Thursday, August 28, 2014
How I Know Israel Won the Gaza War – Forward Thinking – Forward.com:
by Brent Salsey
"...four things stand out for the immediate future. First, it is clear that Israel has won the war. Much of Hamas’s military capabilities have been degraded or used up, its regional allies are few and far between (and themselves bereft of much regional influence), and none of its efforts to achieve a tactical victory over Israel succeeded. In addition, the United States and many European governments are now talking about demilitarizing Gaza (essentially, disarming Hamas and the smaller jihadist groups) as part of a longer-term process to resolve the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. All of these tilt the balance of power in Israel’s favor.
Read more: http://blogs.forward.com/forward-thinking/204809/how-i-know-israel-won-the-gaza-war/#ixzz3BiVHee65"
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Wednesday, August 27, 2014
This makes sense. After two years on ssd you get Medicare. Get off ssd you lose it. But if you can afford health insurance you'll keep working because you have to stop working to get on ssd. And there is a five month waiting period. And the approval process is slow. How would you pay even your subsidized ACA premiun if you quit work?
|Guillotining f King Louis XVI|
The impulse to attack ISIS after the savage beheading of American photojournalist James Foley was strong. But this story reminds one that such savagery is not an ISIS monopoly, as "our bastards" do the same thing. And I suppose one should remember the French Revolution and the execution by guillotine of King Louis XVI. - gwc
American Fighting for ISIS Is Killed in Syria - NYTimes.com:
FP Interview with Martin Indyk (former U.S. mid-east Ambassador)
"one can, in a sense, look at the long arc of the relationship and say everything's going to be all right. But where it won't be all right is for Israel itself, because as nice as it is to have strategic alignments, none of that solves Israel's existential problem: What is it going to do about the 2.6 million Palestinians it has responsibility for now? And if it doesn't find a way to resolve that issue, that existential dilemma, if Israel continues to control 2.6 million Palestinians in the West Bank, it's going to have to decide sooner rather than later whether it's a democracy or a Jewish state, but it won't be able to be both.
I witnessed it during these negotiations. The younger generation of Palestinians who have grown up knowing nothing but Israeli occupation don't believe in a two-state solution, don't believe there will ever be an independent Palestinian state. They want equal rights in Israel. And that's where this is heading. And then Israel will find itself in a really serious dilemma. It's only a matter of time. And no matter how strong the relationship is between the United States and Israel, it's not going to help solve that dilemma unless Israelis decide that they want to resolve it"
"David Rothkopf: How has what happened in Gaza altered the dynamics of the peace process?
And once the dust settles, we may have a politically weakened [Prime Minister Benjamin] Netanyahu as well. There was already the problem of distrust between the people and the leadership -- I'm afraid that's just going to be compounded by what's happened [in Gaza]. "
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Tuesday, August 26, 2014
Governor Cuomo’s Failure on Ethics Reform Hinders an Endorsement - NYTimes.com:
"Ms. Teachout brings a refreshing seriousness to the job of cleaning up state government, making a strong case for the urgency of rescuing politics from unchecked corporate power. The centerpiece of her platform is a campaign finance system modeled on the matching funds program that has proved successful in New York City."
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Monday, August 25, 2014
The Last And First Temptation Of Israel « The Dish: "What is one to make of the fact that the deputy speaker of the Knesset has called for ethnic cleansing in Gaza?"
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I think I get it now. Rand Paul studied opthalmology but he missed the class about astigmatism, so everything is blurry. He can't figure out the difference between Fairness and Freedom. They both start with the Big F but the letters after that get blurry. - gwc
"The hard part--and this is the hard part about believing in freedom--is that if you believe in the first amendment, for example, you have to, for example, most believers in the first amendment will believe in abhorrent groups standing up and saying awful things. We're here at the bastion of newspaperdom. I'm sure you believe in the first amendment. You understand that people can say bad things. It's the same way with other behaviors. In a free society we will tolerate boorish people who have abhorrent behavior, but if we are civilized people we publicly criticize that and don't belong to those groups or don't associate with those people..." Rand Paul
Mowing the Grass and Taking out the Trash:
by Daniel Byman
"If Hamas cannot be fully defeated, and if isolating it politically and economically makes it more likely to lash out, then the Israeli goal should be to use deterrence as part of a broader strategy to transform Hamas. Because Hamas cares about governing Gaza as well as defeating Israel, it should be given a stark choice: If it ends its own violence and launches a full crackdown on other militant groups in Gaza, the Israeli and Egyptian blockade of Gaza will be eased. Palestinian moderates, working with the international community and Israel's neighbors, would control crossings to prevent the smuggling of arms. If not, the blockade will remain, and Israel will strike Hamas leaders and at times conduct more massive military campaigns: In other words, the suffering will continue.
Under such a deal, Hamas will be given a true chance to govern -- but the price of that legitimacy is an end to violence. With this approach, Israel and its backers should change their policy toward Hamas's feud with Fatah. They should want Hamas to be tied to more moderate elements, and thus be part of a technocratic Palestinian unity government. Indeed, if Hamas is implicitly part of such a government, it strengthens Hamas's acceptance of peace and helps the Palestinian Authority regain its influence in Gaza. It also strengthens Palestinian moderates, showing that a peaceful path can lead to progress.
The good news is that negotiations underway in Cairo have all the elements of such a broader deal -- but politics on both sides stands in the way. Israel doesn't want to reward Hamas for the latest round of violence and, in general, is skeptical that Hamas will ever transform into a more peaceful movement. Hamas, for its part, wants to retain the legitimacy it gains from the occasional use of violence and believes that only the threat of force will move Israel. The result, unfortunately, is that both the parties are only thinking of a short-term stopgap measure.
Mediators need to describe what a sustainable solution would look like, laying out specifics about Hamas's responsibilities to stop the violence and the extent and nature of the easing of the blockade of Gaza. Such an offer will lead to a crisis in Hamas from which Israel can only benefit. If Hamas rejects such terms, it will anger Gazans who want an end to violence, alienate any international support for the group, and legitimize a strong Israeli response. If Hamas accepts the offer, however, then it is implicitly accepting Israel's right to live in peace and moving away from violence. It would also compel the group to crack down on more violent groups in Gaza.
The transformation of Hamas will not occur overnight, and Israel may have to mow the grass again. But the stark choice should remain, allowing both Israelis and Palestinians a real chance for peace."
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8-Point Guide To Criticizing Israel the Right Way – Forward Thinking – Forward.com:
by Abraham Gutman
As an Israeli who lives in New York, I know that I can sometimes be unfair. On the one hand, I often get defensive when people criticize Israel. On the other, I can also get upset when people seem to blindly support Israel. Criticizing Israel is allowed, and even important for Israel’s wellbeing, but there is a right and a wrong way to do it. In that spirit, here are eight ground rules that I believe can help make the Israel debate more productive.
Read more: http://blogs.forward.com/forward-thinking/204624/-point-guide-to-criticizing-israel-the-right-way/#ixzz3BQg5yqhI
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BEIJING, Aug. 25 (Xinhua) -- A bill that would make it easier for citizens to bring court cases against the government went up for a second review on Monday.
An amendment that would broaden actionable cases against the government beyond the current restriction of "specific administrative acts" was put forth before the Standing Committee of the National People's Congress on the first day of their bimonthly review meeting.
The draft amendment was put forth to officials involved with Administrative Procedure Law.
Currently, citizens, companies and other organizations can only file suits against "specific administrative acts" by administrative agencies or personnel which they believe to have infringed their rights.
As Articles 11 and 12 explicitly list which kind of acts that are actionable, the amendment removes the word "specific," which sometimes is used by courts to throw out cases.
The extra restriction is one of the biggest roadblocks for citizens to sue the government.
According to a survey by Xiu Fujin, a member of the NPC Standing Committee, only 35.19 percent of cases filed against government agencies were accepted by courts in 2012.
Jiang Ming'an, professor of the Peking University, advised further easing of restrictions for such lawsuits.
Currently, courts can only punish an administrative act when it is deemed illegal. The draft allows acts that are "evidently unreasonable".
The draft also compels representatives of the administrations concerned to personally appear before the court. Currently, most defendants simply ask their lawyers to represent them in court, which often does little to help settle the dispute.
"Having them appear in court will also effectively promote the officials' awareness of the rule of law," Jiang said.
Another suggested change will see broadened responsibility, with the original department in question and the administration that reviewed the case listed as joint defendants. According to current law, an administrative agency that reviews another agency's actions will only be listed as a defendant if they change their original decision.
In the past, such stipulations have resulted in a reluctance to change controversial decisions to avoid being dragged into legal battles. In some situations, it has rendered the administrative review system ineffective.
The draft also extends time limits for hearings and how long plaintiffs have before filing suits.
The 1990 Administrative Procedure Law is a major guarantee for the citizens' right to pursue the government through the courts.
Because using administrative power in accordance with law is a key requirement in the rule of law, the draft amendment, which streamlines the administrative litigation procedures, is also expected to promote it, Jiang said.
Sunday, August 24, 2014
I am deeply skeptical of tribalist movements. Wherever I have encountered them it has been ugly - from the Jim Crow south to American "official English" campaigns, anti-Muslim rampages in India, Maratha nationalism when I lived just outside Bombay, and the Irish vote against birthright citizenship. The Jewish state is a special problem - because after the Nazi Holocaust Zionism was a perfectly understandable exodus and nation-building movement. But it wasn't the Palestinians who had been the oppressors, so they experienced it as a settler invasion. And that continues with a tribal ideology that justifies taking more Arab land.
Liberal Zionism seeks accommodation with Palestinians while insisting that a single state on all Israeli controlled territory threatens the Jewish majority. Palestinians, it is said, must remain a minority in Israel and citizenship remain full only for those who meet the sort of tribal criteria that we find unacceptable here as a violation of 14th Amendment equal protection principles. The most prominent defector among the intelligentsia, the late historian Tony Judt abandoned his youthful Zionism. The current Gaza war seems certain to harden lines. The "obvious and inevitable" two-state compromise seems to have lost its traction. And the single democratic state is a non-starter among Israelis, precisely because to Palestinians it looks like a path to Arab majority rule. - gwc
Israel’s Move to the Right Challenges Diaspora Jews - NYTimes.com:
by Antony Lerman
"[I]t’s not just Gaza, and the latest episode of “shock and awe” militarism. The romantic Zionist ideal, to which Jewish liberals — and I was one, once — subscribed for so many decades, has been tarnished by the reality of modern Israel. The attacks on freedom of speech and human rights organizations in Israel, the land-grabbing settler movement, a growing strain of anti-Arab and anti-immigrant racism, extremist politics, and a powerful, intolerant religious right — this mixture has pushed liberal Zionism to the brink. In the United States, trenchant and incisive criticism of Israeli policies by commentators like Peter Beinart, one of liberal Zionism’s most articulate and prolific voices, is now common. But the critics go only so far — not least to avoid giving succor to anti-Semites, who use the crisis as cover for openly expressing hatred of Jews."
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Saturday, August 23, 2014
|Texas Governor Rick Perry|
by Chris Ladd
"Kent Brockman: Professor, without knowing precisely what the danger is, would you say it’s time for our viewers to crack each other’s heads open and feast on the goo inside?
Professor: Mmm, yes I would, Kent.
The Simpsons, Season 5, Episode 11
In advance of his next big campaign, Texas Governor Rick Perry is learning from his 2012 mistakes and working to perfect his mastery of the paranoid style in American politics. Look closely at Perry’s remarks at the Heritage Institute this week and you’ll see a perfectly formed appeal to the modern Republican primary base. Sure, the delivery was wobbly and he had trouble pronouncing some of the words, but whoever built that speech understood exactly what a Republican politician needs to say to win. Perry attempted to tie the immigration debate to terrorism with the bizarre suggestion that Iraqi terrorists may be infiltrating the US along the fortified shores of the Rio Grande.
Here’s the relevant portion of his remarks from the video of the event (starts at 1:25:20):
“Certainly there is great concern that the border between the United States and Mexico is unsecure and we don’t know who’s using that. What I will share with you that we’ve seen historic high levels of individuals from countries with terrorist ties. “Over the course of the last months. I’ll give you one anecdotal picture of what’s happening. Three Ukrainian individuals were apprehended at a ranch in far West Texas within the last 60 days. So, I think there is the obvious great concern that because of the condition of the border from the standpoint of it not being secure and us not knowing who is penetrating across that individuals from ISIS or other terrorist states could be, and I think there is a very real possibility that they may have already used that. “We have no clear evidence of that, but your common sense tells you when we’ve seen the number of criminal activities that have occurred, and I’m talking about the assaults, the rapes, the murders, by individuals who have come into this country illegally over the last five years, the idea that they would not be looking at and managing any of those types of attacks from that region is not a good place to be.”"
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Israeli Teens Gripped by Virulent Racism – Forward.com: "(Haaretz) —
by Or Kashti
“For me, personally, Arabs are something I can’t look at and can’t stand,” a 10th-grade girl from a high school in the central part of the country says in abominable Hebrew. “I am tremendously racist. I come from a racist home. If I get the chance in the army to shoot one of them, I won’t think twice. I’m ready to kill someone with my hands, and it’s an Arab. In my education I learned that … their education is to be terrorists, and there is no belief in them. I live in an area of Arabs, and every day I see these Ishmaelites, who pass by the [bus] station and whistle. I wish them death.”
The student’s comments appear in a chapter devoted to ethnicity and racism among youth from a forthcoming book, “Scenes from School Life” (in Hebrew) by Idan Yaron and Yoram Harpaz. The book is based on anthropological observations made by Dr. Yaron, a sociologist, over the course of three years in a six-year, secular high school in the Israeli heartland – “the most average school we could find,” says Harpaz, a professor of education.
The book is nothing short of a page-turner, especially now, following the overt displays of racism and hatred of the Other that have been revealed in the country in the past month or so. Maybe “revealed” isn’t the right word, as it suggests surprise at the intensity of the phenomenon. But Yaron’s descriptions of what he saw at the school show that such hatred is a basic everyday element among youth, and a key component of their identity.
Yaron portrays the hatred without rose-colored glasses or any attempt to present it as a sign of social “unity.” What he observed is unfiltered hatred. One conclusion that arises from the text is how little the education system is able – or wants – to deal with the racism problem.
Not all educators are indifferent or ineffective. There are, of course, teachers and others in the realm of education who adopt a different approach, who dare to try and take on the system. But they are a minority. The system’s internal logic operates differently.
Much of the chapter on racism revolves around the Bible lessons in a ninth-grade class, whose theme was revenge. “The class starts, and the students’ suggestions of examples of revenge are written on the blackboard,” the teacher told Yaron. A student named Yoav “insists that revenge is an important emotion. He utilizes the material being studied to hammer home his semi-covert message: All the Arabs should be killed. The class goes into an uproar. Five students agree with Yoav and say openly: The Arabs should be killed.”"
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Friday, August 22, 2014
Legal Ethics Forum: Kentucky Supremes strike down pleas with waivers of IAC claims:
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Wednesday, August 20, 2014
|David Grossman at peace rally|
David Grossman mustered his usual eloquence at a Peace Now rally in Rabin Square, Tel Aviv on Sunday, just before the latest round of now-failed negotiations. J.J. Goldberg translates, followed by remarks by liberal Orthodox Rabbi Yuval Sherlow's open letter reply. Goldberg says Sherlow "concedes many of Grossman’s sharpest critiques, but insists that Grossman fails to acknowledge “the other sides of the coin” — the still-vital humanity within the Israeli public, the implacability often facing Israel from its enemies — and so alienates a large audience that Sherlow wishes the novelist could reach." Frankly I think Sherlow is blowing smoke. The courage that is needed is by Zionists to reject the ideology that justifies continuing to take Palestinian land without compensation, and the courage to see Palestinian oppression and to make a political settlement with their enemies. - GWC
|Rabbi Yuval Sherlow|
"But what must change this time, after this war, is the spirit of things. To my mind this is one of the main reasons we’ve come and gathered here this evening. To remind those who negotiate in our name with the Palestinians in Cairo that even if the people of Gaza are enemies today, they will always be our neighbors, and that is the spirit of things. We will always live beside one another, and this fact has meaning, because my neighbor’s downfall is not necessarily my victory, and my neighbor’s welfare is in the end my welfare. But above all we have gathered here this evening to voice a demand that the central provision in the agreement they are trying to draft in Cairo will say the following: that after the cease-fire is stabilized, Israel and the Palestinian Authority, as represented by the Palestinian unity government, will open direct talks whose goal is to bring peace between the two peoples. That’s how it has to be, without hesitation, without stammering, without grieving, perhaps without clear, sharp declarations of intention by the two sides. Because if after a war like this, after its terrors, after its results, Israel does not initiate such a step, there will be only one explanation: that Israel prefers the certainty of repeated wars over the risks involved in the compromises that bring peace. And we will know that Israel’s current leader is not prepared, does not dare to go down the path of peace because he is afraid to pay the price, especially the price of withdrawing from the West Bank and evacuating the settlements. Friends, this moment of decision might come tomorrow, or perhaps the day after, or perhaps in a month, but it could be that we will suddenly discover that it is very near and it will be a sort of acid test that will tell us in the clearest fashion whether or not Israel is trying with all its might to reach peace or whether it chooses another war."
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Tuesday, August 19, 2014
by Andrew Sprung
"A typical account of Hillary Clinton's assessment of Obama's foreign policy in the Goldberg interview ran like this one in the New York Times:
"Her blunt public criticism of the president’s foreign policy in The Atlantic this week touched off frustration among Mr. Obama’s advisers and supporters, especially her suggestion that under Mr. Obama, the United States lacked an “organizing principle” in its approach to international relations. “ ‘Don’t do stupid stuff’ is not an organizing principle,” Mrs. Clinton said."
Three things to note about this takeaway:
1. Clinton didn't say that "don't do stupid stuff" is Obama's organizing principle, or that he lacks one. In fact she said the opposite.
2. The "organizing principle" that Clinton articulated, when pressed, is indistinguishable from Obama's, and, just like Obama's, incorporates "don't do stupid shit" but doesn't end there (though the particulars of her favored policies on specific issues may quite different, in disturbing ways -- more on this at bottom).
3. Obama has articulated that principle continually since his first year in office.
Point 1: Here is the full text of what Clinton said with respect to the "don't do stupid stuff" mantra:.... "
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by J.J. Goldberg - Jewish Daily Forward
"The lesson, as we’ll see, was that there’s a difference between what’s traditionally known as anti-Semitism and the recent wave of hostility toward Jews on various continents. The old anti-Semitism was a hatred of Jews because of myths and fantasies disconnected from reality like drinking Christians’ blood or killing God. The new anti-Semitism includes some of that, but it starts with something else: an anger at Jews over something that actually happened. Israel was created on land that Muslims, like it or not, considered part of their sacred waqf, the indivisible House of Islam. Many Muslims haven’t gotten over it. Hey, Osama bin Laden wanted Spain back. Moreover, thousands of Palestinians were displaced, which generates its own anger. And many more Muslims get angry when they see large numbers of fellow Muslims getting killed, as happens periodically. There may be good reasons why those deaths happened, but not everyone is open to reason. Some hotheads will look for a target to vent their anger. Some thugs might blow up a bus in Haifa. Others might attack Israel’s best friends in, say, Paris. This doesn’t excuse, it explains. Explaining is the first step toward solving. Rage at Israel can lead to actions that are thuggish, sometimes criminal, occasionally murderous. But it’s not necessarily the same as the world’s oldest hatred. It’s a fine distinction, but an important one. If someone hates you because of a delusion, there’s nothing you can do. If a person is angry with you because of something that actually happened, you have choices."
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Sunday, August 17, 2014
‘Ending the siege is not a Hamas demand – it is a Palestinian one’ | +972 Magazine:
Ending the siege is not a “Hamas demand.” It is the people’s demand. Gaza is still under occupation—it is an open jail. Israel always says, “We withdrew, we gave them land to control…” I am always shocked when I hear this line repeated by someone on CNN. The borders are completely controlled by Israel, the sea is completely controlled by Israel. The airspace is completely controlled by Israel. The crossings are completely controlled by Israel, aside from one crossing, controlled by Egypt—and this is now closed as well.
by Chris Ladd
"By trying to take Perry down on the tenuous grounds of “abuse of power,” the Travis County DA is unintentionally obscuring a far more important investigation. Her reasoning, probably, was that this was the only way to rescue the Public Integrity Unit’s inquiry into the Governor’s other activities. Unfortunately, Lehmberg is up against two miserable problems.
The first problem is that she is utterly compromised. The only lasting images likely to emerge from this complex mess are the pictures of her making an ass of herself during her arrest. The larger problem is that prosecuting public corruption in Texas is nearly impossible because of the shape of the legal and political landscape.
By playing this desperate gambit, Lehmberg is not only likely to lose. Her actions may finish off Travis County’s public integrity unit, effectively snuffing out what little light of scrutiny still shines on the art of Texas political corruption. Trying to take down Rick Perry on a such a trivial, clearly political matter is an embarrassment. This is a guy who let a major campaign donor, Bob Perry, write his own regulatory scheme to regulate his own industry. The Governor then appointed Bob Perry to head the “watchdog” agency that the legislation created.
Perry appointed the head of one of Texas’ most powerful payday lenders to head the agency that regulates payday lending. He presides over a half-billion dollar “investment fund” fueled by state money which he hands out to well connected friends with no oversight.
And the best that the Travis County DA’s Office can do is indict him for hounding a prosecutor with a criminal record? Ultimately, why is Perry being charged with something so seemingly trivial? Just as in the DeLay case, it is very difficult to find a form of public corruption in Texas that actually breaks a law. The core of the problem is that virtually nothing that passes for public corruption elsewhere in the western world is illegal in Texas. Under Perry’s influence and with little legislation or oversight to stand in the way, Texas has become America’s champion of blatant, unapologetic, and remarkably uncreative public corruption. No one ever goes to prison for it, not even Tom DeLay. Perry is unlikely to be an exception.
Texas has an unpaid Legislature. Think that over for a minute. Just as every new prisoner supposedly must fight for his life or become someone’s bitch, each new Legislator has to immediately decide which collection of donors and lobbyists is going to pay his rent in Austin. How do you prosecute public corruption in a system built on those rules? The Travis County courts can do whatever they will. It doesn’t matter. Just as in the DeLay case, Perry would appeal any conviction into a system of Appellate Judges he constructed. Many of them he hand-picked across his record 15 years in office. The rest of them owe their livelihood to the Texas Republican machine.
The charges against Perry might be a minor factor in his Presidential ambitions, but no one was going to take him seriously at that level anyway. It will cost Perry some of the money which has been donated by the people he takes care of. It is unlikely to force him to dip into the millions in wealth God has granted him over the course of his public service career. You can bet that appearances at a few prayer breakfasts will shake loose whatever cash he needs to earn vindication. This indictment is little more than a frustrated prosecutor spitting defiantly in the wind. She should have passed on this. By doubling down on a compromised investigation she is gambling the future of Texas’ only major institution for public integrity on a very bad hand."
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Cairo Truce Hopes Fading As Sides Stiffen Terms – J.J. Goldberg – Forward.com: "Indications are mounting that the indirect Israeli-Palestinian cease-fire talks in Cairo could be heading for failure, possibly resulting in renewed fighting when the current 5-day truce expires Monday night. Early reports were that the two sides were close to agreement on an Egyptian compromise proposal for a long-term cease-fire. On Friday and Saturday, however, declarations on both sides indicated that positions were hardening as fierce internal divisions emerged, pulling the leaderships on both sides away from the center.
The Palestinian side appears to be stymied by the refusal of the organization’s Qatar-based political secretary, Khaled Meshaal, and the head of its military wing, Mohammed Deif, to go along with the compromise proposals laid out by the Egyptians and mostly accepted by both delegations.
On the Israeli side, meanwhile, chaos appears to be reigning. Prime Minister Netanyahu, who rode a wave of popularity during the military operation, has been facing a tsunami of criticism over the past week from the left, the right, the residents of Gaza-adjacent communities and his top coalition ministers. Two of his senior coalition partners, foreign minister Avigdor Liberman of the Yisrael Beiteinu party and economics minister Naftali Bennett of the Jewish Home party, have repeatedly attacked the prime minister’s management of the Gaza conflict from the right, demanding a continuing assault until Gaza has been taken over and Hamas disarmed or dismantled. Broad circles on the right accuse him of giving away the store (i.e. lifting the blockade) in return for “nothing” (i.e. Hamas-Jihad agreement not to shoot, bombard or tunnel).
The other coalition partners, justice minister Tzipi Livni of Hatnuah and finance minister Yair Lapid of Yesh Atid, have been pressing Netanyahu from the left, demanding that he seek to end the fighting by convening an international Middle East peace conference in cooperation with the Arab League. The goal of the conference would be to negotiate an agreement for an independent Palestinian state in the West Bank and Gaza. Netanyahu hasn’t said no to either minister, by some accounts because he’ll need their votes in the cabinet for the limited cease-fire he’s aiming to obtain in Cairo"
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Saturday, August 16, 2014
|`Hands Up, Don't shoot' - Ferguson. Missouri Scott Olson//Getty Images|
|Militants of ISIL, formerly known as al Qaeda in Mesopotamia|
by Hussein Ibish
"One of the most alarming features of Arab responses to the rise of the Islamic State (IS) in Syria and Iraq is a persistent pattern of neurotic denial in the form of conspiracy theories and other escapist fantasies. But running away from the truth will only complicate the ability of Arab states and societies to comprehend where the IS came from, how it has unexpectedly managed to surge into so much power so quickly, and how it can be effectively countered.
One of the most persistent and widespread delusions is that the IS did not, in fact, emerge from Sunni Muslim communities in Iraq and Syria over the course of the wars there in the past decade. Instead, it is increasingly asserted, the IS is a creature of, and was established by, intelligence services such as the CIA or the Israeli Mossad. An extraordinarily large number of Arabs, Muslims and others appear to have taken refuge in these conspiracy theories. Call it Baghdadi Denial Syndrome. The most outlandish version circulating online holds that IS leader and "caliph" Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi is, in fact, a Jewish actor named Elliot Shimon, or some such plausibly-Jewish name. Shimon, it's laughably alleged, was trained for a year by the Mossad in various skills, including theology and rhetoric."
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Wednesday, August 13, 2014
Audio interview with Prof. George Annas, Harvard Medical School
At the tail end of this year's Supreme Court term, religious freedom came into sharp conflict with the government's interest in providing affordable access to health care. In a consolidated opinion in Burwell v. Hobby Lobby Stores andConestoga Wood Specialties Corp. v. Burwell (collectively known as Hobby Lobby) delivered on June 30, the Court sided with religious freedom, highlighting the limitations of our employment-based health insurance system.***
BUFFER ZONES, BUBBLE ZONES, AND ABORTION CLINICS — ANOTHER WOMEN'S HEALTH CASE
Paris Eliades the State Bar President has issued a distress call. But neither the recall issue nor the proposal to fix the constitution, perhaps by extending the retirement age to seventy five, is mentioned. - GWC
Dear Governor Christie, Senate President Stephen Sweeney and Senate Minority Leader Kean:
New Jersey's judiciary is facing a crisis.
With 52 vacancies and another 12 looming, our judges are stretched beyond reason. They are struggling to meet the justifiable needs of the citizens of this state who have every right to look to their courts to settle their grievances in the manner contemplated by the constitution and our democracy.
As a result of these unprecedented numbers, judges are carrying staggering caseloads and court officials are turning to desperate measures, leading to delays and hardships for people seeking divorces, the resolution of business disputes and many other cases.
In recent years, these measures have forced Assignment Judges in Essex and Union county to halt the consideration of certain cases and just last week Bergen County imposed limitations on family and civil trials. The staggering number of vacancies means that such measures are likely to increase if immediate relief is not provided.
As Bergen County Assignment Judge Peter E. Doyne said last week in published reports: "I have asked everyone to work harder, but there is only so much to be done."
The solution lies in your capable hands.***
Paris P. Eliades, President
New Jersey State Bar Association
August 13, 2014
Tuesday, August 12, 2014
by James Fallows
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Hedges, lies and pablum: Clinton to Goldberg | xpostfactoid:
by Andrew Sprung
"In a prior post, I may have overemphasized the hedge element in Hillary Clinton's interview with Jeffrey Goldberg, published Sunday. Hedging her criticisms of current policy and her interventionist impulses was definitely a part of the performance. But that performance was equal parts hedges, bald-faced lies and pablum in support of an implied general propensity toward more aggressive action that itself may prove illusory.
For the lies, see Peter Beinart. Everything Clinton said about Netanyahu and his dealings with the Palestinians in his two spells as prime minister was untrue. He didn't "move toward a Palestinian state" in the mid-nineties, he didn't agree to a meaningful settlement freeze in 2009, he didn't engage with Assad in 2009-2010, he didn't offer the Palestinians "Barak-like options"--or any concrete proposals -- in the last round of negotiations that collapsed this spring, and he either never relinquished or has recently reaffirmed a determination never to give up security control of the West Bank. As for the assault on Gaza, Clinton simply parroted IDF talking points. "
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Air raid shelters work. Early warning works. The Iron Dome? Not so much. good for Raytheon, etc. And the placebo effect is good for Netanyahu. - gwc
The evidence that shows Iron Dome is not working | Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists:
"In the early weeks of July, the conflict between Palestinians in Gaza and Israel flared up again, resulting in a new round of large-scale rocket attacks, launched by Hamas, operating from Gaza, against Israeli population centers. The last such large-scale rocket attacks occurred in November 2012. Initially, the Israeli military responded to the rocket attacks with air strikes in Gaza, and with protective measures that include deployment of the Iron Dome rocket-defense system and a civil defense effort that includes an efficient system for early warning and sheltering of citizens. As of this writing, only one Israeli had died from Hamas fire, apparently from a mortar round (although that number increased with the Israeli invasion of the Gaza Strip begun late last week).
IRON DOME SLIDE SHOW
During the November 2012 conflict, a detailed review of a large number of photographs of Iron Dome interceptor contrails revealed that the rocket-defense system's success rate was very low—as low as 5 percent or, perhaps, even less. A variety of media outlets have attributed the low casualty number to the supposed effectiveness of the Iron Dome system, quoting Israeli officials as saying it has destroyed 90 percent of the Hamas rockets it targeted. But close study of photographic and video imagery of Iron Dome engagements with Hamas rockets—both in the current conflict and in the 2012 hostilities—shows that the low casualties in Israel from artillery rocket attacks can be ascribed to Israeli civil defense efforts, rather than the performance of the Iron Dome missile defense system. The collection of data for Iron Dome's performance in July 2014 is still in progress. The data we have collected so far, however, indicates the performance of Iron Dome has not markedly improved."
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Andrew Dwyer v. Cappell, 3rd Circuit, August 11, 2014Andrew Dwyer, a plaintiffs' employment discrimination lawyer in Newark, New Jersey has a strong litigation record. New Jersey's Law Against Discrimination permits awards of counsel fees to be paid to victorious claimants. To gain that remedy a judge must make a finding of fact regarding the value of the prevailing counsel's work. Judge William L'E Wertheimer made such a finding - one he complained about when he learned that Dwyer had featured it on his firm's website.
“The inescapable conclusion is . . . that
plaintiffs achieved a spectacular result when the
file was in the hands of Mr. Dwyer. . . . Mr.
Dwyer was a fierce, if sometimes not
disinterested advocate for his clients, and
through an offensive and defensive motion
practice and through other discovery methods
molded the case to the point where it could be
---Hon. William L. Wertheimer, J.S.C.
The New Jersey Supreme Court's Committee on Attorney Advertising - a disciplinary body - agreed and ordered he cease. The Court approved a prohibitory Guideline saying that such use was misleading - because a finding of fact is not an endorsement and represents only an assessment of an award on a particular occasion.
Dwyer challenged the Guideline in federal court and lost at the District level. The Third Circuit reversed. Although a disclosure might meet constitutional muster
"Because Guideline 3 effectively precludes advertising with accurate excerpts from judicial opinions on Dwyer’s website, it is unduly burdensome.
Guideline 3 as applied to Dwyer’s accurate quotes from judicial opinions thus violates his First Amendment right to advertise his commercial services. Requiring Dwyer to reprint in full on his firm’s website the opinions noted above is not reasonably related to preventing consumer deception. To the extent the excerpts of these opinions could possibly mislead the public, that potential deception is not clarified by Guideline 3. In any event, what is required by the Guideline overly burdens Dwyer’s right to advertise. "
|Israel's naval blockade of Gaza - a key issue in peace talks|
"Israel and the Palestinians are said to be near agreement on the terms for a long-term cease-fire for Gaza, following a day of talks in Cairo under Egyptian mediation. The Israeli team was reported by Yediot Ahronot’s Ynet news site to be heading back to Israel this evening to present the tentative agreements to Israel’s security cabinet. The 11-member Palestinian delegation includes five representatives of Mahmoud Abbas’s Palestinian Authority, including Azzam al-Ahmed, the delegation head, and delegation spokesman Qais Abd el-Karim of the Democratic Front for the Liberation of Palestine; four representatives of Hamas, including deputy political secretary Moussa Abu Marzouk; and two representatives of Islamic Jihad. The Israeli delegation includes Shin Bet director Yoram Cohen; Defense Ministry political-diplomatic director Amos Gilad; coordinator of government activities in the territories Maj. Gen. Yoav “Pauly” Mordechai; director of the IDF planning directorate Maj. Gen. Nimrod Sheffer; and Yitzhak Molcho, Prime Minister Netanyahu’s personal lawyer."
Following are the terms of the emerging agreement, as reported on Israel’s Mako-Channel 2 News by veteran Arab affairs commentator Ehud Yaari and reporter Udi Segal:
Demanded by Israel:
*A complete halt to firing and hostile action from Gaza.
* Israeli control of border crossings to be opened between Gaza and Israel in the framework of the agreement.
* Payment of money and any other cash transfers to public workers in Gaza will be carried out only via the Palestinian Authority.
Demanded by Palestinian negotiators:
* Expansion of the coastal waters permitted by Israel to Gaza fishermen. The new limit to be determined by Israel according to its security needs.
* Reopening by Egypt of the Rafah crossing between Gaza and Sinai. Egypt conditions this on the placement of Mahmoud Abbas’s Palestinian Authority security forces on the Gaza side. Egypt is reportedly demanding 1,000 troops, a number that might be beyond the authority’s capacity.
* Significant expansion of the range and quantity of goods imported from Israel to Gaza. Ynet reports that the number of trucks entering Gaza daily will be roughly doubled to 600.
Mako reports that there’s no agreement on the Palestinian demand to permit free passage of Gaza residents to the West Bank and specifically to Al Aqsa mosque in East Jerusalem. Ynet reports, however, that Israel appears ready to increase the number of entry permits issued to Gaza residents for work in Israel and to broaden the criteria for admission of Gaza residents to the West Bank.
Read more: http://blogs.forward.com/jj-goldberg/203954/israel-hamas-near-long-term-deal-on-these-terms/?#ixzz3ACY02Dhw
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