Thursday, October 30, 2014

IT WASN'T AN INSULT, IT WAS JUST VERY FRANK

Conservatives are making a stink about an unnamed American official calling Benjamin Netnayahu "chickenshit" but they shouldn't because the context makes that statement very sensible:
The other day I was talking to a senior Obama administration official about the foreign leader who seems to frustrate the White House and the State Department the most. “The thing about Bibi is, he’s a chickenshit,” this official said, referring to the Israeli prime minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, by his nickname.

[...]

 Over the years, Obama administration officials have described Netanyahu to me as recalcitrant, myopic, reactionary, obtuse, blustering, pompous, and “Aspergery.” (These are verbatim descriptions; I keep a running list.)  But I had not previously heard Netanyahu described as a “chickenshit.” I thought I appreciated the implication of this description, but it turns out I didn’t have a full understanding. From time to time, current and former administration officials have described Netanyahu as a national leader who acts as though he is mayor of Jerusalem, which is to say, a no-vision small-timer who worries mainly about pleasing the hardest core of his political constituency. (President Obama, in interviews with me, has alluded to Netanyahu’s lack of political courage.)

“The good thing about Netanyahu is that he’s scared to launch wars,” the official said, expanding the definition of what a chickenshit Israeli prime minister looks like. “The bad thing about him is that he won’t do anything to reach an accommodation with the Palestinians or with the Sunni Arab states. The only thing he’s interested in is protecting himself from political defeat. He’s not [Yitzhak] Rabin, he’s not [Ariel] Sharon, he’s certainly no [Menachem] Begin. He’s got no guts.”
What makes this story a little more interesting is Netanyahu's admission of one of the charges:
Netanyahu addressed the reported name-calling directly during remarks in parliament saying his main focus was the security and unity of Jerusalem.

"Our supreme interests, chiefly the security and unity of Jerusalem, are not the main concern of those anonymous officials who attack us and me personally, as the assault on me comes only because I defend the State of Israel," he said.

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

THE WORLD BANK AGREES WITH THE HERITAGE FOUNDATION

The Heritage Foundation has regularly rated Hong Kong's economy as the freest in the world and that points out that democracy and free markets don't really have that much in common. 

Now, the World Bank has done an analysis of the best countries for business and Hong Kong is near the top.  Here's the entire list, courtesy of the WSJ:

Country 2015 2014 Change since prior year
Singapore 1 1 0
New Zealand 2 2 0
Hong Kong SAR, China 3 3 0
Denmark 4 4 0
Korea, Rep 5 5 0
Norway 6 6 0
United States 7 7 0
United Kingdom 8 9 1
Finland 9 8 -1
Australia 10 10 0
Sweden 11 12 1
Iceland 12 11 -1
Ireland 13 17 4
Germany 14 13 -1
Georgia 15 14 -1
Canada 16 15 -1
Estonia 17 16 -1
Malaysia 18 20 2
Taiwan, China 19 18 -1
Switzerland 20 22 2
Austria 21 19 -2
United Arab Emirates 22 25 3
Latvia 23 21 -2
Lithuania 24 24 0
Portugal 25 23 -2
Thailand 26 28 2
Netherlands 27 26 -1
Mauritius 28 29 1
Japan 29 27 -2
Macedonia, FYR 30 31 1
France 31 33 2
Poland 32 30 -2
Spain 33 32 -1
Colombia 34 53 19
Peru 35 34 -1
Montenegro 36 42 6
Slovak Republic 37 35 -2
Bulgaria 38 36 -2
Mexico 39 43 4
Israel 40 38 -2
Chile 41 39 -2
Belgium 42 40 -2
South Africa 43 37 -6
Czech Republic 44 47 3
Armenia 45 49 4
Rwanda 46 48 2
Puerto Rico (U.S.) 47 41 -6
Romania 48 50 2
Saudi Arabia 49 44 -5
Qatar 50 45 -5
Slovenia 51 46 -5
Panama 52 55 3
Bahrain 53 53 0
Hungary 54 58 4
Turkey 55 51 -4
Italy 56 52 -4
Belarus 57 57 0
Jamaica 58 85 27
Luxembourg 59 59 0
Tunisia 60 56 -4
Greece 61 65 4
Russian Federation 62 64 2
Moldova 63 82 19
Cyprus 64 62 -2
Croatia 65 67 2
Oman 66 60 -6
Samoa 67 61 -6
Albania 68 108 40
Tonga 69 63 -6
Ghana 70 69 -1
Morocco 71 68 -3
Mongolia 72 70 -2
Guatemala 73 71 -2
Botswana 74 66 -8
Kosovo 75 81 6
Vanuatu 76 75 -1
Kazakhstan 77 76 -1
Vietnam 78 72 -6
Trinidad and Tobago 79 91 12
Azerbaijan 80 88 8
Fiji 81 73 -8
Uruguay 82 74 -8
Costa Rica 83 78 -5
Dominican Republic 84 84 0
Seychelles 85 87 2
Kuwait 86 79 -7
Solomon Islands 87 97 10
Namibia 88 80 -8
Antigua and Barbuda 89 83 -6
China 90 93 3
Serbia 91 77 -14
Paraguay 92 92 0
San Marino 93 89 -4
Malta 94 90 -4
Philippines 95 86 -9
Ukraine 96 112 16
Dominica 97 94 -3
Bahamas, The 97 96 -1
Sri Lanka 99 105 6
St. Lucia 100 95 -5
Brunei Darussalam 101 98 -3
Kyrgyz Republic 102 99 -3
St. Vincent and the Grenadines 103 101 -2
Honduras 104 100 -4
Lebanon 104 102 -2
Barbados 106 103 -3
Bosnia and Herzegovina 107 104 -3
Nepal 108 109 1
El Salvador 109 106 -3
Swaziland 110 111 1
Zambia 111 107 -4
Egypt, Arab Rep 112 113 1
Palau 113 110 -3
Indonesia 114 117 3
Ecuador 115 115 0
Maldives 116 114 -2
Jordan 117 116 -1
Belize 118 119 1
Nicaragua 119 126 7
Brazil 120 123 3
St. Kitts and Nevis 121 120 -1
Cabo Verde 122 118 -4
Guyana 123 121 -2
Argentina 124 124 0
Bhutan 125 122 -3
Grenada 126 125 -1
Mozambique 127 142 15
Pakistan 128 127 -1
Lesotho 128 128 0
Iran, Islamic Rep 130 132 2
Tanzania 131 130 -1
Ethiopia 132 129 -3
Papua New Guinea 133 131 -2
Kiribati 134 133 -1
Cambodia 135 134 -1
Kenya 136 137 1
Yemen, Rep 137 135 -2
Gambia, The 138 144 6
Marshall Islands 139 136 -3
Sierra Leone 140 140 0
Uzbekistan 141 149 8
India 142 140 -2
West Bank and Gaza 143 139 -4
Gabon 144 138 -6
Micronesia, Fed. Sts 145 145 0
Mali 146 143 -3
Côte d'Ivoire 147 158 11
Lao PDR 148 155 7
Togo 149 164 15
Uganda 150 152 2
Benin 151 167 16
Burundi 152 150 -2
São Tomé and Príncipe 153 160 7
Algeria 154 147 -7
Djibouti 155 154 -1
Iraq 156 146 -10
Bolivia 157 151 -6
Cameroon 158 148 -10
Comoros 159 156 -3
Sudan 160 153 -7
Senegal 161 171 10
Suriname 162 159 -3
Madagascar 163 157 -6
Malawi 164 163 -1
Equatorial Guinea 165 162 -3
Tajikistan 166 177 11
Burkina Faso 167 161 -6
Niger 168 165 -3
Guinea 169 169 0
Nigeria 170 175 5
Zimbabwe 171 172 1
Timor-Leste 172 174 2
Bangladesh 173 170 -3
Liberia 174 168 -6
Syrian Arab Republic 175 165 -10
Mauritania 176 173 -3
Myanmar 177 178 1
Congo, Rep 178 179 1
Guinea-Bissau 179 176 -3
Haiti 180 181 1
Angola 181 180 -1
Venezuela, RB 182 183 1
Afghanistan 183 182 -1
Congo, Dem. Rep 184 184 0
Chad 185 185 0
South Sudan 186 187 1
Central African Republic 187 186 -1
Libya 188 188 0
Eritrea 189 189 0

YET ANOTHER REASON NOT TO VOTE FOR A REPUBLICAN

Glenn Beck's favorite psychiatrist goes far over the top:
Values

It’s time for an “American jihad”



By Dr. Keith Ablow
Published October 28, 2014
FoxNews.com

I REALLY LIKE THIS IMAGE

The link to it was posted on this comment thread and I feel like sharing:

AT LEAST ERIC CANTOR LOST IN THE PRIMARY

(h/t Atrios)

This a-hole John Kasich is still in contention, with a little help from the Cleveland Plain Dealer.

In case the video at the link gets pulled, here's another link.

RON BARBER IS A TARGET

I haven't been listening to much of the local conservative radio stations so I imagine there are a lot of ads against Ron Barber that I've missed. Today I heard one from the National Right to Life (for blastocytes) that accused Barber of all sorts of horrible intentions towards the unborn.

Sunday, October 26, 2014

MICHAEL HIRSH == NATIONAL POLITICAL HACK AT POLITICO

Hirsh has a 4 page article on POLITICO that's basically comes straight from conservative talk radio, "Team of Bumblers?".   Hirsh writes as if there really was a "Benghazi scandal":
[Susan] Rice is rarely heard in public except when she very occasionally appears on the Sunday talk shows—and then more times than not, it seems, in a bumbling way. (Most recently, by saying Turkey would supply bases for strikes against ISIL, only to be undercut by Ankara’s denial hours later; that followed a much-criticized performance describing former Taliban captive Bowe Bergdahl’s Army service as “honorable” despite the murky circumstances of his disappearance and capture; and her now-infamous explanation of the 2012 attacks in Benghazi, after which she was blasted by Republicans for appearing to play down terrorism links.)

THOMAS FRANK IS JUST ONE OF MANY EXAMPLES

I hate it when some conservative starts talking or writing about "all liberals" because they don't have a clue,  When someone like Thomas Frank does it, I'm disappointed instead because it just creates a false impression of the real, underlying issue, if there is one and in the case of Frank's new article, I don't think there is one.

ERIC HOLDER HAD THE CORRECT ADJECTIVAL PHRASE

I'm starting think that America really is a nation of cowards because of the hysteria over Ebola and the hysteria over ISIS.  The latter had led too many Americans to forget how bad conservatives are at foreign policy, see here and here.

RADIO TIDBIT

Two callers to Billy Cunningham's Sunday radio show very favorably compared Billy to the MON-FRI gasbags, Limbaugh, Hannity & Levin, one by explicitly mentioning those names. This might be another indication of the decline of "The Big Voice on the Right" (self-description of Limbaugh, the realization that Hannity is really stupid and a growing distaste for the "Angry Man" schtick of Mark Levin.

Saturday, October 25, 2014

SOMETHING ELSE I DIDN'T KNOW

The United States has a unique military relationship with S. Korea and this is the first time I head of it:
U.S. and South Korea Agree to Delay Shift in Wartime Command

By CHOE SANG-HUNOCT. 24, 2014

NY Times

SEOUL, South Korea — The United States has moved to ease jitters among conservative South Koreans by agreeing to delay the return of wartime control of the South Korean military to Seoul until its forces are better prepared to deter North Korea’s nuclear and missile threats or fight it in a war.

The United States assumed operational control of South Korea’s military in 1950 after it rushed American troops to the Korean Peninsula during the Korean War. It returned peacetime control to Seoul in 1994, but it was still obligated to command combined American-South Korean forces in the event of war.

SO, WHICH COLUMN REPRESENTS REAL FAMILY VALUES?

This is from a poster on POLITICO:

Bristol Palin Vs. Chelsea Clinton.

-------------------------Bristol---------Chelsea-----
Baby Da in Playgirl |------Yes------|------No------|
___________________________________________
A Teenage Mother |------Yes------|------No------|
___________________________________________
Unmarried Mother |------Yes------|------No------|
___________________________________________
Very Public Drunk . |------Yes------|------No------|
___________________________________________
A- Public Brawler.. |------Yes------|------No------|
___________________________________________
A College Degree . |------No------|---Stanford---|
___________________________________________
A Masters Degree |------No------|----Oxford----|
___________________________________________
2nd Masters Degr..|------No------|--Columbia---|
___________________________________________
Taught Grad Schl... |------No------|------Yes-----|
___________________________________________
Excellent Husband..|------No------|------Yes-----|
___________________________________________
A Professional Job..|-------No------|------Yes-----|
___________________________________________
Amateur TV Dancer.. |------Yes------|------No------|
___________________________________________

Friday, October 24, 2014

NO ACCOUNTABILITY

The people who ran the Iraq War should be held accountable for the Blackwater murders but they won't be and they also won't be held to account for torturing prisoners:
Senate’s inquiry into CIA torture sidesteps blaming Bush, aides
By Jonathan S. Landay, Ali Watkins and Marisa Taylor

McClatchy Washington BureauOctober 16, 2014

“It does not look at the Bush administration’s lawyers to see if they were trying to literally do an end run around justice and the law,” the person said.

As a result, the $40 million, five-year inquiry passed up what may be the final opportunity to render an official verdict on the culpability of Bush, former Vice President Dick Cheney and other senior officials for the program, in which suspected terrorists were abducted, sent to secret overseas prisons, and subjected to the harsh interrogation techniques.

IT'S HARD FOR ME TO BELIEVE THAT MOST AMERICANS...


prefer the GOP to the Democrats on national defense but I have to admit that fact:

SOURCE

Thursday, October 23, 2014

I DIDN'T FORGET THE INCIDENT BUT I DID MISS THE TRIAL

There's no reason not to go up the chain of command except Pelosi didn't have the courage to initiate impeachment hearings and Pres. Obama decided to leave the guilty alone.
Blackwater guards convicted in Iraq killings
Four ex-employees of US security firm found guilty of charges related to shootings of more than 30 civilians in 2007.
Last updated: 23 Oct 2014 08:36
AL JAZEERA

Four former employees of the US security company Blackwater have been convicted of almost every charge related to the shootings of more than 30 unarmed Iraqi civilians in Baghdad, seven years ago.

The jury in Washington found Nicholas Slatten guilty of first-degree murder, and the three other ex-security guards - Paul Slough, Evan Liberty and Dustin Heard - were convicted on Wednesday of committing multiple counts of voluntary manslaughter at a Baghdad traffic circle in 2007.

The trial focused on the killings of 14 Iraqis and the wounding of 17 others.

The shootings, which came in the fourth year of the US military invasion of the country, triggered an international uproar over the role of defence contractors, who were hired by the US State Department to protect American diplomats in the Middle Eastern country.

The four men were charged with a combined 33 counts in the shootings, and the jury is expected to continue deliberating on the other counts.

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

I CAN'T FIND IT...

UPDATE:  I found it & linked to it.

but I recall posting about a media personality survey that found Rush Limbaugh was the most disliked of all 30 or so national media figures. Today, the WaPo reports on a Pew Research study that found Limbaugh was the least trusted of about 40 media personalities or news outlets:

A COUPLE OF MONTHS AGO I NOTICED A CAMPAIGN SIGN

It was for 2 conservatives running for spots on the Arizona Corporation Commission:
Article 15 of the Arizona Constitution establishes the Arizona Corporation Commission. Only 7 states have constitutionally formed Commissions. Arizona is one of only 13 states with elected Commissioners. In the 37 other states, Commissioners are appointed by either the governor or the legislature.
In most states, the Commission is known as the Public Service Commission or the Public Utility Commission. Our Commission, however, has responsibilities that go beyond traditional public utilities regulation. These additional roles include facilitating the incorporation of businesses and organizations, securities regulation and railroad/pipeline safety.
By virtue of the Arizona Constitution, the Commissioners function in an Executive capacity, they adopt rules and regulations thereby functioning in a Legislative capacity, and they also act in a Judicial capacity sitting as a tribunal and making decisions in contested matters.
The sign stated that voting for them would be fighting back against Obama and I was puzzled because the Commission really doesn't have a political edge to it but I guess this is part of the Big Plan the GOP has for the 2014 elections.