Bibi and the Southern Strategy

We now know that Netanyahu and his Likud party won more seats in the Israeli Knesset than any other party. But he has to form a coalition (you need 61 seats/votes to hold a majority in the 120-seat parliament, and Likud won 30), which might be possible if he finds common cause with the smaller ultra-nationalist parties which got 10, 7, 6 or fewer seats.

Doing so, though, means he pretty much has to abandon the two-state peace process the Palestinians, the Americans and the United Nations have been pushing for what seems like an eon. He said so while campaigning. The other reprehensible thing he did while campaigning was post on Facebook “Arab voters are coming out in droves to the polls. Left-wing organizations are busing them out.”. That’s straight out of the playbook of some Southern American GOP party chairmen.

So now the Palestinians find themselves without an Israel to partner with for a two-state solution, and they find instead a man and a country which seemingly wants to continue to occupy the West Bank, continue to settle more and more settlers on Palestinian land, and keep the Palestinians from moving freely about the land they do control.

Those being the circumstances, I expect them to continue to take their case to the United Nations.

With Mr. Netanyahu having dropped, for now at least, the pretense of seeking a two-state solution, the Palestinians can argue to Europe and the United States that they no longer have a negotiating partner, strengthening their case for full statehood and recognition in the United Nations, as well as membership in important international bodies. They are already members of the International Criminal Court and Unesco.

“If somebody said, ‘We are with two states, and real negotiations,’ we would return to negotiations,” said Assad Abdul Rahman. “But there is no partner for that.”

One wonders if they might try to get the UN Security Council to recognize them as a state.

Palestinian officials said they were still weighing whether to try to seek full statehood recognition from the Security Council. They failed in a previous bid, in December, for a Council resolution that would have set a deadline to establish a sovereign Palestinian state. The United States and Australia voted against it.

Would the US and Australia vote against it again, now that Netanyahu has declared the peace process dead? The entire Republican party in this country would explode with anger if the Obama Administration did concur or even abstain, I imagine, and the Israel lobby AIPAC would throw seven kinds of fit, but Congress can’t override a UN Security Council vote, so what could they do? Impeach Obama? Hardly.

We live in interesting times. Again.

Another domino falls

Headline: Presbyterians approve gay marriage in church constitution

The new wording for the church Book of Order will read, “Marriage involves a unique commitment between two people, traditionally a man and a woman, to love and support each other for the rest of their lives.”

That’s roughly 10,000 congregations and about 1.8 million members.

That makes the Presbyterians “the largest US Protestant group to formally recognize gay marriage as Christian and allow same-sex weddings in every congregation.”

“Wait,” you say. “What about the Episcopalians? They already ordained a gay priest, right? So what about them?” They don’t have a formal position on gay marriage. Bishops can instruct their priests whether they can officiate at the ceremonies. They’ll take up gay marriage at a national meeting in June.

Surprisingly to me, the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America eliminated barriers to gay ordination in 2009 and allows some discretion by clergy and congregations to officiate at same-sex ceremonies without formally recognizing same-sex marriage as a denomination.

On the other hand, the United Methodist Church, the second-largest Protestant denomination in the US, “bars ‘self-avowed practicing homosexuals’ from ordination and prohibits gay weddings.”

Small steps, small steps.

New passphrase ideas

A while back I read somebody’s suggestion that sentences make better passwords than the usual “combination of 8-12 letters and numbers and special characters.” I never did anything about it with my own codes, but it made some sense to me.

So today I’m reading Facebook and run across Kim Baron’s post about a meatloaf she was cooking, and then Lester Norton (Solonor) commented:

“The weird meatloaf is in the oven.” is my new passphrase.

Well now. Suppose you take a well-known phrase you’re going to remember and change a single word:

  • You killed my meatloaf. Prepare to die. (Princess Bride)
  • My meatloaf is full of eels. (Monty Python)
  • I think we’re all bozos on this meatloaf. (Firesign Theater)
  • You’re gonna need a bigger meatloaf. (Jaws)
  • Of all the meatloafs in all the world… (Casablanca)
  • Meatloaf! (Citizen Kane)
  • I’m gonna make him a meatloaf he can’t refuse. (The Godfather)

Any one of those might be an easily remembered passphrase and probably reasonably secure too.

Another hostage situation in Congress? Really?

Lemme get this straight. Senator McConnell and the Republicans think they’ll appeal to women by adding an anti-abortion provision to a human trafficking bill? A provision the Democrats say was slipped in after they’d agreed to the previous language of the bill? Then when the Democrats balk McConnell says he’ll hold up a vote on the nomination of another woman for Attorney General until they allow the abortion language to stand?

“We can’t pass the trafficking bill right now,” McConnell told CNN in an interview. “And I wanted to hold a vote on the attorney general but if I can’t get this bill through first then I’m going to have to delay the confirmation vote.”

Remember, McConnell said after the Republican victory in the 2014 midterms that he’d show the world his party knows how to govern. He didn’t mention that hostage-taking would be a part of that exhibition.

Mitch, you miserable slimy man, this is no way to get women to vote for your party. Moreover, by delaying a vote on Loretta Lynch, you just perpetuate Eric Holder’s tenure in the AG job, and he’s the most hated man in the Obama Administration, perhaps even more hated than the President himself.

Children, don’t take lessons on governing from this man.

A little child shall lead them

Right down the road to backlash, it seems. And what’s amazing is that many of the Republican Senators who signed that open letter to the Iranians didn’t see it coming.

Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) said Republicans — many of whom blessed the missive during a brisk signing session at a Senate lunch a week ago, as senators prepared to flee a Washington snowstorm — should have given it closer consideration.

“It was kind of a very rapid process. Everybody was looking forward to getting out of town because of the snowstorm,” McCain said. “I think we probably should have had more discussion about it, given the blowback that there is.”

Are you kidding me? You people gave this letter no more thought than that? That two-bit freshman Senator from Arkansas passed it around the lunch table saying “Sign here” and you people did it with no further reflection?

God help us all if they ever get a filibuster-proof majority. They’re really really dumb.

Hillary and the email

I’m not going into detail here. Everyone who cares about this issue has been inundated with talk from countless vomitous talking heads on cable TV and talk-radio and on the network news as well.

She should have gotten a state.gov email address. No question about it. It would have made life simpler for both herself and her mail recipients. On the other hand, as I understand it Blackberry, the gadget she had been using before she took the State job, didn’t offer multiple email accounts capabilities until 2013, after she’d left the department. If she wanted to keep using the Blackberry she had to route all mail through her existing account or buy a second Blackberry for a second mail account. Who wants to carry two phones/email devices around if it can be avoided? Hell, I was still using Eudora for email five years after Qualcomm stopped supporting it. My feeling was it worked, why change? So I can sympathize with Hillary.

Unquestionably some of the questions about the mail needed to be answered. But for cryin’ out loud, to judge from the media reaction (even the so-called liberal media), you’d have thought she’d written a letter to the Grand Ayatollah in Tehran or run over a puppy or something. The slavering drooling press just couldn’t help itself; it had to go into full-on Clinton-frenzy again. You’d think it might have been a little embarrassed to do so. The last time it did it contributed mightily to the two-year nightmare of the impeachment of a President in which he came looking foolish but otherwise okay, while the Republicans and the media which savaged him looked like damned fools.

The dignified Senate

Right. That legislative body which just found 47 members willing to tell a foreign country that the current President’s negotiations with that country don’t meet with their approval.

Can you say “unseemly?” How about “unprecedented?” How about “close to sedition?”

President Obama reacted coolly, saying in part it was odd to find a group of Senators making common cause with the hard-liners in Iran, calling it “an unusual coalition.”

One wonders whether these Senators are really more concerned with Israel’s security than with that of their own country.