Benjamin Netanyahu Appears To Secure Victory In Israeli Elections

After appearing to be behind in pre-election polling, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu seems to have secured a victory in Israel's elections.

Netanyahu Victory

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu appears to have led his Likud party to victory in Israel’s parliamentary elections, but any questions remain:

TEL AVIV — After a bruising campaign focused on his failings, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu of Israel won a clear victory in Tuesday’s elections and seemed all but certain to form a new government and serve a fourth term, though he offended many voters and alienated allies in the process.

With 99.5 percent of the ballots counted, the YNet news site reported Wednesday morning that Mr. Netanyahu’s Likud Party had captured 29 or 30 of the 120 seats in Parliament, sweeping past his chief rival, the center-left Zionist Union alliance, which got 24 seats.

Mr. Netanyahu and his allies had seized on earlier exit polls that showed a slimmer Likud lead to create an aura of inevitability, and celebrated with singing and dancing. While his opponents vowed a fight, Israeli political analysts agreed even before most of the ballots were counted that he had the advantage, with more seats having gone to the right-leaning parties likely to support him.

It was a stunning turnabout from the last pre-election polls published Friday, which showed the Zionist Union, led by Isaac Herzog, with a four- or five-seat lead and building momentum, and the Likud polling close to 20 seats. To bridge the gap, Mr. Netanyahu embarked on a last-minute scorched-earth campaign, promising that no Palestinian state would be established as long as he remained in office and insulting Arab citizens.

Mr. Netanyahu, who served as prime minister for three years in the 1990s and returned to office in 2009, exulted in what he called “a huge victory” and said he had spoken to the heads of all the parties “in the national camp” and urged them to help him form a government “without any further ado.”

“I am proud of the Israeli people that, in the moment of truth, knew how to separate between what’s important or what’s not and to stand up for what’s important,” he told an exuberant crowd early Wednesday morning at Likud’s election party at the Tel Aviv Fairgrounds. “For the most important thing for all of us, which is real security, social economy and even less strong leadership.”

But it remained to be seen how his divisive — some said racist — campaign tactics would affect his ability to govern a fractured Israel.

Neither of the two major parties contesting the election garnered enough votes to achieve a Knesset majority on their own, of course, but as I noted when I wrote about the election last week, the real question is which party would be able to put together the 61 (or more) seat majority necessary to control the Knesset. Based on the pre-election polling which, by law, ended roughly 48 hours before ballots were cast, it appeared as though the Zionist Union, which is essentially the modern-day version of Israel’s Labor Party, would end up with at least a slight majority over Prime Minister Netanyahu’s Likud Party. This would have given the opposition’s leader, Isaac Herzog, at least some advantage in the battle put together a majority through alliances with the numerous smaller parties that make up Israeli politics. As I noted last week, however, that was always a slim chance for Herzog that largely depended upon his being able to establish a significant gap between his party and Netanyahu’s. Based on the election results, it would appear that Herzog has failed in that effort. Instead, it seems likely that Netanyahu will be able to eke out a majority quite easily.

Given the nature of Israeli politics, and the fractured party structure,  it’s obviously far too early too say decisively that Likud has secured a majority from this election, and indeed it’s even less how stable that majority will be. However, given the numbers we have it seems fairly apparent that Netanyahu will be given the first opportunity to put together a majority, and that if he is successful in that effort that the Knesset majority will likely lean more to the right than the current government does. Given the Prime Ministers’s comments leading up to the election, which included an apparent rejection of the long-standing idea of the two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian issue, and his comments on election day about the numbers of Arab Israelis who were turning out at the polls, though, one has to wonder just what kind of future he will be leading Israel toward.

FILED UNDER: General,
Doug Mataconis
About Doug Mataconis
Doug holds a B.A. in Political Science from Rutgers University and J.D. from George Mason University School of Law. He joined the staff of OTB in May 2010. Before joining OTB, he wrote at Below The BeltwayThe Liberty Papers, and United Liberty Follow Doug on Twitter | Facebook

Comments

  1. Matt says:

    Zero surprise. I believe the polls helped him out. “oh no I BETTER vote because my choice is barely behind” type stuff.

  2. HarvardLaw92 says:

    @Matt:

    He was running at the last minute around invoking fear – making accusations like ZU was busing in Arabs to sway the vote, etc. Right winger tactics are evidently the same everywhere you go …

    Israel has essentially been overrun by far-right Orthodox since the Iron Curtain fell, and they have pushed the country farther and farther into an Eretz Yisrael / far-right / theocratic model. It’s not the same moderate, largely secular Israel of my childhood. That Israel no longer exists. From here on out it’ll just be more and more insane.

  3. SenyorDave says:

    @HarvardLaw92: That Israel no longer exists.

    Will be interesting to see what he does with the lunatic Orthodox fringe now that they are firmly part of his coalition.

  4. Gavrilo says:

    A stunning defeat for the Obama administration.

  5. C. Clavin says:

    Based on Netanyahu’s statements immediately before the election Israel will now be an apartheid state, and I question whether the US should be supporting them at all any more.
    He has formally disavowed any pretense at negotiations with Palestine, and has promised to occupy more territory and create a gated community dedicated to pure Zionism.
    Netanyahu has promised to change the very nature of Israel, and thus our relationship much change.

  6. Gustopher says:

    I think the rejection of a two state solution is going to hurt US-Israeli relations far more than the speech did. Netanyahu’s speech helped politicize US-Israeli relations, but this is going to make it impossible to support Israel.

    Israel has a demographic problem — Arabs are having more children than Jews. The “Jewish State” is going to be majority Arab, and I hate to be all Superdestroyer on this, but that’s not Israel anymore.

    The options to preserve Israel as a Jewish State have always been these:
    – carve off a Palestinian state (with or without a little ethnic cleansing to move people)
    – apartheid
    – increase the number of Jews (immigration, breeding programs, whatever)
    – decrease the number of Arabs (genocide?)

    Dropping the last two as implausible, and dropping the first because of Netanyahu, I don’t see a lot of support for an Israeli apartheid state coming from the left in this country. I’d like to say that I don’t see that support coming from the right either, but I do.

    Good luck, Israel, you’re going to need it.

  7. Moosebreath says:

    “Given the Prime Ministers’s comments leading up to the election, which included an apparent rejection of the long-standing idea of the two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian issue, and his comments on election day about the numbers of Arab Israelis who were turning out at the polls, though, one has to wonder just what kind of future he will be leading Israel toward.”

    And given Netanyahu’s role as the touchstone for Congressional Republicans on foreign affairs, it is only a (short) matter of time until Congress rethinks its support for the two-state resolution, and the question of whether to support such a resolution becomes yet another issue dividing the parties.

  8. Moosebreath says:

    And some reflections from an experienced observer of Israeli politics, JJ Goldberg of The Jewish Daily Forward:

    “The immediate damage of Netanyahu’s the-Arabs-are-coming slur mustn’t be underestimated. It infuriated Israel’s Jewish liberals and moderates along with non-Jewish minorities. It reverberated worldwide, evoking shock and revulsion even among Israel’s admirers. It will deepen rifts within the American Jewish community. It will be cited endlessly by Israel’s enemies as evidence in their ongoing campaign to demonize and isolate Israel as a racist, apartheid state. Worst of all, this is one bit of evidence they won’t be making up.”

  9. michael reynolds says:

    Can anyone explain in terms of American interests, why we continue to support Israel?

  10. Gustopher says:

    I do worry about what this does to Israel far more than what it does to US-Israeli relations. We’ll be fine, we don’t face any existential threats, we might see a small bump in terrorism.

    Israel though… Even if Netanyahu tries to walk back his statements, will anyone believe that he is negotiating in good faith? He was too clear for that, I think. And without some hope, is there anything keeping the West Bank and Gaza from erupting into real war zones? I think the best the Israelis can hope for is a sharp spike in terrorism.

  11. Gustopher says:

    @michael reynolds: We have a soft spot for Jews because almost all great American comedy comes from the Jewish tradition? (More of a cultural interest than a strategic interest)

  12. MBunge says:

    @michael reynolds: Can anyone explain in terms of American interests, why we continue to support Israel?

    1. While alliances should be fluid in theory, there’s a lot of real world inertia.

    2. For all the complaints, legitimate and otherwise, Israel is still the “good guy” compared to everybody else in the region. How exactly do we justify withdrawing support from Israel and not Egypt and the rest?

    Mike

  13. michael reynolds says:

    @MBunge:

    We only support Egypt because of Israel. Our support of Israel is sentimental, not strategic. They do nothing to help US interests and a great deal to undermine them.

    I believe we should withdraw our UN diplomatic support for Israel and begin winding down our foreign aid. If this is how Israel defines itself, as a racist apartheid state committed to endless occupation, I think we need to walk away.

  14. JKB says:

    What the Netanyahu election-day robo call actually said:

    Voter turnout in the Arab sector is three times higher! The threat is real: Abu Mazen’s calls and American money are getting the Arab vote out. Go and vote.

    Slur?

    How can their be apartheid if the concern is an ethnic group voting in bloc for their own interests?

  15. SenyorDave says:

    @michael reynolds: I agree. If the test for US support is whether the country’s actions help US interests, Israel fails. Not only does Netanyahu expand settlements, he makes sure to do it in a way that explicitly thumbs his nose at the US (like when he announced new settlements right before Kerry was going to visit). Netanyahu openly undermines US interests, he now opposes official US policy with regard to a two-state solution, and has now shown himself to either be an open racist or just use someone who will use racism for expediency.

  16. michael reynolds says:

    @JKB:
    Oh, spare me the Likud apologies. This is race-baiting pure and simple.

    And let’s not forget that Netanyahu finally admitted what the Palestinians have been saying from the start: that Likud opposes peace. Likud favors eternal occupation. And when you look at the demographics, as @Gustopher points out, apartheid is inevitable.

  17. gVOR08 says:

    @Gustopher:

    Even if Netanyahu tries to walk back his statements, will anyone believe that he is negotiating in good faith?

    Saw commentary last night, largely from George Mitchell, that no one believed Netanyahu when he said he was in favor of a two state solution. So no, no difference, no one thought he was negotiating in good faith anyway.

  18. Paul L. says:

    How can this be?
    According to Doug and the”Independents” here Bibi for his US visit and the GOP for shutting down the Federal Government.should have resulting in them losing the upcoming elections.

  19. SenyorDave says:

    @JKB: He used race as the defining feature of his message. If he had said the left or named a political party, that’s fine. But this is like an American politician saying “you better vote because they are bussing in groups of blacks to vote”. If that isn’t playing the race card I don’t know what is.

  20. JKB says:

    Where was the condemnation of the Democrats last fall?

    Harry Reid’s Super PAC is running ads on black radio that accuse Republicans of supporting the type of gun law that “caused the shooting death of Trayvon Martin.” A flyer from Democrats in Georgia pictures black toddlers holding signs that read “Don’t Shoot.” Produced by the state Democratic Party, the flyer urges people to vote to “prevent another Ferguson”—as in Missouri.

    WSJ

  21. al-Ameda says:

    Like Republicans in this country, Netanyahu knows that there are no negative political consequences for bad behavior.

  22. John D'Geek says:

    @michael reynolds: Things are never that simple in diplomacy.

    1: History. The western powers essentially created Israel by dismantling the existing government after the War to End All Wars.
    2: Morality Aside. Yeah, it sucks for us idealists, but we sometimes have to support countries that dramatically disagree with our ideals. Right now some of our money & support goes to nations that openly practice slavery (q.v.), but no one really talks about that.
    3: Prevention of Genocide. Eliminating support for Israel is essentially a death sentence for all Jews in that area. Some of their enemies are more than happy to commit genocide (c.f. Daesh) — and the rest of those in the area won’t do much to stop it.
    4: Fall of the Western Powers: While “Western Powers” de-facto created Israel, there are very few supporters for them any more among the “Western Powers” — even without the craziness in Israel. Worse, there is essentially no unity among the Western Powers anymore, which may very well lead to the West’s fall (see http://20committee.com and Huntington’s Clash of Civilizations* for an intel/poly-sci explanation).

    For better or worse, the US is Israel’s only real supporter; that leaves us between a rock and a hard place.

    Sadly, President Obama probably made this worse than it had to be … fallout from their relationship (or lack thereof). Hillary Clinton, for example, would have been far too pragmatic to let the relationship degrade as far as it did — and Netanyahu would have had too much to loose to make such statements. As it is, the current state of things really can’t degrade much further … so he really had nothing to loose.

    * I am aware that Huntington’s work is controversial; that said, it’s accuracy has been … scary.

  23. michael reynolds says:

    @John D’Geek:
    None of that addresses the question of why we should continue to support Israel. Why is it in American interests, right now in 2015, to continue to support Israel?

    I think the Israeli experiment, the implantation of western values in the hostile soil of the middle east has failed. So American support for Israel will go into a long-term decline. Our attachment was sentimental and emotional, not driven by our national interests and now that Israel has repaid seven decades of support by spitting in our faces, that attachment – already weakening in rising generations – will fall away.

    I think we should offer green cards to any Israeli who wishes to emigrate to the US and we should urge other western nations to do the same. But I think our time in the middle east is coming to an end. We are now the little Dutch boy with our fingers in the dike trying to hold back a Sunni-Shia war, trying to defend an Israel that, as @HL92 said, is no longer the Israel we cared for, trying to promote democracy in an area that is quite clearly not ready for it.

    Our only strategic interest is in oil. Let’s stop wasting all our money trying to keep these various sets of creeps from murdering each other and put the money into alternative energy – free world oil and gas, solar, wind, new technologies, conservation.

    Sunni, Shia, it doesn’t much matter, in the end they’ll sell oil, so it’s not an overnight thing. ISIS would sell us oil tomorrow. But we need to push hard to wean ourselves off the middle east

    I’m starting to think it may be time to pack up our jets and fly home.

  24. grumpy realist says:

    Well, at some point I suspect that the US will get fed up with being Israel’s cat’s paw. It may take our being dragged into a war with Iran, the closing of the Hormuz Straits with the corresponding effect on oil prices, drastic jolt to the US economy, etc. But at some point I suspect the average American is just going to walk away from all this, and none of the screams of “Anti-Semitism!” are going to have any effect.

    Israel, and its supporters, should re-read Aesop’s fable: “The Boy Who Cried Wolf.” At some point they’re going to go to the well just once too often….

  25. michael reynolds says:

    @JKB:

    Oh, OK then. Harry Reid’s PAC totally explains why Bibi Netanyahu should finally admit he’s an abject liar who has been stringing us along on a two state solution, and why he should appeal to racism in a country where Arabs are already a despised minority.

    Republican logic.

  26. Davebo says:

    Larson pretty much nailed it.

    Under Netanyahu, Israel hasn’t just been a mostly troublesome client, but has gone out of its way to become a vocal antagonist to major U.S. policy goals in the region. That’s not the behavior of an ally, but then Israel isn’t and has never been an ally of the United States. If Netanyahu’s victory can make that more obvious to Americans, its effects won’t be entirely bad.

  27. Rafer Janders says:

    @John D’Geek:

    Prevention of Genocide. Eliminating support for Israel is essentially a death sentence for all Jews in that area. Some of their enemies are more than happy to commit genocide (c.f. Daesh) — and the rest of those in the area won’t do much to stop it.

    Some of their enemies may be happy to commit genocide, but those that do lack any means to do so. And Israel is the only nuclear power in the region. Israel has nukes and a powerful and advanced military, something that none of its enemies do. It’s more than capable of defending itself.

  28. humanoid.panda says:

    @michael reynolds: Because a vast majority of the American public is vaguely pro-Israeli, a passionate minority is very pro-Israeli, and almost no one is pro-Palestinian.

  29. humanoid.panda says:

    @JKB:

    How can their be apartheid if the concern is an ethnic group voting in bloc for their own interests?

    Because, as you perfectly know and pretend not to, only 1.5 million Palestinians who live inside pre-1967 borders have a vote. The 7 million or so Palestinians in the West Bank and Gaza don’t.

  30. Mikey says:

    @Rafer Janders:

    Israel has nukes

    This brings up a point John D’Geek didn’t have in his list: U. S. support of Israel keeps a lid on Israel’s nukes.

  31. An Interested Party says:

    For all the complaints, legitimate and otherwise, Israel is still the “good guy” compared to everybody else in the region.

    Israel won’t continue to be the “good guy” when it becomes a true apartheid state…

    Sadly, President Obama probably made this worse than it had to be…

    Indeed, if only he would have kissed the collective ass of Likud, everything would be just fine…what was he thinking…

  32. michael reynolds says:

    This is Bibi Netanyahu’s fault, and the fault of Israeli voters.

    No, Israel cannot defend itself. It has never defended itself. Aside from its war of independence Israel has fought wars where its opponents knew going in that the US would stymie any attempt they made. If that guarantee disappears, Arab states and the Iranians, could begin to plan for the annihilation of Israel. If that guarantee goes away, Iran gains a whole new incentive to go nuclear, which will mean the KSA and Egypt potentially going nuclear.

    As Israel loses US support its economy will suffer. The continued existence of a free Israeli economy is part of what we underwrite by our superpower patronage. An Israel without US support is a lot less interesting as a long-term investment. As the economy weakens, the state weakens. And then the emigration picks up pace, further weakening Israel.

    Netanyahu and his idiot Republican supporters have put Israel on a probably irreversible path to decline and eventual elimination. Which I suppose is what happens when you spit in the face of the people who actually loved you and pin your hopes on people who see you as nothing but a tool to bring about the end of the world.

  33. george says:

    @Gavrilo:

    A stunning defeat for the Obama administration.

    Yes, because its well known that consideration of America is a prime factor in foreign elections – minor local considerations like their own politics and economics play almost no role at all.

    More seriously, you’d be amazed at how little (as in almost zero) influence American presidential, congressional or public opinion make even in Canadian elections, which is just across the border. Most elections its not even mentioned. Nixon for instance openly dislike Trudeau. Johnson disliked Pearson. Didn’t make the slightest difference in the elections.

    Every country has its own internal concerns. US politics play almost no role in their elections.

  34. pylon says:

    @george:

    Oh I dunno. The election of Naheed Nenshi as mayor of Calgary was clearly a victory for Obama. 😉

  35. michael reynolds says:

    @george:
    Classic Republican. Israel commits seppuku and these idiots celebrate because they think it hurts Mr. Obama – who is already planning his retirement. These are Israel’s new American allies: our morons and fanatics.

  36. michael reynolds says:

    @pylon:

    And of course the entire Rob Ford episode was a victory for comedy.

  37. John D'Geek says:

    @michael reynolds:

    None of that addresses the question of why we should continue to support Israel.

    If you don’t think that preventing genocide is a valid reason to stay involved, then we have nothing left to talk about.

    @Rafer Janders:

    And Israel is the only nuclear power in the region. Israel has nukes and a powerful and advanced military, something that none of its enemies do.

    Israel survives almost exclusively because of the support of the United States. We withdraw support, their military advantage goes bye-bye — hi-tech does you very little good when you have trouble procuring food and fuel. And, yeah, those who want to commit genocide would be quite capable of it without Israel’s military advantage.

    Nukes … that’s a whole ‘nother ball of wax.

    Who, exactly, would they nuke? Even if they wanted to, those don’t do them any good. They only work against traditional powers. I doubt Egypt, Jordan, or Saudi Arabia will be going after them anytime soon — even without US intervention. That pretty much leaves Lebanon & Syria … and, even ignoring the human consequences, nukes don’t do a whole lot of strategic good on that battlefield. Iran, then? Perhaps. But things would have to be much worse before that happens.

    If we can prevent a wholesale meltdown in the region, things will get better in 2017 — almost regardless of which party wins the presidency.

  38. Tillman says:

    The people want war. In a democracy, you do what the people want.

    I can’t make the grand proclamation that Israel’s set itself on a path to destruction with the outcome of one election, but it’s certainly not going to be pretty. They keep feeding a cycle that will grow out of their control eventually. Netanyahu doesn’t have a plan for the Palestinians, he’s just going to have an annual lawnmowing in the occupied territories until we’re eventually sickened of it, assuming we ever are.

    I mean, I don’t know why the Obama administration doesn’t let some Security Council resolutions pass in response, but that’s because I’m not insidery enough to know why they’re crazy.

  39. michael reynolds says:

    @John D’Geek:

    If you don’t think that preventing genocide is a valid reason to stay involved, then we have nothing left to talk about.

    Cambodia. Rwanda. Sudan. Were you pushing for us to save those folks? Did you want us to invade Rwanda?

    Spare me the mawkish b.s., huh? As I said: free green cards to any Israeli. That’s your “genocide” argument gone.

    Face facts. Our commitment to Israel was an emotional one. It was a bond of affection. Now Israel spits in our face. So I kinda think that love affair is over. Now they need to be strategically useful, and you know what? They aren’t. I asked if you had some basis in US national interest, and you came up blank. Because there’s nothing there. Israel is a pain in the ass. We’ve poured 120 billion dollars into Israel and we get nothing back but bulls-it and trouble.

    Let them see what the world is like without the US vetoing every sanctions measure against Israel. Let’s see how well the Israeli economy performs then.

  40. Tillman says:

    @John D’Geek:

    If you don’t think that preventing genocide is a valid reason to stay involved, then we have nothing left to talk about.

    Well, our moral options are a) prevent a grand genocide to enable smaller “ethnic cleansing” operations every other year or so, which is Netanyahu’s plan (enable suffering of many over a long period of time) or b) allow a grand genocide to prevent smaller ethnic cleansings (enable suffering of many over a short period of time). I mean, honestly, there’s no good option: there’s human suffering either way. When none of the actors involved are willing to trust us, or negotiate in good faith with each other, it’s not like our involvement leads to better scenarios.

  41. Gustopher says:

    @Gustopher: Really? This gets down votes?

    Do you people not love Jackie Mason, Woody Allen, George Burns, Seinfeld, Larry David or Mel Brooks? Groucho Marx? Gilda Radner? Jack Benny? Zoidberg?

    America’s comedic tradition is Mark Twain and the Jews. And Mark Twain had generally positive things to say about Jews.

    We support Israel because we love Zoidberg. It has no great strategic importance, no great resources, it doesn’t have any great influence over its neighbors, but culturally, Judaism is a part of us. Deep down, we expect Netanyahu to suddenly start making us laugh.

    Well, either that or we support Israel in hopes of bringing about a Great War in the Mideast that ushers in the end times and results in the destruction of Israel.

  42. HarvardLaw92 says:

    @humanoid.panda:

    This. Exactly this.

    America supports Israel, IMO, largely because not supporting Israel is tantamount to committing political suicide for members of Congress in much of the US, most especially so amongst regions dominated by those always delightful “more Israeli than the Israelis” Christian fundamentalists. Hagee & Co. ring any bells for anyone? Throw in some associated residual guilt over the Shoah amongst the less religiously fervent, and it becomes pretty clear.

    Few things in my life have ever been more amusing than the time that I got screeched at by a fundamentalist Christian about the ways in which my views, as a Jew, on Israel offended G-d.

    I alluded in an earlier thread about the impossibility of having a rational discussion with anyone whose actions & choices are driven by unquestioning obedience to an irrational belief system. This is the perfect example of that scenario.

  43. Mikey says:

    @michael reynolds:

    As I said: free green cards to any Israeli. That’s your “genocide” argument gone.

    I think we have to consider the significant possibility Israel would not hesitate to employ its nukes.

    Giving all Israelis green cards wouldn’t entirely solve the genocide problem, because there’s no guarantee they’d actually be able to leave, but them nuking every potential threat would. Withdrawal of U. S. support could mean Israel throwing nukes downrange in very short order.

    Is preventing a nuclear war in the Middle East in our interest? I think it unquestionably is. The Israelis are quite aware of this and I don’t doubt the Netanyahu wing of the government exploits it at every opportunity.

  44. Another Mike says:

    @michael reynolds:

    Now Israel spits in our face. So I kinda think that love affair is over.

    Yes, this is the tone of most of the comments in this thread. It is interesting the kind of closed system operating here. The rest of us are smiling and are quite happy.

  45. michael reynolds says:

    @Mikey:
    Of course Israel may use their nukes. Against whom? And then what?

    Israel has an advanced, hi-tech economy alongside some agriculture. Every year or so the majority of the UN cooks up some effort to sanction Israel, which the US dutifully vetoes. What happens to Israel’s economy if we stop vetoing?

    Sheldon Adelson isn’t going to live forever. Young people in this country are already somewhat divorced emotionally from Israel. So support for Israel now rests on septuagenarian religious nuts in Alabama, a dwindling demo.

    If we weaken in our support for Israel, their economy slides. When their economy slides emigration turns net negative. When they lose immigration, the Arab vote increases as a percentage. So Israel will disenfranchise Israeli Arabs, earning themselves a domestic, inside-Israel, radicalization.

    There is no realistic scenario that points to anything but declining US support and declining Israeli viability.

  46. michael reynolds says:

    @Another Mike:

    Of course you’re happy. You’re idiots who can’t think past the fact that you’ve “hurt” Obama. Obama, you know, the guy who will be out of office in two years.

    This is where blind hatred leaves you. Intellectually neutered.

  47. humanoid.panda says:

    @John D’Geek:

    Who, exactly, would they nuke? Even if they wanted to, those don’t do them any good. They only work against traditional powers.

    But if traditional powers are out of the game, and they are, who is going to perpetrate genocide? You don’t beat the IDF with modified Toyota trucks..

  48. humanoid.panda says:

    @HarvardLaw92:

    Few things in my life have ever been more amusing than the time that I got screeched at by a fundamentalist Christian about the ways in which my views, as a Jew, on Israel offended G-d.

    Yep. I was asked more than once why American Jews are betraying their homeland by supporting Obama, by right-wing Americans. Funny thing, is that the answer is nested in the question.

  49. James P says:

    God bless Israel!

    This is great for Israel and great news for America. It is bad news for her enemies, such as Hezbollah, Hamas, Barack Hussein Obama, and Iran.

    This was a huge repudiation of Barack Hussein Obama. Bibi shifted to the right in the waning days of the campaign in order to consolidate his right flank — that’s why he won.

    I love Israel even more because they basically gave lil’ Barry the middle finger!

    I just LOVE it when Obama falls on his face!!!!!!!

    Bibi embarrassed him in front of the entire world and he gets rewarded for it. I LOVE IT!

    The good news is that there will be no concessions to the Palestinians. There will be no Palestinian state on either Bibi’s watch or on Obama’s watch. Obama can forget this as a legacy item. Haha!

    Hopefully this will serve as an example for people who would otherwise be afraid to stand up to Obama. It is possible to spit in his face (which is what Bibi did) and be rewarded for it!!!!!!

  50. Mikey says:

    @michael reynolds: Iran would get nuked first, without a doubt. After that, anyone Israel saw as an existential threat, assuming Iran being turned into an irradiated wasteland didn’t persuade the rest to cry “uncle” and leave Israel alone.

    I think I should note my scenario presupposes an abrupt end to U. S. support, which is probably not as strong a possibility than your scenario, where support gradually wanes. So it’s possible we have been talking about two rather different things.

  51. James P says:

    @humanoid.panda:

    [“I was asked more than once why American Jews are betraying their homeland”]

    Look up the word kapo or kapos………….there’s your answer

  52. Mikey says:

    @James P: Good afternoon, Mr. Poe.

  53. James P says:

    @michael reynolds: [“It was a bond of affection. Now Israel spits in our face. So I kinda think that love affair is over”]

    Israel did not spit in America’s face. They spit in Barack Hussein Obama’s face. The love affair is not over – quite the contrary, it is intensifying. I love them all the more for humiliating Obama in front of the entire world.

    Would a foreign politician address the Russian Duma over the objections of Putin? I hardly think so. Bibi HUMILIATED Obama in front of the entire world by speaking to Congress over Barry’s objections. I admire him so much for that!

    I would imagine your average French citizen would admire someone who undermined Henri Petain in the 1940s. Similarly I admire anyone who undermines my occupier – Barack Hussein Obama.

  54. bandit says:

    Poor lefty bedwetters can complain about the unfairness of Netanyahu winning – funny how they don’t like Democracy when they don’t get the results they want.

  55. michael reynolds says:

    @Mikey:

    And how’s the Israeli agricultural sector fare after they’ve irradiated the entire neighborhood?

    How does their high tech sector fare after El Al’s been barred from every airport and the entire world has joined in drastic economic sanctions?

    Nukes? Not really very useful.

  56. Mikey says:

    @James P:

    Similarly I admire anyone who undermines my occupier – Barack Hussein Obama.

    You were a lot more fun when the trolling wasn’t so obvious.

  57. humanoid.panda says:

    @James P: Dear moderators: seriously, what does one need to do get banned here?

  58. Moosebreath says:

    @Gustopher:

    “And Mark Twain had generally positive things to say about Jews.”

    Not always accurate things to say (he was highly ignorant of Jewish conditions in Russia, for instance) but generally positive.

    On the other hand, in his Autobiography, Twain noted his first encounter with Jews was with two brothers named Levin who studied at his school. They were collectively referred to as “Twenty Two” (twice ‘Levin).

  59. Another Mike says:

    @michael reynolds: This is where blind hatred leaves you. Intellectually neutered.

    No hatred involved, blind or any other kind. The issue is not about Obama. What’s amusing is that he thought it was. Many of the posters here seem to think so too.

    I am still working on the intellectually neutered thing, but so far all I come up with is that it is a term for those who do not agree with you.

  60. James P says:

    @Mikey: It’s really not trolling. It genuinely reflects how I feel. I see Obama in the exact same manner that the French saw Petain and the Norweigans saw Quisling seventy years ago.

    I concede that Obama was born in Hawaii, but other than the location of his birth I see him as a foreigner – an occupier. He’s not my president and anything that undermines him is a positive.

    The motivation of trolling is to wind people up to get a reaction. I’m not trying to get a reaction – I’m trying to express that I see Obama as an enemy.

    The French Maquis blew up the railroads 70 years ago to undermine Petain. I only support electing Republicans to Congress to obstruct E-V-E-R-Y-T-H-I-N-G he wants to do.

    I wouldn’t raise the debt ceiling —- let Barry deal with the consequences.

  61. Mikey says:

    @michael reynolds: You assume rationality in the face of a legitimate existential threat. I am…not so sure.

    If the nukes aren’t useful, why have them? Perhaps only the threat would be necessary? One would hope.

    Unfortunately the experience of human history does not lead to an optimism, and I am generally a very optimistic guy. But I hope I am as wrong as basketball cleats on this one.

  62. grumpy realist says:

    @humanoid.panda: Troll is silly troll. I just bleep over anything posted by James P.

    (Trolls: the tribe of a nose-picking, cheetos-eating college dropout who lives in his Mummy’s basement and has never earned a dime in his life. Not much to do with your future after you’ve failed the “pour sand out of a boot” test.)

  63. george says:

    @James P:

    Israel did not spit in America’s face. They spit in Barack Hussein Obama’s face.

    Good grief, if Israel is anything like Canada, they didn’t think about America or Obama while casting their votes. How vain can you get to think something like Obama’s or any American’ politician’s opinion, for good or for bad, made a difference.

    Look up the word ‘foreign’, I don’t think you understand the concept (ie they have their own issues and their own politics, and no more vote based on yours than you do based on theirs).

    This is just silly.

  64. michael reynolds says:

    @Mikey:
    The nukes were useful during the Cold War when the threat was that the USSR would arm up the Egyptians and Syrians to the point where they posed an existential threat. Nukes are (marginally) useful against nation-states. The problem won’t probably be Egyptian tanks, rather it will be UN sanctions, intifada, and an internal Arab threat.

  65. C. Clavin says:

    @James P:

    I wouldn’t raise the debt ceiling —- let Barry deal with the consequences.

    Troll or no troll…you aren’t smart enough to understand that we would all deal with the consequences…exactly as we did in the aftermath of the last shut-down.

  66. Gavrilo says:

    @george:

    Dude, what is your deal? Are you Canadian? Israel is nothing like Canada. Canada doesn’t have rockets raining down on a regular basis. Canada isn’t a source of hostility around the world. People don’t flip out everytime Canada proposes a housing settlement. John Kerry isn’t trying to broker any kind of peace deal involving Canada.

  67. gVOR08 says:

    @Gavrilo: Got anything to say in response to what @george actually said?

  68. humanoid.panda says:

    @gVOR08: I hate to say it, but Gavrilo is half-right. One of Bibi’s strong points is that he is willing to stand against the world for Israel, and Obama is a foil for him. Still, at best, this was a secondary motif in the election: his main rallying cry was that the Left and the Arabs will take over if people vote for smaller right wing parties instead of him. Obama, the US and Iran played no role in the last few days that decided the election (according to Likud’s people, their polls a week ago showed they would end up with 20 mandates, and only Bibi’s blitz in the last few days saved them).

  69. Tillman says:

    @humanoid.panda:

    Still, at best, this was a secondary motif in the election: his main rallying cry was that the Left and the Arabs will take over if people vote for smaller right wing parties instead of him.

    If Marshall’s educated guess is anything to go off of, that pretty much is it. The story all along was Likud was diminishing in the polls, not the right. His last-minute appeal to racists (which I’m using as shorthand for “hates Arabs of a slightly different pedigree”) might actually have saved him.

  70. humanoid.panda says:

    @humanoid.panda: Another point to keep in mind: the division between left and right is not only about the Palestinians, but also about religion and ethnicity: right wing voters tend to be less-educated, socially conservative and Sephardic, and left wing voters tend to be secular, educated, and Ashkenazi (with the exception of religious Zionists who tend to be educated and Ashkenazi, and Russians, who are very secular, and both groups are very right wing). Throughout the campaign, Labor was doing a rather good job of focusing on economic issues trying to move blue collar voters towards its column, but a week before the campaign, it had a mass rally in which for some reason, it gave a stage to a TV host who ranted about how all right wing voters are backward, primitive fools. That statement probably had a major effect on people who were disilusioned with Bibi, but ended up voting for him, because they feel alienated from the left.

    This is definitely not the type of thing Americans know or care about in Israeli politics, but in its some ways, its as important as Iran and the Palestinians taken together.

  71. James P says:

    @C. Clavin: Refusal to raise the debt ceiling would result in the budget being balanced overnight.

    IT would not result in default in that the IRS collects more than enough in payroll withholding to meet debt service obligations. If there were a default on debt it would cause a major global depression and an implosion of the US economy. IF that happened it would be on Obama’s watch. Most people would not understand and would blame him. If the GOP refused to raise the debt ceiling in 2011 the economy would have collapsed and BHO likely would have been denied reelection.

    That said, talk of default is a red herring. Refusal to raise the debt ceiling would not result in default.

    If you have cancer, chemotherapy is unpleasant but necessary. Obama is a cancer. Economic collapse would not be pleasant, but if it resulted in getting rid of him it would be worth it. He would not have been reelected if there was a massive economic collapse.

  72. James P says:

    @humanoid.panda:What does one need to be banned?

    INdeed, all viewpoints which differ from yours must indeed be silenced. You would have done quite well in the 1930s in Germany. You’re not even a good liberal – you’re a statist. The fact that you want to silence someone because they disagree with you is a far greater commentary on you than it is on me.

  73. John D'Geek says:

    @michael reynolds:

    Cambodia. Rwanda. Sudan. Were you pushing for us to save those folks? Did you want us to invade Rwanda?

    I was too young to really understand what was going on in Cambodia. As a Disaffected Republican(TM) I don’t “push” for anything since pretty much everyone in congress (both Letters) will tell me to “Go to Jigoku”. But, to the larger question, the answer is yes — I did want us to do something about that. Probably unrealistic on my part, but I feel strongly that that sort of thing shouldn’t go unchallenged.

    Worse: the UN does nothing about it. No. Thing. Really, the US shouldn’t be the only one … but apparently we are.

    Sorta.

    We pretty much only intervene in Europe and the Mideast when it comes to genocide.

    Both parties.

  74. humanoid.panda says:

    @Tillman: Basically, here is what happened: Bibi ran a rather disastrous campaign, refusing to debate or give interviews, and was flummoxed by all sorts of scandals. By mid-last week, all polling, and politicans on both sides, were predicting that Labor is cresting and Likud is colllapsing. At that point, Bibi started an insane, media blitz, directly appealing to hard-line voters to come home. Polling is not allowed in the last 3 days of the election ,but rumors had it that he pulled into a tie by election day. Some evidence that after his openly racist appeals on eleciton day itself, a late surge of Likud votes put him over the top.

  75. humanoid.panda says:

    @James P: Fuck you, fuck your high horse, and fuck your trolling.

    Undersigned, my family, buried in Vinnitsa, Ukraine, c. 1941.

  76. humanoid.panda says:

    @humanoid.panda: Dear moderators: my last reply to James P is stuck in the moderation queue, for containing some not so nice expressions. Since those expressions are exactly proper for people who are calling Jewish people capos, I humbly asked they be released.

  77. Steve V says:

    Am I the only one who thinks Obama and Netanyahu are just playing a game of good-cop-bad-cop with Iran?

  78. Jack says:

    @C. Clavin:

    Troll or no troll…you aren’t smart enough to understand that we would all deal with the consequences…exactly as we did in the aftermath of the last shut-down.

    Yeah, all that money spent blocking off open air monuments from public observation really hurt. I don’t think I could survive another round of that. /sarc

  79. C. Clavin says:

    @James P:

    He would not have been reelected if there was a massive economic collapse.

    You mean like happened under Bush43?
    The last shutdown slowed the economy and cost us over $12 billion.
    Glad to hear that’s what you want…only more better.

  80. James P says:

    @Steve V:

    Am I the only one who thinks Obama and Netanyahu are just playing a game of good-cop-bad-cop with Iran?

    Yes. You’re the only one.

  81. Jack says:

    @C. Clavin: The last shutdown slowed the economy and cost us over $12 billion.

    Which is way less than the fraud inherent in any given social program, so….

  82. James P says:

    @C. Clavin: I categorically reject that the last shutdown cost us $12 billion.

    A default would result in a economic catastrophe far more serious than the downturn which occurred in late 2008. It would have occurred on Obama’s watch and he would have been blamed for it. It is unlikely he would have been reelected running in an economy in complete collapse.

    Obama is akin to a gangrenous wound. The limb needs to be sawed off. Sure, it involves unpleasantness, but it needs to go.

  83. Jack says:

    @James P: Is there a good cop, stupid cop option?

  84. An Interested Party says:

    Am I the only one who thinks Obama and Netanyahu are just playing a game of good-cop-bad-cop with Iran?

    Oh yes, Bibi is the one calling the suspect a sandni@@er as he wants to cuff him to the chair and beat the $hit out of him…

  85. An Interested Party says:

    A default would result in a economic catastrophe far more serious than the downturn which occurred in late 2008. It would have occurred on Obama’s watch and he would have been blamed for it. It is unlikely he would have been reelected running in an economy in complete collapse.

    It really is pathetic that someone would want to cause serious fiscal pain to millions of people just to score some cheap political points…such a patriot this jacka$$ is…

  86. Jack says:

    @An Interested Party:

    Oh yes, Bibi is the one calling the suspect a sandni@@er terrorist that killed children on a school bus as he wants to cuff him to the chair and beat the $hit out of him…

    Fixed it for you.

  87. C. Clavin says:

    @Gavrilo:
    Canada doesn’t have a whole bunch of nukes, either.@Jack:
    I would expect nothing more from a devout member of the cult that oversaw the biggest economic crisis since the depression.

  88. Jack says:

    @An Interested Party:

    It really is pathetic that someone would want to cause serious fiscal pain to millions of people just to score some cheap political points…such a patriot this jacka$$ is…

    And the fact that 94 million Americans are out of work, while black and women unemployment is at an all time high is not causing serious fiscal pain to millions of Americans?

    http://www.pewresearch.org/fact-tank/2013/08/21/through-good-times-and-bad-black-unemployment-is-consistently-double-that-of-whites/

    http://www.cnsnews.com/news/article/ali-meyer/women-not-labor-force-hits-record-high

  89. Jack says:

    @C. Clavin:

    I would expect nothing more from a devout member of the cult that oversaw the biggest economic crisis since the depression.

    You mean the one we are still in….being led by the worst president ever for six years and counting?

  90. michael reynolds says:

    @John D’Geek:

    We pretty much only intervene in Europe and the Mideast when it comes to genocide.

    Exactly. Only not in the Middle East, either, since we’ve sat on our hands through numerous slaughters, including several rounds in Sudan. I also would like to see us do more in cases of actual genocide, but to date the only genocide (or at least ethnic cleansing) we’ve stepped into is Bosnia.

    Israel is like a teen-ager who has not yet begun to grasp the fact that they’ve lived their lives protected by mom and dad. Israel is an American client state which ceased to be even slightly important as a strategic asset when the wall came down. Since then it’s just been an expense and an embarrassment.

    This is why the current situation is so bad for Israel. Because they no longer have an argument to make that they are useful. Which means American support rests on public opinion, not on our strategic needs. It is emotional support, which Israel is doing everything it can to destroy. (Again, very much like an obnoxious teenager)

    We don’t like Saudi Arabia. They’re scum. In a perfect world the royal family would be strung up with piano wire. But we’ve done business with them because they own the biggest oil spigot. Israel has no oil. Israel has oranges and computer apps. Well, we’ve got plenty of oranges, and why would we want more foreign competition for high tech?

    See the problem there? Sentimentality vs. strategic interests. Israel lost its strategic position, leaving nothing but sentiment, which is now rapidly eroding.

    Idiots reveling in what they see as an embarrassment for Obama are blind to reality. The United States is a superpower. Bibi is a pimple on our ass. We, on the other hand, are Israel’s last friend. And they have pissed off their last friend. All so Bibi can hang onto his job. He’s a disaster for Israel. Israeli voters just started down the path to national suicide.

    Within 20 years Israel’s population will be lower than it is today, the percentage of Israeli Arabs will be higher, their economy will be smaller, their people poorer, their streets more dangerous. And this isn’t something they can repair. A relationship built on sentiment is a fragile thing. How will Israel find support among coming generations of Americans? The Holocaust recedes into history.

    This was stupid. Really, really stupid. as evidenced by the fact that only very stupid people are applauding.

  91. humanoid.panda says:

    @Jack: You do know that the vast majority of people not in labor force are either children or retired,right? Now, I know that you would gladly abolish both child labor laws and Social Security/Medicare, to get those mooches back in the work force, but I am not sure that most people would sign up for that.

  92. Jack says:

    @humanoid.panda:

    You do know that the vast majority of people not in labor force are either children or retired,right?

    Um, no. I would say you couldn’t be more wrong, but based upon previous posts, you could. The 92 million Americans (94 was from a different article) not in the labor force are working age people (16 and above) that want a job but have been out of work so long they are no longer counted. Please educate yourself from a fact sheet from the US Government Bureau of Labor Statistics.

    http://data.bls.gov/timeseries/LNS15000000

    http://cnsnews.com/news/article/ali-meyer/record-number-americans-not-labor-force-june

  93. John D'Geek says:

    @Tillman: While I disagree with your wording, your point is well taken.

  94. John D'Geek says:

    @michael reynolds: Stupid? Yeah. Not going to disagree there. But Labor has to take responsibility for its stupidity as well. From Moosbreath’s link (up top):

    The bottom line: The center-left opposition had a stronger argument on security and peace than Netanyahu did, but it was afraid to make its case. Despite the unprecedented outpouring of anti-Netanyahu protest from retired defense and intelligence chiefs — including nearly every former head of the Mossad and Shin Bet and one-third of all living ex-generals — Herzog and his allies steered clear of them.

    In effect, they told voters, don’t look to us to protect you from the threats that surround Israel. And Israelis listened.

    I still think that the world either needs to step in to prevent genocide, or eliminate the pretense of caring about war crimes. I’m strongly in the former camp.

  95. James P says:

    @Jack: I think that’s the more accurate way to phrase it, Jack!

  96. humanoid.panda says:

    @Jack:

    For the LAUS model-based areas, BLS obtains estimates of the civilian noninstitutional population ages 16 and older, which is the universe for labor force data, from the Census Bureau. These population estimates are used to adjust labor force level (that is, number-of-person) measures to be consistent with the Census Bureau’s most up-to-date information on the distribution of population across states. Labor force level measures for all LAUS areas are controlled to the Census Bureau’s statewide estimates of civilian noninstitutional population ages 16 and older through a process of additivity. (See the page on LAUS estimation methodology, and particularly the section on substate labor market areas, for more on additivity.) These Census Bureau population data also allow BLS to calculate labor force participation rates and employment-population ratios for the LAUS model-based area”

    http://www.bls.gov/lau/rdscnp16.htm
    So yes, I was wrong about children, you were wrong about retirees.

  97. humanoid.panda says:

    @humanoid.panda: Now, if you cared about facts instead of throwing wild numbers into the air, you could say that under Obama, labor participaiton rate declined from 65.7% to 62.8%- some 8 million people, a very bad number, but not nearly as dramatic as 94 million people. This is why you can’t have nice things.

  98. dennis says:

    @michael reynolds:

    <blockquote. . . and now that Israel has repaid seven decades of support by spitting in our faces, that attachment – already weakening in rising generations – will fall away.

    You know, Michael, when I was an avid believer in the Bible, I would justify everything nasty thing Israel did, while holding my nose at the stink that dissonance was stirring around. Once I threw off that yoke of belief, Israel’s ratchedness (that’s black folk term…) came into stark clarity. Yeah, I can’t support that kind of behavior.

  99. Tillman says:

    @John D’Geek: Eh, I couldn’t figure out a better way to put it. I’ll blame the recreational drugs I’m taking and their effects on my psyche.

    @Jack: You know, I just now Googled “social program billion dollar fraud” and came up with an Atlantic article full of citations and shit about how most of the fraud in the system isn’t beneficiary level but middle-management level, and how government fraud is on par with financial services fraud (and both qualify as the industries most targeted by fraud along with, uncannily, manufacturing) and how weirdly racial that probably gets when considered from a point of view that always thought it was welfare queens unwilling to work.

    It’s as if the sophistication of current day publicly-available technology allows us to type some words in a bar and come up with possible knowledge.

  100. Jack says:

    @humanoid.panda: Retirees that still want to work.

  101. Jack says:

    @humanoid.panda:

    Now, if you cared about facts instead of throwing wild numbers into the air, you could say that under Obama, labor participaiton rate declined from 65.7% to 62.8%- some 8 million people, a very bad number, but not nearly as dramatic as 94 million people. This is why you can’t have nice things.

    Considering we have gone from 80.1 million in Jan 2009 to 92.8 million in Feb 2015, I’m not seeing a decline.

    the last time the labor force participation rate sank as low as 62.8 percent was in February 1978, when it was also 62.8 percent. At that time, Jimmy Carter was president.

  102. Jack says:

    @Tillman: The EITC, welfare and Medicare have a fraud rate around 20-25%. I know of no other industry that has that high a fraud rate (barring union construction projects) that has not been shut down. But our system covers it up and whitewashes it because why?

    http://www.politifact.com/wisconsin/statements/2014/jan/20/ron-johnson/fraud-claims-20-25-cents-every-1-spent-four-govern/

  103. Tillman says:

    @Jack: …did you read the article at the other end of that link?

    Are you performance art?

  104. al-Ameda says:

    @Jack:

    You mean the one we are still in….being led by the worst president ever for six years and counting?

    Yes of course, I can see why you’re depressed:
    1-Over 50 consecutive months of slow steady economic growth
    2-The DJIA has recovered from a plunge to 8,000, and rebounded to nearly 18,000. Which is important because average Americans have a lot of money (their own and their pension funds) invested in equities.
    3-Housing Market has worked it’s way through the supply of foreclosure stock
    4-UE rate has declined from 10% to 5.6% – In 2009, Republicans left us with the economy shedding jobs at a rate of over 700,000 per month, and we’ve been working our way through that ever since.
    5-Loss of nearly $18 Trillion in the wealth of households and businesses has been recovered. That $18T was nearly 25% of the nation’s wealth.

  105. humanoid.panda says:

    @Jack: Retirees that still to want to work are in the labor force, and if they don’t have a job, they are registered as unemployed.

  106. humanoid.panda says:

    @Jack: A decline in the labor participation rate is a BAD thing. I was agreeing with you on that one. Point is that even if we assume that every single person who left the labor force in the last 8 years did so because they couldn’t do work (and economists think that only one half of that number is related to the recession), still, we have 12 million, not 94 million people who are out of the labor force due to Obummer. Look, there is no shame in not understanding this stuff, but arguing about figures you don’t understan is a pretty bad idea.

  107. humanoid.panda says:

    @Jack:
    From your link

    Our rating

    Johnson said: “The average rate of fraud” in the Earned Income Tax Credit, Medicare, Medicaid and food stamps programs “is 20 to 25 percent.”

    Improper payment rates are in the 20 to 25 percent range in the tax credit program — but are 10 percent or less in the other three programs. So, even the average among the four programs would be far less than what Johnson claimed.

    More importantly, those are error rates; there are no figures on the rate of fraud, which is believed to be a small component of errors. Johnson’s remark to the group was grossly misleading.

    For a claim that is false and ridiculous, we give Johnson a Pants on Fire.</blockquote

    So, on the one hand, you proved to be a complete idiot.

    On the other hand, there is a non-zero chance you are a senator from Wisconsin.

  108. An Interested Party says:

    Oh yes, Bibi is the one calling the suspect a terrorist that killed children on a school bus…

    Yes because all or most Palestinians (or perhaps all or most Muslims) are terrorists…

    And the fact that 94 million Americans are out of work, while black and women unemployment is at an all time high is not causing serious fiscal pain to millions of Americans?

    Umm…all that isn’t being caused because someone wants to score political points…perhaps you should try to comprehend what you read before you respond…

  109. grumpy realist says:

    @Jack: You mean the same article which tagged Johnson with a “liar, liar, pants on fire” rating for his claims?

    If this is an example of your research abilities, don’t be surprised if you end up a) fired, b)audited by the IRS, c) in really hot legal water at some point.

  110. bill says:

    @michael reynolds: proxy war against sheetheads, you didn’t know that ? they have our back over there, unlike the rest of them. and really, what successful muslim democracy’s are there anyways? we buy our friends over there, so loyalty is dependent on aid.

  111. MarkedMan says:

    Guys, the probability that James P is a troll is exponentially increasing towards 100%, but I’m not sure most people here understand what a troll is. A troll doesn’t believe what they write. They simply write stuff that gets the most dramatic reaction. When we get all huffy and call him an idiot in increasingly clever ways we are rewarding his posts with exactly what he wants. In other words, we are paying him in his desired currency to post more often.

  112. Tillman says:

    @bill: @michael reynolds: He’s got a point there, Mike. We do get along famously with the Mossad, and it seems they get along with us too since they were unprecedentedly speaking out against Netanyahu during the run-up to the election. Hate to lose Mossad. They’re like if the CIA had an ultranationalist streak and took their job seriously.

    @MarkedMan: If you see an account pop up here with an avatar and the name “James P is not a troll,” you’ll know my work is done. What I’ll do with it, or what the bastard who snatches the idea from me and makes it reality first will do with it, that’s between me (or that bastard) and God. But hopefully it would be inventive.

  113. C. Clavin says:

    @Jack:
    You really have no idea what you are talking about, do you?

  114. HarvardLaw92 says:

    @Jack:

    The 92 million Americans (94 was from a different article) not in the labor force are working age people (16 and above) that want a job but have been out of work so long they are no longer counted.

    No. The labor participation rate does not exclude retirees. It’s EVERYbody 16 years of age and older.

  115. HarvardLaw92 says:

    @MarkedMan:

    The only appropriate tactic regarding his posts is simply to downvote, then ignore them in their entirety. He’s not really even worth much in troll entertainment value at this point.

  116. Matt says:

    @HarvardLaw92: How’s that any different from what he normally does?

  117. michael reynolds says:

    @Tillman:

    Jack tells you something, then refutes himself. I call that helpful.

  118. HarvardLaw92 says:

    @Matt:

    He’s historically been a little less blatant about it IMO. The only thing missing from that video was “Arabs are coming to rape your women!!”

    The similarities with the rhetoric that was (and is …) used by white supremacists with regard to vilifying African-Americans are pretty blatant too, come to think about it.

    The sad part here is that one of the very things that previously made Israel special – ḥok hashvut, or the right of return – is the very thing that now will eventually tear it apart from within.

  119. An Interested Party says:

    what successful muslim democracy’s are there anyways?

    I guess you’ve never heard of Indonesia…of course you haven’t…after all, anyone who would use the term “sheetheads”…

  120. An Interested Party says:

    The sad part here is that one of the very things that previously made Israel special – ḥok hashvut, or the right of return – is the very thing that now will eventually tear it apart from within.

    Perhaps Bibi could explain how Israel can remain both a democracy and a Jewish state…maybe magic tricks are involved…

  121. HarvardLaw92 says:

    @An Interested Party:

    It can easily remain both a democracy and a Jewish state (note: by “Jewish” there, I mean movements like Reform & Conservative Judaism). . What it can’t survive is trying to be both a democracy and a theocratic Haredi / Orthodox state.

    When it comes to ultra-conservative “my way or the highway” enforcement of religion as social & governmental policy, the ayatollahs in Iran haven’t got one damn thing on the Haredi rabbis in Israel.

    There can be no reasoning with, coexistence with or sharing of power with religious fanatics – whether they wear a turban or sport payot. With them, it’s all or nothing, and you are either with them or you are the enemy.

  122. An Interested Party says:

    It can easily remain both a democracy and a Jewish state…

    Surely not without a two-state solution…

  123. HarvardLaw92 says:

    @An Interested Party:

    The majority of Israeli moderates / liberals are, AFAICTA, in favor of a two state solution. The folks opposed to it are the Eretz Yisrael “G-d gave all of it to us and we’re not giving up one damn square inch of it” fanatics.

    Unfortunately, those nutjobs are increasingly calling the shots.

  124. James P says:

    @HarvardLaw92: Why should they give up one damn inch of Israeli soil?

    If the Bedouin Arabs who expropriated their name from the Roman province of Palestine want a homeland, let them have it in Jordan (or Antarctica for all I care).

    Judea and Samarra belong to the Jews and a majority of Israeli citizens (judging by the results of the election) agree with that. If I were an Israeli I wouldn’t agree to give up one square inch of soil to the so-called Palestinians. Screw them.

  125. anjin-san says:

    what successful muslim democracy’s are there anyways?

    Well, there is Turkey. True, it’s democracy is not as healthy as it once was, but then neither is ours.

    Facts are out friends. Well, maybe not yours, but most of ours.

  126. HarvardLaw92 says:

    @anjin-san:

    You hearing that buzzing noise again? I think the Troll-gnats are back.

  127. C. Clavin says:

    @James P:

    I categorically reject that the last shutdown cost us $12 billion.

    I think it’s clear to everyone here that you categorically reject facts of any kind.
    $12B is on the low end of estimates.

  128. C. Clavin says:

    @Jack:

    Which is way less than the fraud inherent in any given social program, so….

    Please provide a link.
    Republicans are always yapping about waste and fraud…but when anyone goes looking all they find is waste and fraud in defense contracts…which Republicans only like to increase.

  129. James P says:

    @C. Clavin: The number is negative. The shutdown SAVED money. If we shut the government for an extended period of time we’d save billions. If we simply refused to pass an increase to the debt ceiling we’d have a balanced budget overnight.

    I would support shutting down the government if for no other reason than it would SAVE money.

  130. george says:

    @Gavrilo:

    Dude, what is your deal? Are you Canadian? Israel is nothing like Canada. Canada doesn’t have rockets raining down on a regular basis. Canada isn’t a source of hostility around the world. People don’t flip out everytime Canada proposes a housing settlement. John Kerry isn’t trying to broker any kind of peace deal involving Canada.

    Dual American-Canadian, currently living in Canada. Americans (including me sometimes) vastly overestimate how important American politics is to non-Americans in general, and even more so during their elections. This comes up regularly when I talk to Canadian friends – they typically have minimal knowledge and interest of what goes on to the south. However, in their defense I’d add most Americans know and care even less about what goes on north of the border.

    Your case of Israel being different was interesting, so I spoke to a few Israeli colleagues, and looked at some Israeli websites. Everything suggested that the election was primarily about Israeli issues, not American politics. You really have to stretch things to think Obama and Congress was on anyone’s mind (for good or for bad) when they voted.

  131. michael reynolds says:

    @george:
    I agree, we were probably reading the same sites. This was way more about housing costs than anything else. Then Bibi goosed the vote by playing George Wallace plus admitting he’s a huge liar.