Palestine is a failed state

Generally, a state is that entity that has a monopoly on legal violence within its borders. A failed state has lost this ability, along with other features of a collective action body to provide services to the public.

The International community in the post-WWII world has focused on “self-determination” and the basic preservation of state boundaries. After the war, under pressure from the United States and the Soviet Union, the world rapidly decolonized and many new states came into existence. It was either presumed or ignored whether these states actually had the features of states in many cases, especially in Africa.

The case of Africa is interesting because especially in the case of the former British colonies, independence was conditioned on universal suffrage and states that resisted the occurring even over a rapid amount of time were made into international pariahs—though arguably not for that alone. Yet almost without exception, the new states that were given the vote became kleptocratic dictatorships almost immediately.

The situation is mostly similar throughout the Middle East with the exceptions of the Gulf emirates and Saudi Arabia that were given independence not on a western parliamentary model, but on traditional leadership structures. It is no mistake that these states are stable and Syria, Iraq, Egypt, and virtually all of Sub-Saharan Africa are not. Better understandings of how liberal democracies emerge show that it is rare that they emerge from illiberal democracies and common that they emerge from more centralized but stable states. The frequent slaughter, genocide, and famine in these areas seriously undercuts the policies undertaken in decolonization. At the very least, the assumption that these people want to “live free or die”—in this case, having one and only one fair election is “living free.”

The Oslo Accords provided space and time to see if some of these mistakes could be avoided in Palestine. They were not. In the first open elections (Doe-eyedly insisted upon by the second Bush administration) resulted in the last elections in over 10 years, the loss of control of Gaza from the recognized Palestinian authority and the failure of either the Hamas government in Gaza or the PA government in the West Bank to provide routine services—which in the international sphere is always blamed on Israel. But this really shouldn’t matter because a sovereign state should, at least in those parts that are unoccupied, be able to do this even with hostile neighbors. Cuba did it.

Of course the situation of white settlers and colonists cannot be in good faith compared to Jews in their ancestral homeland.

Despite this, the international community persists, just as it did after World War II, in either a case of malevolent neglect or being blinded by Kumbaya optimism some toxic mix of both in pushing the two-state agenda. At the very least, consideration of giving Gaza a separate independence should be considered. It also seems more likely that a confederation of the West Bank and Jordan is more likely to be a viable state and ironing out the ramifications of that easier than of a separate Palestine or a single-state solution with Israel.

In reality, the fate of the “settlers” left in an Arab state will likely be the fate of Jews left in every other Arab state. They will be cleansed out of it at best and slaughtered at worst.

A one-state solution in all of Mandatory Palestine would almost certainly result in the same one-man-one-vote but only once result seen elsewhere in the hemisphere under such circumstances. Since this enables the great powers and the UN to wash their hands of the situation it is often chosen.

 

 

It’s always our fault

A professor on NPR this morning, I believe from Davis, said things like “soul searching” and that complaining about racism was “intellectual comfort food”  when the reality was more complex.

A WSJ reporter on the program pointed out that if trade and economic anxiety were really the issues then why, in a place like Ohio, are free traders Portman and Kasich popular?

This election is not my fault. It’s not the fault of some inchoate coastal elite to “understand” “real Americans” or “working class whites.” If they are mad about being made fun of then how do they expect the minority groups they’re mad at to feel? Why is it always our fault.

Let me be clear: the problems of the white working class will not be made better by undoing trade deals and undoing the remnants of the safety net. They will be made worse. This is the path they chose. And if we’re in their living rooms, recording their conversations, it was done to stick it in the eye of their betters.

It’s classic “cutting off your nose to spite your face” behavior and I find attempts to understand or empathize with this comical.

How about these folks get a dose of empathy for the “urban” and “coastal” human beings they hate so much they are willing to suicide bomb them politically? Why isn’t it their job to understand us?

The Democrats do not need a major revolution in their policies or electoral strategies as strange as that sounds. They won the popular vote. They would win the House if it weren’t gerrymandered. As bad and as consequential as this loss was, it was still very close and not a landslide rejection. Those are two different things. 1984 was a landslide but since it was an incumbent’s reelection there weren’t the same consequences.

Becoming the party of the campus left isn’t going to help here either, no matter how much the BernieBros say so. Agreeing with Trump on trade isn’t going to make these “real Americans” ask you for your preferred pronouns anytime soon. If the Keith Ellison chairmanship of the DNC is any indicator, 2020 will be more like 1984.

Recognizing that these people are reactionary and dislike equality for minorities, however, is different than constantly saying “you are racist” at every turn. Knowing how things are doesn’t mean we have to say it 24/7.

 

Right-Wing Jewish Traitors

Any leader of a communal Jewish organization that is apologizing for Steve Bannon is just as much of a self-hating Court Jew trying to save his own skin by currying favor with power as any lefty pro-BDS Jewish sellout.

The fast-twitch antisemitism muscle fibers these folks have developed with respect to criticism of Israel seems to have atrophied with respect to the oldest most basic version of antisemitism.

I’m making no defense of the antisemitism that pervades the global left. It has descended into Jew hatred. But that the very people who have been correctly pointing this out for so many years can’t see the original model when it’s right in their faces is absolutely shocking.

The irony is that the importance of Israel as a safe harbor for Jews wouldn’t be such an issue if it wasn’t for this older type of Jew hatred rearing its head in every generation.

Anyone who stands up for this man, who has done more to bring the Old Hatred back to life in this country than anyone, is just a latter day Elisha ben Abuyah.

The Inevitable Post-Mortem

These are almost as useless as predictions are.

Hillary wasn’t “cool.” The winner of the presidential election since 1980 has always been “cooler.” I wish I had something deeper to add than that. I really don’t. Democrats need to stop believing the customer is always wrong. People don’t want a wonky technocratic President. They want a reflection of their aspirations and fears. Democrats need to stop nominating the A students and get someone charismatic that will listen to the A students. Apparently, no real qualifications are necessary, so there’s no need to limit yourself to the world of politicians.

I’m not saying this with the least touch of snark. I am serious. Kamala Harris has some Obama magic, but someone else’s magic isn’t “cool.” If Peyton Manning was or could be a Democrat, I’d get him going right now.

So, let’s talk about all the stuff:

Hillary wasn’t cool, but I don’t think she made any unforced errors. Some of them were forced. She was so unsubstantively criticized whatever she was for really didn’t matter. Her campaign trying to expand the map was reminiscent of the Maginot Line when her rear was exposed and she couldn’t turn the guns around.

The worst right now are the Sanders people who think he would have done better. Dig into the data. He would have been fighting over the same voters as Trump with less enthusiasm among what was Hillary’s base. Anyway, he wasn’t the candidate.

The worst thing is not knowing what is going to happen. Are the Rs going to repeal everything? or is Trump going to leave some safety net things untouched?

This blog was launched to try to lay out ways to get Democrats to react to Bush. Almost none of the lessons were learned that needed to be learned. Democrats went off on their usual mix of technocracy and identity politics which have only ever gone along for the ride on other issues. “It’s the economy, stupid” remains paramount.

But Democrats can be their own worst enemies, not realizing that they are unilaterally disarming and following rules the other team isn’t playing by anymore. Dems haven’t been rewarded and Rs haven’t been punished by procedural maximalism. They need to just go for it.

The urge to take the party to the Bernie left will probably be irresistible and probably give us 8 years of Trump. Too bad. You can have balls and fight for center-left positions too.

I can’t over-emphasize the identity issue. “Racist” might be true of someone but it won’t persuade them. All of the bullshit campus PC nonsense demanded a Sistah Souljah moment of some kind—wish it would have come from Obama.

Going at cops as cops instead of making it positive is a problem. Movements like Occupy Wall Street start that are supposedly about the 99% but then get coopted by Palestinian issues, police issues, and all the other shit from The Nation and Amy Goodman.

You could go pretty far left on the economy and get away with it if you didn’t bring that with you. Just sayin’

After the Wreckage

Admit it.

It was humiliating.

Seeing  the lions of the last thirty years that had kept the barbarians at the gate for so long, calmly doing their respectable and necessary duty to let the barbarian into the parlor. Bill. Hillary. Barack. Michelle. Winners and losers of several big battles and combatants in the bitterest of stalemates. They won more than they lost over the years,  even with the catastrophic Bush Junta sandwiched in between. They saved the economy and the country and “Detroit” twice. They gradually increased access to health care and came about as close as possible to a trend towards universal coverage. They raised taxes, modestly, on the wealthiest, reregulated Wall Street (modestly), and set a realistic path towards contending with Climate Change. Through laws and their own example they helped lead America at large to seemingly become more respectful and tolerant — even if they were late to the game on gay marriage and LGBTQ advocacy in general. Marijuana is slowly being decriminalized. All of that and so much more.

In seven weeks, all these years of battles and steady progress, a lifetime’s work, almost all of it will be gone in about 72 hours.

This blog was started as a response to the last wreckage of the Democratic Party that stood feebly by as the post-9/11 Bush Junta bamboozled America into war. Leafing through some of the old posts, I’m impressed how often this blog was correct, ahead of it’s time, and how often versions of the ideas expressed here came to actual fruition. In it’s own small way, this blog was part of the incremental progress attained since its birth in 2003.

Most of that will likely soon be gone too.

The Republicans will have to own it now, and the white nationalism at the heart of Trumpism would seemingly not jive with the starvation policies of Ryanism. No one really cares about Gay Marriage anymore, and even abortion politics are just playing to one small, vocal segment of the old Republican coalition. What everyone has always wanted, and what would help poorer exurban areas, is deficit spending to stimulate the economy. Will Rs give this to Trump now that they own the outcomes and cannot just blame? IOKIYAR.

Best case: massive infrastructure, defense and other spending boosts the economy and only around the edges changes are made to the existing social safety net.

Worst case. Oh my is the worst case ever bad. But that will have to wait for another time.

This is a bad surreal trip, and we are at the start of the beginning.

 

HRC and the “Vision Thing”

Back in the 2008 Democratic Primary I wrote that, unlike Obama, HRC was unable to stitch her worthy policy proposals into something more than the sum of their parts. That is, HRC lacked what Bush I referred to as “the vision thing”. That is her biggest weakness as a politician. It’s hurting her now. Yes, the Comey e-mail letter is a nothingburger about a nothingburger. Yes, it’s smarmy and stupid on his part. Yes, it sucks. Yes, it’s unfair. But, having failed to make her candidacy about one or two big things like an infrastructure project(s), addressing global warming, or anything else HRC cannot pivot from the distraction of Comey’s e-mail interference and say, what’s important is focusing on my plan to do X, oh, AND my opponent is a bozo potemkin candidate Human-Butterscotch-Dairy-Queen-Dip-Cone-With-A-Klan-Hat that you wouldn’t trust to babysit your nine-year old daughter. HRC only has the negative case to make against Mr. T and not the corresponding positive case to make for herself.

I’m not sure if Team Clinton could have added substance to the hydrogenated oil and Russian argot wheat gruel of this gruesome campaign. The venal Media’s need to chase its own tail over every ludicrous Mr. T controversy and Mean Girl spat took all the O2 out of the room. To their credit, this flummoxed the Conservatron Also Rans and Team Clinton won on this terrain and was coasting to victory before Comey’s partisan thumb-on-the-scaling. Of course, the agonizing thing is that HRC does have intelligent plans to address most every issue facing America, but it’s too late to focus on those now.

In an election where both candidates are disliked the last bit of character besmirching, lame as it may be, will be stuck to HRC.

Previously, I had HRC’s superior ground game and a general election repeat of the fact that most late deciders went against Mr. T in the Republican primaries as creating a rout for HRC. My final prediction now: HRC wins the Obama 2012 States + NC but minus Iowa and Ohio. Clinton under-performs Obama throughout the Northeast and Midwest but still wins Pennsylvania, Michigan, Minnesota and the rest relatively easily. White educated Republicans provide the margin of victory, barely, in NC and FLA despite lower black turnout than 2012. HRC wins Nevada surprisingly easily. Arizona will be under 5 for Mr. T and Texas will be under 8. Almost. Next time. Utah is a random wild card.

Key Senate Races:

ILL – Duckworth

Wisc – Feingold

NH – Hasan (barely)

Penn – McGinty

NV – Masto (Surprisingly easily)

IND – Bayh

MO – Kander (Squeaker, running as disestablismentarian versus Bond)

NC – Burr

FLA – Marco Polo

Burr and Marco Polo will owe their Senate seats to Comey. The Comey-over also keeps Dem gains in the House to a minimum, maybe 5 seats but hopefully including the worthless Issa in CA.

 

Margin Prediction

I think my results prediction from August is pretty damn good. If I had it to do over again, I would put Indiana in the Dems column for senate and be more likely to give them 51 votes. I might have to think harder about Arizona.

I’m going to call the final margin at 50-40. McMullin, Johnson, and Stein will add up to about 10. It’s a blowout by contemporary standards but the two party vote will keep it from doing much more in the electoral college than I originally thought. Maybe Arizona, maybe NE-2.