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I don’t think Arthur Laffer won himself many friends this morning

June 2, 2010

On Fox News about 10 minutes ago. Called Bill Clinton a great President with a very sound economic policy, but a horrible person. That should be enough to outrage both sides of the political spectrum.

-elsewhere-

King County assessor has decided people didn’t pay enough taxes over the last three years
. Wants to go back and reassess and send bill to people whose properties were undervalued. I’m sure that will help the local economy.

Frank Miller is working on a prequel to 300. There are already talks about a movie.

Those foes and critics of “300” will not be enthused to hear that Tuesday, Miller released the first artwork from his upcoming book — a “300” prequel entitled “Xerxes.” More than that, Snyder and “300” producer Thomas Tull have seen some of Miller’s completed pages and plan to pursue it as a feature film if the finished tale lives up to their hopes.

Republicans have a historic lead on the Generic Congressional Ballot

Gallup +6
Rasmussen +7

One week ago – Quinnipaic -6

Rep. Mark Kirk (R-IL) caught embellishing his military record?

Kirk, a five-term Republican congressman and Navy reservist, found himself in the rare position of playing defense, acknowledging that he was wrong in touting himself as having been named intelligence officer of the year more than a decade ago. Instead, Kirk led a unit in Aviano, Italy, which won an award.

(…)

Kirk sought to downplay the error, which he corrected on his web site, as the product of what happens in a highly-watched political campaign. When an opponent spends “several hundred thousand dollars to a million (dollars) behind investigating anyone’s record, there is probably going to be a discrepancy that you could find,” he said.

“I received the award right in the middle of my congressional campaign, flew into Washington, collected it and went right back to the campaign,” Kirk said. “My commanding officer said this is a big deal, the top award of the year, and I simply didn’t remember it correctly.”

I’m not sure if this is an honest mistake or not. I don’t know wenough about Mark Kirk to make the call.

QandO on the floatilla fallout

There’s your “sad but true” statement of the day. That [the Exodus] is what most of the rest of the world will compare it too. It will also grant “victimhood” to those killed even if it was the intent of those “victims” to martyr themselves. And the hypocritical Arab world will latch on to that publicly while privately celebrating the deaths. As one of the flotilla participants, Muslim Brotherhood member of its Egyptian Parliamentary bloc is quoted as saying in March of this year:

“A nation that excels at dying will be blessed by Allah with a life of dignity and with eternal paradise.”

And that was precisely their aim and the outcome. The death cult of radical Islam doesn’t deplore death, it welcomes it and celebrates it. But they also knew the predictable outcome of such “martydom” via the world’s reaction to them if they could provoke those deaths.

I’m not looking quite so stupid now am I?

Mission accomplished.

Now we have to see how this all plays out – but for right now, Israel has put itself between a rock and a hard place in a surprisingly un-Israeli fashion.

Legal Insurrection has a good series of videos, with of all people Elliot Spitzer. Spitzer lays out a good legal case (in my non-lawyer opinion anyway) for Israel to stop the ships. I said yesterday that Israel may have been technically right, obviously I was wrong they were completely with their rights, but that doesn’t change my basic point that the handling of this situation was extremely poorly handled by Israel.

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17 Comments leave one →
  1. xbradtc permalink
    June 2, 2010 11:35 am

    1. Re: Kirk, regarding an award from a private organization, one that is not entered upon someone’s service record, that strikes me as a pretty venial sin, especially as he was a member of the unit that received it.

    2. Israel was screwed either way. Those folks that traditionally support them will continue to do so, seeing this for what it is. Those who are traditionally antagonistic will simply use this to bolster their argument. I don’t see it as a strategic shift. It is probably less of a PR challenge than invading Gaza 2 years ago, and that wasn’t a strategic shift.

  2. June 2, 2010 1:50 pm

    [T]hat doesn’t change my basic point that the handling of this situation was extremely poorly handled by Israel.

    So the question is, how should they have handled it? These people intended from the start to either force a violent confrontation, or force Israel to back down and allow a probable weapons shipment to go to people who are trying to exterminate them, which would also encourage more of these flotillas. The whole situation was, in effect, a textbook “Xanatos gambit.” Any possible outcome would have hurt Israel and benefited their enemies.

    The media isn’t helping, either. Where are the stories pointing out, like Rich Rostrum in your previous post, that the Israeli forces tried fighting with non-lethal weapons for 40 minutes, and didn’t resort to actual guns until their people were in immediate danger of being killed?

    Frankly, I think Israel has a better chance of weathering the political fallout by firmly enforcing the blockade now than they would if they had “avoid[ed] falling into the provocation trap” by backing down and allowing the flotilla through. If they had taken that appeasement option, they would eventually have had to go after a follow-up flotilla to stop the weapons flow, and then the rest of the world would be going after them for the same kind of incident, with the added ammunition of “inconsistency” thrown at them.

    This was nothing short of a set up, with no way for Israel to avoid it. They took what seems to be the least bad option open to them.

  3. jenn1964 permalink*
    June 2, 2010 2:28 pm

    Where are the stories pointing out, like Rich Rostrum in your previous post, that the Israeli forces tried fighting with non-lethal weapons for 40 minutes, and didn’t resort to actual guns until their people were in immediate danger of being killed?

    That is part of the problem – the non-lethal weapons they were using were ineffective. All the pundits I have seen or heard talking about this are criticizing the weapons choice. Most think rubber bullets would have been a better choice.

    Here is how I would have handled the situation.

    After the first 5 ships stopped I would have continued hailing the 6th until it got closer to the blockade area. I would have then used tugboats to forcibly redirect it. I also would have boarded the ship at that time but not by fast roping. I would have cleared the deck with tear gas and then put the helo close enough that the commandos could disembark simultaneously. I would have armed the commandos with shotguns firing beanbags like the LAPD use, taser rounds and rubber buckshot rounds. I also would have followed the American practice of having a trail platoon following the initial assault in. Israel would still probably be catching hell but not on the level that they are currently.

    (Note: I have seen all these methods used except the taser rounds so I am pretty sure that the basics sound here, there are a lot of details of course and I don’t count myself competent to go to that level)

  4. xbradtc permalink
    June 2, 2010 5:34 pm

    Also, is the King County Assessor trying to get lynched? It smacks of an ex post facto law, by the way. Maybe not at the legal level, but how many times can the government take a bite of the same apple?

    • jenn1964 permalink*
      June 2, 2010 7:54 pm

      That was my first thought too but according to the paper they have three years to go back and reassess.

  5. June 2, 2010 5:35 pm

    Ok, here’s one that’s trying to spread the real story. Granted, it’s an editorial, but if he’s got his facts right it sounds like the Israelis went in expecting something more routine.

    Israel has intercepted blockade runners headed to Gaza for years. The difference this time is that the “peace activists” on board were armed and looking for a fight.

    The Israelis boarded with paintball guns, tasers, tear gas and other nonlethal weapons. They expected the usual highly choreographed dance in which they board the ship and take control of it while the activists link arms, sing the Palestinian terrorist equivalent of “We Shall Overcome,” take photos and issue press releases about the latest “Zionist atrocity.” That’s the usual Mahatma Gandhi/Martin Luther King Jr. passive-resistance theater.

    In this case, the pro-Hamas activists sought a confrontation. Israeli troops rappelling onto the deck of the Mavi Marmara were immediately set upon with clubs, knives and other weapons. Pundits who reflexively denounced Israel for “disproportionate force” were blaming the wrong side. Had the terrorist sympathizers on the ship not incited the violence, no one would have been killed. There were no casualties on other ships in the flotilla where people did not resist.

    I assume the paintball guns were loaded with pepper-balls (this is the first report I’ve seen where the “non-lethal” weapons used were specified – my internet went down after a bad storm Friday, and I just got it back last night, so I’m still playing catch-up). It sounds like they went in expecting non-violent resistance consistent with previous similar situations, and got caught by surprise by armed, violent “peace activists.”

    I like your plan. 🙂 It sounds, though, like Israel’s standard plan for these types of situations has been to treat them as a sort of police action – no violence except in response to violence – which would rule out using tear gas before actually boarding.

    You’re absolutely right that they should have had a back-up platoon at least standing by. That just seems to be common sense, and the first time I heard about this I wondered why they didn’t.

    • jenn1964 permalink*
      June 2, 2010 7:57 pm

      If they used tear gas in the intial boarding this is the first I’ve heard of it. The reports I saw yesterday and early this morning were talking about paintball guns with training rounds and no gas. Initial reports can be wrong of course. I also heard that this is the first time this unit was used for this type of action, that normally it would be a unit more experienced in crowd control that did the job. I don’t know why the change unless it was some interservice rivalry thing like we get here in the states occassionally.

      • June 2, 2010 8:22 pm

        The reports I saw yesterday and early this morning were talking about paintball guns with training rounds and no gas. Initial reports can be wrong of course.

        I hope it’s wrong! If that is right, someone should get a court-martial for making that decision! Training rounds and fake CS grenades on an actual boarding???!!! Even if you’re not expecting anything, that’s just stupid!

        I also heard that this is the first time this unit was used for this type of action, that normally it would be a unit more experienced in crowd control that did the job. I don’t know why the change unless it was some interservice rivalry thing like we get here in the states occassionally.

        I suppose at some point, it has to be somebody’s first time, though that would make it even more important to have a backup team ready to go – and preferably a team with experience.

        I wonder if, since they’ve been doing these boardings for years according to that one editorial, they may have gotten too lax about the whole thing. That can happen pretty easily when something becomes “routine.” Of course, that thought assumes these initial reports are correct, and like you said, it’s not uncommon for them to be wrong. Also, you have to wonder how much the press is distorting things – both intentionally and through ignorance (and even intentional ignorance).

  6. June 3, 2010 6:20 am

    Okay, the latest story now is saying they did have rubber bullets, and did try using them before switching to live ammunition.

    I think we can safely assume at this point that the press has pretty much been talking out its @$$ as far as actual details are concerned. Not surprising, really. I wonder what other facts in Israel’s favor will surface over the next few days now that the MSM has gotten the initial anti-Israel tilt fixed in people’s minds.

    • jenn1964 permalink*
      June 3, 2010 8:34 am

      That is from someone on the other side, the Israelis themselves have said the commandos were armed with paintball guns. On the plus side he does seem to say the commandos were attacked before opening fire.

      • June 3, 2010 9:20 am

        That actually makes what he’s saying more credible, to me – he’s admitting that the Israelis were attacked with deadly weapons and that they tried responding with non-lethal force before switching to regular bullets. It supports Israel’s position while undermining his side’s claims of unreasonable force.

        I wouldn’t be surprised if there was a mix of paintball guns and rubber bullets, to provide a greater continuum of force – start with pepperballs because they’re less likely to cause serious injury or accidental death, then escalate to rubber bullets if needed, before switching to lethal weapons.

  7. xbradtc permalink
    June 3, 2010 11:58 am

    The specialized skills and training for maritime operations would pretty much rule out using a unit more accustomed to crowd control operations. And while I don’t have any heartburn with Jenn’s plan, it ignores the fact that the Turks were deliberately attempting to provoke a violent encounter. They chose to become “martyrs” and would have done so regardless of what non-lethal steps the Israelis took. It didn’t matter what steps the Israelis took, the Turks were gonna fight to the death.

    • jenn1964 permalink*
      June 3, 2010 1:01 pm

      I don’t think that is necessarily true. A former US ambassador was on one of the other ships and he said that they planned to offer “Non-violent” resistance, (which is bs but that’s his claim), but they were overwhelmed and didn’t have a chance because the commandos came aboard from rubber boats, which in my experience with the Marines, is a much quicker way of boarding, and the moved aggressively to detain people. No resistance materialized because they didn’t have time.

      Yes the Turks were trying to provoke an incident, my point is that if Israel had handled this correctly the incident would have been much more mild. Some have made the point that Israel should have been more violent in their reaction. There may be a point to that and again it feeds my basic point that Israel’s response has caused this problem. If they had put a 5 inch naval shell into the engine room, a couple of people may have died but it would have looked like a restrained naval encounter instead of a botched commando raid that led to innocent civilian deaths because of panic by the commandos.

      Again I don’t have a problem with Israel enforcing it’s blockade, although you can be sure by the end of next week most European countries will be declaring it illegal and standing on freedom of the seas to force more confrontations. My problem is with the haphazard response here.

  8. xbradtc permalink
    June 3, 2010 12:08 pm

    Also, I don’t usually listen much to TPM Barnett, but he might have a point here:

    http://tinyurl.com/2djr8mt

Trackbacks

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