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Monday, July 14, 2014

Media-Whore D'Oeuvres







Israel has hit the Gaza Strip with air strikes and artillery fire on the seventh day of its offensive.


"The current confrontation in Gaza began June 12 after three Israeli teenagers disappeared in the West Bank the month before. Israel announced the disappearance June 13, shortly thereafter placing blame on Hamas for the kidnappings. On June 14, Hamas fired three rockets into the Hof Ashkelon region. This was followed by Israeli attacks on Palestinians in the Jerusalem region. On July 8, the Israelis announced Operation Protective Edge and began calling up reservists. Hamas launched a longer-range rocket at Tel Aviv. Israel then increased its airstrikes against targets in Gaza.
At this point, it would appear that Israel has deployed sufficient force to be ready to conduct an incursion into Gaza. However, Israel has not done so yet. The conflict has consisted of airstrikes and some special operations forces raids by Israel and rocket launches by Hamas against targets in Israel.From a purely military standpoint, the issue has been Hamas's search for a deterrent to Israeli operations against Gaza. Operation Cast Lead in late 2008 and early 2009 disrupted Gaza deeply, and Hamas found itself without any options beyond attempts to impose high casualties on Israeli forces. But the size of the casualties in Cast Lead did not prove a deterrent. Hamas augmented its short-range rocket arsenal with much longer-range rockets. The latest generation of rockets it has acquired can reach the population center of Israel: the triangle of Jerusalem, Tel Aviv and Haifa. However, these are rockets, not missiles. That means they have no guidance system, and their point of impact once launched is a matter of chance. Given these limits, Hamas hoped having a large number of rockets of different ranges would create the risk of substantial Israeli civilian casualties, and that that risk would deter Israel from action against Gaza. The threat posed by the rockets was in fact substantial. According to senior Israeli Air Force officers quoted on the subject, Israel lacked intelligence on precisely where the rockets were stored and all the sites from which they might be launched. Gaza is honeycombed with a complex of tunnels, many quite deep. This limits intelligence. It also limits the ability of Israeli airborne munitions from penetrating to their storage area and destroying them. The Israeli objective is to destroy Hamas' rocket capacity. Israel ideally would like to do this from the air, but while some can be destroyed from the air, and from special operations, it appears the Israelis lack the ability to eliminate the threat. The only solution would be a large-scale assault on Gaza designed to occupy it such that a full-scale search for the weapons and their destruction on the ground would be possible." (STRATFOR)


Rich Candidates, Poor House Districts
Poliquin is running for Congress in Maine. (Meredith Dake/CQ Roll Call)


"Mo’ money, mo’ problems? That’s the case for a few deep-pocketed House candidates, whose affluence has become a political issue in the districts they seek this November. Wealth is commonplace in Congress, where one-third of the members are worth more than $1 million. But this cycle, at least four candidates running in competitive House districts boast a personal net worth in excess of $8 million, according to financial disclosure forms. And in the final months of the midterms, their opponents have found ways to use their means against them. If this sounds familiar, it’s because it’s the same playbook that sunk Mitt Romney’s 2012 presidential campaign. Last cycle, Democrats successfully used Romney’s estimated $250 million net worth — along with his career as a venture capitalist — to convince middle-class voters he didn’t have their best interests at heart. Hillary Rodham Clinton, considering a second presidential bid, has also taken heat recently for talking about financial struggles, despite the hefty speaking fees she earns and her relatively newfound riches. 'Middle class people do not begrudge people who make money. As long as they’re honest and hard working, everyone aspires to be that guy or that woman,' said Democratic pollster John Anzalone of wealthy candidates. 'It’s when you either are screwing someone else or taking advantage of someone else, or once you get there are taking care of the rich rather than the middle class.' Four candidates on the ballot this fall are being forced to defend their wealth:
  • Former state Treasurer Bruce Poliquin, a Republican running against state Sen. Emily Cain in Maine’s open 2nd District. His net worth is at least $8.97 million, according to his personal financial disclosure report.
  • Businessman Stewart Mills, also a Republican, running against Democratic Rep. Rick Nolan in Minnesota’s 8th District. Mills’ net worth is at least $39.12 million.
  • Former Randolph mayor and insurance company owner Tom MacArthur, a Republican running against Burlington County Freeholder Aimee Belgard in New Jersey’s open 3rd District. His net worth is at least $26.99 million.
  • Venture capitalist Sean Eldridge, a Democrat, running against GOP Rep. Chris Gibson in New York’s 19th District. He’s worth at least $104.48 million" (RollCall)




Louis XIV.


"Today is Bastille Day in France, or La Fete Nationale (French National Day), a day that marks the (eventual) beginning of the nation’s century-long transformation from monarchy to republic. It is the 225th anniversary since the storming of the Bastille prison on July 14, 1789, which is now regarded as the official beginning of what became known in history as The French Revolution that brought down the Monarchy of the Bourbons, including the beheading of the King Louis XVI and his Queen Marie-Antoinette three years later. The Bastille – official name Bastille Saint-Antoine – is an interesting symbol of political revolution as it had been for more than three centuries before, a bastion of political (monarchical) repression. It was originally a 14th century fortress that was, for much of its existence, from the 15th century onwards, used by the Kings of France as a state prison. Louis XIV, the Sun King, used it as a receptacle of punishment for members of the upper classes who annoyed or infuriated him. Later it was also used by Louis to imprison Protestants after the revocation of the Edict of Nantes. The Edict, which was signed by Louis XIV’s grandfather Henry IV, was an agreement of religious tolerance granting certain human and political rights of the Calvinist Protestants (non-Catholics) in a pro-Roman Catholic country." (NYSD)


You're no Ronald Reagan. No, YOU'RE no Ronald Reagan.
You're no Ronald Reagan. No, YOU'RE no Ronald Reagan. Photo: Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images, Justin Sullivan/Getty Images


"This weekend, some hot Rand Paul–on–Rick Perry action broke out in our nation’s op-ed pages. Paul wrote an op-ed last month opposing military intervention against ISIS rebels in Iraq. On Friday, Perry wrote an op-ed of his own calling Paul an isolationist. Today Paul has another op-ed responding to Perry. As is often the case with intra-Republican squabbles, the dispute has taken the form of a Reagan-Off. All sides take as settled fact the premise that Reagan revealed the truth to the world in its entirety forever and ever, and any revisions to the Party canon must make the case that rival claimants have incorrectly interpreted the Reagan writ. The ritual can be seen in the dueling op-eds. Accordingly, Paul’s initial foray opens, 'Though many claim the mantle of Ronald Reagan on foreign policy, too few look at how he really conducted it,' and builds up to a rousing call for 'a new approach, one that emulates Reagan's policies, puts America first, seeks peace, faces war reluctantly, and when necessary acts fully and decisively.' In conclusion, Ronald Reagan." (Jonathan Chait)

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