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    • Deep state
      House Democrats seek list of Trump appointees "burrowing in" to Biden administration https://t.co/9haPZkgBQv pic.twitter.com/0cu4tvAyRf — The Hill (@thehill) November 26, 2020
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    • The Path Of The Great Prophets
      A religion is an ideology with supernatural elements. We consider it OK to criticize Marxists or capitalists or libertarians or monarchists, but we tend to shy  away from saying that a religion has bad elements. The Hindu caste system is evil. It needs to end, and it needs to end today. If The Laws of […]
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Thursday Morning at The Confluence: Browsing at Nini’s Corner

Nini's Corner Newstand, Harvard Square

Nini's Corner Newstand, Harvard Square

In your mind’s eye, join me for a leisurely morning browse through the Nini’s Corner newstand in Harvard Square. Before the internet, it was great place to find local, national, and international newspapers and periodicals. For now the monsoons have stopped and Harvard Square is warm, sunny, and welcoming. We can buy a selection of newspapers, grab a cup of coffee and a muffin, and find a comfortable place to sit outdoors and catch up on what’s happening in the world. Many thanks to MABlue for sending along some recommended links.

Sotomayor Confimation Hearings

Legal experts’ views on the Sotomayor hearing

At Stake in Hearings Are Post-Sotomayor Nominations

After three days of testimony, Judge Sotomayor appeared to have made no major mistakes that would jeopardize her confirmation in a Senate dominated by Democrats. So both sides are trying to use the Judiciary Committee hearings to define the parameters of an acceptable nomination in case another seat opens up during Mr. Obama’s presidency.

Charlie Savage is such a good reporter–a real throwback.

Franken Stumps Sotomayor

Supreme Court nominee Sonia Sotomayor was breezing through her third day of confirmation hearings before the Senate Judiciary Committee when she was tripped up by, of all people, the junior senator from Minnesota, Al Franken.

The comedian, in his second week on the job, noted that Sotomayor had, earlier in the day, said she was inspired to become a prosecutor by watching “Perry Mason,” who, in all his TV episodes, lost only one case to the nefarious Hamilton Burger. Franken’s question was deft and devastating: “What was the one case in ‘Perry Mason’ that Burger won?”

For the first time all week, the future justice was stumped.

[….]

“Didn’t the White House prepare you for that?” he asked with incredulity.

I remember that case. But I think Perry Mason won it on appeal.

Coburn might have some “splaining to do”

Of Pride and Prejudice: Latinos celebrate a milestone that Judge Sotomayor’s critics struggle to understand (h/t MABlue) Continue reading

Sunday: Israel/Palestine rears its ugly head again

Palestine UN Partition Plan- 1947  How far back will we go?

Palestine UN Partition Plan- 1947 This map?

The issue that caused the “Great Schism” on The Confluence (or the excuse anyway) is back in the news.  Rahm Emanuel has signaled to the Israelis that there will be conditions on our support.  From Mid-East Peace Pulse:

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.

Obama is also not going to be taking last minute invitations to have a talk over drinks with the Israeli Prime Minister next time he’s in DC for an AIPAC conference.  Our protection of Israel from the Persian meanies in Iran seems to be contingent on Netanyahu bargaining in good faith. (H/T Corrente)  Plus, Obama is easing up on restrictions of financial aid to the Palestinian Authority.  I’m not sure how far the pendulum should swing in this regard.  After all, Hamas has links to terrorism and Israeli’s do have a legitimate concern for their safety.

Or this one?  Pick one quickly.  We havent got all day.

Or this post 1967 one? Pick quickly. We haven't got all day.

On the other hand, electing an right winger like Netanyahu sounds like an attempt by Israelis to move the Overton window as far hardline as possible in anticipation of a change in US policy.  Maybe they think they can reach some homeostasis by pushing ferociously back to where they started at the end of the Bushie administration.   But it looks like the US is saying the jig is up and we will be expecting compliance from Israel for a two state solution regardless of who is prime minister.  I have a feeling that recitations of past horrors inflicted on the Jewish people may be met with “Tell it to the chaplain”.  There may be an expiration date on emotionalism.  Israelis can still make legitimate claims about the threat of terrorism but inhumanity cuts both ways these days.

Sounds like Hillary and George Mitchell have their work cut out for them.

In other news:

From the files of No $%@! Sherlock, it has come to the attention of some Washingtonians on the Democratic side that Obama is not a fighter:

Mr. Obama has not conceded on any major priority. His advisers argue that the concessions to date — on budget items, for instance — are intended to help win the bigger policy fights ahead. But his early willingness to deal or fold has left commentators, and some loyal Democrats, wondering: where’s the fight?

“The thing we still don’t know about him is what he is willing to fight for,” said Leonard Burman, an economist at the Urban Institute and a Treasury Department official in the Clinton administration. “The thing I worry about is that he likes giving good speeches, he likes the adulation and he likes to make people happy.”

So far, he said, “It’s hard to think of a place where he’s taken a really hard position.”

In some of his earliest skirmishes, Mr. Obama eventually chose pragmatism over fisticuffs.

So funny that the left blogosphere worked so hard to push back the Republicans and elect Democrats who would finally act like Democrats and what did we end up with for a President?  A shmoozer who hijacked the Democratic party and has jettisoned all that Democratic stuff to ride out four years of the worst economic crisis we’ve seen since the Great Depression by catering to the Blue Dogs.  It sounds like some Democrats in the party who caved to the Obama faux juggernaut last year are starting to realize that he is going to seriously damage the party’s reputation.

Obama has taken a pragmatic approach because he doesn’t want to get into a partisan fight- with his own party.  This man has been given every opportunity to turn around the hardass, mean-spirited policies of the Bushies and he chooses to sit on his hands and deal pragmatically.  Where is the big Change™ agent?

Markos Moulitsas has a lot of explaining to do.

Thursday: Where in the world is Hillary Clinton?

SOS Clinton with Shimon Peres- Caption this picture

SOS Clinton with Shimon Peres- Caption this picture

Our intrepid Secretary of State is hitting her stride this week with visits to the middle east and Europe.  You can follow her itinerary using this Google interactive map.  Yesterday, she met with Mahmoud Abbas and declared our commitment to a two state solution as well as recognizing the Palestinian Authority as the only legitimate Palestinian government:

“The United States supports the Palestinian Authority as the only legitimate government of the Palestinian people. As a partner on the road to a comprehensive peace, which includes a two-state solution, our support comes with more than words. As I pledged in Sharm el-Sheikh, we will work with President Abbas, Prime Minister Fayyad, and the government of the Palestinian Authority to address critical humanitarian, budgetary, security, and infrastructure needs, both in Gaza and in the West Bank.”

She has been meeting with government officials in Israel as well to reopen the borders with Gaza to facilitate the transfer of humanitarian aid.  And while she has affirmed our “unshakable, durable, fundamental relationship and support for the State of Israel”, she has also been critical of the efforts of the mayor of Jerusalem who has been tearing down houses belonging to Palestinians.  Such efforts are “unhelpful” to the peace process.

The photos of these meetings are remarkable as a study in gender roles and how she seems to be throwing the book away in that regard.  She looks confident, uses direct eye contact, appears to be fully engaged and isn’t afraid to break down the physical barrier between people.

Hillary and George Mitchell in Israel

Hillary and George Mitchell in Israel

I can remember some anthropologist’s study of Congress from years back.  The researcher was able to pick out the alpha Congresscritters by watching how many people came up to them and touched them.  It sounds weirdly primitive.  Can we see the same kind of phenomenon with Hillary Clinton?  The NYTimes had a picture of her meeting with Mahmoud Abbas where the two are very much within one another’s space bubble.  But it looks comfortable and collegial, not pushy.  What I think we are witnessing is the next evolutionary stage in winning the gender wars.  Hillary is a self-actualized *person*.  Maybe this has been the issue with people who have had to deal with her in the past and have become her worst enemies.  She doesn’t appear to operate in gender space as much as person space.  That kind of thing can be profoundly disconcerting to others who are operating within prescribed gender boundaries formed by years of conditioning.   It might be the case that Hillary looks so comfortable in Israel because the culture has had to put aside gender in the political realm in order to survive.  They have had successful female leaders in the past and could very well have them again.

We’ll get there too someday.  Sometimes evolution happens rapidly.  By physically demonstrating the characteristics of leadership, Hillary may be our catalyst.

In other news:

Planet Money has an interesting interview with Sean West of the Eurasia Group who seems to be a WORMy type.  His argument is that Obama and Geithner are politically savvy.  They are trying to make everyone think they aren’t nationalizing the banks when they really are.  That whole thing where they swapped $45 billion in preferred stock for $5 billion in common stock and an agreement that the US wouldn’t have a controlling share in Citigroup?  It was all a wiley political trick, says West.  They are cleverly fooling the bankers into taking our money so that we can make them think we aren’t owning them by not insisting on anything in return.  Damn, they’re geniuses!  I never would have figured that out.  And I guess that Sean West sounds like a kool-ade drinker and administration apologist out of the goodness of his heart.  It probably has nothing to do with who pays his salary.  Hokey-dokey!

Barbara Bush has a heart? Who knew?

Glycerol monolaurate blocks AIDS infection in monkeys.