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Friday, April 17, 2009

Emanuel Says Obama Insists On Implementing Two State Solution, No Ifs, Ands, or Buts | Israel Policy Forum

If Obama can do this, i will fall down on my knees and worship him as the Messiah!  You go Mr. Prez!

Yedioth Achronoth, the largest circulation daily in Israel, reports today that President Obama intends to see the two-state solution signed, sealed and delivered during his first term.

Rahm Emanuel told an (unnamed) Jewish leader; "In the next four years there is going to be a permanent status arrangement between Israel and the Palestinians on the basis of two states for two peoples, and it doesn't matter to us at all who is prime minister."

He also said that the United States will exert pressure to see that deal is put into place."Any treatment of the Iranian nuclear problem will be contingent upon progress in the negotiations and an Israeli withdrawal from West Bank territory," the paper reports Emanuel as saying.  In other words, US sympathy for Israel's position vis a vis Iran depends on Israel's willingness to live up to its commitment to get out of the West Bank and permit the establishment of a Palestinian state there, in Gaza, and East Jerusalem.

Yedioth also reports that Obama is conveying his displeasure with the new Israeli government in several ways. "US administration officials informed Netanyahu that President Obama will not be able to meet with him in early May, while the AIPAC conference is held in Washington. The meeting between the new Israeli premier and the president of the United States is perceived in Israel as a sign that the formation process of the new government has been completed and as a salutation by Israel's close friend. Netanyahu had hoped to capitalize on the opportunity and to meet with Obama during the annual AIPAC conference, but the Americans informed the Israelis that Obama was not going to be 'in town.' That being the case, the inclination among Netanyahu's aides is to cancel his trip to attend the AIPAC conference and to try to secure a date for a meeting with Obama later in May.

"Sources in Washington also said that the Obama administration would not continue the tradition that developed during the Bush administration of hosting Israeli premiers many times during the year, sometimes with just a phone call's advance notice."

So far neither the White House or the Israeli government has commented on the report which, it should be noted, comes from Shimon Shiffer, one of Israel's most highly respected journalists.

Emanuel Says Obama Insists On Implementing Two State Solution, No Ifs, Ands, or Buts | Israel Policy Forum

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Tea Tantrum Indeed: The right-wing populists have officially taken over movement conservatism | Crooks and Liars

This is a phenomenon known as Producerism, which is a hallmark of right-wing populism. It's defined as:

a syncretic ideology of populist economic nationalism which holds that the productive forces of society - the ordinary worker, the small businessman, and the entrepreneur, are being held back by parasitical elements at both the top and bottom of the social structure.

... Producerism sees society's strength being "drained from both ends"--from the top by the machinations of globalized financial capital and the large, politically connected corporations which together conspire to restrict free enterprise, avoid taxes and destroy the fortunes of the honest businessman, and from the bottom by members of the underclass and illegal immigrants whose reliance on welfare and government benefits drains the strength of the nation. Consequently, nativist rhetoric is central to modern Producerism (Kazin, Berlet & Lyons). Illegal immigrants are viewed as a threat to the prosperity of the middle class, a drain on social services, and as a vanguard of globalization that threatens to destroy national identities and sovereignty. Some advocates of producerism go further, taking a similar position on legal immigration.

In the United States, Producerists are distrustful of both major political parties. The Republican Party is rejected for its support of corrupt Big Business and the Democratic Party for its advocacy of the unproductive lazy waiting for their entitlement handouts (Kazin, Stock, Berlet & Lyons).

Chip Berlet has written extensively about the long historical association of producerism with oppressive right-wing movements and regimes.

It is, in essence, predicated on the psychology of celebrity-worship: convincing working-class schlubs that they too can someday become rich and famous too -- because when they do, would they want to be taxed heavily? It's all about dangling that lottery carrot out there for the poor stiffs who were never any good at math to begin with.

And with right-wing populism, it's the wealthy who stand to benefit, which is why they so willingly underwrite it. This is why Henry Ford -- the ultimate enabler of fascism -- is such a seminal figure for American right-wing populists. It's also why Ayn Rand and Atlas Wanked are so important in their mythology.

It might, in fact, more accurately be called "sucker populism."

We certainly saw an upsurge in right-wing populism in Republican ranks in the 2008 campaign, reflected both by Sarah "Evita" Palin's unmistakable right-wing populism, as well as Ron Paul's insurgency (there were a lot of Ron Paul supporters at these Tea Tantrums). There's been Glenn Beck's soaring popularity -- during which time, you'll also recall, he eagerly defended the AIG bonuses. And now the Tantrums.

I doubt that either Palin or Paul have the actual political wherewithal to surge to the fore of the Republican Party as the chief of its populist wing (neither were particularly visible at the Tantrums). More likely, a corporate Republican who's good at faking the populism -- like Newt Gingrich or Mike Huckaby -- will claim the mantle.

It will be entertaining to watch, but it almost certainly won't be fun.

Tea Tantrum Indeed: The right-wing populists have officially taken over movement conservatism | Crooks and Liars