual fluctuation,” he says. It’s currently at 23.6, compared with about 18 over the long term.
How long will this last?

A look at the S&P’s components shows that P/Es vary, with some stocks riskier than others—and demonstrates that no gauge can provide a simple view by itself of what’s going on.

Mr. Kleis notes, for example, that the average price of the S&P 500 is driven up by the 100 largest stocks in the index, with the remaining 400 trading closer to their historical P/E levels. “We know that investors have invested [their money] largely in the big, popular names they know and love,” he says. Because the index is based on market weight (stock price times number of shares), the top 100 make up 65% of the index’s value and have a disproportionate effect, he says.

Debating what various gauges really mean at any given moment is an endless process that always has some experts screaming that the sky is about to fall and others saying, “What, me worry?”

The important point today is that all the most popular barometers say share prices are high.
Mr. Violin notes, though, that valuation measures like P/E ratios are only part of the picture and need to be seen alongside measures of profit growth and financial strength. For that, he recommends zeroing in on individual companies. “It’s hard to use valuation ratios as a timing mechanism on their own,” he says. “Elevated stock-market valuations can persist for extended periods as they are sometimes justified.”

P/E ratios have been above average for years, and investors who dumped stocks as soon as they started to look high would have missed huge gains. “Stock valuations are elevated in aggregate, but economic and profit growth has justified these valuations so far,” Mr. Violin says. “This trend looks like it could persist, especially if interest rates remain low.”

Mr. Thomas says that despite high P/Es, the market is currently a “Goldilocks environment”—just right—due to low inflation and forecasts for higher corporate earnings. Though rising interest rates are traditionally damaging to stocks, Mr. Thomas believes rates are going up slowly enough for the markets to digest without much harm.

“Stock prices are at record highs for a reason,” he says, “and that is an expectation of improving earnings growth going forward. Many analysts are forecasting an acceleration in earnings growth as a result of an expected tax cut.”

Of course, things can go wrong. With the turmoil in Washington, for example, tax cuts are far from guaranteed.

Mr. Brown is a writer in Livingston, Mont. He can be reached at
3  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Fed Judge orders State Dept search Hillary cronies emails on: August 10, 2017, 10:55:49 PM
4  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Jordan: on: August 10, 2017, 10:50:30 PM
Recently I heard a story about Israel insisting upon Jordan supplying it water.  Help in tracking this down?
5  DBMA Martial Arts Forum / Martial Arts Topics / Dog Brothers Opening Gathering of the Pack on: August 10, 2017, 10:04:58 PM
Starting this thread:

6  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Serious Read: Too late to stop the Norks on: August 10, 2017, 09:48:34 PM
7  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / The Aussie Plot that almost succeeded on: August 10, 2017, 08:04:00 PM
An Aussie Terror Warning
Islamic State came close to taking down a passenger plane.
By The Editorial Board
Aug. 10, 2017 7:13 p.m. ET

The international media paid little attention when Australian police rolled up a terrorist plot in the Sydney suburbs last month, the 13th time in three years the country has dodged a mass-casualty attack. But it has since become clear that Islamic State nearly brought down a large plane without authorities having a clue. That should ring alarm bells across the world.

On July 15, brothers Khaled and Mahmoud Khayat placed a bomb inside a meat grinder and gave it to a third, unwitting brother to carry in his luggage on an Etihad Airways flight to Abu Dhabi. At the last moment the bag wasn’t checked in, apparently because it was too heavy. An Australian antiterrorism task force began to watch the Khayat family only after a tipoff 11 days later from British intelligence. They arrested the brothers on July 29 and found evidence that the bomb could have brought down the plane.

Tests with a dummy version suggest that it would have been caught by the luggage-screening system at Sydney’s airport. But the fact that the plot progressed to such an advanced stage is proof of a major intelligence failure. Luck was on the side of the authorities this time, but it easily could have favored the terrorists.

The would-be attackers gave little indication that they had been radicalized. Khaled Khayat, a 49-year-old butcher of Lebanese descent, briefly appeared on the intelligence radar because a fourth brother is an Islamic State commander in Syria. But he and Mahmoud appeared to be well-integrated members of the community.

Aussie authorities say that, unlike typical distant recruits, the brothers received direction from an Islamic State controller in the Middle East. Components for making the bomb, including a military-grade explosive, were shipped to them on a cargo flight from Turkey. Since 2001 no terrorist plot on Western soil has used such sophisticated material.

Western authorities will be hard pressed to stop attacks if Islamic State can put high-powered bombs in the hands of Islamic radicals not on a watchlist. Terrorism expert Paul Cruickshank has dubbed this the IKEA model of terror for its ability to replicate cheaply.

The terrorists will be encouraged by their near success to try again. The West must examine how the Khayats slipped through the net and the role that Turkey is playing as a global Grand Central station for terrorists.

Appeared in the August 11, 2017, print edition.
8  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Tillerson vs. State Dept. bureacrats on: August 10, 2017, 07:09:26 PM
9  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / POTH caught again on: August 10, 2017, 06:57:00 PM
The Leftmedia has one objective: To vilify the Trump administration whenever the opportunity arises. Of course, this opens the door to gross bias and stories that are just flat-out wrong. The coinage for this is the now-ubiquitous term "fake news." The New York Times was caught once again spreading propaganda in its report on the latest Climate Science Special Report (CSSR). The final draft contains the typical anxiety-laden language of how man-made global warming will be significantly detrimental to humanity. But the Times' politicking of the CSSR's plight is even worse.

Initially, Fox News points out, "The [NYT] story ... said the draft report 'has not yet been made public' but 'a copy of it was obtained by The New York Times.'" Only that erroneous claim didn't fly for very long. And it wasn't whistleblowers who exposed the Times' duplicity.

Rutgers professor Bob Kopp, who contributed to CSSR, tweeted, "It's not clear what the news is in this story; posted draft is public review draft from Dec, and WH review hasn't yet missed Aug 18 deadline" to officially endorse the CSSR. A few moments later he added, "The Times' leaked draft has been on the Internet Archive since January, during the public comment period." Kopp's colleague Katharine Hayhoe likewise tweeted, "Important to point out that this report was already accessible to anyone who cared to read it during public review & comment time. Few did."

Translation: Nothing was really leaked at all. The Times' story now contains this correction: "While it was not widely publicized, the report was uploaded by the nonprofit Internet Archive in January; it was not first made public by The New York Times." Oops. What the Times saw was a chance to exploit an obscure report to further its agenda of portraying Donald Trump as a Neanderthal who "could change or suppress the report" without the public's knowledge. It also attempted to paint ecofascists as good Samaritans who had no choice but to "leak" a report to save humanity. Instead, the public now has even more proof that the Times continues to lack journalistic integrity.
10  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / WSJ backs Trump's "fire and fury" remarks on: August 10, 2017, 06:34:40 PM

By The Editorial Board
Aug. 9, 2017 7:12 p.m. ET

When Donald Trump threatened North Korea with “fire and fury” Tuesday if it continues to menace the U.S. with nuclear weapons, he provoked almost as much backlash at home as in Pyongyang. The usual diplomatic suspects, including some American lawmakers, claimed his remarks hurt U.S. credibility and were irresponsible.

The President’s point was that the North’s escalating threats are intolerable; he didn’t set any red lines. True to form, Pyongyang responded by putting the U.S. island of Guam in its cross hairs. Mr. Trump may be guilty of hyperbole (quelle surprise), but that is far less damaging to U.S. credibility than Barack Obama’s failure to enforce his prohibition on the Assad regime’s use of chemical weapons in Syria. The foreign-policy elite who claim to be shocked also don’t have much credibility after their policy across three Administrations led to the current North Korean danger.

While the President’s words were unusually colorful, the Communist-style language may have been part of the message: Kim Jong Un isn’t the only one who can raise the geopolitical temperature. The U.S. has military options to neutralize the regime’s nuclear threat if it continues to develop long-range missiles, and the U.S. is considering those options.

National Security Adviser H.R. McMaster said as much in an interview Saturday, explaining that Pyongyang’s nuclear threat is “intolerable from the President’s perspective. So of course, we have to provide all options to do that. And that includes a military option.” Defense Secretary Jim Mattis reinforced that message Wednesday, warning North Korea to stop acting in ways that could “lead to the end of its regime.”

Last week Senator Lindsey Graham told a morning television program, “There is a military option to destroy North Korea’s program and North Korea itself.” The South Carolina Republican revealed that Mr. Trump told him there will be war if the North continues to develop long-range missiles: “He has told me that. I believe him. If I were China, I would believe him, too, and do something about it.”

The China reference is a tip-off that the main audience for this rhetorical theater is in Beijing. Kim Jong Un won’t stop now that he’s so close to his goal of a nuclear deterrent. But China might restrict the flow of oil to the North, for example, if it believes that stronger action on its part could forestall a U.S. pre-emptive strike.

The other audience for Mr. Trump’s remarks is the North Korean leadership around the young Kim. If they believe they are doomed by Kim’s nuclear course, their best chance of self-preservation is to remove him. Regime change and then reunification is the ultimate solution to the North Korean problem.

One statement isn’t going to change minds in Beijing or Pyongyang. The Trump Administration can also signal its seriousness by imposing secondary sanctions on more Chinese companies, financial institutions and individuals. The U.S. also needs to move more military assets into the region to make the use of force credible.

Striking North Korea remains a last resort because the regime can hit the South with nuclear, chemical and conventional weapons. Yet in 1994 then-President Bill Clinton used the threat of military action as he tried to force the North to give up its nuclear program. But former President Jimmy Carter exceeded his diplomatic mandate and maneuvered Mr. Clinton to accept a deal that propped up Pyongyang without adequate inspections.

Diplomacy works best when there is a credible stick to go with the carrots. The Trump Administration has the right idea, even if the President’s words lack the usual diplomatic politesse.

Appeared in the August 10, 2017, print edition.
11  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / The Manafort Raid on: August 10, 2017, 02:09:14 PM
12  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Science, Culture, & Humanities / Henninger: Liberalism's Summer of '17 on: August 10, 2017, 11:22:33 AM
Liberalism’s Summer of ’17
Liberals whine about being governed by Trump. Pity those governed by them.
New York City commuters, July 10.
New York City commuters, July 10. Photo: Bloomberg News
By Daniel Henninger
Aug. 9, 2017 7:10 p.m. ET

Liberals whine and wail about being governed by Donald Trump. But what about the millions who wake up every day to be governed by liberals?

This is the summer of ’17 for people who live in politically blue northern cities, but few would call it the best days of their lives.

New Yorkers are living through the “Summer of Hell,” the phrase that defines a city whose ancient transportation infrastructure has finally hit the wall. It’s hard to say who got the worst of it—the commuters trapped for 45 minutes without air or lights on a southbound F train or the riders in Harlem who were evacuated after the tracks caught fire.

Naturally, Mayor Bill de Blasio says the solution is a $700 million tax increase on “the wealthiest in our city.”

In Chicago, more than 100 people were shot over July Fourth weekend, with 14 ending up dead. So naturally Mayor Rahm Emanuel has filed a sanctuary-cities lawsuit against the federal government to protect the city’s immigrants.

Hartford, Conn., at the brink of insolvency, last month hired a law firm specializing in bankruptcy. The owners of dozens of destroyed businesses sued the city of Baltimore in June for mishandling the mayhem, two years after the riots ended.

For decades, urban liberalism has sold itself as a compact between government and taxpayers. The people paid, and with that revenue liberal politicians would deliver infrastructure, services, economic opportunity and civil order. But liberal governance, instead of keeping its side of the bargain, is at a dead end.

Writing in City Journal last year on the widespread fiscal distress of northern cities, Stephen Eide noted a study which found that “among the 1,100 census tracts in major metropolitan areas with poverty rates of 30 percent or more in 1970, only about 100 had seen their poverty rates drop below the national average by 2010.”

Defenders of the liberal model argue that cities like New York, San Francisco and Los Angeles are changing into sophisticated, cosmopolitan hubs that attract a new class of young professionals who will restore urban America. Instead, many of these urban revivals are producing a phenomenon economists now call “racially concentrated areas of affluence,” or RCAAs.

An area gets RCAAed when the residents who pack themselves into it are mostly white people whose median incomes are unprecedentedly greater than the city’s poverty level. Some of the most RCAAed cities are liberal duchies like Boston, Baltimore, Chicago and Philadelphia.

Economists for Citigroup have called cities like New York and San Francisco “plutonomies”—urban economies propped up by a plutocratic minority, which is to say, young professionals inured to both taxes and nearby poverty. But they vote their “consciences.”

Progressives are acutely aware of this embarrassing reality in cities under their control. A writer for In These Times identified the problem as “a lack of revenue caused by the refusal of Wall Street banks, big corporations and millionaires to pay their fair share in taxes.” Put forth solutions, he said, “to make them pay.”

“Make them pay” might work if the U.S. were East Germany, so that the wealthy could be captured and jailed as they tried to escape across the border.

We’re not living yet under a President Sanders or Warren, so the steady, documented outflow of residents will continue from New York, Connecticut, Illinois, Maryland, California and New Jersey.

Many of those now climbing over the Democrats’ blue walls were willing to live under the original liberal governance model that existed before 1960 because it recognized the legitimacy of private economic life. The wealthy agreed then to pay their “fair share.”

Today, private economic life, especially that of the urban middle class, is no longer a partner in the liberal model. It’s merely a “revenue source” for a system whose patronage is open-ended welfare and largely uncapped public-employee pensions. I’d describe the liberal-progressive governing strategy as ruin and rule.

Not widely noticed is that liberalism’s claimed beneficiaries—black Americans—are also fleeing its failures. Demographers have documented significant black out-migration from New York, Michigan, California and Illinois into Florida, Georgia, Texas and North Carolina. North to south.

Now comes the summer-of-hell infrastructure crisis. Residents of the northeastern slab from New Jersey to Boston have been living off infrastructure created by their grandparents and great-grandparents during the golden age of American capitalism.

They are now asking the federal government, meaning taxpayers who live in parts of the U.S. not hostile to capitalism, to give them nearly $15 billion to replace the 100-year-old train tunnel beneath the Hudson River. Why should they? Why send money to a moribund, dysfunctional urban liberal politics that will never—as in, not ever—clean up its act or reform?

Maybe we need a new default solution to the urban crisis: Let internal migration redistribute the U.S. population away from liberalism’s smug but falling-apart plutonomies.

13  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Recent attacks by the Norks on: August 10, 2017, 10:20:26 AM
14  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / President Trump killing the gods of the city on: August 10, 2017, 09:11:28 AM
15  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Surviving a nuclear attack on: August 10, 2017, 08:53:02 AM
16  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / OMG! Could Trump know what he's doing? on: August 10, 2017, 08:52:18 AM
Third post
17  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Obama knew! on: August 10, 2017, 08:48:42 AM
18  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: The Hillbillary Clintons long, sordid, and often criminal history on: August 10, 2017, 08:27:12 AM
"unavailable".  IMHO "Newsmax" is not a reliable site.
19  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / How did the Awans get in tp America on: August 10, 2017, 08:26:08 AM
20  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / In CA collusion between FPPC Commission and Dems on: August 10, 2017, 08:22:48 AM
21  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Caveat Lector: DOJ considers offereing Hillary a deal on: August 09, 2017, 11:42:32 PM
22  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / The end of the road, the decline of the Palestinian national movement on: August 09, 2017, 11:33:46 PM

As their institutions wither and their leaders fade away, young Palestinians will redefine previous generations’ aspirations and agenda.
Photograph by Simona Ghizzoni / Contrasto / Redux

Hussein Agha and Ahmad Samih Khalidi have been involved in Palestinian peace negotiations for three decades, and are senior associate members of St. Antony’s College, Oxford, and co-authors of “A Framework for a Palestinian National Security Doctrine.” Agha most recently carried out backchannel negotiations during the Obama Administration’s failed effort to broker an Israeli-Palestinian peace agreement.

As President Trump prepares for yet another attempt to resolve the Palestinian-Israeli conflict, the ground is shifting under his feet. While Israel’s willingness to offer an acceptable deal is increasingly open to question, with nothing to suggest that its terms are likely to soften with time, the Palestinians are sliding toward the unknown. With the slow but sure decay of the Palestinian political scene, the President of the Palestinian Authority, Mahmoud Abbas (Abu Mazen), represents the last slender chance for a negotiated settlement: he is the sole remaining national leader of his people with sufficient, if dwindling, authority to sign and ratify a deal. For President Trump and his team, as well as for all those seeking to end this century-plus-old conflict, there should be no doubt about the moment’s urgency. After Abbas, there will be no other truly weighty representative and legitimate Palestinian leadership, and no coherent national movement to sustain it for a long time to come.

Over six days in late November and early December, 2016, Fatah, the Palestinian national liberation movement, convened its seventh congress in Ramallah, the de-facto capital of the Palestinian Authority. Despite the lengthy speeches and festive air, the conference did little to dispel what had become unmistakable: the slow expiry of a once vibrant movement. Long on show and short on substance, the meeting hardly touched on any of the mounting political challenges facing the Palestinian people. The Congress was no more than a confirmation of the current order and a reaffirmation of its total and unprecedented control over Fatah, the P.A., and its ostensible parent, the Palestine Liberation Organization.

The contemporary Palestinian national movement—founded and led by Yasser Arafat and embodied by the P.A., Fatah, and the P.L.O. over the past half century—is reaching its end. As its institutions wither and its leaders fade away, there is no obvious successor to take its place.

Looking back, the 1993 Oslo Accords marked the Palestinian national movement’s highest political accomplishment and the beginning of its slow decline. From then onward, the P.A. has been trapped between its original revolutionary mission as an agent for liberation and its new responsibilities as a proto-state, with its attendant civil, bureaucratic, and security establishments.

For a while, with its historic resistance leader at the helm, the national movement sought to reconcile its contradictory missions. But, with Arafat’s death, Fatah lost not only the forefather and leader of its foundational militant phase but its very raison d’être. Without “armed struggle,” the national movement had no clear ideology, no specific discourse, no distinctive experience or character. In the absence of a genuine and independent state, it was unable to transform itself into a ruling party, as, for example, the African National Congress did, in South Africa. It remained incomplete and suspended: a liberation movement not doing much liberating, locked in a fruitless negotiating process, and denied the means of government by a combination of Israeli obduracy and its own inadequacies.

With the passing of Arafat and most of his colleagues, Fatah’s ability to hold its fractured parts together waned. The social and political milieu of the West Bank and Gaza—steeped in clannish and personal influences—highlighted local fiefdoms and deep-rooted tensions. Severed from its history in the lands of exile, and without a rationale to supersede its original liberationist impulse, Fatah became mired in narrow and parochial turf wars. This was, in turn, compounded by its leaders’ failure to attract new blood. Unlike the experience of exile that formed a unifying Palestinian bond, that of the territories never managed to produce viable leaders who could forge a truly national enterprise out of highly localized components. The powerful pull of local ties made it almost impossible for a Hebronite to have a genuine popular base in Ramallah, or for a Gazan to have a credible say in the West Bank.

With no new leaders, no convincing evidence of validation, no marked success in government, no progress toward peace, fragile links to its original setting abroad, and a local environment buffeted by the crosswinds of petty quarrels and regional antagonisms, Fatah fundamentally disappeared as a real political agent.

The national movement was built on representation, activism, and achievement. It faithfully and energetically represented the broadest spectrum of Palestinian national sentiment, from the most visceral to the most rational, and it re-created the forgotten Palestinians as central players in their own drama and as a cause worthy of recognition across the world—epitomized by Arafat’s address to the U.N. General Assembly in 1974.

Today, none of these elements of success are evident. The all-encompassing P.L.O. has lost its representative status; the aging factions that still sit in its councils have little, if any, extensions inside or outside Palestine. The spirit of activism and dynamism has moved outside P.L.O. structures and onto the streets with no clear organization or political direction. And the P.A./P.L.O.’s achievements have been largely formalistic if not fake—a more advanced status as “observer state” at the U.N., but with no tangible improvement to the situation on the ground.

Arafat’s management was an integral element of the dynamism of the Palestinian national movement, and the transition from Arafat to Abbas passed smoothly because it was recognized as a continuation of the founding days of the national movement. Abbas may have needed formal elections to consolidate his position and gain acceptance in the international community, but, without his previous revolutionary credentials and association with Arafat, Abbas’s legitimacy would have been questioned from the start.

Abbas did not want, and could never occupy, Arafat’s place. His standing with his own people was deeply damaged by his persistent and infertile engagement with the peace process, his unwavering opposition to forceful struggle, and his fulsome dedication to security coöperation with Israel. As his tenure extended beyond his initial electoral mandate, the Palestinian political system developed many of the characteristics of a one-man Presidential regime, but without the élan of a popular leader. Later years witnessed a growing tendency toward unmitigated centralization, rule by decree, and the concentration of power. Other instruments of government were muted, and a determined effort was made to control what remains of Fatah’s decaying structures and to silence genuine political dissent. What used to be a vibrant if fractious political debate, nourished, tolerated, and often exploited by the leadership, has turned into a dull and dismal discourse, steered by political directives, and driven by fear of suppression and the loss of position inside an ever-swelling bureaucracy. A distinction between “President” and “leader” has emerged, and not necessarily in a manner that serves either.

Abbas’s years as President have not been without their share of achievements. His peace policy provided the P.A. with a formidable firewall against the kind of international pressure associated with the Palestinian national movement’s past violence, and added to a growing sense of unease at Israel’s occupation. For some, this by itself is a major national achievement. The P.A. has been sustained as a would-be state, and, since 1994, many of the day-to-day governing affairs of municipal, health, education, and other functions have been in Palestinian hands for the first time.

Abbas’s dedication to negotiations, diplomacy, and non-violence has shifted the burden onto the other side. While the current Israeli leadership’s peace credentials are widely disputed, Abbas’s international image as a man of peace remains largely intact. At the same time, he has managed to hold on to the historical and fundamental Palestinian demands; he has not wavered from the P.L.O.’s goals for a state along the 1967 borders, with its capital in East Jerusalem, and a just resolution to the refugee problem. He put an end to the chaos of the second intifada. He has continued engaging with a broad range of Israeli opinions, and has assiduously sought to cultivate what remains of the Israeli peace camp and to engage with Jewish leaders and communities abroad. Perhaps most important, he has succeeded in insulating the Palestinian people from much of the violence and destruction of the “Arab Spring” and from the growth of Salafi and jihadist movements in the West Bank.

All in all, Abbas’s era has enhanced the Palestinians’ moral standing and lent traction to their cause and narrative. But these achievements are in danger of being overshadowed by new circumstances and challenges. Abbas may have helped to underpin the legitimacy of the Palestinian cause, particularly in the West, but his approach has failed to demonstrate sufficient payoff in peace negotiations, changing the unacceptable status quo, or in attracting popular support to revive the movement’s declining fortunes. The thirteen years of his rule have produced no significant change in Israel’s stance; in fact, Israel’s terms for a final-status resolution on such issues as Jerusalem, security, and the extent of Palestinian sovereignty have notably hardened.

Furthermore, the Palestinians’ readiness to take the negotiating path to its logical conclusions was restrained by a perception that they were winning the moral and psychological high ground. The paradoxical effect was to make it harder to progress toward an agreement with Israel because it seemed that other influential parties might do the job.

The past decade has also witnessed a series of seemingly inconsistent and not well thought-out Palestinian diplomatic moves, including the welcoming of, and then backtracking on, the Goldstone Report, in 2011; on the 2008 Gaza war; the unconvincing threats by senior Palestinian officials to dismantle the P.A.; the overselling of the bid to create international facts by joining various U.N. bodies; the pursuit of desperate and futile initiatives such as the proposals, in 2016, by the former French President François Hollande for an international conference; and the failure to make diplomatic progress even in the shadow of a relatively friendly U.S. Administration. As a result, the entire notion of peace negotiations has been discredited and consigned to outright condemnation, deep disbelief, and profound apathy among Palestinians, further weakening the national movement’s political credibility and standing.

The growing public criticism of security coöperation might best encapsulate the P.A.’s dilemma. Security coöperation is meant to serve the national interest by preventing armed activities that threaten to elicit a disproportionate Israeli response. Yet coöperation ends up serving Israel by sustaining the occupation’s low cost and helping to perpetuate it. The primary function of any authority is to provide security to the people it represents. P.A. security forces can do very little to defend their own people both in the territories and abroad, where at least half of the estimated total of twelve million Palestinians reside, in the face of third-party threats, individual Israeli assaults, settler violence, or the organized actions of the Israel Defense Forces. Palestinians are consequently left vulnerable to overwhelming Israeli power and the hardening fist of their own security forces at the same time. Insofar as security coöperation is seen as an auxiliary function to the occupation, it has added to a sense of helplessness and loss of agency and has focussed popular anger and frustration away from the struggle for freedom and independence. Whether the Palestinians would be better served in raw contact with the occupation without the mediating influence of the P.A. is open to question, but the cumulative corrosive impact of the P.A.’s role as shield and security subcontractor to the occupation is undeniable—especially with no accompanying political returns.

The Palestinian loss of faith in a negotiated settlement reflects a loss of faith in the agencies that have sought to pursue it. To the extent that Fatah, the P.A., and the P.L.O. have been dedicated to a two-state solution, their failures—from liberation to governance to peacemaking—have lessened public support for the desirability or viability of the goal itself. Besides the bloated P.A. bureaucracy, almost all sectors of the Palestinian people have been alienated from the methods and practices of their representative bodies, and have largely lost any real sense of investment in their diplomacy. What was once seen as a national unifying program is now viewed with deep skepticism and indifference.

Of course, not all change has come from within. There is no doubt that the regional and international environment has shifted in unfavorable ways. A “Third World” moment—in which the Palestinian national struggle found a natural home within the liberationist and anti-colonial movements of Algeria and Vietnam, and was embraced by emerging Asian powers as part of their new sense of independence—no longer exists. The recent era has seen a move in the opposite direction; there may be greater understanding for the Palestinian cause in the West, but many of the Palestinians’ former Third World allies have chosen economic self-interest in place of ideological commitment. India’s wavering support for the Palestinians at the U.N. and China’s growing trade and military ties with Israel are examples.

The Arab environment has also clearly changed. Fatah was originally as much an assertion of Palestinian “independence of will” in the face of Arab hegemony as it was a revolt against Israel’s plunder of the homeland. Despite many political conflicts and bloody confrontations with numerous Arab states such as Jordan, Syria, and Lebanon, the P.L.O. continued to draw political and financial support from its hinterland, from the Gulf States, and from a popular base that was deeply sympathetic to the Palestinian struggle. Fatah and the P.L.O. may have been largely dependent on Arab aid, but the multiplicity of sources and the constant rivalries among the Arabs themselves accorded the movement a wide margin of freedom. If one source of funding and support was severed, another was more than likely to appear. And, despite a high degree of financial dependency, the movement maintained political freedom of action: the P.L.O.’s dramatic support for a two-state solution in 1988 and the 1993 Oslo Accords were “independent” Palestinian decisions made without wider Arab consent, regardless of their wisdom at the time or since.

In the regional turmoil and violence of recent years, the Palestinians largely lost the skill of maneuvering among the Arab parties and their conflicting interests, and have become more dependent on other external support. As Arab financial aid shrinks, a new bloc of Arab states, comprising Egypt, Jordan, Saudi Arabia, and the United Arab Emirates, has a growing hold over the Arabs’ say on Palestine, further narrowing P.L.O. independence. Equally, the P.A. has become more and more reliant on the flow of funds from the U.S. and the European Union, and on Israel’s good will in dealing with the daily needs of the Palestinian population in the territories. Once a useful tool for maximizing freedom of action, multiple sources of outside support are now a means of leverage to further constrain Palestinian decision-making.

The post-Abbas era will launch an uncharted and unpredictable course. The founding fathers’ historical legacy and imprint of legitimacy is disappearing. The Palestinian refugees and the broader community in exile have no real agency, means of expression, or instruments to reflect their will. Fatah’s ongoing conflict with Hamas, the unrest in Gaza and the West Bank, and the institutional failures of the P.A. all point to an increasingly narrow and more tenuous form of leadership, one that is based more on formal elections, and, consequently and paradoxically, on less solid and genuinely representative grounds.

A leader elected on and by the West Bank, without continuity with the fading national movement, may not be openly rejected by the fractured components of the Palestinian people, but will, in the best of circumstances, have only limited national appeal and authority. Unlike a leader chosen by widespread acclaim, a narrowly elected leader, or one selected as a compromise among the different factions, cannot claim to represent those who lie outside his or her constituency, or to speak on their behalf. It is doubtful that such a leader will be able to rely on majority support or rally it, if and when decisions of national import are at stake. Abbas’s power derives from the fact that those who may otherwise criticize or reject a deal will abide by his terms. His signature not only imparts legitimacy to an agreement but absolves opponents from any responsibility for the concessions it may entail. Despite his limitations, Abbas may be the last Palestinian leader with the moral authority and political legitimacy to speak and act on behalf of the entire nation on vital existential issues such as a final agreement with Israel.

If the incoming Palestinian leadership is likely to be less representative than its predecessors, the degree to which it has a mandate to conclude and sustain a future agreement with Israel may be open to question. This will necessarily affect Israel’s own willingness to agree to a deal—already evident in Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s repeated insistence that Israel will “never” cede security control over the West Bank. It will also affect the role and posture of third parties, such as the U.S., in facilitating or pushing for a deal, and its possible content will be less likely to approximate Palestinian terms for a settlement. The recent spate of well-attended popular meetings hosted by Turkey, Egypt, Iran, and even France and Holland may inaugurate a new phase in which the P.L.O. faces growing pressure to defend its credentials as the “sole and legitimate representative” of the Palestinian people, with further limitations on its margin of maneuvers at home and abroad.

Twenty-four years after Oslo, the security establishment is perhaps the most enduring and powerful institution spawned by the P.A. Nourished and fortified by Israel, the U.S., and major European and Arab parties as part of the post-second-intifada reform process and designed to control violence and internal dissent, P.A. security forces have become the most efficient, visible, and functional arm of Palestinian governance. In the absence of countervailing legal and political institutions, organized popular movements, or capable representative bodies, there will be a strong temptation for the security forces to fill the vacuum of a frail national leadership, if only to avoid a comprehensive institutional collapse.

Even as Fatah has fallen apart, its popular base has remained in suspension instead of being pulled or driven toward other alternatives. More nationalist than Islamist in their political inclinations and outlook, the Palestinians have not been significantly drawn to Hamas. Hamas’s initial challenge emerged from its adoption of armed struggle at the moment when Fatah and the other factions had begun to discard it. But Hamas’s militant experiment has been no more successful than Fatah’s. Gaza’s history of resistance may have helped to convince Israel to evacuate the Strip, in 2005, but the subsequent suffering has not served as a model or source of inspiration for the rest of the Palestinians. Similarly, Hamas’s decade-long governance of Gaza has been marred by the same charges of corruption, incompetence, and heavy-handedness as its P.A. counterpart in Ramallah, but with the additional burdens of broad isolation and constant Israeli siege. On matters of armed struggle, diplomacy, and governance, those looking to Hamas as a replacement for Fatah would find it difficult to argue that the former has delivered where the latter has failed.

In its previous incarnation, Fatah succeeded in accommodating those of an Islamist bent by dissipating their influence within a wider national rubric. By incorporating a strong leftist current, it counteracted and neutralized Islamist tendencies. As Fatah took command of the P.L.O., it left a space for others to speak, act, and be heard. At present, a P.L.O. that included both Hamas and Fatah would be neither truly national nor genuinely Islamist but a forced arrangement between contradictory and competing forces pulling in different strategic directions. Besides the vexed question of leadership, it would be hard to sustain such a mixed and conflicted entity.

If the national movement’s initial phase arose from exile, and the second was focussed on the territories occupied in the Six-Day War, a budding third phase seems to be emerging from the combined effect of the diminishing prospects for a negotiated two-state settlement, and the increasingly blurred borders between Arabs and Jews in the territory. Israeli settlements may have all but erased the 1967 borders in one direction, but fifty years of occupation have helped to erase the border in the opposite direction as well. After decades of fraught relations between the Palestinians and Israel’s Palestinian citizens, the past few years have seen growing interaction between the political and intellectual élites across the borders.

The broader Palestinian public has slowly begun to recognize the national role and place of its brethren in Israel, and to seek means by which the tattered fabric of Palestinian identity may be mended. With the expiration of the national movement “outside” the West Bank and Gaza and with little prospect of self-regeneration from “inside,” Israel’s Palestinian citizens have inherited a new share of the struggle. They have proved to be politically resilient and flexible and have demonstrated a vitality and dynamism that may even point to something of a nationalist revival. In light of the sensitive conditions under which they operate, their comparatively small critical mass, their continuing isolation, and their tenuous connections with the other sectors of the Palestinian people, it may be too fanciful to believe that they could supplant the old national movement or assume its broader mantle or its more immediate functions. Yet, despite their personal and political differences, their bold leaders and their growing understanding of Israel’s democratic portico may position them to articulate with increasing confidence the traditional themes of Palestinian national aspirations and struggle. This would be a remarkable transformation.

Israeli right-wing politicians have often argued that the roots of the current conflict far predate 1967. The assertion that the origins of the conflict stretch back considerably further is not controversial or contestable. Oslo sought to trade 1967 against 1948—that is, to obscure the historical roots of the conflict in return for a political settlement that offered a partial redress that focussed solely on post-1967 realities. Current circumstances have begun to undo this suppression. Oslo could not bypass history, and its limitations have only highlighted the difficulty of ignoring the deeper roots of the struggle over Palestine.

This has become manifest in Israel’s gradual shift rightward, as well as in the growing encroachment of the national religious movement upon the levers of power and public discourse, the increasing influence and militancy of settler and fringe movements, and the sharpening tensions between the Jewish and Arab populations as marked by the rhetoric of both leaderships.

A similar process is tangible on the Palestinian side, in the growing backing for the right of return, and in moves to document and memorialize the nakba and the 1948 dispossession. The Israeli demand for recognition of Israel as a Jewish state has solicited countermoves to reassert the Arab character of the land and reinforce the Palestinian historical narrative. Regardless of its distant and scattered parts, the experience of exile has not faded away. The Palestinians in exile may no longer have as confident and recognized a voice as that of the P.L.O. in its heyday, but the younger generation has shown no signs of historical amnesia or disengagement. The growing despair at the ineffectiveness of the peace process has reanimated their disparate parts and captured their imagination. While the near diaspora may be under siege and unprecedented pressure, particularly in Syria and Lebanon, many groups strewn across farther shores call for justice. The growing visibility and international sympathy for the Palestinian cause, and the slow erosion of Israel’s political and moral standing, particularly in the West, have created a new, more open and welcoming environment for Palestinian activism, as apparent from the spreading support for the Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions (B.D.S.) movement and various activist groups off and on campus.

The historic Palestinian national movement may have shattered and its successor may be neither discernible nor imminent. But the Palestinians will not simply disappear. The region may be engulfed in flames, and for the moment, at least, seemingly otherwise engaged, but Palestinian claims to justice and freedom have embedded themselves in the conscience of much of the world, just as Israel’s practices have eaten away at its avowed values.

The idea of one overarching, comprehensive, negotiated resolution that incorporates all the fundamental elements of the conflict may have slipped out of reach. What used to be called “the Palestine problem” might now be better redefined and restructured as a series of challenges, each requiring its own form of redress: the disappearing prospects for the original national project of self-determination, statehood, and return; the peoples’ alienation from their formal representatives; the realities of the Gaza–West Bank split; the continuing trials and tribulations of the diaspora; and the daily struggle for freedom from occupation and equal rights in Israel.

The future remains deeply uncertain. The two-state solution may win some belated and final reprieve as its prospects dwindle. Palestinian national aspirations may be brought back into the wider Arab fold, as they were before the current movement was established. Yet other possibilities abound. The Palestinians in Israel may be tempted to take the lead. The diaspora may yet explode in some radical and ill-defined manner. The malign energies of jihadism may be redirected toward a Muslim­-Jewish religious war, with Jerusalem as its focus. The conflict may be dragged back to its historical origins as a struggle over and across the entire Holy Land, reopening old wounds, inflicting new ones, and redefining how and if the conflict will be resolved.

The spark of patriotism may still coexist along with loathing of the occupation and a desire for a free and normal life. But a national movement requires genuine mass engagement in a political vision and a working project that cuts across boundaries of region, clan, and class, and a defined and acknowledged leadership with the legitimacy and representative standing that empowers it to act in its people’s name. This no longer holds for Fatah, the P.A., or the P.L.O.

Be that as it may, the Palestinians may need to acknowledge that yesteryear’s conventional nationalism and “national liberation” are no longer the best currency for political mobilization and expression in today’s world, and that they need to adapt their struggle and aspirations to new global realities. The bonds that link the Palestinian people together remain strong and hardy, but old-style nationalism and its worn-out ways may no longer be the vehicle for their empowerment. Because nationalism itself has changed, Palestinians need to search for new means of expressing their political identity and hopes in ways that do not and cannot replicate the past.
23  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Mattis follows up on: August 09, 2017, 11:31:56 PM
24  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / SofRepTv on: August 09, 2017, 11:18:03 PM
Just signed up for this-- $5 a month

25  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Science, Culture, & Humanities / EMP on: August 09, 2017, 11:02:54 PM

An electromagnetic pulse (EMP) attack represents one of the greatest threats imaginable—to the United States and the world. An EMP occurs when a nuclear device is detonated high in the atmosphere—a phenomenon of which America’s enemies are well aware. The electromagnetic discharge can permanently disable the electrical systems that run nearly all civilian and military infrastructures. A massive EMP attack on the United States would produce almost unimaginable devastation. Communications would collapse, transportation would halt, and electrical power would simply be non-existent. Not even a global humanitarian effort would be enough to keep hundreds of millions of Americans from death by starvation, exposure, or lack of medicine. Nor would the catastrophe stop at U.S. borders. Most of Canada would be devastated, too, as its infrastructure is integrated with the U.S. power grid. Without the American economic engine, the world economy would quickly collapse. Much of the world’s intellectual brain power (half of it is in the United States) would be lost as well. Earth would most likely recede into the “new” Dark Ages.

All past calamities of the modern era would pale in comparison to the catastrophe caused by a successful high-altitude EMP strike.
26  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Chinese Cyberwar capabilities on: August 09, 2017, 11:00:30 PM

Preparing for informationized wars

The 2015 Chinese Military Strategy White Paper states that the PLA must prepare for “informationized local wars” against technologically advanced adversaries. As a result, Chinese hackers breach Defense Department networks in order to better understand US military capabilities, accelerate the modernization of the People’s Liberation Army, and prepare of military conflict and the disruption of US forces.

Two PLA groups, Units 61938 and 61486, have reportedly stolen information from over two dozen Defense Department weapons programs, including the Patriot missile system and the US Navy’s new littoral combat ship. The most high-profile case has been the hacking of defense contractors involved in the F-35, which have forced the redesign of specialized communications and antenna arrays for the stealth aircraft. Department of Defense officials say that the most sensitive flight control data were not taken because they were stored offline, but the fuselage of China’s second stealth fighter jet, the J-31, is very similar to that of the F-35. In response to a question about attacks on defense contractors, Lieutenant General Vincent Stewart, director of the Defense Intelligence Agency, told a congressional hearing, “I do not believe we are at this point losing our technological edge, but it is at risk based on some of their cyberactivities,” referring to China.

Chinese hackers also break into US networks in preparation for a potential military conflict. Chinese military analysts often write of the PLA’s need to seize information dominance at the beginning stages of a conflict with a technologically advanced adversary through cyber attacks against command and control computers as well as satellite and communication networks. The PLA would also attempt to disrupt US forces in the Western Pacific through attacks on transportation and logistics systems. Preparing for these attacks requires cyber espionage.

Chinese military writings also suggest that cyberattacks can have a deterrent effect, given American dependence on banking, telecommunication, and other critical networks. A highly disruptive or destructive attack on these networks might reduce the chances that the United States might get involved in a regional conflict. Some Chinese intrusions into critical infrastructure may intentionally leave evidence behind to act as a warning that the US homeland may not be immune to attack in the case of a conflict over Taiwan or the South China Sea.

If there is another conflict with China, it can be visualised that the war will begin in cyberspace much before a single shot is fired or the first missile is launched. In fact, frequent hacking attempts, some of them successful, are ongoing on a daily basis even now when there is peace at the border

Read more at:
27  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / This conference looks very interesting on: August 09, 2017, 10:57:57 PM
28  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Caveat Lector: McMaster-- Bahrain money on: August 09, 2017, 08:46:14 PM
29  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Glcik: Preparing for the post Abbas era on: August 09, 2017, 07:48:13 PM

 PLO chief and Palestinian Authority chairman Mahmoud Abbas scored a victory against Israel at the Temple Mount. But it was a Pyrrhic one.

Days after the government bowed to his demand and voted to remove the metal detectors from the Temple Mount, Abbas checked into the hospital for tests. The 82-year-old dictator has heart disease and a series of other serious health issues. And he has refused to appoint a successor.

It is widely assumed that once he exits the stage, the situation in the PA-ruled areas in Judea and Samaria – otherwise known as Areas A and B – will change in fundamental ways.

This week, two prominent Palestinian advocates, Hussein Agha and Ahmad Samih Khalidi, published an article in The New Yorker entitled “The end of this road: The decline of the Palestinian national movement.”

Among other things, they explained that Abbas’s death will mark the dissolution of the Palestinian national identity. That identity has already been supplanted in Judea and Samaria by local, tribal identities. In their words, “The powerful local ties made it impossible for a Hebronite to have a genuine popular base in Ramallah, or for a Gazan to have a credible say in the West Bank.”

It will also be the end of the PLO and its largest faction, Fatah, founded by Yasser Arafat in 1958 and led by Abbas since Arafat’s death in 2004.

Fatah, they explain, has “no new leaders, no convincing evidence of validation, no marked success in government, no progress toward peace, fragile links to its original setting abroad and a local environment buffeted by the crosswinds of petty quarrels and regional antagonisms.”

One of the reasons the Palestinians have lost interest in being Palestinians is because they have lost their traditional political and financial supporters in the Arab world and the developing world. The Sunni Arab world, led by Saudi Arabia and Egypt, is now willing to publicly extol Israel as a vital ally in its struggle against Iran and the Muslim Brotherhood. The so-called Arab street is increasingly incensed at the Palestinians for monopolizing the world’s attention with their never ending list of grievances against Israel even as millions in the Arab world suffer from war, genocide, starvation and other forms of oppression and millions more have been forced to flee their homes.

As for the developing world, Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s refusal to visit with Abbas during his recent visit to Israel marked the official end of the Third World’s alliance with the PLO.

After Abbas departs, Agha and Khalidi identify three key actors that will seek to fill the military and political void. First and foremost, the Palestinian security services (PSF) will raise its head. The PSF is heavily armed and has been trained by the US military. Agha and Khalidi argue reasonably that as the best armed and best organized group in the area aside from the IDF, the PSF will likely seize power in one form or another.

The Palestinian forces pose a major threat to Israel. It isn’t simply that their members have often participated in murderous terrorist attacks against Israel. With their US military training they are capable of launching large-scale assaults on Israeli civilian communities and on IDF forces.

To understand the nature of the threat, consider that last month, a lone terrorist armed with a knife sufficed to massacre the Salomon family in their home in Halamish before he was stopped by an off-duty soldier. Contemplate what a well-armed and trained platoon of Palestinian soldiers with no clear political constraints could do.

The second force Agha and Khalidi identify as likely to step into the leadership vacuum is the Israeli Arab political leadership. As Agha and Khalidi note, since the PLO-controlled PA was established in 1994, the Israeli Arab community and the Palestinians of Judea and Samaria have become more familiar with one another.

Due in large part to subversion by the PLO and Hamas and lavish funding of radical Israeli Arab groups and politicians by foreign governments and leftist donors, a generation of radical, anti-Israel Arab politicians has risen to power.

At the same time, since the Arab Spring destabilized all of Israel’s neighbors, a cross current of Arab Zionism has captivated the Israeli Arab majority. Recognizing that Israel is their safe port in the storm, Israeli Arabs in increasing numbers are choosing to embrace their Israeli identity, learn Hebrew and join mainstream Israeli society.

Agha and Khalidi signal clearly their hope that the integration of the Palestinians and Israel’s Arab minority will enable them to worth together to take over the Jewish state from within.

Finally, Agha and Khalidi note that as support for the Palestinians has waned in the Arab world and the developing world, the West has emerged in recent years as their most stable and enthusiastic political support base. Ethnic Palestinians in the West are more committed to destroying Israel than Palestinians in Syria and Jordan. Western politicians and political activists who support the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement are much more committed to the political war against Israel than their counterparts in Asia and Africa.

The Western forces now aligned against Israel in the name of the Palestinians will certainly seek to play a role in shaping events in a post-Abbas world.

This then brings us to Israel and what it must do now and in the immediate aftermath of Abbas’s exit from the scene.

The most important thing that Israel can and must do is send a send a clear message that it will not be walking away from Judea and Samaria. To do so, Israel should end the military government in Area C, where all the Israeli communities and border zones are located, and replace it with its legal code.

Militarily, it is imperative that the IDF be ordered to disarm the PSF as quickly and quietly as possible.

Since 2007, Abbas’s fear of Hamas has exceeded his hatred for Israel. As a consequence, during this time, the Palestinian security forces have cooperated with the IDF in anti-Hamas operations.

There is every likelihood that the forces’ calculations in a post-Abbas world will be quite different.

Israel cannot afford to have a well-armed force, steeped in antisemitic ideology, deployed footsteps from major Israeli population centers.

As for the Israeli Arabs, Israel can empower moderate, integrationist forces to rise to power. To do so, it must enforce its laws against terrorism-sponsoring groups like the Islamic movement and enforce its land and welfare laws toward Arabs with the same vigor it enforces them toward Jews. It must provide support for integrationists to enter the political fray against their anti-Israel rivals.

If Israel fails to take these actions, Agha and Khalidi’s dream that the Palestinian war against Israel is taken over by Israeli Arabs supported by the West will become a realistic prospect.

This then brings us to the West.

Economically, Israel has already begun to limit the capacity of anti-Israel forces in the West to wage economic war against it by deepening its economic ties with Asia.

Politically, Israel must reform its legal system to limit the subversive power of the West in its Arab community and more generally in its political system. Foreign governments must be barred from funding political NGOs. Israel should wage a public campaign in the US to discredit foundations and other non-profits in the US that work through Israeli-registered NGOs to undermine its rule of law.

By applying its laws in full to Area C, and by asserting sole security control throughout the areas, while empowering the Israeli Arab majority that wishes to embrace its Israeli identity, Israel will empower the Palestinians in Areas A and B to govern themselves autonomously in a manner that advances the interests of their constituents.

As Agha and Khalidi note, the Palestinians have been in charge of their own governance since 1994. But under the corrupt authoritarianism of the PLO, their governance has been poor and unaccountable. As local identities have superseded the PLO’s brand of nationalism borne of terrorism and eternal war against Israel, the Palestinians in Judea and Samaria well positioned to embrace an opportunity to govern themselves under a liberal rule of law without fear of the PLO jackboot.

The post-Abbas era will pose new threats and opportunities for Israel. It is up to Israel to ensure that the opportunities are maximized and the threats are neutralized as quickly as possible. Failing that, Israel can expect to contend with military threats in Judea and Samaria several orders of magnitude greater than what it has dealt with in the past. It can similarly expect to find itself under political assault from a combination of radicalized Israeli Arabs and Western governments that will challenge it in ways it has never been challenged before.
30  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Regulatory Rollback on: August 09, 2017, 11:42:11 AM
31  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Trump unscripted in remarks on: August 09, 2017, 11:36:01 AM
32  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Mueller searches Manafort's home on: August 09, 2017, 11:15:35 AM
33  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Licenses/ID cards sold to illegal aliens by corrupt state workers for vote fraud on: August 09, 2017, 11:11:09 AM
Licenses, ID Cards Sold to Illegal Aliens by Corrupt State Workers Used for Voter Fraud

AUGUST 09, 2017

A year after Judicial Watch reported a rise in illegal aliens using fake Puerto Rican birth certificates to obtain authentic U.S. passports and drivers’ licenses, the feds have busted a Massachusetts operation run by corrupt state workers. The state employees sold drivers’ licenses and state identification cards to illegal immigrants who bought Puerto Rican documents on the black market, according to the Department of Justice (DOJ). The operation perpetuated voter fraud because some of the false identities and addresses were used to vote in Boston, the state’s capital and largest city.

The case is the latest of many illustrating that there’s an epidemic of voter fraud in the U.S. that’s seldom reported in the mainstream media. It’s not clear how many false identities and addresses were used to fraudulently register to vote in Boston, but the feds indicate that it occurred in multiple cases and Judicial Watch is investigating the matter as part of a five-year-old Election Integrity Project. The scheme was operated by four taxpayer-funded employees at the Massachusetts Registry of Motor Vehicles (RMV) along with two outside accomplices who sold Puerto Rican documents to illegal aliens. All six were recently arrested and charged with aggravated identity theft. They probably never would have been caught if not for an anonymous tip received by the Massachusetts State Police nearly two years ago and there’s no telling how long the illicit scheme operated.

The anonymous letter said that a corrupt RMV employee was providing stolen identifications and drivers’ licenses to individuals seeking false IDs, the DOJ announcement states. An investigation ensued and authorities discovered that the four clerks were working with a document vendor and document dealer to provide the licenses and official state ID cards to illegal immigrants in exchange for cash. “The scheme involved several steps,” the DOJ says. First, the document dealer sold a Puerto Rican birth certificate and U.S. Social Security card to the document vendor for approximately $900. The vendor would then sell the stolen identities for more than $2,000 to illegal aliens—some with criminal records—seeking legitimate identities in Massachusetts. After the first layer of illicit transactions occurred, the counterfeit documents and false identities and addresses were used to fraudulently register clients to vote in Boston.

Illegal aliens would then bring the stolen identities to the RMV where the corrupt clerks worked and they would accept cash to illegally issue authentic documents, including drivers’ licenses and ID cards. “The clerks also accepted cash to use the RMV’s system to run queries, including Social Security number audits, to confirm that the identities the clients were stealing actually belonged to verifiable individuals,” the DOJ announcement states. The unscrupulous state workers face up to two years in prison, according to the feds, who won’t reveal the magnitude of the operation and how many authentic state documents were issued fraudulently to illegal aliens.

Last year Judicial Watch published a story about the increasing number of illegal aliens using fake Puerto Rican birth certificates to obtain authentic American documents. Located about 1,000 miles southeast of Florida, Puerto Rico became a U.S. territory about two decades after the Caribbean island was acquired from Spain at the end of the Spanish-American war. Puerto Ricans are American citizens at birth though they don’t have the right to vote in federal elections and the island has only one non-voting representative in Congress. In recent years a record number of Puerto Ricans have left their troubled island for the U.S. and a big chunk has settled on Florida. A recent study found that the island’s ongoing economic recession has led to a mass exodus not seen in more than five decades. The U.S. government and its various agencies accept Puerto Rican birth certificates blindly even though fraud involving the easily forged documents has been pervasive for years.
34  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Caroline Glick on McMaster 2.0 on: August 08, 2017, 10:48:03 PM

This week, the Forward, a purportedly Jewish newspaper placed ZOA Chairman Mort Klein behind Nazis and ahead of Ayatollah Khamenei and Hassan Nasrallah on a list of bigger threats to the Jews than anti-Semite Democratic kingmaker Linda Sarsour.

In recent days and weeks, the Jewish left has claimed ever more stridently that anyone who attacks George Soros, a living breathing Jew hater who has poured millions of dollars into groups that wage political warfare against both Israel and its American Jewish supporters. Soros' critics -- like Sarsour's critics -- are anti-Semites. Why? Because Soros was born Jewish.

So critics of a Jewish anti-Semite, who criticize him because he is anti-Semitic, are anti-Semites because they criticized an anti-Semite who happens to have been born Jewish.

Which brings us to McMaster.

In the article linked below we see calling Breitbart's Jerusalem bureau chief Aaron Klein an anti-Semite for reporting earlier today that McMaster worked for a think tank funded by Soros.

In the second article posted below from Frontpage Magazine's Daniel Greenfield we learn that the ADL has again sprung into action. No, it isn't attacking the Forward for calling Mort Klein. It is attacking McMaster critic Mike Cernovich alleging he is an anti-Semite. As Greenfield notes in the link below, this from a group that gave a hechsher to Jew hating Keith Ellison when he ran to lead the Democratic National Committee, was silent on the California imam who called for the genocide of world Jewry and can't decide if it has an opinion one way or another about Jew hating Linda Sarsour.

As Daniel and others point out, it is quite notable that people who despise Trump and attack him at every opportunity are lining up to defend McMaster.
35  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Science, Culture, & Humanities / Re: Survivalist, Prepper/prepping issues on: August 08, 2017, 10:23:29 PM
Just bought a shit load of good-for-thiry-years food.
36  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: The Trump Transition/Administration on: August 08, 2017, 10:21:37 PM
Anyway, with thermonuclear war on the horizon, now may not be the time to change the National Security Advisor , , , shocked
37  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Sanity from the American College of Pediatrics on: August 08, 2017, 10:20:05 PM
38  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / They were for it until Trump was for it on: August 08, 2017, 11:51:26 AM
Third post
39  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: US Economics, the stock market , and other investment/savings strategies on: August 08, 2017, 11:41:03 AM
In the words of Scott Grannis, upon my forwarding that to him:

"Yes. And it’s shocking: in 10 years credit card debt outstanding has managed to increase by a whopping $1 billion! In inflation adjusted terms it has fallen by 10%. Relative to nominal GDP it has fallen by almost 25%. The sky is falling!"
40  DBMA Martial Arts Forum / Martial Arts Topics / NYPD vs. Dunkin' Donuts on: August 08, 2017, 11:16:59 AM
41  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / The Jew who invented a Muslim Country on: August 08, 2017, 11:14:44 AM
42  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: The Trump Transition/Administration on: August 08, 2017, 09:34:59 AM
see my post three above  grin
43  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / State Immigration Laws on: August 08, 2017, 09:34:03 AM
44  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Los Cabos beach shooting on: August 08, 2017, 09:09:57 AM
45  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Some Israeli support for McMaster on: August 08, 2017, 09:05:31 AM
46  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Napolitano: Sanctuary Cities Funding on: August 08, 2017, 08:56:49 AM
pasting CCP's post here:
47  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / VDH on Mattis and McMaster on: August 08, 2017, 08:54:56 AM
48  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Science, Culture, & Humanities / The death of Big Oil on: August 07, 2017, 11:47:25 PM
49  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Science, Culture, & Humanities / The Sun did it on: August 07, 2017, 09:07:16 PM
50  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Caveat Lector: Malaysia bans book promoting moderate Islam on: August 07, 2017, 07:09:21 PM
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