Thursday, May 30, 2013

Palestinians Want U.S. Cash, Not Peace. By Jonathan S. Tobin.

Palestinians Want U.S. Cash, Not Peace. By Jonathan S. Tobin. Commentary, May 28, 2013.

The Palestinian Excuse Machine. By Jonathan S. Tobin. Commentary, May 30, 2013.

Tobin (Cash, Not Peace):

While this is another humiliating setback for Kerry, it’s actually far more significant than that. It exposes the fallacy at the heart of most efforts to create peace between Jews and Arabs for the last century.

Almost from the beginning of the Jewish return to their ancient homeland, many Zionists as well as their foreign friends thought the Arabs inside the country as well as those in neighboring lands would be won over to the new reality once they realized that the Jews brought development and prosperity with them. The influx into the country created tremendous growth even as the conflict escalated over the course of the first half of the 20th century. Throughout this era, Labor Zionists who combined a desire to rebuild the Jewish presence with socialist ideology believed Arab rejectionism was a function of the exploitation of the masses by an elite that profited from conflict. They thought once it was understood that all would benefit from peace and reconciliation, Palestinian Arab workers and peasants would welcome the Jews. Even hardheaded pragmatists like David Ben Gurion thought this way for a long time. They were wrong.

The Palestinian rejection of the Jews might have been exacerbated by the displacement of some Arab peasants whose landlords sold to Jews but the underlying animosity was always based in a refusal to accept the legitimacy of the idea that Jews would now be equal partners, let alone have sovereignty over part of the land. Only a few Jewish leaders, like Ben Gurion’s nationalist rival, Vladimir Ze’ev Jabotinsky understood that the Arabs could not be bought with prosperity. For them the conflict was about honor and religion, not money. He predicted that only when they gave up their last hope that the Jews could be pushed out or reduced to Dhimmi status would they ever make peace.

But the na├»ve misconception that the Arabs would realize that coexistence would be good for all persisted long after Israel was born in 1948 amid wars that would continue for decades. Shimon Peres launched the effort that led to the Oslo Peace Accords in large measure on the belief that an agreement would lead to a “New Middle East” where Israel and its Arab neighbors would come to resemble a Mediterranean version of the wealthy Benelux countries. But as Israelis who greeted Oslo with euphoria learned to their sorrow, the Palestinians didn’t care about becoming part of a new Benelux. They embraced terror because they valued the campaign to destroy Israel over their own economic well-being and even the lives of their children.

The last and perhaps most pathetic proof that the conflict isn’t about money came in 2005 when American philanthropists purchased the green houses of Israeli settlers in Gaza at the time of Ariel Sharon’s withdrawal from the strip in order to hand them over to the Palestinians. But rather than become the new owners of a prosperous agricultural infrastructure, the Palestinians destroyed the green houses in a fit of anger that encapsulated their hatred for the Jews.

The same spirit is very much alive today in the West Bank where Palestinian reformer Salam Fayyad remains a man without a party or a constituency because his people value the violence of Fatah and Hamas over his program of good governance and development. Logically the Palestinians should have embraced Kerry’s offer since it promises to boost Palestinian employment by two-thirds and raise wages by 40 percent. But it remains a loser in a political culture in which any plan that would recognize the legitimacy of a Jewish state no matter where its borders would be drawn remains anathema.

The moral of the story is that it doesn’t matter how high a priority either the United States or Israel places on peace or how much an agreement would be to the Palestinians material advantage. They continue to regard economic incentives as merely yet another Western attempt to “buy” their birthright that they reject. They might like the cash — which will hopefully not be wasted or go into the pockets of the Fatah-run kleptocracy in the West Bank that has gobbled so many billions donated to their people in the last 20 years. But it won’t lead to peace. It’s a simple lesson but one which idealistic and foolish Westerners and Jews have refused to learn.

The Genetic Legacy of Niall of the Nine Hostages.

A Y-Chromosome Signature of Hegemony in Gaelic Ireland. By Laoise T. Moore et al. American Journal of Human Genetics, Vol. 78 No. 2 (February 2006). Also here and here.

Are you a descendant of Irish King Niall of the Nine Hostages. Florida Irish Heritage Center, August 19, 2011.

Medieval Irish warlord boasts three million descendants. New Scientist, January 18, 2006.

High King Niall: The most fertile man in Ireland. By Jan Battles. Sunday Times of London, January 15, 2006.

Niall of the Nine Hostages: DNA meets a legend. Irish Genealogy Toolkit.

The Death of Niall of the Nine Hostages. Celtic Literature Collective.

Niall of the Nine Hostages. Wikipedia.

Annals of the Four Masters. CELT.

List of High Kings of Ireland. Wikipedia.

The Death of Niall of the Nine Hostages

Nicole Brannock Gross, Victim in Iconic Boston Bombing Photo, Tells Her Story For First Time.

Nicole Brannock Gross was cheering for her mother near the Boston Marathon’s finish line when a bomb went off. John Tlumacki’s now iconic photo.

Nicole Brannock Gross, victim in iconic Boston bombing photo, tells her story for first time. CBS This Morning, May 29, 2013. Also find video here.

Nicole Brannock Gross, Victim In Boston Marathon Bombing Photo, Gives CBS Interview With Family. The Huffington Post, May 29, 2013.

Marathon victims and sisters Nicole Gross and Erika Brannock give each other support. By Bella English. Boston Globe, May 10, 2013.

Boston bomb survivor whose sister was pictured in iconic photo reveals how she suffered nightmares while recovering from amputated leg in same hospital as attacker. By Lydia Warren. Daily Mail, May 29, 2013.

Symbol of Boston tragedy revealed: Womanin the iconic image the Boston Marathon bombings is identified as Nicole Gross. By Jonathan Lemire. New York Daily News, April 16, 2013.

More on Boston bombing here, here, here, here, herehere, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here,

Ashley Jessica, Student Activist, Says She Was Violated During TSA Pat-Down.

Ashley Jessica, Student Activist, Says She Was Violated During TSA Pat-Down (with video). The Huffington Post, May 29, 2013. Video at YouTube.

Vagina Pat-Down at SoCal Airport Goes Viral (with video). By Dennis Romero. LA Weekly, May 29, 2013.

Ashley Jessica Twitter.

More Peace, Less Process. By Ben Cohen.

More Peace, Less Process: The Key to Israeli-Palestinian Negotiations. By Ben Cohen. The Algemeiner, May 28, 2013.

Buidling the Positive Peace: The Urgent Need to Bring the Israeli-Palestinian Conflict Back to Basics. By Kobi Michael and Joel Fishman. Jewish Political Studies Review, Vol. 24, Nos. 3-4 (Fall 2012). Also find it here.

Is Jerusalem Really Negotiable? An Analysis of Jerusalem’s Place in the Peace Process. By Alan Baker. Jewish Political Studies Review, Vol. 24, Nos. 3-4 (Fall 2012). Also find it here.

Indivisible Jerusalem. Video. TheJeruaslemCenter, April 14, 2012. YouTube.

U.S. Meritocracy Has Given Way to Aristocracy. By Erick Erickson.

Go Big or Go Home. By Erick Erickson. RedState, May 29, 2013.

The Path Forward for Conservative Reform. By Ben Domenech. Real Clear Politics, May 28, 2013.

The GOP Coalition Wants More Than Just Limited Government. By Conor Friedersdorf. The Atlantic, May 30, 2013.

The Importance of the Limited Government Brand. By Ben Domenech. Real Clear Politics, May 31, 2013.

A Note on Bridging the Gap Between Conservative Theory and Pracitce. By Jake (Diary). RedState, May 31, 2013.


In truth, I think it will take a magnetic personality to pull the GOP out of the gutter. We live in an age of personality politics. But that personality will have to have a message that resonates with the American public. What resonates right now with the American public is a deep-seated distrust of government. Any Republican way forward must capitalize on this. In other words, the faces in Washington who can play the role are very limited to people like Ted Cruz, Rand Paul, and — if immigration can go away as an issue and the base forgives him — Marco Rubio.

The message to seize on is pretty straight forward. Under Republican and Democrat policies in Washington, particularly accelerated in the past five years, the United States meritocracy has given way to an aristocracy.

Only those of means can get ahead. Increasingly, they view their role as making life comfortable for the less well off instead of enabling the less well off to become well off. Wall Street, banks, major corporations, politicians, bureaucrats, lobbyists, and the rich are the only ones who can prosper because they are the only ones who can either navigate the system or afford to pay others who can figure out how to navigate the system.

For the rest of Americans, from small business to the middle class, the only path is one of dependence on a governmental structure too byzantine to figure out and, should one be smart enough to figure out, too costly through litigation, regulation, and complication to navigate through.

An America where, as Lincoln said, every man can make himself, is replaced by an America where men are made by how the government takes care of their individual circumstances. Students are no longer trained to be creative, entrepreneurial citizens, but to be workers for others. The self-employed are encumbered to the point of needing to be employees of others. The nuclear family is disincentivized and destabilized.

The America where one could work hard and get ahead is less and less possible because Democrats wish to force us all onto a safety net on which all are entangled, ensnared, and punished if we escape. Republicans, for fear of being disliked, would rather nibble at numbers than paint a picture of a better America for everyone.

Just one fact worth noting: under the present system, enabled by Republican and Democrat alike, a single mother on $29,000.00 a year and government benefits would have to get to $60,000.00 in salary to make it worth her getting off the safety net. This is a bipartisan construct, but one only an outsider conservative can build a campaign around fixing to the betterment of the single mom and everyone else.

But, to begin, the Republicans must be able to relate. With distrust in government at an all time high, a relatable Republican is probably going to be a guy who hates the status quo, not one who talks Washington wonkspeak.


There is a healthy acceptance on the part of a significant number of influential intellectual and policy elites that the state of conservatism is not strong, and that it requires reform. But do they understand why that reform is necessary? It is because the Republican Party has failed to connect with people, has failed to meet the test of competency, and has failed to live up to its promises.

Justice Scalia once wrote, “Campaign promises are—by long democratic tradition—the least binding form of human commitment.” One could explain much about what the Republican Party has done over the past fifteen years, and even earlier, as an effort to prove Scalia thoroughly correct. The goals of limited government, fiscal responsibility, traditional values, and strong defense have been an ever-present litany of bullet points from Republican politicians – but talking about limited government and actually delivering on it are two very different things. As the representatives of conservatism in the political square, the Republican Party has proved to be an abject failure at delivering to the people what they promised.

There are numerous reasons for this. Under President Bush, it was largely because the core of his policy team never believed in limited government anyway, and the challenge of an unexpected terrorist attack and their subsequent push into security buildout and two wars pushed any limited government efforts beyond the initial tax reform to the side. The failure of the Bush administration to meet its core conservative promise led to dissatisfaction in the limited government ranks, and the failure of Republican competency – not just in war, but in disaster relief, and in character – led to the 2006 rebuff. The response to the financial crisis made this frustration explode in an organic outpouring of disgust and distrust toward government institutions which led directly to the rise of the Tea Party.

As Sean Trende has pointed out on numerous occasions, the Republican Party has won not so much when it was conservative as when it was populist, the Contract With America being the most prominent modern example of a government reform agenda packaged for a dissatisfied electorate. The Tea Party kept this trend alive: this movement dramatically altered the makeup of the Republican Party on Capitol Hill: today, the overwhelming majority of House Republicans arrived after the 2006 election, and half the caucus came from 2010 on. It had an enormous impact on the governorships of major states as well. These are politicians who have fewer establishment credentials – some of them not even a college degree – and tend to be far more libertarian-leaning than preceding classes. But they are also far more populist, and more averse to negotiation on matters of principle, which they view as a betrayal of the base which put them in power. That’s why things like sequestration, a nightmare for the Washington elites, have actually happened: this crew wants, more than anything, to live up to their promises.

The choice for the Republican Party is whether to invest more in the 2010 strategy of this populist strain, to refine it and connect more policy proposals to it . . . or to embark on an effort to restore the party’s standing as the adult in the room – the competent, clean cut, good-government technocracy that sees the chief appeal of Republican politicians as combining agencies and seeking out efficiencies rather than rolling back government power and draining bureaucratic swamps. The GOP swung back to this technocratic approach on a national scale in 2012, and let’s just say the electoral results left much to be desired.
. . . .

The Republican Party needs to understand that shrinking its policy aims to more modest solutions is not going to be rewarded by the electorate. Yes, they need to tailor their message better and find policy wedges which peel off chunks of the Democratic base (winning political strategy is built on an understanding that every drama needs a hero, a martyr, and a villain). But what’s truly essential is that the party leadership rid themselves of the notion that politeness, great hair, and reform for efficiency’s sake is a ballot box winner, and understand instead that politicians who can connect with the people and deliver on their limited government promises – not ones who back away from them under pressure – represent the path forward.

How to Get a Job. By Thomas L. Friedman.

How to Get a Job. By Thomas L. Friedman. New York Times, May 28, 2013.

Friedman on Jobs. Video. Meet the Press. NBC News, June 2, 2013.

Video transcript:

FRIEDMAN: Well, that’s the tragedy for him. It’s a tragedy for all of us. Because we are in the middle, I would argue, David, of a huge inflection where two points I would make about this moment. One is that the – the thing that sustained the American middle class for 50 years was something called high wage middle skill jobs. There is no such thing anymore as a high wage middle skill job. There’s only going to be a high wage high skill job. So every decent middle class job today is actually being pulled in three directions at once. It’s being pulled higher. It takes more skill to have. It’s being pulled out. More software, robots, automation and people around the world can compete for it. And it’s being pulled down. It’s being outsourced to history, to the past, being made obsolete faster.

I had an experience a couple of weeks ago. I had to deal with Hertz for a pretty complicated change in reservation. For the first time I did the entire transaction with Hertz without any human interaction. This was a complicated interaction I had. It really made a point of that. So what’s been happening to blue collar jobs, that kind of Pac-man of automation outsourcing and digitization is now coming after white collar jobs as well. This requires a huge strategic response from the country.

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