World View: US Defends Israel's Right to Stop 'Flytilla'

World View: US Defends Israel's Right to Stop 'Flytilla'

This morning’s key headlines from

  • No college students are rioting over the Travon Martin case
  • MSNBC’s Chris Matthews puts forward a formula for governing
  • Proposed ‘Warren Buffett Tax’ represents economic desperation
  • The U.S. is defending Israel’s right to stop the ‘Flytilla’

No college students are rioting over the Travon Martin case

The case of George Zimmerman, the man who shot and killed Trayvon Martin in Florida has gained national and even international attention because Zimmerman avoided arrest for several weeks because of a Florida “stand your ground” law that permits a man under attack to use a gun in self-defense. On Wednesday, Judge Jessica Recksiedler recused herself from the case because of a conflict of interest involving her husband.

Back in the mid-2000s, people on the left used to wonder why college students were not out protesting the Iraq war the same way that college students protested the Vietnam war in the 1960s. Generational theory explains that these kinds of protests only occur during generational Awakening eras, like America in the 1960s. For the most part, the people who were out protesting the Iraq war were the Boomers who had protested the Vietnam war. In fact, in most cases they were the exactly same people, only now 40 years older (see “Why aren’t college students protesting against the Iraq war?”).

The same kind of thing is happening now with the Trayvon case. It’s the Boomer journalists and politicians who are, for the most part, keeping this issue alive, and very often it’s the exact same people who were protesting in the 1960s, except that now they’re 45 years older. Reuters

MSNBC’s Chris Matthews puts forward a formula for governing

Chris Matthews, the left-wing MSNBC “Hardball” commentator, appeared on CNBC on Wednesday morning and launched into a very interesting rant about how Washington should govern. He was comparing the chaos today with the “adult” governing style adopted by Republican president Ronald Reagan and Democratic House speaker Tip O’Neill, two Irishmen who famously put aside their ideological differences after 5 pm and went out for beer (Matthews worked for Tip O’Neill in the early 1980s). According to Matthews, Congress today should adopt a particular technique that was used by politicians in the 1980s (my transcription):

Here’s the way I look at it. … The way it worked back with Tip O’Neill and Ronald Reagan was very simple. Every deal is basically unfair — it’s usually 60/40. So one side wins the deal. If you ask for 50/50 in these things, you’ll never get a deal. So you usually favor the party that wins the election. That way elections matter. You respect each other’s offices, and you respect each other’s parties, and most of all you respect the electorate. After 2010, the deal should have been a 10 to 1 deal or 8 to 1 deal for the conservative side, mostly spending cuts, some revenues [taxes]. They almost had the deal they did – we can blame it on the jockeying back and forth, and try to figure it out. But they should have had about an 8 to 1 deal that favored the conservatives.

For example, going back to when I was working in politics after the ’82 election, it should have favored the Democrats and it did on the social security deal — it was the Democratic solution. So the great thing about Ronald Reagan and Tip O’Neill was that they both were partisans but they realized that 44:12 there were elections and they mattered. And after each election, the party that won the election should get the advantage in the deal. 60/40 deals that favor the election is my way of solving all of these problems. So after this next election, which ever party wins should get a 60/40 deal, in their side’s favor. The other side should give.

That’s an argument for grown-up politics — like Tip O’Neill and Ronald Reagan.

It’s always a 60/40 deal, it’s never equally fair. It depends which way the tide’s running. This is what they’ve gotta understand — voting matters, elections matter, cut deals that favor the way the voters are headed.

That way the voter will respect elections and they’ll vote.

I think we need a decision [in the next election]. I hope it’s not a split decision. I hope it’s not a 50/50 — i hope it’s not a squeaker for either side, with the House and Senate divided again. If we get that kind government 50/50 both sides will claim victory, and we’ll have hell to pay. I want to see somebody win.

Comparing today’s politics to 1980s politics doesn’t make sense. In the 1980s, the people in charge were from the Silent Generation that had grown up during the Great Depression and World War II, and they realized in their bones that compromise is essential for the survival of the country.

As I’ve pointed out many times, the survivors of World War II created the United Nations, the World Health Organization, the International Monetary Fund, the World Bank, the Rockefeller Foundation (Green Revolution), and other international organizations not only to prevent a new world war but also to end poverty and starvation and to improve health. Only WWII survivors could accomplish these things.

Thus, in the 1980s, survivors Ronald Reagan and Tip O’Neill could get together in a bar in the evening, tell jokes, and drink Irish beer. The Republicans and the Democrats could cooperate with each other to change the Social Security system to make it a sounder system. After that, they could cooperate again to specify new rules to control the budget deficit. Compromise was still possible in 1996, when Democratic President Bill Clinton, saying that “the era of big government is over,” cooperated with the Republican Congress to eliminate the welfare entitlement.

But no such compromise is possible today, since the WWII survivors are gone. The Gen-Xers are in charge now, and they have no idea how to compromise. What Generational Dynamics predicts is that in the not too distant future there will be a “regeneracy” — an event so horrible, perhaps a major terrorist attack on American soil or a catastrophic military loss overseas, that it will cause Americans to unite behind their president for the first time since the end of World War II. Once Americans realize that the survival of the country is at stake, then politics will change dramatically.

Proposed ‘Warren Buffett Tax’ represents economic desperation

With the U.S. economy extremely fragile, and Europe’s economy headed for a meltdown (see “18-Apr-12 News — IMF’s World Economic Outlook warns of eurozone meltdown”), politicians are looking for ways to pass the buck so that someone else will be blamed for the coming financial crisis. The latest proposal, offered by the Obama administration, is to raise revenue by imposing a big tax surcharge on people making over $1 million. The proposal is based on a comment by billionaire investors Warren Buffett, claiming that his tax rate is lower than his secretary’s. According to Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev),

Last year, there were 7,000 millionaires who didn’t pay a single penny in federal income taxes. Instead, ordinary Americans footed the bill — and that’s not fair.

This is desperate and fatuous political year nonsense, since such a tax would raise very little money. But what this reminds me of is a similar argument that we heard in — as I recall — around 1976 or so. It seems that there were a number of millionaires who didn’t pay a single penny in federal income taxes, because they were able to deduct large portions of their home mortgage payments and rent payments as business expenses. So the laws were changed to make it harder to claim such deductions.

What I remember most vividly was my accountant telling me a year later: “You know who’s really been hurt by this new tax law? I do taxes for several schoolteachers who make very little money, but they used to be able to set aside a corner of their homes to correct papers and such, and take a deduction on their taxes. Now they can’t do that any more.”

I saw the following posted on the internet, explaining the U.S. budget in simple English:

* United States Tax Revenue: $2,170,000,000,000 * Fed Budget: $3,820,000,000,000 * New Debt: $1,650,000,000,000 * National Debt: $14,271,000,000,000 * Recent Budget Cut: $38,500,000,000 Now, remove eight zeros and pretend it's a household budget: * Annual Family Income: $21,700 * Money The Family Spent: $38,200 * New Debt on the Credit Card: $16,500 * Outstanding Balance on Credit Card: $142,710 * Total budget cuts which some politicians are proud of: $385 

Washington Post

The U.S. is defending Israel’s right to stop the ‘Flytilla’

A controversial move by Israel’s government to prevent pro-Palestinian activists from flying into Israel to protest Israeli policies is being defended by the Obama administration. On Sunday, a “flytilla” of dozens of activists landed in Israel’s Ben Gurion Airport for the event, but some were arrested, and many were deported back to their country of origin. According to U.S. State Department spokesman Mark Toner, “Israel is a sovereign nation. Like any sovereign nation, it has a right to control the flow of people and goods through its ports.” Israel National News and U.S. State Dept.