Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Israeli annexers v. American settlers

The Palestinian territories -- that Israeli so-called "settlers" are moving in on -- come in at number 11 on a population density list of 237 nations and city-states. The American Midwest of 1850 -- that Anglo settlers moved in on -- would come in at 236 out of 238.


Here are maps of the extent of real estate annexments and native excluding roads:

Sunday, January 18, 2009

How I would LIBERATE Palestians without firing a shot

If I were president I would allow the US Marines to accept an invitation from Palestinians to move forces into the sovereign Palestinian territory of the West Bank and Gaza.

In the West Bank I would open up the exclusive (Israeli only) road system, and kick the IDF and its check points out. After this I would expect most of the 400,000 settlers to become so uncomfortable living with the Palestinians (the idea of the roads is never to have to see one of the 5,000,000) that most would move out voluntarily -- in any case most only feel comfortable now in an exclusively Jewish run state even in Israel proper.

The more militant the settlers, the more uncomfortable they should be living in a Palestinian run Palestinian state.

As some or most settlers moved out (how hard was it to move in?) even more would feel compelled to go. Nobody would have to drag them from their former homes. Nobody would have to harm a hair on their heads -- I don't think the most militant Palestinians would under these conditions.

Maybe some settlers could keep their homes if they made a deal -- as long as Palestinians had complete control and absolute control. What might not be too much money to first-world Israelis might seem a godsend to third-world Palestinians. Maybe some of both could work something out.

Meantime, no IDF soldier would dare take a potshot at the American military.

Friday, January 9, 2009

G.W. Bush's Treasury Secretary's words on STIMULUS: hike minimum wage!

On page 195, of The Price of Loyalty: "We are looking at every [stimulus] instrument that's ever been used and some that haven't been... ...O'Neill said. Among the options on the list, he said, are increases in the minimum wage, a "supplement" for people who pay no income taxes, and a reduction in the capital gains tax." (my emphasis)

This was G. W. Bush's first Treasury Secretary Paul O'Neill -- supporter of privatizing Social Security --on how to avoid recession, post 9/11.

Doubling the federal minimum wage would toss 350 billion the way of bottom 40 percentile earners -- those now earning below the $500/wk.

Since Michael Harrington wrote "The Other America", in 1968, 25% of our labor force has slipped below the minimum wage of that era ($400/wk adjusted) -- though average income has doubled since. To me this should be taken as an even more significant emergency than the looming 9% unemployment.

Minimum wagers wont get the whole raise in one jump. Will they get it in time to help ward off recession? Raise the incomes of those above 40 percentile by realistic unionization -- which can only mean sector-wide labor contracts, mandated by law -- and enough will get enough to at least help ward off recession.

As Ezra Kline recently pointed out, the card check may only produce unions which employers will ignore, which employers will refuse to bargain with. Under sector-wide: no contract = no legal work (at least it can be written that way). That should imply no scabs: the whole and entire marketing function of unionizing is to force the employer to bargain only with those employed now, not with everyone passing by on the street -- not just to make bargaining with everybody who passes by on the street more inconvenient.

If up to 90% of our workforce is expecting phased in raises (proportionately more the lower the current wages) over the next couple or three years, consumer confidence should be enhanced as much as anything can enhance it.

Saturday, January 3, 2009

Triply thick skulls of male (not female) geeks

Males, being instinctively hunter group oriented, upon opening discussion -- especially among experts sharing a common knowledge base -- immediately interlink their brains with what all the other boy brains know and feel about what they already know: beginning the creativity log jam.

Being instinctively hunter oriented, male geeks cannot help but obsess on keeping some kind of practical consensus (a piece of meat) within sight today (its running away!) -- narrowing their search potential even more.

And it is (instinctively?) understood that the hunt is not the time to broach new ideas -- we have to work together with what we all know already if the "hunt" is not to become impossibly complicated -- and male geeks are perpetually on the hunt; even alone in the library -- even on the hunt for new ideas: sealing off the creativity cul-de-sac.

Females geeks (the gatherers) can pick up and examine and chose among any number of new ideas on the basis of inherent interest of. Females are not deterred by how many starting points may be opened at once nor by how many weeks or months may pass before arriving at even some conclusions.

Take a too perfect but too new idea like sector-wide labor agreements, the world-wide (outside the USA) answer to the race to the bottom (American airline and supermarket workers would kill for sector-wide). In the purely abstract, sector-wide is the perfect abstract answer to the race to the bottom -- the core device dragging down American labor -- but try to get male geeks to discuss it or even acknowledge its existence as a concept. I've been trying for years.

On the "effecitiveness" of pounding Palestinians

I finally figured it out! Eureka! The Israeli pounding of Gaza WOULD -- immoral as it may or may not be -- would work as a TOTALLY effective deterrent against artillery rockets if and ONLY if the Palestinians were living totally free, totally happy lives in both Gaza and the West Bank -- free and happy as defined by themselves.

The pounding will never work as long as Israel holds 5 million Palestinians in oppressive, humiliating, impoverishing conquest. Under which condition the cost/benefit equation (this is an economic blog, no?) is a few (hundred?) Palestinians die v. millions attempting any desperate measure to free themselves from their daily hell.

Potentially, Gaza and the West Bank could be happier than Syria -- same economic level plus democracy. What would raining artillery on Israel possibly get them under decent living circumstances but more desperate (on the part of the Israelis this time) counter attacks? No benefit whatsoever.

Gaza objects to Israel's existence? :-) :-) :-) Israel has as many tanks on short notice as the US Army had on active duty at the height of the cold war: 3000 (on 2% of the population base, yet). Israel went 90-0 against the Syrian Air Force in 1982 (the first revelation of the dominating superiority of US weapon systems). Israel is reputed to have 200 nuclear bombs. Israel has the United States Navy.

The last word on Ramos and Compean

As far as I understand it, if the TOTALITY of circumstances (see post above) implies mortal danger to the officer the officer is allowed to use deadly force. That's it. Oscar,
Whatever else they reported or did not report -- if you believe they were in mortal danger that is all there should be to it, as far as I understand.

The prosecutor mistakenly understood the the don't shoot when back is turned as a one size fits all rule -- in most cases it is a good one.