Relevant and even prescient commentary on news, politics and the economy.

Israel: Demography vs. Democracy

Preliminary election results from the Israeli elections are due in a couple of hours and no one who follows this even a little bit imagines that the path going forward is anything but fraught with uncertainty. Indeed it is not clear that given the polling that any stable government can be formed. But what is clear is that on this election day Netanyahu threw down on democracy. He is openly appealing to his base that the existential threat to Israel is a get out the vote campaign among ‘Israeli-Arabs’ aided in his view by foreign NGOs and hostile states.

In an American context this is exactly parallel to shouting “ACORN!” and “New Black Panther Party!” and “Aztlan!” Except where the latter cries are only an implicit (tho barely hidden) appeal to an old idea that ‘American’ = ‘Anglo-American Judeo-Christian’ that ‘dares not say its name’ Israel is officially committed to being a Democratic Jewish State. Well there is nothing democratic about voter suppression among those citizens of your country that are not Jewish (in the case of Israel) or ‘American’ (under the definition used by much of the American Right).

Israel faces some stark choices today. There is a path forward that yields an actual Democratic Jewish Israel. It runs through the Two State solution. There is another path that yields a simple Jewish State of Israel. It runs through a policy of Permanent Occupation of the West Bank and Gaza and perhaps through disenfranchisement of the ‘Israeli-Arab’ population of Israel proper. And for those of a certain Real-Politik frame, which at this point certainly includes Netanyahu, this may be workable and realistic, at least under the medium term. After all the apartheid regime of South Africa ‘worked’ (in the sense of supplying well-being to the white minority) for decades. As did in many ways and seen from the same perspective did Pinochet’s Chile over the same time period. And in both cases the U.S. government gave explicit support to both those regimes under the Kirkpatrick Doctrine.

But foreign policy ‘Realism’ or not what was clear to all was that neither South Africa or Chile was a democracy. Which wasn’t a problem to the Kissingers and Reagans and Kirpatricks then or to the Boltons and Kristols now. And it is certainly possible that U.S. governments going forward will simply embrace Israel under a Netanyahu policy of Neo-Apartheid as just being the ‘realistic’ thing to do. But as in the past it will make a mockery out of our claims to back ‘Democracy’. Because Israel will not be small d ‘democratic’.

Netanyahu threw off is cloak of deception by announcing that under no circumstances would there be a Palestinian State along side Israel. He doubled down by declaring an emergency for his party followers in the form of ‘Israeli-Arabs’ actually exercising their rights as citizens to a vote. That combination makes it impossible to have a Democratic Jewish Israel that permanently includes the West Bank. Such a State can be Democratic or Jewish but not both. (Not even if every European Jew exercised his or her right to Aliyah – another stop-gap policy Netanyahu has been pushing.)

It will be an interesting few hours, days and weeks ahead.

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Hoocoodanode, Great White North edition

Hoocoodanode that replacing someone described as “too Professorial” with someone whose concept of True Patriot Love was to spend the time of the Life of Legendary Jesus out of the country (being a Torture Apologist from the comfort of Cambridge, Mass while Maher Arar traveled different roads) and then act upon his return as if he were the Second Coming could have negative consequences with the electorate?

The glory for the Conservative Party for the past twenty years has been that the ABC vote would split between the Liberals and the NDP and the PQ would distract enough people in the non-oil-producing East to keep them in power. So in some small way, we should credit Ignatieff for doing the impossible—uniting the Canadian center-left.

Update: CT has a post from Tom Slee that discusses everyone except the elephant in the room, with more joie de vivre than I did (but less surety).

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Wisconsin Judicial Election

Wisconsin Supreme Court election update

They seem to have gone to sleep over in Wisconsin. I did too but now I’m awake.
The current state of the supreme court election is that 3,596 of 3,630 precincts have reported and the incumbent conservative Walker ally is Prosser is ahead of the challenger Kloppenberg by 733,074 to 732489, that is by 585 votes. The precincts which haven’t reported are almost all in counties which went heavily for Kloppenberg.

I calculated a crude predictin by extrapolation assuming that votes in precincts which haven’t reported will be equal to the county average over precincts which have reported. This requires two approximations, first that the fraction won by Prosser is about the same and second that there are about the same number of votes in each precinct withing a county. Importantly, it is reported that some precincts which have “reported” haven’t reported absentee ballots.

Anyway, I extrapolate that Kloppenberg will gain 1857.13 votes on Prosser and so win by 1,272 votes which is about 0.09% of the extrapolated total.

I confidently predict a recount.

Plain text version of spreadsheet after the jump.

Update: hat tip rjs
twitter via google: seungminkim‎ RT @HotlineReid: WI Supreme Court results as of 10:43a.m. ET: Kloppenburg 738368, Prosser 738228. Difference of 140 votes (.000009%)Twitter – 1 minute ago 10:51 AM

norep Prosser Kloppen norep/rep Pr-KL
6 Ashland 1037 2504 0.2727 -400.09
2 Crawfor 1689 2428 0.08 -59.12
1 Dane 48627 133513 0,004048583 -343.67
2 Dunn 3790 4649 0,052631579 -45.21
1 Jefferson 12860 9365 0,025 87.38
1 Juneau 2337 2546 0,035714286 -7.46
12 Milwauki 95129 125090 0,025 -758.51
8 Sauk 6166 7625 0,258064516 -376.52
1 Taylor 3602 2266 0,034482759 46.07
34 so far 733074 732489 pred p-k -1,857.13

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Public sector collective bargaining and secrete corporate political campaign contributions

Jonathan Zasloff asks at The Reality-based Community blog New Directions in GOP Political Economy

Quite subtle, actually:

Public-sector collective bargaining is unhealthy and distorts democracy because it enables workers to influence the government which negotiates with them; but

Unlimited and secret corporate political campaign contributions are necessary to democracy because they enable corporations to influence the government which regulates them.


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If your advertizing budget is small

Jon Walker at FDL begins a chat on politics and agendas. The big picture is built on thousands of pixels…so is national politics apparently if your advertizing budget is small.

The elected officials in the cooperatives formed a large pool of potential recruits to run for political office and to be elected to positions within the CCF. By being position- holders, these potential candidates also had a built-in base with a trusted network of potential supporters within their cooperatives. We know that being elected to a position, regardless of how small, is a great predictor of a person’s willingness and ability to win larger elections. Nothing breeds success like success.

For example, running for Congress seems like a daunting hill to climb. But if you have been elected as the chair or treasurer of the local chapter of an organization, you might feel comfortable using that as a base of support for run for town council. Going from town council to, say, state legislature might then feel like a modest progression. The jump from state representative to Congress becomes a less frightening undertaking.

Several political movements have shared the pattern of candidate development by moving leaders from relatively modest spots in local associations to more important offices. The Christian right developed local leadership among those elected to positions in churches and school boards. The churches served a similar organizing and unifying focal point that cooperatives did for the CCF. These churches are incubators for electing community leaders: deacons, elders, prayer or fellowship meeting leaders and more that in turn use these positions as a base to run for higher office.

Progressives could learn a lesson about leadership development from the CCF and the Christian right. I’m disappointed that the progressive movement does not have an overwhelming number of small, locally elected positions in independent organizations. Nor are there many strong financial and social networks that lean progressive but are not purely political, with local elected leadership. By promoting local chapters and associations with high levels of involvement, electing minor local position holders, a progressive organization can create a broad pool of talent to draw from for future leaders and candidates for higher office.

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