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May 2, 2010
The Baehr Essentials
Let's get the sports out of the way first. The Blackhawks are the only Chicago team with a reasonable chance of securing a title in the near future, and they laid an egg last night in game one at home against Vancouver. The Obama administration issued a statement after the game blaming the Blackhawks' failure on Israel's settlement policy. But give credit to cable station Versus, for showing the singing of the national anthem at the United Center. When NBC had the Hawks on for the game of the week the prior week, they skipped over the singing of the anthem for a commercial. As a five decades sports addict, I can tell you that the anthem at the UC (and before that, at the even louder Chicago Stadium ) is unlike any other pre game moment in sports. When I used to travel a lot to West Virginia on business, I enjoyed being with other consultants from my firm, as they flew their maiden voyage on Piedmont Airlines, and grabbed the seat in front of them, terrified at flying though the trees onto the mountaintop at Yeager Field (the Charleston airport). I would advise them to remain calm. On the other hand, when I am with people who have never been to a Blackhawks home game, I tell them to enjoy the moment when the anthem is played, and participate. Sometimes, like last night, it is the only highlight for the home fan.
Two moments from anthem history. Turn the sound all the way up to really get the experience.
The left and immigrant groups, are of course apoplectic about the new Arizona law. The state, unbeknownst to many of the critics, has tightened some of the requirements for police officers that makes abuses under the new law much less likely. What the out of state critics ignore of course, is how border areas with Mexico are more more becoming a Hobbesean state of nature. If you assemble all the border counties in California, Arizona, New Mexico and Texas, and classified them as a state, it would have by far the highest unemployment rate,and highest crime rate, and the lowest per capita income of any state in America. The crime issue has now gotten far more serious, as Mexico's ruthless drug lords have carried their war across the border. When the federal government abdicates responsibility, states have to act. I might not have proposed such a law, but to ignore the problem , and just call all the whites in Arizona racist is ridiculous.
The major media are reporting that the Obama administration has launched a new charm offensive to ease concerns of American Jews that their policy on the Middle East has shifted dramatically against Israel. Jim Jones told a bad joke, but gave perhaps the strongest statement on the US Israel relationship in this regard. But beyond the talk, the Administration's policies and future plans have turned even more hostile to Israel. After the President's meeting with Mahmoud Abbas, a series of leaks indicates that the President made various pledges to Abbas. These include the following:
1. The US will not veto a U.N. Security Council resolution condemning Israel for building in Jerusalem, if Israel moves ahead with building in the area that was announced during Biden's visit, or any other new projects in the city.
2. If the indirect talks between the Israeli and the Palestinians begin, and do not produce an agreement (the odds on that are 100%), or demonstrate real progress towards one (the odds on this are also 100%), then in a few months, Obama will convene a "world summit" run by the Quartet (Russia, the EU, the UN, and the US) to move towards an imposed solution. And the Palestinians will get a state within two years.
At the same time, the Obama team is talking to Egypt about creating a nuclear free zone in the Middle East. For the uninitiated- the Administration's real motive for this approach will be to argue that they failed to get Iran to give up its nuclear program, since Israel refused to give up its nuclear weapons.
Barry Rubin discusses the futility of the peace talks once they begin. He argues that the Administration is incapable of criticizing the Palestinians , or making any real demands on them. The more intransigent the PA position, the more pressure is applied to Israel for concessions. There is a explanation for this- the Administration is in fact siding with the Palestinians. This is hard to hide at this point, and is not made any more palatable by all the talk of no space between the U.S and Israel when it comes to Israel's security. An Administration that allows Iran to go nuclear, will have created a lot of space on Israel's security.
Rubin on the Palestinians' goal
Noah Pollak on the U.S talks with Egypt;
The New York Times on the Obama team's plans in the Security Council;
Evelyn Gordon on how the Administration's weakness on Iran is impacting the of Arab nations; Obama's coming "World Summit";
Khaled Abu Toameh on what happens when no demands are made of the Palestinians;
Obama's promise to Abbas: a state within two years;
The White House is still trying to weaken Congressional sanctions against Iran;
Obama wants Israeli defeat through forced concessions. Daniel Pipes calls for Israeli victory.
A truth teller in the New York Times! Will wonders never cease? Gretchen Morgenson makes clear that GM "paid back" its TARP loan with TARP money. The company is still losing billions each quarter. When the bailout occurred, the Feds gave a $7 billion loan to GM, and put in 42 billion more in "equity" to take a majority stake in the company. Some of the $42 billion that has not yet been spent, was used to pay back the loan. But an all too gullible Obama-loving press, jumped on the story, anxious to show that another Obama policy is working out well.