Wednesday, August 31, 2011

A War Criminal

President Obama, in defending his decision not to investigate and/or prosecute members of the Bush administration for war crimes for authorizing and implementing torture against detainees, famously said, "I prefer to look forward, not backward."

Too bad the would-be target of an Obama administration investigation into said war crimes won't let him.

In his memoir, In My Time, former vice (and de-facto) president Dick Cheney asserts with dogged determination (and that fucking arrogant smirk on his face) that "enhanced interrogation techniques" as practiced by the U.S. military and intelligence communities were legal and acceptable methods, and that he would not hesitate to use them all again if need be.

Dahlia Lithwick at Slate has something to say about that:

Cheney is trying, in short, to draw us back into the same tiresome debate over the efficacy of torture, which is about as compelling as a debate about the efficacy of slavery or Jim Crow laws. Only fools debate whether patently illegal programs "work"—only fools or those who have been legally implicated in designing the programs in the first place.

In preferring to look forward now, with this memoir from a very substantial Republican occupying quite a bit of national news, President Obama reinforces the very valid point made by many on the left, including Glenn Greenwald, that Obama is just as guilty as Cheney of war crimes if he fails to prosecute. The Geneva Conventions make this plain.

So what is Obama thinking here? Is he wanting to save face because there might (or will) be things done on his watch that could raise the ire of his opposition, to the point where a charge of "impeachable offenses" can be levelled by the House Republican majority? Is he waiting till after his more-pressing domestic agenda is largely enacted? The government of the United States of America was based on the rule of law. This was what John Adams himself said. To me, Obama's inaction in the face of compelling evidence of wrongdoing, and in the face of a former vice president flipping the current President the finger and daring him to come after him is a more effective way to cheapen the Office of the Presidency than getting blown by an intern in the Oval Office and then lying about it. As President, I would risk my own neck and career to defend the Constitution. Isn't that what the oath is about?

"No, No, No, I Don't Wanna, I Don't Wanna"

In the same vein as my previous post, Steve Kornacki at Salon posits:

In this sense, the looming jobs fight offers Obama a chance to further drive down the GOP's standing (if that's even possible). And the more reviled the Republican Party is, the more it raises the possibility that Obama -- even if he himself is saddled with a poor economy and low poll numbers -- might manage to squeak through to a second term in 2012.

"Adult in the room" strategy may not be the right term for this. What Obama is really hoping is that voters in 2012 will end up rejecting the snotty, bratty, tantrum-prone child in the room.

(Note: Headline from the lyric of "Tantrum" from Sandra Boynton's book Dog Train, performed by Spin Doctors on the accompanying music CD)

What Obama Needs to Do to Win

The GOP freight train is gathering speed. Beginning very humbly with its first announced candidates, Andy Martin and Fred Karger, through the entry of more substantial (but no more substantive) candidates like Gingrich (nearly out) and Pawlenty (out) and Paul (out there) and Cain (in a parallel universe), to the "heavyweights" like Mitt and Rick, the Republican Party has been gearing up in a bid to realize its wet dream of turning Barack Obama into a one-term president. The way those Democrat bastards did to George H.W. Bush. And, if the media hype is believable, our president is very vulnerable. We have an unemployment rate of nine percent. We have a housing sector that is suffering, starting its fifth year of "decline." We have banks now making it very difficult to qualify for credit of any kind. We are fighting two seemingly endless wars. The prices of gas and food are going up at a rate faster than the posted 3.5% inflation rate. "It's the economy, stupid" seems to be the mantra of the GOP now, stealing a page out of the Clinton playbook.

And, if this video is any indication, the GOP front-runner will hammer Obama hard on the economy and not spend a whole lot of intellectual firepower (what little there is, of course) on international matters. And why should they? About ninety-nine percent of the bad things happening today in U.S. foreign policy are because of the colossal screw-ups by the Bush/Cheney regime and the unpalatable but necessary clean-up efforts implemented by Obama.

Admittedly, this is a pretty good strategy. Nothing hurts an incumbent more than a challenger reminding voters that they're worse off now than they were before. And for a lot of Americans, that's true, IF they don't pull their heads out of their asses and face reality. Because the reality points out that for many Americans (like this American), the exact opposite is true. Unemployment would have been far worse had it not been for the policies of the Obama administration (think of GM potentially failing). Housing is actually better in some areas of the country, and there are signals that the luxury home market (which is typically the first segment to improve) is coming back. But the last housing downturn lasted seven years, as did the one before that; the economy is cyclical by nature. And while it seems that banks are more reluctant to extend credit, consider that the prior reality was that almost anyone could qualify for a mortgage or a car loan or a credit card; banks are now using actual thorough data to manage risk rather than using minimal "stated" data to justify disregarding risk. The wars in Iraq and Afghanistan are winding down, the action in Libya is nearly over, and dates are in place (soft though they may be) for the eventual withdrawal of troops; the idea that we are the world's police force is very unpopular among both voters and elected officials. And, while gas and food prices are indeed high, we are not waiting in long lines to buy what's left on the shelves or in the tanks.

Everything that Obama has done since taking office has been to correct the wrongs implemented over the previous 16 years (yes, I'm including Clinton's deregulation of banks, which was done with the help of Republicans). We will have universal health care which provides coverage for 30 million more people, which protects Americans from losing their coverage, and which allows for private insurers to do most of the heavy lifting and make a profit (of course, within a regulated system). Osama bin Laden has been killed (as was al Qaeda's #2 man); AQ is indeed teetering on the brink of collapse. Torture has ended as a way to extract "intelligence" from detainees (even as Gitmo remains open amidst a Gordian knot of legalities and political posturing). And more people are free to be who they are and love whomever they want without fear of discrimination.

I wish the solution to assure Obama's victory in 2012 was as simple as him spreading a bunch of sunshine. God knows, he's every bit as effective a speaker as Reagan was. But this time, voters are cynical, thanks to three decades of nihilism under the Limbaugh/Murdoch media empire. Anything that's not Republican is un-American in the eyes of a lot of people. Obama may have largely erased the foreigner/birther/other element from the opposition, but he still scares the bejeesus out of many white southern Christians, still reeling 150 years after losing the Civil War and nearly 50 years after being forced to sit next to non-whites at restaurants, urinals, movie theaters and buses.

What Obama needs to do to win next year is look right into the camera during every speech, or right into the eyes of every journalist lucky enough to get a one-on-one interview, and tell them flat out: "What I've done over the past four years doesn't look perfect or ideal to many people, including me. There is a lot I would have liked to do differently. I made the deals I could make so that I could make the deals I had to make. And there are some who won't vote for me, no matter what I say or do at this point. They insist I've made an even bigger mess of things. They're entitled to their opinion, of course. But they would be wrong. Today, we are a more compassionate America, even as we are a leaner America. We are a more powerful America, even as we become a more peaceful America. Today, we are closer to realizing the shared ideals of every American, from Main Street to lower Manhattan, than we have ever been. And yet we are in danger of losing all that we have gained to an increasingly shrinking movement that practices the politics of fear, division, and cynicism. We have never, ever been more successful being governed according to the values of a few than we have when we were led with fairness and equality for as many Americans as possible. The Reagan vision of a shining city on a hill has not diminished; we are still the richest, most powerful, and most welcoming country in the world." Reminding voters of this will go a long way. Also, warning them that "Take Back America" is a return to cynicism, failure, and inequality.

Monday, August 29, 2011

The Death-Knell of Neo-conservatism

Peter Beinart has it pretty correct. Money quote:

Undergirding post-9/11 neoconservatism was the assumption that the money for a quasi-imperial foreign policy would always be there, and that, if necessary, domestic spending could always be slashed—and perhaps even taxes raised—to make sure the Pentagon was spared the ax. But that assumption no longer holds. Forced to choose between health-care spending and military spending, as they increasingly must do, most Democrats will choose the former. And forced to choose between military spending and tax hikes, Republicans in this Tea Party era will throw the Pentagon under the bus as well.

President Obama (with an assist from Grover Norquist) has successfully changed the narrative in post-9/11 America, from one where we worry about being blown up by a jihadist, to one where we worry that we won't have adequate health-care coverage in an increasingly volatile economy.

While it's true that there has never been a shortage of attempts by some faction to create, define, and attack some iteration of "the enemy," whether it be communists, or Muslims, or immigrants, or liberals, I think that people are generally tiring of being at war. I think even evangelicals are beginning to see that some among them who wage spiritual warfare are a bit over the top with defining who the enemy is. That's why Bachmann, and possibly Perry, will not be nominated or elected.

Saturday, August 27, 2011

Unplugged From the Matrix Quote of the Day...Maybe

Courtesy of Fox News's Clayton Morris, hat tip to Bob Cesca:
If you dive into the weeds a little bit on this global warming thing, you see that it seems that facts are certainly on Huntsman’s side on all of this and fact checkers have come out, we’re actually having our own brain room look look at this right now that any of Perry’s comments don’t seem to hold a lot of water.

Emphasis mine ("this global warming thing") and Cesca's (the rest). If this was all of the quote, I'd feel pretty good that someone at Fox News admits that facts might actually matter when it comes to discussing global warming. But, no...
[But] It doesn’t matter. What’s resonating right now in South Carolina is helping Governor Perry tremendously and he fired back at Huntsman on global warming and gaining traction, facts or not.

Perry's shooting back at Huntsman, and even though he's fucking lying through his teeth and speaking from a place of complete ignorance. He's "gaining traction."

Cesca puts it very well:
Morris probably didn’t realize exactly what he was admitting to while trying to make his point, but he’s right. Facts don’t matter to the lunatic base.

Every fact in the book could be on Huntsman’s side, or President Obama’s side, or anyone’s side, but it doesn’t matter because the base isn’t interested in that. That doesn’t further their interests.

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Why We Should Care What Perry Thinks

Kevin Williamson over at National Review poses an interesting question about the views of a politician like Rick Perry, for which he has been pelted with punditry:

Why would anybody ask a politician about his views on a scientific question?
In other words, why should we care what Perry or any other politician personally thinks about any given scientific issue, like climate change, or evolution, or stem cell research? Any answer Perry would give to a question like that would absolutely be geared toward cementing his standing with his base of support, with the hope that others would be persuaded to consider him a serious candidate. As Williamson writes,

Evolution is a public question not because politicians have anything intelligent to say about the science, but because the question provides a handy cudgel to those who wish to beat the Judeo-Christian moral tradition into submission in the service of managerial progressivism.
Well, this goes both ways, doesn't it? If the question were asked to a progressive candidate about his views (as if we didn't know them already) by a conservative media outlet like Fox News, you can be sure it would be done as a way to beat the progressive tradition into submission in the service of the religious absolutism currently masquerading as morality.

Jim Manzi defends Williamson, but his key point appears to be this:

The role of rational politicians, then, is to have an understanding of the boundaries of actual scientific expertise, and accept consensus scientific findings within these fields as practical “givens” in determining policy – but not to be snowed by everybody with a bunch of equations into accepting their personal politics as indisputable by any rational human.

Jim seems to be saying that the right needs to stop criticizing (or worse, ignoring) the actual science, but to point out that the science doesn't really prove the political points for which the left cites the science. So, when Al Gore talks about climate change, when he trots out scientist after scientist who support every assertion Gore makes about climate change, the right is supposed to say, "Well, Al, we acknowledge that climate change is a problem, but the science you're citing doesn't really prove that we need to actually do what you say we should do." Fair enough, so perhaps the left should say, "Well, Rick, we acknowledge your belief that evolution is a theory that's out there, but neither your certainty about your belief nor your interpretation of your religious text come close to refuting one pebble in the mountain of scientific evidence that suggests otherwise."

It's beyond insipid to think that Perry's views that climate science is manipulated to serve a liberal agenda, or that evolution is just "a theory that's out there," don't matter. A Perry presidency or a Bachmann presidency can mean real-world consequences to the advancement of science in the pursuit of solving real problems. We already see clearly how religious fundamentalism in this country has dumbed down the population in general, with millions believing with every fiber of their beings that the earth is only 6,000 years old and that dinosaurs served men who walked the earth with them. Think about the leader of the free world occupying the White House and refusing to listen to the arguments of those who believe differently than he does. Last time I checked, religious fundamentalists (i.e., Christianists) don't hold open-mindedness high on their list of positive personal virtues. They celebrate the fact that it's all been solved for them, that it's all God, all the time, and life on this earth is irrelevant so long as we accept JAY-zus! into our lives. And, as it so happens, there are those who want to do everything they can to infiltrate every level of society so that their narrow religious view dominates the discussion. And you can count Rick Perry as one of "those."

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Bless Her Heart

About five or six years ago, during my last major employment stint, my business unit had to go through a monthly training to keep up on the latest developments in the industry, new system upgrades, etc. The trainer was a fantastic gal from Atlanta who to this day makes me smile when I think of her, the kind of woman who took no shit from anyone, but had that southern charm that just disarms any person who might be fixing to get angry at her.

She had this particular way of referring to a person who was acting like a total asshole, or had just missed the boat on a particular, but crucial, aspect of the training. She would say, in her thickest southern drawl, "Bless her/his heart!"

Witness today's foot in mouth idiocy from Michelle Bachmann.

Why, bless her little heart!

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

The Painfully Obvious Truth About the Tea Party

Andrew Sullivan knocks it out the park, but got a hanging curve ball, didn't he? There is absolutely no daylight between the Tea Party and the Christianist right wing of the GOP. While some in the movement may actually be political neophytes who just got fed up with taxation, deficits, etc., and while the leaders/organizers of the overall movement are rich corporatists who love to exploit the angry white mob to their benefit, the great majority of the rank and file membership of the Tea Party are white, older, Christianist, and very angry at, well, SOMEONE! "Keep your government hands off my Medicare!" Those types. Those who want more prayer in school, religion deeply injected into politics, a return to the good ol' days when you didn't have to worry about offending a person's ethnicity, because anyone who mattered back then was white anyway.

My hope is that the primary season exposes this more completely, that Bachmann and Palin and Perry battle each other for the most right-wing position to keep that base fired up. I hope the far right gets so influential that it pulls the GOP further to the right, which appears to be happening now anyway. They didn't lose the election in 2008 for not being conservative enough; they lost because of the exact opposite. Doubling down now on neocon and theocon core planks are going to alienate the entire middle, who will not be able to sit it out. Obama wins, hands down.

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

A Humiliating Kick in the Crotch for the GOP

Jonathan Bernstein is a political MMA champion as he eviscerates the GOP on its 2012 election problems. Money quote:

What [many GOP voters are] upset with isn’t the candidate — it’s the party. It’s inconceivable that anyone could get the Republican nomination while using anything but solid Tea Party rhetoric on pretty much every issue. They’re all going to claim that taxes should never, ever, ever be raised no matter what, that half of what the government does is evil or unconstitutional or whatever, that the scientific consensus on climate is some sort of crazed conspiracy, and so on down the line. I’ve been saying for some time now that the odds are against Republicans actually nominating a candidate who believes crazy things — but the odds of them nominating someone who says crazy things has gone up.

Of course, there’s no way of knowing what a candidate really thinks, but I suspect that Rick Perry fits that latter mold perfectly — as does Mitt Romney. And so would any other candidate who wanted to have any chance at the nomination. That’s what the Republican Party is right now, and that’s what their nominee is going to say. So no saviors need apply.

Exactly right. People I talk to on the left from LA to New York tell me how disappointed they are in Obama for not fighting more for progressive causes like universal health care (as in 100% public option), consumer protection, the repeal of DADT (done), and tax increases for the wealthy and for corporations. Some express concern at how vulnerable he is for re-election. Well, maybe. There are still 15 months to go until the election, and a lot can happen between now and then. What seems to be happening on the right is just what Bernstein writes about. If the nominee for the GOP must adhere very closely to the Tea Party throughout the primary season, then Obama will have serious ammunition in the general election. The Tea Party-led GOP, other than tossing out a bunch of old-school (and sensible) Repubs and Dems in 2010, hasn't had one significant legislative victory since capturing the House (other than driving the country nearly to default as it fights for ideological purity above the national interest). Medicare is still protected, Social Security hasn't yet been cut or abolished, and the balanced budget amendment they so crave is nothing more than the cough syrup sitting in the water chamber of their ideological bong. Whoever is nominated next year will have to veer very far toward the center to appeal to independents. I really don't expect progressives who are currently not happy with Obama to sit out the election so that a Perry or Romney or (heaven forbid) Bachmann or Palin can reverse everything Obama has actually done in his first term.

If the nominee doesn't move left during the general, then Andrew might be right in wondering if the GOP isn't actually "committing the kind of grotesque suicide that Obama tends to evoke in his opponents." My bet is that they will inch toward the center, risking the votes of the most fanatical element in the Tea Party, but the Tea Party will largely follow their nominee in order to achieve their greater objective, the ouster of the Black Kenyan Muslim from power.

Against Their Own Self-Interest

If you've read Thomas Frank's What's the Matter with Kansas?, you'll understand just why and how the backlash movements throughout history have undermined their own self-interest in order to further the interests of the moneyed few, the corporate interests, who manipulate the masses into action.

The Tea Party is no different, not in any way. They claim to be a grass-roots movement of ordinary Americans who are disaffected with the way the federal government has intruded in their lives on every level. (Ironic, however, how they want government to regulate reproductive choice and define who can get married.) And yet we all know that the Tea Party is funded and supported by corporate interests in many sectors, from the Koch Brothers (chemicals) to Dick Armey (a registered lobbyist), who are also profiting mightily from the activities of these people who believe they control their own destinies.

According to Simon Johnson over at Project Syndicate, the Tea Party has actually strengthened the position of the federal government against which they love to rail, while undermining the private sector (the "job creators") they so revere. Money quote:

The irony of the Tea Party revolt, of course, is that it undermines the private sector more than it reins in “big government.” The S&P downgrade resulted in a “flight to quality,” meaning that investors bought US government debt – thus increasing its price and lowering the rate that the federal government pays to borrow.

It was the value of the stock market that fell sharply – which makes sense, given that counter-cyclical policy is now severely constrained. The government part of the credit system has been strengthened, relatively speaking, by developments over the past few months. It is the private sector – where investment and entrepreneurial activity are needed to generate growth and employment – that has taken a beating.

Now, of course, the stock market will recover. Investors will eventually head back to equity markets, if only to pick up some bargains. But their recent actions fall in line with historical facts, and Bill Maher's contention that Americans are, in general, stupid people, who can be easily convince to follow the loudest, regardless of the message, is spot on. I also wrote about this more than three years ago:

Is this country really that "land of relative equality?" Maybe when I was a kid and hadn't experienced the world and all it has to offer. But now I tend to be a little cynical about this myself. Perhaps the Republicans managed to reveal what this country truly is: a boiling cauldron of provincial, culturally ignorant, violent, hateful swine. We are people who couldn't care less about America's standing in the world. Who would just as soon shoot a Muslim as engage him in meaningful dialogue. Who lack the patience to understand anything beyond the headlines that pass through our vacuous heads every 22 minutes. ... To have ceded responsibility for our national intelligence to a bunch of superstitious Christianists who believe the universe is only 20,000 years old, we have to be pretty fucking stupid.

Monday, August 15, 2011

A Case of Clear Conflict

The New York Times profiles San Diego Congressman Darrell Issa (R, of course), who is rare among sitting legislators in that he openly runs his entrepreneurial enterprises while serving his district. Sometimes, the businesses he runs or the assets he owns benefit directly from government earmarks. And while direct conflicts of interest may not have been exposed (yet), he is clearly going all the way up to the line between ethical and unethical behavior as a public servant.

And this guy hasn't once been found in violation of the House Rules? If it were up to me, he be out on his ass (which must be sizable so as to support his very large wallet).

Sunday, August 14, 2011

Choke on this, Progressive Obama Haters!

About as eloquent as it can get, this Washington Monthly writer puts Obama solidly in the context of the Black Civil Rights struggle.

Obama is winning. Democrats are uniting behind him, although some white progressives think that they could do the job better. Independents are flocking to him. Even some Republicans are getting disgusted with their Washington leaders. Obama is not telling us about lack of seriousness of the Congressional GOP; he is showing us the vivid contrast between what we expect of our leaders and their behavior. The last two and half years have been a revelation of the essential conflicts in our society and politics.

If white progressives understood much about the politics of the African American struggle in the United States, we would see Obama in the context of that struggle and understand him better. And you don’t have to be African American to know something about the history of the African American struggle. The books and the testimony is there. It’s not all freedom songs. But you have to be convinced that it is something that can teach you something you don’t already know.

As Iowan nutjobs make their twisted preferences known, as another wingnut Texan prepares to recycle tired, worn out GOP platforms that no longer apply to this new America, as the RNC/FNC propaganda machine starts cranking out one lie after another, and as Teabaggers couch their contempt for anything not to their liking in subtle and/or flagrant comments and/or acts of racism, this quiet, self-assured, confident, and gracious man will assure himself another four years. Those on the left who decry Obama's failures to further a more progressive agenda have only themselves to blame for not truly understanding the landscape, and for failing to rise above the cesspool of hatred that typifies the Republican Party. We are a better country for having elected Barack Obama, we are a better country for following him as president, and we will be an even better country with him as president for another four years.

Thursday, August 4, 2011

Politics and Religion Do Not Mix

So concludes David Sehat at the Oxford University Press blog.

Not stating the obvious, but his central point (thanks again to Sullivan) is:

That evangelicals have been so disappointed with the presidents they elect suggests that politics might not be the best avenue to achieve their aims. Politics demands compromise and conciliation that counter evangelical calls for purity.

The very suggestion that some Christianist Republicans make, which is to say in some fashion that Jesus would balance the budget or cut taxes the way they want to, hints to me that perhaps it's near time that someone they respect pays the price for their sins. Who's it gonna be?

Money quote from the piece, out of the mouth of the O.G. Christianist, Billy Graham, long after he realized how wrong he'd been to suck up to political power to spread his brand of gospel: "The hard right has no interest in religion except to manipulate it."

Hear that Newt? Michelle? Sarah? Mitt? Rick? Herman? Perry?

Practicality, not Politics

Andrew Sullivan eviscerates a reader who presents a fairly coherent argument against increasing revenue. His central point:

Back in 1955, when the US had a 91% top marginal tax rate, per capita revenue from the income tax was $2595 in 2008 dollars. In 2010, in the midst of economic torpor? $4418. Why was $2595 sufficient to run the country back in the mid-1950s - a time period described by Paul Krugman as an economic and political "paradise lost" - but yet $1500 more than that today is regarded as evidence that taxes must be raised? In fact, the US is currently collecting more per capita income tax revenue today that every year prior to 1987.

Andrew's fantastic response centers on the fact that, since 1955, we've had Medicare and have maintained military expenditures at Cold War levels when we have no credible military threat against us. Underneath that, Americans are far older on average than they were then, which means the government has to spend more for their care and well-being. Republicans don't have a plan to deal with this; they just want to cut spending on entitlements and leave every person to fend for himself in an increasingly cutthroat economy. That approach isn't without some merit, of course. I agree that Medicare needs to be means-tested, and I think the official retirement age needs to be increased over time. We are living far longer than we ever have, and our bodies are lasting longer. The time when we could expect a robust retirement of 10 years or so has now turned into 20+ years, and the benefits from Social Security don't keep up. Simple matter of supply and demand.

But this reader -- you just know this turkey watches Fox News and goes to Tea Party rallies. I'm surprised the reader's post didn't feature complaints about illegal immigration, foreign aid, and the welfare state. Just proves that there's no such thing today as an intelligent Republican.

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Another Unplugged From the Matrix Quote

This time, courtesy of New Jersey governor Chris Christie, who in January nominated Sohail Mohammed, an American Muslim, to the New Jersey Superior Court bench. Mohammed was sworn in Tuesday, and Christie uttered the following to defend his choice:

It’s just crazy, and I’m tired of dealing with the crazies. It’s just unnecessary to be accusing this guy of things just because of his religious background. I’m happy that he’s willing to serve after all this baloney.

The Newark Star-Ledger wrote this in an editorial Tuesday:

Mohammed’s appointment is a badge of honor for Christie and New Jersey, but it also serves as something else our society and political arena desperately need:
crazy repellent.

Amen to both.

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Unplugged From the Matrix Quote of the Day

One minute they’re saying I’m their Tea Party hero, and three, four days later I’m a Tea Party defector; that kind of schizophrenia I’m not going to get involved in it. -- Congressman (and Tea Party hero) Allen West (R-FL), who voted in favor of the debt ceiling deal.

Sullivan points out that the GOP is now at war with itself.

Bibi an Anti-Semite? An Israel-hater?

Well, if you think anyone who thinks Israel should negotiate with the Palestinians for a Palestinian state, using the 1967 truce lines as a starting point (exactly as President Obama suggested earlier this year), then Bibi fits the bill.

Not that I'd put any credence in what Bibi says. After all, he also said that the Palestinians would be expected, in return, to drop their bid to become a state in the United Nations and to recognize Israel as a Jewish state. Bibi knows that the latter condition is a non-starter for the Palestinians, who believe that such recognition would put Israeli Arabs in danger and inhibit the right of Palestinian refugees to return to their homes.

And around we go again....