Romney Culture

Mitt Romney said this the other day:

In the speech, Mr. Romney mentioned books that had influenced his thinking about nations — particularly “The Wealth and Poverty of Nations,” by David S. Landes, which, he said, argues that culture is the defining factor in determining the success of a society.

“Culture makes all the difference,” Mr. Romney said. “And as I come here and I look out over this city and consider the accomplishments of the people of this nation, I recognize the power of at least culture and a few other things.”

He added, “As you come here and you see the G.D.P. per capita, for instance, in Israel, which is about $21,000, and compare that with the G.D.P. per capita just across the areas managed by the Palestinian Authority, which is more like $10,000 per capita, you notice such a dramatically stark difference in economic vitality. And that is also between other countries that are near or next to each other. Chile and Ecuador, Mexico and the United States.”

The remarks, which vastly understated the disparities between the societies, drew a swift rejoinder from Palestinian leaders. In an interview with The Associated Press, Saeb Erekat, a senior aide to President Mahmoud Abbas of the Palestinian Authority, called Mr. Romney’s remarks racist.

Romney is trying to walk back the comments. And the Left is screaming about his racism. But I think people are missing the forest for the trees here.

First, the Palestinian Authority correctly notes that Israel has had a trade embargo, economic restrictions and occupation. That’s all true and is having an absolutely devastating effect. However, Israel is not the only country that is making life difficult for Palestine. None of the Arab nations are lifting a finger to help Palestine. Jordan and Egypt, specifically, have massively contributed to the problem by closing borders (and in Jordan’s case, shooting people during Black September). Iran, Hussein’s Iraq and Syria have specifically supported radical elements, making the place even more difficult to govern. And we can not sit here and pretend that the Palestinians themselves have not contributed to their own sorrows. Hamas controlled much of Palestine for a while and their supposed reconciliation with the Authority has stalled.

So, yes, the condition of Palestine is something that was done to them. But the people who did it were, at least in part, their fellow Arabs and, at least in part, themselves.

Moreover, I don’t think you can really ignore Romney’s general point. Israel has a far greater per capita income ($28-31,000) than Egypt ($6,000), Jordan ($6,000), Syria ($5,000) or Iraq ($4,000 now and about the same before the wars), nations they have not attacked or embargoed. The only nations in that region that come anywhere close to Israel’s success are Saudi Arabia and Qatar, which also happen to sit on massive lakes of oil. Were it not for the oil, they would be in a worse situation, probably no better off that Syria.

I don’t see how you can possibly look at the region and not conclude, as Mitt Romney has, that Israel’s culture has something to do with the stark difference, not between them and Palestine but between them and everyone. It is the only real democracy in the region, the only country that has a real economy as opposed to an oiligarchy, the only country that has gender equality, the only country that has a semblance of human rights and the only country that has built a real 21st century industrial base.

And that’s the point. Romney wasn’t running down Palestinian culture as much as he was praising Israeli culture. The comparisons to Chile and the US make that abundantly clear. What he was talking about — and what any sensible person would agree with — is that poverty is the natural state of man. The only way out is accountable government, free markets and a good work ethic. We know at least the first two, in the Middle East, are unique to Israel.

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  1. CM

    Hidden due to low comment rating. Click here to see.

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  2. TxAg94

    If it was primarily a ‘culture’ thing, then how have many Palestinian Arabs have made big successes in business as immigrants to the United States?

    I think your question actually supports what Romney said AND the fact that he wasn’t making a “racist” remark. The Palestinian Arabs you speak of FLED the society that prevented them from being successful, in business and in just basic life. They fled TO a society where they could, through application of the attributes Romney indicates are key to success, thrive in business and in life.

    It’s telling that you had to phrase the question in such a way that the successful people you ask about left Palestine and came here.

    Israel is so much richer than other countries in the area because it was founded by people with high human capital bringing in technology from Europe, and has been integrated into the world economy, continuing the process of technology transfer throughout the last several decades.

    And can it be argued that those people just grabbed a bunch of technology, moved to Israel, set up shop and raked in the cash? Good grief, look at the history of the people on the gorund and you have to admit they thrived DESPITE overwhelming circumstances. And how did they do that? By way of the very virtues Romney spoke about. And their culture didn’t set up insane barriers to dealing with other wealthy nations.

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  3. Section8

    I think your question actually supports what Romney said AND the fact that he wasn’t making a “racist” remark. The Palestinian Arabs you speak of FLED the society that prevented them from being successful, in business and in just basic life. They fled TO a society where they could, through application of the attributes Romney indicates are key to success, thrive in business and in life.

    Duh, but don’t expect him to get it.

    People might try to argue that Obama is “out of tune” with Americans (arguable), but it’s becoming increasingly clear that Romney is “out of tune” with the rest of the planet.

    Given the choice between a person who is in tune with America, and one that is not in tune with the rest of the world, I’ll take the one that is in tune with America. We’re not voting for world leader here. Besides, NZ or some European country can handle all the world issues. Can’t they? As for taking things out of context, you’re on fire aren’t you? Laughable. But oh no you’re the “objective” guy around here. Just laughable.

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  4. CM

    I think your question actually supports what Romney said AND the fact that he wasn’t making a “racist” remark. The Palestinian Arabs you speak of FLED the society that prevented them from being successful, in business and in just basic life.

    That society they fled is determined by a shitload more than just ‘culture’.
    It would only support what Romney said if he’d said………something different.
    Really he could have praised Israel without needlessly antagonising people right next door, many of whom are simply victims of circumstance (being where they are and by the people who have control over them).
    His decision to apply a broad concept to the complicated and sensitive dynamics of the Israeli-Palestinian relationship led him into another thicket.

    They fled TO a society where they could, through application of the attributes Romney indicates are key to success, thrive in business and in life.

    This assumes they didn’t have those attributes before they left. I’m sure many in Palestine, if provided the opportunity provided to those in Israel and the US, would also thrive. As evidenced by the fact that many do (in both Israel and the US). Is there evidence that they’re turning their back on their culture?

    It’s telling that you had to phrase the question in such a way that the successful people you ask about left Palestine and came here.

    Not at all.

    And can it be argued that those people just grabbed a bunch of technology, moved to Israel, set up shop and raked in the cash? Good grief, look at the history of the people on the gorund and you have to admit they thrived DESPITE overwhelming circumstances. And how did they do that?

    Why would anyone argue that? You’ve taken some important context and suggested an extreme argument is being made with it.
    They have the staunch backing of the largest military in the world and have had billions of dollars of US money pumped in. Yes, Palestine gets some support too, but not nearly to the same degree, and they don’t have countries at the ready to militarily defend them (providing them with the best security you can get to provide confidence to attract investment etc). That’s also relevant context.
    But yes, of course the Israelis have done well and should be applauded. I’m not sure who is saying they shouldn’t be here.

    By way of the very virtues Romney spoke about.

    The virtues he spoke about are great. It was his application that had people rolling their eyes (and others obviously getting offended). I understand what he’s talking about with respect to culture, I just think it was silly to try and apply the broad concept to a very complicated situation. It makes it seem that he thinks the Israel/Palestinian situation is simple.

    And their culture didn’t set up insane barriers to dealing with other wealthy nations.

    I guess the argument might go that they set them up for Palestine instead.

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  5. InsipiD

    It’s fascinating that a week after Obama is so badly and obviously misrepresented over ‘you didn’t built that’ a careful examination of what Romney ‘really meant’ on this issue is required.

    I don’t think that Obama was misrepresented at all, and that’s what explains the difference between Israel and Palestine, too. Obama is too focused on groups. He can’t simply acknowledge that a person alone did anything, when small businesses especially are so related to one person’s love and effort. Israel is the kind of place where that can thrive. Remember that small business that are really successful can become large ones (like Apple, eBay, Amazon, and so on).

    As for what Obama said, how is a small business owner supposed to take that? They have no choice but to see it as a lecture from someone who doesn’t know jack shit about business success, and should take it as a sign and vote against Obama. Anyone so openly hostile about it just couldn’t be any less appropriate.

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  6. ilovecress

    I think your question actually supports what Romney said AND the fact that he wasn’t making a “racist” remark. The Palestinian Arabs you speak of FLED the society that prevented them from being successful, in business and in just basic life. They fled TO a society where they could, through application of the attributes Romney indicates are key to success, thrive in business and in life.

    I think the misunderstanding here is what ‘culture’ refers to – whether it refers to the ‘personalities of the people’ or the ‘personality of the society’.

    If I was being mischievous I could say that if culture = people then CM is right and Romney is a racist.

    But if Culture = society, then Romney is fine, and CM has got it wrong. But also Obama’s ‘you didn’t build that’ speech was right on the money.

    It’s a Sophies choice thing really. /snark

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  7. CM

    Duh, but don’t expect him to get it.

    Here we go – lowest common denominator personal insult time already. Just can’t discuss the topic can you?

    Given the choice between a person who is in tune with America, and one that is not in tune with the rest of the world, I’ll take the one that is in tune with America.

    That’s fine (although I’m still puzzled by why the Obama being “out of tune” argument isn’t reflected in his polling).

    We’re not voting for world leader here. Besides, NZ or some European country can handle all the world issues. Can’t they?

    Very true. So why do so many here have such strong opinions about Obama’s foreign ‘gaffes’? Who cares?

    As for taking things out of context, you’re on fire aren’t you? Laughable. But oh no you’re the “objective” guy around here. Just laughable.

    Where did I take something out of context?
    (I won’t hold my breath waiting for an example)

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  8. Section8

    Here we go – lowest common denominator personal insult time already. Just can’t discuss the topic can you?

    What? What insult? I simply said duh as though I agree with him because it’s obvious. I also said that you won’t get it, which you demonstrated in your very next post. How’s that an insult? I was simply making a prediction. :)

    ilovecress has a good way of explaining this one see his post. Actually most of his posts I agree with or at least think they are of a more objective view even when I disagree. New nuance bullshit, cute little thinly veiled hidden jabs or none of that shit.

    Very true. So why do so many here have such strong opinions about Obama’s foreign ‘gaffes’? Who cares?

    Because he’s GOD, and we all know we love to make fun of gods from time to time around here. Maybe you should have paid attention to American politics 4 years ago when we were going to vote in the perfect being. The left set a standard. We’re going to point out when they fail to meet that standard via the modern Messiah or otherwise.

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  9. ilovecress

    I don’t think that Obama was misrepresented at all, and that’s what explains the difference between Israel and Palestine, too.

    Could you expand?

    Obama was saying that any business owners didn’t create their business in a vacuum, and that there were teachers, roads, bridges, and a whole lot of societal help that America as a country helped with. If Business Oweners were, in fact, left to try and make success on their own – then that doesn’t say much about America as a country does it?

    Man, I really don’t want to go into this again, except to say that when I first heard about this story, I found it amusing that the right was trying this sort of misrepresentation on – it totally suprised me that peopel here had bought into it.

    Not bought into the fact that Obama doesn’t understand business – we can all have fair opinions on that – but that this (mis)quote from him somehow proves it.

    If you own a business in any western society, there are certain aspects of that society that allowed your business to succeed more than if you’d started your business on the moon. This includes, but is not limited to, a transport infrastructure, a set of laws so you don’t get ripped off, and protection against harm. Living in a society, as opposed to on the moon is super awesome, and I don’t understand why you guys aren’t proud of it.

    Bringing it back to Romney – you could argue that the difference in GDP is purely down to the personal cultures within the regions. that somehow Palastinians don’t want it enough, or that they don’t work as hard. (If so, Palastinians would do badly everywhere, no matter what society they were in, and an Israeli who moved to Palastine (!) would be the next Steve Jobs)

    Or you could argue that the difference in GDP is down to societal culture – the sort of stuff that Obama was talking about:

    It is the only real democracy in the region, the only country that has a real economy as opposed to an oiligarchy, the only country that has gender equality, the only country that has a semblance of human rights and the only country that has built a real 21st century industrial base.

    I’d argue that it’s a little of column A a little of column B

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  10. CM

    I don’t think that Obama was misrepresented at all,

    Sorry but he clearly was. Romney and his Super PACS went to town telling people Obama said people didn’t build their own businesses. And yet everyone, to a man, on the right here has given him a pass on the most blatant dishonesty you can get.

    and that’s what explains the difference between Israel and Palestine, too. Obama is too focused on groups. He can’t simply acknowledge that a person alone did anything,

    He acknowledged that things don’t operate in a vacuum. That includes building a successful business. That’s obvious though (as I was told by many here). The argument is that to provide the opportunities for more indidivuals to succeed, it’s important to have the systems/infrastructure in place. Again, it’s a no-brainer.

    when small businesses especially are so related to one person’s love and effort.

    And yet nobody said anything different. I’ve been working in small business for most of my working life.

    Israel is the kind of place where that can thrive. Remember that small business that are really successful can become large ones (like Apple, eBay, Amazon, and so on).

    It is. They can.

    As for what Obama said, how is a small business owner supposed to take that? They have no choice but to see it as a lecture from someone who doesn’t know jack shit about business success, and should take it as a sign and vote against Obama. Anyone so openly hostile about it just couldn’t be any less appropriate.

    Yep, ultimately the voters are ‘right’. If that’s what a sufficient number of them think (in the right areas), Obama will pay for it.
    I just don’t see how it’s a hostile comment to acknowledge a reality. The only way I can see that it might be offensive is if you’ve got a narrative in your head that ignores reality. Obama didn’t suggest that the tax-funded systems and infrastructure were the ONLY reasons why businesses suceeed. Which is why Romney etc had to clearly lie about the quote they used. However unfortunately Romney’s comments are specifically about culture and in his speech he seemed to indicate that ‘culture’ explained the difference between the incomes of Israelis and Palestinians.

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  11. CM

    But if Culture = society, then Romney is fine, and CM has got it wrong.

    I don’t see why. Society is still determined by a number of factors. The most significant factor determining the Palestinian society are the restrictions they live under.

    What? What insult? I simply said duh as though I agree with him because it’s obvious. I also said that you won’t get it, which you demonstrated in your very next post. How’s that an insult? I was simply making a prediction. :)

    I’d ask you to explain what I don’t “get”, but I’d disagree, and then you would, and we’ll get nowhere.

    Because he’s GOD, and we all know we love to make fun of gods from time to time around here. Maybe you should have paid attention to American politics 4 years ago when we were going to vote in the perfect being. The left set a standard. We’re going to point out when they fail to meet that standard via the modern Messiah or otherwise.

    Yes I do understand that aspect. However I think it goes further than that.

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  12. Section8

    But if Culture = society, then Romney is fine, and CM has got it wrong. But also Obama’s ‘you didn’t build that’ speech was right on the money.

    Except for the part I missed. Obama’s speech was right on the money in the sense that we need things like bridges, but no one has really disputed this. We stated that many times. the issue is why are businesses being chastised and cheapened because the government cannot efficiently handle the shitload of money they are getting in the first place, and again there is absolutely nothing wrong with any business owner priding themselves on their hard work or talent. You see that bridge sitting over there? It didn’t build that business. Why? because bridges just sit there. The business owner built the business (with some help) that was a given anyhow well before Obama’s rant.

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  13. CM

    If you own a business in any western society, there are certain aspects of that society that allowed your business to succeed more than if you’d started your business on the moon.

    Or Palestine. The conditions have to be right. Yes, you need people with the ambition and ability and drive, but you need the right conditions (the system, the infrastructure).

    Living in a society, as opposed to on the moon is super awesome, and I don’t understand why you guys aren’t proud of it.

    Because political discourse is so fucked up that it makes them communists (as even acknowledging it is insulting to business owners). I bet if any previous President (including Republicans) had acknowledged the reality it wouldn’t even have created a ripple.

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  14. InsipiD

    Could you expand?

    Obama was saying that any business owners didn’t create their business in a vacuum, and that there were teachers, roads, bridges, and a whole lot of societal help that America as a country helped with. If Business Oweners were, in fact, left to try and make success on their own – then that doesn’t say much about America as a country does it?

    Sorry but he clearly was. Romney and his Super PACS went to town telling people Obama said people didn’t build their own businesses. And yet everyone, to a man, on the right here has given him a pass on the most blatant dishonesty you can get.

    It was neither blatant nor dishonest, and that’s where I’d ask you to go back and listen to that segment of the speech again. It wasn’t about American society, and it wasn’t about not being in a vacuum. It was a lecture. It was an “adult” lecturing a “child” about being wrong. He was taking individuals to the woodshed for daring to think that they had actually accomplished something. It was delivered with such obvious scorn and distaste that I’d expect your side to just get quiet so it would go away ASAP without further attention. Anyone who’s actually listened to that speech couldn’t come to any other conclusion, and that’s why I find it so distasteful. Obama’s speech isn’t monotone, but it is predictable, but he was a little different on that speech. His tone of voice and his cadence were actually a different than usual, which is a clear sign that he really meant what he was saying. He wasn’t misrepresented at all. He should be paying people like you for doing his damage control if you’re going to say that.

    Remember: government doesn’t exist in a vacuum, either. There wouldn’t be any roads or bridges if the successful individuals that built their lives here didn’t need them. The infamous Bridge to Nowhere wasn’t ridiculous because it was expensive but because it didn’t make sense. Nobody needed it. Expenses can be justified, but only if they actually make sense. By that same token, Obama could do a better job justifying himself if there were a way that he could show how the huge increases in spending actually benefit some of the people who pay for them rather than selling the idea only to recipients of largess with others’ money.

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  15. CM

    It was neither blatant nor dishonest,

    Making out that Obama was specifically referring to businesses when he said “you didn’t build that” was most certainly both. Unquestionably. It’s not even arguable. As ilovecress says, it’s unbelievable that people here would even try it on.

    ….I’d ask you to go back and listen to that segment of the speech again. It wasn’t about American society, and it wasn’t about not being in a vacuum. It was a lecture. It was an “adult” lecturing a “child” about being wrong. He was taking individuals to the woodshed for daring to think that they had actually accomplished something.

    I’ve listened to it and read the transcript a number of times. To me it was on obvious counter to the narrative that which implies that personal hardwork and ambition are all that are needed to succeed. For those millions of business owners who know full well that it’s only a partial truth, it’s not a lecture or anything similar. The only ones who should find it offensive are those who
    (a) swallow the distortion about what he actually said and don’t bother looking it up themselves, or
    (b) are business owners who fully buy into the narrative I mentioned, who are offended at the suggestion that there more factors at play than their own personal hardwork and ambition.

    Here is the full transcript.
    http://www.whitehouse.gov/the-press-office/2012/07/13/remarks-president-campaign-event-roanoke-virginiaHe sets it all up by giving examples of how great America is, including the fact that his own family were able to take advantage of “grants and scholarships” and “could go as far as their dreams could take them”. Right after that he talks about Michelle’s father who “was a blue-collar worker, worked at a water filtration plant in Chicago”, who “had to wake up an hour earlier than everybody else just to get to work because it took him that long to get dressed, and he could barely walk”, who he never missed a day’s work — because he took pride in the idea that, you know what, I’m going to earn my way and look after my family.”

    And what this reminded me of was that, at the heart of this country, its central idea is the idea that in this country, if you’re willing to work hard, if you’re willing to take responsibility, you can make it if you try.

    That your kids can get a great education, and if they’re willing to work hard, then they can achieve things that you wouldn’t have even imagined achieving.

    Willing to work hard. Repeated twice.

    It was a justification for his tax plan, which involves increases to the highest 5% of earners (although only the top 0.1% would have an increase of about 5%). The justification is: we’re all in this together. Together we combine to provide the opportunity. Without the system in place and the infrastructure (which requires constant investment) the opportunities wouldn’t be there. Without regulation to provide the platform for competition, fewer opportunuities would exist.

    It was delivered with such obvious scorn and distaste that I’d expect your side to just get quiet so it would go away ASAP without further attention.

    If you’re viewing this as a “my side” thing then you don’t get it. “My side” in this equation is acknowledging the reality that it’s a matter of hard work.

    Anyone who’s actually listened to that speech couldn’t come to any other conclusion, and that’s why I find it so distasteful.

    Plenty of people have come to another conclusion. Not just me. It all makes sense. No distortions or anything else are required to make it fit.

    Obama’s speech isn’t monotone, but it is predictable, but he was a little different on that speech. His tone of voice and his cadence were actually a different than usual, which is a clear sign that he really meant what he was saying. He wasn’t misrepresented at all. He should be paying people like you for doing his damage control if you’re going to say that.

    It is possible to understand what someone is saying and agree with it without being a stooge.

    Remember: government doesn’t exist in a vacuum, either. There wouldn’t be any roads or bridges if the successful individuals that built their lives here didn’t need them.

    Totally. Unquestionably. Government needs business and business needs government. Again, look at the actual speech. He mentions “working hard” a number of times.

    Our goal isn’t just to put people back to work — although that’s priority number one — it is to build an economy where that work pays off. An economy where everyone, whether you are starting a business or punching a clock, can see your hard work and responsibility rewarded.

    …Obama could do a better job justifying himself if there were a way that he could show how the huge increases in spending actually benefit some of the people who pay for them

    Are there huge increases in spending? There was the stimulus, but there are also proposed cuts. Anyway, wasn’t the whole point of the speech explaining how investing in infrastructure is going to be funded?

    rather than selling the idea only to recipients of largess with others’ money.

    I’m not on welfare, I’ve been a key player in building a couple of successful businesses, and his speech made sense to me (he didn’t “sell” it to me because reality isn’t something that I need to buy). I fail to see how constant references to ‘working hard being rewarded’ applies to people who aren’t working hard but want to be given money. If you can twist it, then you an and will presumably twist everything and anything he says.

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  16. CM

    Because nobody can dispute the central premise of what Obama said, it needs to be converted into an attack on successful business owners. If you read the whole speech it’s quite clearly not that at all.

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  17. InsipiD

    To me it was on obvious counter to the narrative that which implies that personal hardwork and ambition are all that are needed to succeed.

    What the hell else do you propose?

    Without the system in place and the infrastructure (which requires constant investment) the opportunities wouldn’t be there.

    That’s backwards. Without the success, there’s neither reason to build infrastructure nor would it serve any purpose.

    Without regulation to provide the platform for competition, fewer opportunuities would exist.

    No. Freedom breeds opportunity, not regulation. Even Obama wouldn’t dare have said that.

    The overall problem is that Obama has it completely backwards in every way possible. The government owes itself to the success of the people, not vice-versa. Remember, it’s by the people and of the people, not just for the people. By that same measure, the people who are paying for the government deserve to get a good deal for their money.

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  18. Poosh

    Of course its to do with culture, I would say “duh” but this is actually a profound point that few people grasp (apart from Marxists annoyingly). In fact conservatives tend to not pick this up, and perhaps Romney hasn’t considered its true implications, but he hits a few nails on the head. He’s upping his game.

    The palis are a backward “people” who destroy and are self-destructive. When you’re teaching your kids to hate and kill Jews instead of property rights its no surprise. There are plenty of former backwater euro-trash countries that had no capital and were falling apart when they were freed from communism. But now some of them are even outperforming Britain in some areas (education for one). I’m sure you’ll recall the cases of Israelis moving out of certain land, leaving their infrastructure intact, and palis moving in only to promptly destroy said infrastructure (was no doubt reported on this blog).

    And it is an Islamic culture make no mistake. Palis would be just as backward and degenerate if they had the whole of Israel at their fingertips. Look to all those other Islamic countries, one after the other. Only where Muslims turn their backs on being devout and embrace western ideals (especially capitalism) do their countries rise as a people WITHOUT oil money. India, Israel should be backwater countries but they rise – Israel being constantly undersiege by Islamism. Of course it’s about culture, and the ideals and consciousness your language, religion and culture brings to the table.

    Make no mistake though, it’s not just unqualified Islamic culture (as opposed to liberal islamic culture) that has a degenerate effect on a people. The welfare culture, liberal culture, all have a similar affect.

    There are two other things worth noting, culture is reflected by a countries institutions, but both feed eachother in a sort of loop. The institutions also feed the culture.

    Secondly, it’s not how much capital you have but what you do with capital that counts. Cultures that do not garner intelligence, or cultures that have little respect for reason or property, or cultures that are self-destructive, are likely to simply use capital to consume, without thinking about the true nature of capital. The means of production do not appear out of thin air – it must be invested for by capitalists who choose to not consume their capital but rather bracket it out and invest it appropriately in the least wasteful way.

    There’s a wonderful tv series by Niall Ferguson highlighting one of the primary reasons countries do well is competition and property rights. These ideals are ingrained by a culture. He also highlights the protestant work-ethic in America pushing America forwards (work and save, toil now but heaven later) < which you'll note accidentally has the affect of saving capital and withholding consumption, which we all know is perhaps the most important thing an economy should do.

    Natural resources and capital only go so far, it’s what you DO with them that counts and culture dictates what you do with it.

    Culture can be deep. Iran is a degenerate country currently because of Islam, but the “persian” spirit that existed prior to the revolution is hard to move. Entrepreneurship and enlightenment thought prevail in Iran, though the power is held by the savages, the Islamists. But the positive is infected and damaged by the rulers who try to manufacture culture, and it seeps in (the ruling classes, and that does not just mean the ruling politicians or the king make no mistake) are in a very strong position to create culture in a top-down manner.

    In order for countries to truly succeed over a prolonged time period a government must enforce law and order, property rights, individual rights. The basic libertarian list: you know the drill. The culture must encourage healthy competition to take place and both capitalist structures and capitalists to be formed. Countries that have cultures that create the opposite do not prosper and never increase their wealth pool outside any given natural resources (which dissipate with trade) they are lucky enough to have. Sustained wealth is created, not simply existent. palis are far removed from this and are dedicated to Islamism, where the destruction of the Jews is just one of their goals but this is just as applicable to to western countries these days. Remember you can have multiple cultures in a singe country, and you can have all sorts of configurations. Note Iran does have a large number of capitalists and entrepreneurs who have a different consciousness from the Islamists who rule and tax them. I’m visiting an Islamic country at the moment that has ZERO income tax. Here that? Zero. You really *do* keep what you earn. English common law is also the basis here. The culture is indebted to both the former British imperial ties and the current individual sultan who happens to be a good man.

    Obama was saying that any business owners didn’t create their business in a vacuum, and that there were teachers, roads, bridges, and a whole lot of societal help that America as a country helped with. If Business Oweners were, in fact, left to try and make success on their own – then that doesn’t say much about America as a country does it?

    That’s a very narrow, selective reading of his speech and not actually at all what he said, but if you take what he says out of context I can understand how you thought that. But let’s look at that last sentence. Business Owners should not be allowed to “make it on their own”? So that means government should take from he who has no business sense, and give to he who does have business sense, so he with business sense can make money and live more comfortable lives?

    What I find sinister is how swiftly and easily liberals who prattle on about this “no one made it in a vacuum” nonsense (nonsense because they conflate the self evident with that which capitalists WOULD get done, and perhaps better, if left to their own devices, either unable intellectually to tell them apart or deliberately as to confuse their audience: I mean “hey, you wouldn’t be rich if not for the American revolutionaries… no shit sherklock, but then, we wouldn’t be here if not for the British Empire… and the British Empire wouldn’t exist if not for the act of Union, and what did the Romans ever do for us? and on and on and on .. all the way back probably to Aristotle? Maybe we all SHOULD be bailing out Greece, seeing as they deserve some of the credit and spoils) is that they bracket away the most important thing: soldiers giving up their lives across history, in order to preserve the liberty of our countries. Soldiers dying in Afgan as we speak, for a war politicians have given up on, have no intention of winning or carrying out the original remit, and yet continue to allow ‘em to die. Strange how that’s bracketed out. The Warrior class of any nation have ALWAYS held the entire superstructure on their shoulders. And rarely get any credit (and never ask for it).

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  19. CM

    What the hell else do you propose?

    What do I propose you include in your narrative? No idea, it’s your narrative, I can’t help you with it. I’m stuck with reality, I can’t rely on obvious distortions. As I say, certain people seemed to have backed themselves so deep into an ideological corner that even acknowledging the existence of society (let alone the role societal systems and government investment) is admitting they are a communist. It’s just ridiculous. But that’s your bed, you’ve got to lie in it. You could always ditch the narrative (and ideology). That’s what I would propose.

    That’s backwards. Without the success, there’s neither reason to build infrastructure nor would it serve any purpose.

    Obviously they work off each other. If you read the speech you’ll see that’s clear.
    However new businesses spring up all the time, and become successful of the time. Whereas the systems and (in most cases) the existing infrastructure is already there. Yes, the businesses help sustain the system/infrastructure, but the businesses mostly come and go, while the systems and infrastructure remain. There is no chicken and egg problem when acknowledging that. Whereas what you are talking about is the building of a nation from the start. That only happens once (usually).

    No. Freedom breeds opportunity, not regulation. Even Obama wouldn’t dare have said that.

    Obama doesn’t need to say it. Adam Smith was very clear about it. Without regulation, competition wouldn’t exist. The mighty would have total market share. No new players would be able to enter the market. Commerce relies on regulations to keep competition going. Of course you can argue about good regulations and bad regulations, but that’s a different argument.
    Nobody would accuse Adam Smith of being anti-business though.

    The overall problem is that Obama has it completely backwards in every way possible.

    Only if you’re intent on reading it backwards. I bet most right-wingers don’t even know how he discussed hard work a number of times earlier in his speech. You’re take relies on quote-mining and interpreting it through an ideological filter. You KNOW what Obama thinks (he’s a business hating dirty commie) so what he says must support that. Voila, you’ve signed up to “OMFG! Obama said I didn’t built my business!”

    The government owes itself to the success of the people, not vice-versa.

    The people decided to organise themselves in a way that enables hard work to be rewarded in a way the people deem appropriate. If you work hard and things work out well, you can get stinking filthy rich.

    Remember, it’s by the people and of the people, not just for the people. By that same measure, the people who are paying for the government deserve to get a good deal for their money.

    They certainly do deserve that. No question. Government should inherently be, at all times, transparent and accountable.

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  20. CM

    Poosh, after reading that I must express my strong desire that a child of yours grows up and marries into a Palestinian family. I couldn’t think of anything more fitting.

    The palis

    This reminds me of being hauled into the office in London and asked to explain my “racist email” in which I said ‘Pakis’. NZ were playing Pakistan at cricket somewhere and I’d emailed someone a score. I was extremely puzzled and shocked, as ‘Paki’ has exactly zero racist connotations here in NZ. They could obviously see I was in such a state of shock that when I explained that it had no racism behind it whatsoever they immediately believed me. The innocence of being a colonial….
    You, on the other hand, are certainly using it in the context I was accused of using.

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  21. Poosh

    I have no problem with them marrying into a “Palestinian” family, so long as they had western liberal values and rejected palestinian culture, and were not living in so-called Palestine. Duuuh. Didn’t read past that.

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  22. mrblume

    Presumably, everybody here believes that liberal democracy, capitalism, secularism are superior to theocracy or communism; including because we believe they lead to better outcomes.

    I think the reason you’re a racist, Poosh, is that you clearly conclude from this that you must be superior to the “savages”. When in fact, all you ever did was eat up what your parents spoon-fed you, and then made a choice between hating hippies or hating bankers; that’s hardly ab accomplishment to take pride in.

    The Warrior class of any nation have ALWAYS held the entire superstructure on their shoulders. And rarely get any credit (and never ask for it).

    Yes indeed, American culture despises soldiers, and the idea that world’s freedom hinges solely on the US military is a radical thought that no one would take seriously. Not a single book has been ever written about it by anyone who has any respect as a scholar.

    More than that, in the history of nations, the so called warrior class was and will never be in the way of progress, liberty or freedom.

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  23. sahrab

    If it was primarily a ‘culture’ thing, then how have many Palestinian Arabs have made big successes in business as immigrants to the United States?

    C’mon seriously? The Palestinians Arabs that have have had big success in business as immigrants have done so by emulating the cultures they live within, cater to, and deal with. This is evident by all immigrants who have had success in business not just the Arabs.

    It has nothing to do with immigration and has everything to do with catering to the client/customer being served.

    Those that do not work within the confines of the culture they live in do not have the same successes.

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  24. sahrab

    Sorry but he clearly was. Romney and his Super PACS went to town telling people Obama said people didn’t build their own businesses. And yet everyone, to a man, on the right here has given him a pass on the most blatant dishonesty you can get

    Are you talking about the Romney ad that showed President Obama’s saying the words verbatem?

    It was real cute when President Obama refuted the ad stating he didnt say the words while displaying his own version of the video with him saying the EXACT FUCKING WORDS.

    If your going to attempt to claim Romeny was dishonest, your hypocrisy is profound if your excusing President Obama’s even greater dishonesty.

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  25. sahrab

    He acknowledged that things don’t operate in a vacuum. That includes building a successful business. That’s obvious though (as I was told by many here). The argument is that to provide the opportunities for more indidivuals to succeed, it’s important to have the systems/infrastructure in place. Again, it’s a no-brainer.

    His “point” made no sense for a number of reasons, but there maybe a few reasons why you dont think so.

    First – Business owners also pay for the roads, teachers, fireman and whatever other government entity President Obama was praising over the private sector. They do this the same way all other tax paying citizens do this, by paying taxes.

    Business owners and tax paying citizens are equal paying partners, the only negative drain are the Government entity President Obama was praising over the private sector. Understand the point, business owners and tax paying citizens pay into the kitty, the Government entities President Obama was praising over the private sector remove from the kitty.

    Second – Business owners and all other tax paying and non paying citizens have equal access to the roads, teachers, fireman and whatever other government entity President Obama was praising over the private sector.

    Business owners, tax paying and non tax paying citizens have equal acess. The difference is the Business owners have developed some”thing” to make a business out of. The business owners dont deserve derision because they came up with some”thing” that others want. Especially when both tax paying and non paying citizens have the ability to do this themselves just as the business owners did.

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  26. Poosh

    mrblume, I am a racist how? Did I call all genetic Arabs a lesser race? Did I? Or did I say Palestinians, because of their culture, renders them degenerate? Does that word upset you? Did one hurt your little, liberal sensibilities?

    There is no need to care about your sensibilities.

    There are plenty of former palestinians who do not share the culture of their “homeland”. I have no qualm with them. But I must have, surely? If I am a racist. There are, one assumes, some in Palestine who hate the culture that is bred there, and hate their neighbors, and hate the anti-Semitism and Arab-supremacy that has primacy there. I have no quarrel with these people. But if I was a racist the beliefs of such individuals would not matter, they would be condemned all the same.

    Do you know what racism is? I think not. I think you like to think certain things are racism and pretend you are offended by them. I think you, how shall we put it? I think you breathe it all in. You enjoy the experience of making sure people know you are not a racist. But you don’t actually care about racism, or the implications of real racism. I’ve seen people like you countless times. One who has experienced real racism and appreciated it, or seen the implications of it, does not throw that word around so quickly.

    There is no need to care about your slurs of “racism”. They come from an emptied-out inner-wretchedness.

    And who said that the US military keeps the world together (which it does but I never said such a thing). I said the warrior class across time has always been necessary to protect any given citizen or subject from outside invaders, because they support the superstructure – whatever that might be. Without soldiers to protect your democracies, what good are your phony platitudes about racism, or your precious sensibilities?

    Cold steel does not care for your platitudes and sensibilities.

    You think humans, like any good Marxist (without knowing you”ve been duped by marxism) are merely the product of their social environment, and are free to be shaped by whomever. As if there is no individual involved, no thinking being, not emotional being, not character or calculation involved within the spaces we allow for free will. Free will? You claim we have no free will. That we are merely reacting to outside stimuli. Social sheep – that no doubt you would save if you were in charge. Am I wrong? Is this not what you want? For “your kind” to be in charge and free us from the shackles you imagine? An arm-chair hero in waiting I see!

    There are no shackles. Sit down and stay down.

    But be thankful that this warrior class you hate are willing to offer themselves up upon the altar of liberty, to save you and your platitudes and sensibilities. Let us observe this “mrblume” and the agenda behind his hatred for the warrior class. Let us see that deep down he knows that it is the warrior class that protect him, and he knows that he needs them. But being weak and egotistical he knows that were they not so kind, or dutiful, they could oppress him and hold him down – this is a most disturbing thought to him. It aches him. It makes him ill. So he creates a tapestry of myths to encourage him to hate the very ones who would protect him! Perhaps he even goes as far as to fabricate reality into one where there is no need for these soldiers, as there are no threats bar those caused by America itself!

    This liberal mind is dysfunctional is it not? The layers of self-deception and ego-easing myths are so wonderfully woven together, it would be almost artful if it wasn’t so, unconscious. But this tapestry has a pattern, a predicable one. Like clockwork you talk, it is no surprise what you say. So eager for victims to add to that long list in your head. Your inability to see the reality of the Palestinian culture shows you never cared for their so-called plight in the first place. Do you think yourself progressive? Just platitudes. Tick tock.

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  27. sahrab

    Here is President Obama’s speech in Roanoke VAReading this as anything other than derision towards Business owners is blind political bullshit (bold/emphasis/comments mine):

    There are a lot of wealthy, successful Americans who agree with me — because they want to give something back. They know they didn’t — look, if you’ve been successful, you didn’t get there on your own (Laying the groundwork for how Business owners relied upon Government to get there). You didn’t get there on your own. I’m always struck by people who think, well, it must be because I was just so smart. There are a lot of smart people out there. (Derision) It must be because I worked harder than everybody else. Let me tell you something — there are a whole bunch of hardworking people out there. (Derision) (Applause.) (pandering)

    If you were successful, somebody along the line gave you some help. (he’s about to explain how if it wasnt for Government there wouldnt be successfull Business owners) There was a great teacher somewhere in your life. (Ignore the fact that the same teacher taught other students than the successfull business owner, Ignore the fact that the successfull business owner was able to create some”thing” to make a business out of) Somebody helped to create this unbelievable American system that we have that allowed you to thrive. (That same American system is available to all, all who are willing to work hard enough and are smart enough) Somebody invested in roads and bridges. (Nevermind that business owners “invest” in the roads and bridges as well, this is really the Broken window theory) If you’ve got a business — you didn’t build that. Somebody else made that happen. (wait what? i guess he did say that)The Internet didn’t get invented on its own. Government research created the Internet (whoah there buddy, while DARPA was tasked with the creation of a communication network to allow the Pentagon, Department of Defense and SAC HQ all to stay connected, the research to complete this network first surfaced to allow MIT and Berkley to remotely communicate seven years before ARPAnet went live) so that all the companies could make money off the Internet. (Derision for companies making money off of what he claims was Government investment. Nevermind companies and tax payers paid for that investment)

    The point is, is that when we succeed, we succeed because of our individual initiative, but also because we do things together. (Business owners dont do it on their own, they needed Government help, we know this because he tells us in the next sentences) There are some things, just like fighting fires, we don’t do on our own. I mean, imagine if everybody had their own fire service. (Seems to work just fine for those municipalities with Private fire service) That would be a hard way to organize fighting fires.

    So we say to ourselves, ever since the founding of this country, you know what, there are some things we do better together. (Government does it better than individuals we know this because he tells us what Governments done better) That’s how we funded the GI Bill. That’s how we created the middle class (Because of the Government we have a middle class instead of successfull business owners). That’s how we built the Golden Gate Bridge or the Hoover Dam (And here he refutes CM’s point about the broken window, the Golden Gate and Hoover Dam were created because of Successfull business existence, not the other way around. AND successfull business paid, along with tax paying citizens for their creation. The Golden Gate and Hoover Dam would not exist without Successfull Business owners and tax paying citizens paying for the taxes to have them built. Never mind that it was successfull business that built both of those objects). That’s how we invented the Internet (well kind of). That’s how we sent a man to the moon (paid for by Successful businesses and tax paying citizens. the machinery to do this was built by Successfull businesses that werent smart enough on their own). We rise or fall together as one nation and as one people, and that’s the reason I’m running for President — because I still believe in that idea. You’re not on your own, we’re in this together. (Applause.)

    So all these issues go back to that first campaign that I talked about, because everything has to do with how do we help middle-class families, working people, strivers, doers — how do we help them succeed? How do we make sure that their hard work pays off? That’s what I’ve been thinking about the entire time I’ve been President.

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  28. Poosh

    Already tried that sahrab. It didn’t work.

    I think the most alarming thing is when he goes “yeah like whatever, businessmen think they got a business because they work hard, MORONS! everybody works hard! Businessmen think they got a business because they are smart? MORONS! loads of people are like totally smart!”

    <paraphrasing

    Even if you believe Obama wasn't missquoted despite, you know, what he said, on his own terms he's an idiot as the greedy top 1% pay for some 40% of roads and infrastructure via taxes. So actually the rich could turn around and actually say "I did build that bridge actually, 40% of it, despite being 1% of this country"…

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  29. Kimpost

    Palis

    the warrior class

    Palestinian’s because of their culture, renders them degenerate

    “Palestinians”

    etc

    What kind of idiotic English Defence League-bullshit is this? I don’t think there’s any doubt what-so-ever, that you are a nationalist/racist/culturalist. You choose the label, regardless of your choice it sickens me. This isn’t about liberalism vs. conservatism, this is about (small d) democratic principles of freedom and equal worth vs. blind hatred and bigotry. You sir, are trash.

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  30. InsipiD

    Even if you believe Obama wasn’t missquoted despite, you know, what he said, on his own terms he’s an idiot as the greedy top 1% pay for some 40% of roads and infrastructure via taxes. So actually the rich could turn around and actually say “I did build that bridge actually, 40% of it, despite being 1% of this country”…

    Liberals always have the cause-effect relationship backwards. Government caused success, regulations create opportunites, big Cokes caused obesity, and guns cause violence. It’s all about the individual.

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  31. Poosh

    Sending your young kids to detonate themselves to rack up some dead jews? Progressive?

    Teaching your kids Jews are born from pigs and that it is right to kill the Jews? Multi-cultural?

    Glorifying “heroes” Palestinian terrorists who have detonated themselves and slaughtered innocent Jews (and Muslims as well sometimes) and naming schools after them? Enlightened?

    I enjoy the use of the word degenerate because I know exactly the kind of emotions it invokes in certain disingenuous liberals. I would call the Nazis a degenerate culture too, and because I am consistent, I apply the same term to Palestinians who engage in the above.

    Victims they ain’t.

    Freedom-fighters they ain’t.

    Innocent, they ain’t.

    They are complicit and prime-movers in their continued decline. And people carrying water for them, and not calling a spade a spade, encourage their decline.

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  32. balthazar

    Wow, I know reading comprehension isnt CM’s forte, but you are normally a bit better at it, Kimpost.

    Reread and try again.

    Thumb up 2

  33. Poosh

    I didn’t clock CM’s comment. Just to be clear “Paki” in the UK is a racial slur now (like calling someone the N-word, which I won’t write, because we’re pretty much getting arrested for that in the UK these days). It wasn’t apparently before my time, was actually edited out recently from an old episode of Only Fools and Horses. I don’t think any other such racial word play exists. “pali” is not racist, any more than “brit”, or “scot”. “Paki” as a racial slur is unique to the UK as far as I know. If people wish to see racism there, than how quaint (and telling!).

    But I, as many of us no doubt, do not regard Palestinians as a real people (other than what they choose to make themselves today, as a free people), because they are a fiction designed to remove the jews from the Middle East. The lands of Palestine were suspiciously absorbed by arab states as well, but it’s the tiny little jewish plot of land that, damn, just seems to be the “occupier” here and the thieves… now what’s the difference between all those arab lands, and this tiny patch of jewish land… I.. I can’t figure out the difference! If these facts are wrong, then they are wrong and I would reject my conclusion, but there is no malice involved.

    Oh and if “warrior class” is, what racist? I don’t know. Then would you prefer ‘soldier’? or ‘men-at-arms’? ‘musketeer’? ‘Super battle droids’? perhaps.

    Thumb up 2

  34. CM

    I’d LOVE to witness you explaining all this in Palestine. And THEN have your child marry into a regular Palestinian (who have no interest in violence, who have just been trying to survive).
    Do you hold the same opinion of blacks?

    Thumb up 1

  35. CM

    I have no problem with them marrying into a “Palestinian” family, so long as they had western liberal values and rejected palestinian culture, and were not living in so-called Palestine. Duuuh. Didn’t read past that.

    I’d like some convincing evidence that ‘Palestinian culture’ is what you think it is. I’d like to something which demonstrates that most Palestinians have no interest in violence, but are just trying to survive in a heavily controlled and restricted territory. Something which explains why all this isn’t extremely relevant:

    Economic growth has not altered the reality of worsening long-term development prospects, caused by the ongoing loss of Palestinian land and natural resources, isolation from global markets, and fragmentation.

    Against the background of the sharp economic decline experienced since 2000, the continuing Israeli closure policy and confiscation of Palestinian land and natural resources raise concerns about the sustainability of the growth experienced in 2010, and the development prospects of the Palestinian economy.

    the Palestinian private sector continues to be constrained by years of restrictions on movement and access, blockade, extremely limited access to external markets to export goods and import production inputs, and shrinking capital and natural resource bases.

    Furthermore, about two thirds of Palestinian public revenue is dependent on Israeli
    controls. In accordance with the 1994 Paris Protocol on Economic Relations between Israel
    and the Palestine Liberation Organization, Israel collects customs and value added taxes on
    goods imported through Israel and then clears them to the Palestinian Authority (PA). This
    is a tenuous arrangement in a situation characterized by frequent political and security
    tensions. In the last ten years, Israel has delayed clearing these revenues to the PA more
    than twice, sometimes for prolonged periods, and most recently in May 2011 when the
    clearance process was delayed for several weeks.

    In Gaza, a modest relaxation of the Israeli blockade over the last 18 months
    (Government of Israel, 2011) has enabled an improvement in economic activity. This has
    been concentrated in the non-tradable goods sector, mainly construction, whose output
    doubled in 2010.

    Despite the urgent need to rebuild the private and public property destroyed by the 24-day Israeli military operation in Gaza that took place in December 2008 and January 2009, the importing of construction materials is still banned, with the exception of imports by international organizations. However, construction inputs continued to be imported at inflated costs via clandestine tunnels from Egypt.

    Humanitarian conditions in Gaza remain dire, and the Israeli blockade imposed
    since 2007 is still largely in place. Restrictions on imported raw materials still constrain
    private-sector recovery and thwart the public investment in infrastructure envisioned in the
    Palestinian National Early Recovery and Reconstruction Plan. The World Bank maintains
    that Gaza’s manufacturing output declined by 4 per cent in 2010. On the other hand,
    agricultural output rose significantly, albeit from the nadir it had reached in previous years.
    However, about 35 per cent of Gaza’s agricultural land and 85 per cent of its maritime space
    remain inaccessible to farmers and fishermen (UNSCO, 2011a).

    the abject educational situation in Gaza and massive school overcrowding have forced the United Nations Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA) to operate the schools it runs on a double-shift basis, to rotate classes, and to operate schools from ship containers.

    The tight closure imposed on Gaza has not only deteriorated socio-economic conditions; it has also elevated regional disparities by precipitating broad economic divergence between Gaza and the West Bank (fig. 1). Real GDP per capita in Gaza deteriorated from 89 per cent of that of the West Bank to about 43 per cent during 2009; by 2010 it was still less than half the West Bank level.

    According to the World Food Programme (WFP) (2011), 50 per cent of Palestinian
    households in the OPT were impacted by food insecurity – 33 per cent were classified as
    food-insecure, and nearly 17 per cent were classified as vulnerable to food insecurity. In
    Gaza, 65 per cent were impacted by food insecurity, with 52 per cent classified as foodinsecure
    and a further 13 per cent vulnerable to food insecurity. The fact that 33 per cent of
    agricultural land in Gaza is inaccessible to farmers and some 85 per cent of Palestinian
    maritime space is off-limits to fishermen has contributed to food insecurity.

    According to a survey conducted by WFP, the Food and Agriculture Organization of
    the United Nations (FAO) and PCBS (2010), Palestinian people have used various strategies
    to cope with poverty and food insecurity under prolonged Israeli occupation. These
    strategies have included – in addition to borrowing – receiving food support from family
    and friends, restricting food to adults in order to feed children, reducing health and
    education spending, running down savings, and selling off jewellery, furniture, and
    productive assets. The top three coping strategies used are deferring payment of utility bills,
    lowering the quality and quantity of food intake, and borrowing. The recent installation of
    prepaid meters and the privatization of electricity distribution to ensure payment imply that
    the coping strategy of deferring utility bills is no longer available to poor and vulnerable
    households. Coping by resorting to credit has a limited viability, leaving lowering the
    quantity and quality of food intake, already used by 29 per cent of households, as the only
    remaining alternative. This poses a threat to Palestinian health and human capital formation
    in the long run

    Due to the construction of the Barrier and related access restrictions, Palestinian
    exports to Israel, which account for about 90 per cent of total exports, fell by 30 per cent
    during 2008–2009. Restrictions on Palestinian exports, and on imports of production inputs,
    were further tightened during 2010 (IMF, 2011). Repeated and lengthy Israeli security
    checks force Palestinian traders into long queues at the crossing points, which have
    inadequate facilities and limited working hours. The conditions of access into Jerusalem for
    UNRWA staff provide an example of the prohibitive cost imposed on the Palestinian
    economy. With 350 UNRWA staff entering Jerusalem daily from the rest of the OPT,
    waiting and crossing at barriers results in the loss of 1,350 work-days per month – the
    equivalent of $730,000 per year (UNSCO, 2010).

    The restrictions imposed on the movement of goods to/from/within the West Bank
    and Gaza have stifled the emergence of an export sector capable of contributing to
    economic development. Steady access to global markets at normal cost is not only of critical
    importance to Palestinian economic development, it is actually a precondition for such
    development to take place. The small size of the OPT market implies that improvements in
    living standards cannot be achieved without building a dynamic, high-value-added export
    sector.

    The realization of scale economies, cost efficiency and technological progress
    require the removal of barriers to Palestinian trade with the rest of the world, as these have
    denied the Palestinian private sector essential imported inputs and export markets, and have
    exacerbated transaction costs. In the West Bank alone, there are fixed 500 obstacles to the
    movement of Palestinian people and goods (UNSCO, 2011b). West Bank producers and
    traders are undermined by prohibitive transaction costs at crossing points arising from long
    waiting times, and by damaged goods – especially fresh produce.

    Recent evidence published by the Bank of Israel suggests that of the total Palestinian
    imports from Israel reported by official statistics, only 42 per cent are actually goods
    produced in Israel. The remaining 58 per cent are produced in a third country, and transit to
    the OPT via Israel. Factoring out these “indirect” imports negates the overstated importance
    of the Israeli economy to that of the OPT. The officially reported share of imports from
    Israel would be closer to 35 per cent, rather than 75 per cent, of all Palestinian imports.
    Under normal trade and transit conditions, therefore, Israel would no longer enjoy
    overwhelming dominance as the leading OPT trading partner. This underscores the failure
    of Palestinian–Israeli convergence and economic integration under prolonged occupation.
    And, as shown below, this arrangement deprives the PA of significant customs revenue that
    it needs in order to meet essential obligations, lower its structural budget deficit, and reduce
    aid-dependence.

    That’s just from the first half of the report.
    unctad.org/en/docs/tdb58d4_en.pdf

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  36. CM

    C’mon seriously? The Palestinians Arabs that have have had big success in business as immigrants have done so by emulating the cultures they live within, cater to, and deal with. This is evident by all immigrants who have had success in business not just the Arabs.

    The most obvious difference is the opportunity.
    This whole argument is ridiculous. You can’t define ‘Palestinian culture’ without factoring in the conditions they are all facing. Mitt Romney wondered why Israel was so much richer than the territories it controls, and he put it down to culture. It’s insanity to “notice a dramatic, stark difference in economic vitality” and decide it’s about culture, when there are other huge obvious reasons staring you right in the face. For the vast majority of Palestinians, who are just trying to get by, it would no doubt be laughable if it wasn’t so insulting.

    Those that do not work within the confines of the culture they live in do not have the same successes.

    Gee I wonder why.
    Why is the least restrictive area of Palestine doing far far better than the most restrictive area? If the ‘culture’ is the same, why isn’t the economic vitality?

    Are you talking about the Romney ad that showed President Obama’s saying the words verbatem?

    It was real cute when President Obama refuted the ad stating he didnt say the words while displaying his own version of the video with him saying the EXACT FUCKING WORDS.

    How can you not recognise how blatant this dishonesty is? Are you really this desparate?
    Obama was very clearly not referring to the ‘business’ when he said ‘you didn’t build that’. My 5 year old can see it, why can’t you?

    If your going to attempt to claim Romeny was dishonest, your hypocrisy is profound if your excusing President Obama’s even greater dishonesty.

    Huh? How? Where?

    First – Business owners also pay for the roads, teachers, fireman and whatever other government entity President Obama was praising over the private sector. They do this the same way all other tax paying citizens do this, by paying taxes.

    Indisputable that they also pay for it.
    Where did he praise it all “over the private sector”?

    Business owners and tax paying citizens are equal paying partners, the only negative drain are the Government entity President Obama was praising over the private sector. Understand the point, business owners and tax paying citizens pay into the kitty, the Government entities President Obama was praising over the private sector remove from the kitty.

    Circular argument. There wouldn’t be a kitty if it wasn’t going to be used.

    Second – Business owners and all other tax paying and non paying citizens have equal access to the roads, teachers, fireman and whatever other government entity President Obama was praising over the private sector.

    Exactly. Public systems and infrastructure provides equal opportunity. And greater opportunity than not having those things.

    Business owners, tax paying and non tax paying citizens have equal acess. The difference is the Business owners have developed some”thing” to make a business out of. The business owners dont deserve derision because they came up with some”thing” that others want.

    As I say, the only people who would feel derided are those (like you) that are swallowing up the ridiculous nonsense that Obama said people didn’t build their own businesses, of those that already operate in some sort of dream-world where they believe they operate in a vacuum.

    Especially when both tax paying and non paying citizens have the ability to do this themselves just as the business owners did.

    They do have that ability. And a part of this is because of the systems (ensuring barriers of entry aren’t put up by existing businesses) and infrastructure that provides the opportunity.

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  37. InsipiD

    That’s just from the first half of the report.
    unctad.org/en/docs/tdb58d4_en.pdf

    And you know what would fix that? An immediate end of all aggression against Israel. Within weeks Israel wouldn’t have to treat Palestine like a rapist caught in the house.

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  38. CM

    There are, one assumes, some in Palestine who hate the culture that is bred there, and hate their neighbors, and hate the anti-Semitism and Arab-supremacy that has primacy there. I have no quarrel with these people.

    How many? Given your firm conclusions about ‘the pali’s” and their “degenerate culture” you must have an excellent idea. Please demonstrate and show us how you’re not all these nasty things that people are saying and thinking about you.
    Make sure you explain it in the context of the conditions as outlined in my quotes above though (i.e. make sure you separate out those who hate Israel with those who hate the restrcitive conditions they are personally living under). Because obviously a failure to be careful about these things would just serve as evidence that you are all those nasty things.

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  39. CM

    And you know what would fix that? An immediate end of all aggression against Israel. Within weeks Israel wouldn’t have to treat Palestine like a rapist caught in the house.

    Debatable.
    But anyway, it misses the point. The vast majority of Palestinians aren’t responsible for the aggression. The main reason why Hamas exists is because they’re the main social organisation that’s on all the street corners providing food.
    How is their ‘culture’ holding these (the vast majority) of Palestinians back?
    And again, why is the least restrictive area doing far better if it’s matter of culture?

    The economic conditions have everything to do with their being stateless and the subsequent denial of land, water and resources. Stateless people have no firm property or human rights because there is no state to guarantee them. Their property rights are routinely revoked or not recognized, and the courts to which they could go for redress mostly view them as illegal aliens who don’t deserve justice. These are not just Palestinian issues – people in the global South find it difficult to secure their property rights, and this uncertainty as to whether they really own what they think they do keeps them poor. Romney should read some De Soto. Or maybe he should actually venture near the territories rather than just rely on books that support his existing ideology and speak at a $50,000 a plate dinner to raise money for his campaign. How many Palestinian camps has he visited?

    Most of Palestinians remain stateless, many having no right to work, own property or operate legal businesses, and few guaranteed such rights by a state. Only in Jordan were they given citizenship, but even there it has been taken back away from thousands, and they are clearly marked as second class citizens. They are in an odd form of 21st century legal limbo that resembles slavery in its lack of basic human rights.

    All this rather interferes with economic growth.

    You might as well try and claim that the black slaves of the US suffered mostly because they didn’t have the right culture.

    The main overall point here though is that Romney doesn’t mind demonstrating extreme ignorance and arrogance and angering people so long as it gets him some more campaign money.

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  40. CM

    But I, as many of us no doubt, do not regard Palestinians as a real people (other than what they choose to make themselves today, as a free people), because they are a fiction designed to remove the jews from the Middle East.

    Ah no, they are the modern descendants of people who have lived in Palestine over the centuries.

    Genetic analysis suggests that a majority of the Muslims of Palestine, inclusive of Israeli Arabs, are descendants of Christians, Jews, and other earlier inhabitants of the southern Levant whose core reaches back to prehistoric times.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Palestinian_people

    I’d love to see you explain to a Palestinian that they’re a fictional people designed to remove the Jews from the Middle East. That would be a truly awesome display.

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  41. mrblume

    You say Palestinians are degenerates. I call that racist. It’s really not interesting to argue semantics at this point; It doesn’t matter that you pretend to talk about their “culture”. Culture is all-encompassing; you’re talking about the people. Of course you’re happy to welcome the “reformed” Palestinian. You know, the good jew.

    Sure, there must be one or two of them that aren’t anti-semites. Those guys are ok, the rare anamoly in a culture of savages. That basically seems to the caricature that you call you’re understanding of Palestinian “culture”.

    The opproessed hate their oppressors, the oppressors despise those they oppress, and think them inferior (or their “culture”). That’s just how human nature goes. It’s what you’re on this earth to rise above, Mr. Allnut. And lest you might want to take issue with calling Palestians oppressed, let’s remember what we are the ones believing in representation. And lest you think I blame Isreal for everthing, I would tell you that I love Isreal like my own country; except I’m sure you must already be quite convinced that I hate myself and my own, so that probably won’t work.

    I’m not offended by your racism. I am however angry; angry that people can be so wrong, so close-minded, so short-sighted. This is, after all, the world I have to live in, too, and people’s attitudes have consequences.

    So, the warrior class. That’s the last time I’ll use that word without quotes, please excuse me. That doesn’t mean I hate soldiers. However, I do believe that the reverence for the military, that so much permeates American society, is, while sincere, often intellectually void. Being willing to sacrifice your life for something you believe in is indeed incredibly admirable. But should I judge the morality of the cause? Sure, soldiers have died defending freedom; soldiers have also died in the name of advancing supression. For the most part, soldiers have died for no reason at all.

    And when I say soldiers, I don’t mean some self-declared “warrior class”, but the accountant and his two sons, and the librarian, and the gay actor, and all the other weeklings. You know, myself. Which is actually a good way of looking at this; once the US institutes the draft again, then I’ll take that as a strong indicator that my freedoms are indeed under threat. As long as it’s basically about dropping a bunch of missiles here and there via remote control from Nevada, I’m really not concerned that my liberty is going to succumb to a foreign enemy.

    Of course, there are other dangers. Democracy is going to die when we run out of democrats, someone once said. It’s not that I believe this is an imminent danger we are facing. It’s just that it’s still significantly more real a danger than the Taliban.

    The actions of a military are only as moral as the orders they follow. To recognize this very simple thing is to inject morality into this warrior idiology of yours, that otherwise survives on blind and unquestioned worship of itself.

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  42. mrblume

    But I, as many of us no doubt, do not regard Palestinians as a real people (other than what they choose to make themselves today, as a free people), because they are a fiction designed to remove the jews from the Middle East.

    1. All identities are constructed. This is an ongoing process. Europe has been in a process of constructing a European identity. If the Palestinians are constructing one for themselves, that’s legitimate. Since the “removal of the Jews from the Middle East” is not even remotely on the table of reality in this universe, I don’t know why we’re talking about it.

    2. It’s a strawman to begin with. What we know for sure is that a) there are a bunch of people inhabiting a piece of land, b) they are not Israelis, and c) Israel doesn’t want them. Since the lack of an identity does justify neither denying a people representation, nor forcefully displacing them, claiming that there are no Palestinians is really no argument at all.

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  43. CM

    Since the “removal of the Jews from the Middle East” is not even remotely on the table of reality in this universe, I don’t know why we’re talking about it.

    Because that’s really all he has. He’s working backwards here, so he’ll take anything and everything that might remotely support his already-formed conclusions, no matter how batshit crazy it is.
    “Give blacks the vote? But they’re not even ‘people’?”

    I’m not offended by your racism. I am however angry; angry that people can be so wrong, so close-minded, so short-sighted. This is, after all, the world I have to live in, too, and people’s attitudes have consequences.

    Exactly.

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  44. Poosh

    “You say Palestinians are degenerates. I call that racist. It’s really not interesting to argue semantics”

    Yet I called europeans degenerates too? And I used “euro-trash”? That doesn’t seem to be a problem? You know, ‘bigoted’ would probably have been more apt, though again wrong.

    And that’s about all I read from you as if clearly your mental powers are lacking. So why read anything else you have to say? Your first sentence demonstrated a high level of stupidity, calling such a thing semantics, to cover the fact that you’re too goddamn stupid, like CM, oddly enough, to actually read words and understand them. Like CM, why bother to point out your errors as if an error means anything to you, as if you can actually understand what an error is? Why go round the merry-go-round? This is why you’re a liberal by the way.

    Sit on your high horse and fool yourself into thinking such and such is racist: it’s irrelevant.

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  45. Tool

    Debatable.
    But anyway, it misses the point. The vast majority of Palestinians aren’t responsible for the aggression. The main reason why Hamas exists is because they’re the main social organisation that’s on all the street corners providing food.
    How is their ‘culture’ holding these (the vast majority) of Palestinians back?
    And again, why is the least restrictive area doing far better if it’s matter of culture?

    What? You know cm, I read a the vast majority of what you say and I am usually able to sit back and ignore certain statements, however you are contradicting yourself in the same paragraph.

    Any culture willing to tolerate a admitted terrorist organization with the stated goal of eliminating Israel as a “grassroots” organization shows just how supportive the “vast majority of palestinians” are towards terrorists. Palestinians helped fight 3 conventional wars EN MASSE against Israel with the stated goal of again, eliminating the Jewish state. Stop pretending their culture isn’t mobilized to destroy Israel, fuck even Mr Blume admits that.

    CM, you are an enormous hypocrite, you babel on incessantly close minded-ness yet when you were called out on supporting people who attempted to assault glen beck because of his beliefs you went on a 30 post diatribe to defend yourself and disclaim any wrong doing. You have prejudices and dislikes as much as anyone else, your liberal monniker doesn’t alter that and it doesn’t make you superior to people like Poosh.
    .

    Since the “removal of the Jews from the Middle East” is not even remotely on the table of reality in this universe, I don’t know why we’re talking about it.

    Oh, apparently the Arabs didn’t invade Jewish lands multiple times with the stated intent of wiping out Israel. Glad the Yom Kippur war didn’t actually happen and organizations like Fatah, Hamas, and Hezbollah don’t actually exist with the goal of destroying Israel. Glad this is all another universe my mind was in.

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  46. Poosh

    And again, why is the least restrictive area doing far better if it’s matter of culture?

    What are you doing CM? I told you several days ago I’m over reading what you write: you’re a troll. Bar the occasional sentence that my eyes cannot help but see I DON’T READ WHAT YOU TYPE. Have you not worked this out yet? It took me a while to figure it out despite being advised to not play into your trolling, but I’m on board now. So when you say “and again?” understand that – because you are stupid and have constantly proven unable to read what any of us say much less understand – I don’t read what you type.

    If someone who is intelligent asks me the exact same question I have no problem thinking about things and answering. I am always open to changing what I believe and learning new things: Lee said he was a Nietzsche fan many moons ago, and when I read that I thought him wrong-headed: but 7 years on, or whatever, I have a postgraduate degree with a loving dissertation on Nietzsche. But you’re off the radar, because you’re constantly wrong and people are constantly telling you and explaining to you, and you don’t even seem to be able to understand what people say to you, as I told you before – i’m really just repeating myself.

    Now you hop along and think to yourself “oh he’s not reading what I write because he can’t argue back at my CM-brilliance and I’m right about all things and he can’t prove me wrong!”: Plenty of people have proven you wrong about endless issues but your brain doesn’t absorb it: I don’t care anymore. I mean jebus, you probably thought Bowling for Columbine contained “good points” and was “fact based”.

    I want to be clear because apparently it hasn’t sunk in. I had the misfortune of looking at a few sentences you wrote above, and you attempted to call me a racist because of the aforementioned stupidity you are subject to (not understanding text) but that was below the belt so that warranted a short response, I mean, trying to suggest “pali” is a racist word is a pretty incredible piece of bullshit right there.

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  47. Poosh

    What? You know cm, I read a the vast majority of what you say and I am usually able to sit back and ignore certain statements, however you are contradicting yourself in the same paragraph.


    DON’T DO IT TOOL.

    Just let it all slide.

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  48. CM

    Any culture willing to tolerate a admitted terrorist organization with the stated goal of eliminating Israel as a “grassroots” organization shows just how supportive the “vast majority of palestinians” are towards terrorists.

    I imagine when you’re starving and have very little and a group establishes social services and provides food you’re probably less concerned about whether or not they’re an “admitted terrorist organization with the stated goal of eliminating Israel” and more concerned about getting in line and not missing out. A high proportion of the population probably don’t have the luxury or picking and choosing.
    Even the few that actively partake in ‘the right to resist’, how many want to destroy Israel? There is a large gap between seeking a solution that provides for a recognised state and the destruction of Israel.
    Anyway, there is plenty to dislike about Hamas from where we’re all sitting. No question.

    Palestinians helped fight 3 conventional wars EN MASSE against Israel with the stated goal of again, eliminating the Jewish state. Stop pretending their culture isn’t mobilized to destroy Israel, fuck even Mr Blume admits that.

    Here is a survey from this year.

    Over 60% said they either strongly support or support resorting to popular non violent and unarmed resistance. How does that result in the destruction of Israel?
    Only 10% strongly support a “return to the armed intifada and confrontations “, with 29% in ‘support’. But even that doesn’t even come close to “the destruction of Israel”. A far larger number (60%) oppose or strongly oppose.
    There are other questions and results in there that also suggest the vast majority don’t want to destroy Israel. They want a Palestinian state, preferably with the 1967 borders. But they see the biggest problem in Palestine as “Spread of unemployment and poverty”.

    CM, you are an enormous hypocrite, you babel on incessantly close minded-ness yet when you were called out on supporting people who attempted to assault glen beck because of his beliefs you went on a 30 post diatribe to defend yourself and disclaim any wrong doing.

    The fuck??! I most certainly did not support those people.

    Oh, apparently the Arabs didn’t invade Jewish lands multiple times with the stated intent of wiping out Israel. Glad the Yom Kippur war didn’t actually happen and organizations like Fatah, Hamas, and Hezbollah don’t actually exist with the goal of destroying Israel. Glad this is all another universe my mind was in.

    It is if we’re talking about regular Palestinian people. As evidenced by those poll results. Over 60% said they either strongly support or support resorting to popular non violent and unarmed resistance. How does non-violence end with wiping out Israel?

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  49. CM

    What are you doing CM? I told you several days ago I’m over reading what you write: you’re a troll. Bar the occasional sentence that my eyes cannot help but see I DON’T READ WHAT YOU TYPE. Have you not worked this out yet? It took me a while to figure it out despite being advised to not play into your trolling, but I’m on board now. So when you say “and again?” understand that – because you are stupid and have constantly proven unable to read what any of us say much less understand – I don’t read what you type.

    If someone who is intelligent asks me the exact same question I have no problem thinking about things and answering. I am always open to changing what I believe and learning new things: Lee said he was a Nietzsche fan many moons ago, and when I read that I thought him wrong-headed: but 7 years on, or whatever, I have a postgraduate degree with a loving dissertation on Nietzsche. But you’re off the radar, because you’re constantly wrong and people are constantly telling you and explaining to you, and you don’t even seem to be able to understand what people say to you, as I told you before – i’m really just repeating myself.

    Now you hop along and think to yourself “oh he’s not reading what I write because he can’t argue back at my CM-brilliance and I’m right about all things and he can’t prove me wrong!”: Plenty of people have proven you wrong about endless issues but your brain doesn’t absorb it: I don’t care anymore. I mean jebus, you probably thought Bowling for Columbine contained “good points” and was “fact based”.

    I want to be clear because apparently it hasn’t sunk in. I had the misfortune of looking at a few sentences you wrote above, and you attempted to call me a racist because of the aforementioned stupidity you are subject to (not understanding text) but that was below the belt so that warranted a short response, I mean, trying to suggest “pali” is a racist word is a pretty incredible piece of bullshit right there.

    So you’ve got nothing to explain that then?

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  50. CM

    ;-)
    There’s certainly no need to be smart or work hard and attempt to properly understand the speech though apparently. Far easier to just be intellectually lazy and continue to promote a gross distortion.

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  51. hist_ed

    Only in Jordan were they given citizenship,

    Wrong-Israel gave Palestinian Arabs citizenship at independence. All they had to do was stick around and not fight against Israel. Arabs are about a fifth of Israel’s population (1.2 million or so). Interestingly to this debate, they are, per capita, the wealthiest Arabs in the Middle East. Does that mean the absorbed a bit of the Israeli culture?

    Oh and CM: Thanks for the beer info. Gotta see if I can find some for the father in law’s 70th.

    Alas, I don’t have time to read everything above, so if I am repeating someone else, my apologies.

    How a society chooses to govern itself is a reflection of the people’s culture. The Palestinians (Arabs, hankie he . . . ooops) who are Israeli citizens are successful beause they have been able to take advantage of a democratic society with rule of law, a reasonable justice system and minimal corruption. Palestinians living in refugees camps have been victimized by their own leadership and live in a corrupt society. Arafat was a billionaire when he died. He got to be one by stealing from his people. This isn’t just a Palestinian problem, it’s an Arab problem (and an African one too, I suppose-dang was that racist?). Until a decade or so ago, every Arab state (except, for a while, Lebannon) was a kleptocracy with a ruling group (family, party or tribe) that impoverished the majority of their own people in order to live an opulent lifestyle. Is that an accident or is it a reflection of Arab culture?

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  52. sahrab

    The most obvious difference is the opportunity

    You shifted the goal post, my respons was to your question about immigrants

    You can tell this, as i quoted my response to your question in my reply. Either your confused or your purposely being obtuse.

    Why is the least restrictive area of Palestine doing far far better than the most restrictive area? If the ‘culture’ is the same, why isn’t the economic vitality?

    So the areas, according to you, with less regulations are doing better than those with more regulations?

    Doesnt that refute your arguments?

    Obama was very clearly not referring to the ‘business’ when he said ‘you didn’t build that’. My 5 year old can see it, why can’t you?

    President Obama was clearly disparaging Successful Business Owners, this is the part dismissed by the apologists (but not missed by the Successful Business Owners)

    Huh? How? Where?

    When you ignored President Obama claiming he didnt say ” If you’ve got a business — you didn’t build that. Somebody else made that happen.” then posted a video of himself saying ” If you’ve got a business — you didn’t build that. Somebody else made that happen.”

    Where’s your outrage at President Obama for stating ” If you’ve got a business — you didn’t build that. Somebody else made that happen.”?

    Where did he praise it all “over the private sector”?

    Now your just playing coy

    Circular argument. There wouldn’t be a kitty if it wasn’t going to be used.

    Your right, it is a circular argument, since we both agree it wasnt relevant why did President Obama bring it up?

    Public systems and infrastructure provides equal opportunity. And greater opportunity than not having those things.

    So equal footing, as you admitted, means the Successfull Business Owners and those that are not equally had the oppurtunities. The Successfull Business Owners were “Smarter” or “Worked Harder” to get to their goal.

    President Obama refuted himself in his own speech.

    As I say, the only people who would feel derided are those

    Didnt read or watch the speech did ya? Maybe you should start there first, and then we’ll see how honest you are with a response

    They do have that ability. And a part of this is because of the systems (ensuring barriers of entry aren’t put up by existing businesses) and infrastructure that provides the opportunity

    And you subscribe to the Broken Window theory. Reality is different.

    Those systems and infrastructure didnt create the Successfull Business Owners, they are the result of them.

    None of that would exist without Successfull Business Owners and Tax Paying citizens paying taxes (investment).

    None of that would have been existed without Successfull Business Onwers and Tax Paying Citizens to build them.

    None of that would need to exist without Successfull Business Owners and Tax Paying Citizens to use them.

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  53. Monolith

    CM and the rest of the fucking morons,

    Small business people often are not incorporated and use their personal tax return for the business. Say the majority is in the top %5 of taxpayers. They already pay half of the total tax receipts. That’s the point. Yes, they needed roads, bridges, teachers, etc. , but they already pay more than everyone else. THEY ALREADY PAY MORE THAN EVERYONE ELSE. They’re not getting anything for free, they’re not riding on the coattails of some single, gay dad in SF. They are already paying their own way, and then some.

    You’re either incredibly dense or you’re just being a contrarian.

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  54. CM

    You shifted the goal post, my respons was to your question about immigrants

    Same thing applies to them. No goal post shifting here at all.
    The most obvious difference about people living in Palestine, as evidenced by the quotes above, is that they’re starting with both arms tied behind their back, a gag in their mouths, and a blindfold on. The difference in opportunities between staying there and moving to America or Israel is immense. And it’s incredibly obvious to anyone paying even the remotest bit of attention.

    So the areas, according to you, with less regulations are doing better than those with more regulations?

    Doesnt that refute your arguments?

    The information is above. People living in the West Bank are doing substantially better than people living in Gaza, and that happened when a big change happened in terms of restrictions. The opportunity of people to be successful in the West Bank is substantially greater than in Gaza. Which means you’ve got a slim change as opposed to exceedingly little. Nothing to do with culture.
    So no, it’s excellent evidence in support of what I’m saying.

    The rest of it is just the same old nonsense about Obama’s speech (and I appear to be the only one who actually read it judging by the comments). I’m sure everything will agree that there’s simply no point continuing that discussion.

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  55. ilovecress

    The Palestinians (Arabs, hankie he . . . ooops) who are Israeli citizens are successful beause they have been able to take advantage of a democratic society with rule of law, a reasonable justice system and minimal corruption

    So… they didn’t build that…? /Snark.

    Yes, they needed roads, bridges, teachers, etc. , but they already pay more than everyone else. THEY ALREADY PAY MORE THAN EVERYONE ELSE

    I know. That’s the point. And the fact that they pay for it, is brilliant, as it allows businesses to thrive. He was defending the idea of paying taxes into some sort of collective government entity that funds works that benefit everyone. Now are you actually arguing against that? Because that’s exactly what Romney is proposing too. Reagan was too. And every politician ever has argued that, becayuse it’s government.

    Now I’ll galdly argue with you and often agree with you about how good Obama is at making the most out of as little tax burden as possible – or what his priorities are. But I find it unbeleivable that people are arguing against the concept of a taxation system – something that has been around since 3000BC.

    Saharab:

    “If you’ve got a business — you didn’t build that. Somebody else made that happen.”

    or

    “Somebody helped to create this unbelievable American system that we have that allowed you to thrive. Somebody invested in roads and bridges. If you’ve got a business you didn’t build that. Somebody else made that happen.”

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  56. sahrab

    I appear to be the only one who actually read it judging by the comments

    I’m a guessing not, especially since i posted the fucking thing

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  57. CM

    So… they didn’t build that…? /Snark.

    Genius. I’m annoyed I missed that obvious clunker. Too many to choose from.

    I’m a guessing not, especially since i posted the fucking thing

    You LINKED to the entire speech but POSTED only a part of it. You excluded the references to working hard, and the importance of that. There is no evidence you read it, but evidence which suggests you didn’t. I get the impression most people don’t think they need to read it. They “already know” because Obama is a socialist.

    This is easily the most blatant dishonesty I’ve seen during Obama’s Presidency. It’s just so obvious and cynical. So unbelievably cynical that people can think it’s not transparent.

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  58. Poosh

    I’m a guessing not, especially since i posted the fucking thing

    Why did you think posting something makes a difference to someone who cannot think or read? Romney himself is instructing people to listen/read the entire speech to see for themselves. I think we both know that this was a horrific speech to give, and sinister – but it’s amusing watching the chumps and liberal cretin try and justify an American president basically telling us the marxist theory of labour value is true. I read the entire thing as well, as I’m sure many of us now have, and it’s obvious he’s telling businessmen “fuck you, you didn’t build your business, it was a group effort now pay up”.

    Why waste your breath sahrab? It’s time to circle the wagons around Obama. Lying by saying Obama was missquoted or that he didn’t mean WHAT HE FUCKING SAID, is essential to the liberal collective now. You’re not going to make them suddenly realise “fuck, Obama’s actually f*cked in the head, this ain’t the Democrat I supported”. You’re not going to suddenly make CM etc learn how to read and comprehend language and context, just because you invited them too. You’re climbing an impossible mountain.

    Reason is not automatic. Those who deny it cannot be conquered by it. Do not count on them. Leave them alone.

    – Ayn Rand

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  59. sahrab

    You LINKED to the entire speech but POSTED only a part of it. You excluded the references to working hard, and the importance of that.

    Oh blow it out your ass, i not only read it i also saw the entire fucking speech. We are not dicsussing President Obama’s entire speech, you obtuse ass, we are discussing the relevant section of his speech where he disparaged Business owners.

    But it is interesting how you focus on one snippet; whether President Obama stated “If you’ve got a business — you didn’t build that. Somebody else made that happen” and what you claim he was talking about.

    When its clear that not only did the smarter and work harder Business owners not only built their businesses, but because of them (along with Tax Paying Citizens) they clearly built all the infrastructure he was also praising over Business Owners.

    Yet you ignore the entire part of the speech where President Obama disparages Business owners (smart enough/work hard enough/wouldnt be able to do it without Government). maybe you should use that selective ability to read into President Obama’s “nuanced” meanings to read the entire fucking thing and realize its more of his same tired rhetoric

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  60. CM

    MITT ROMNEY’S latest controversial remark, about the role of culture in explaining why some countries are rich and powerful while others are poor and weak, has attracted much comment. I was especially interested in his remark because he misrepresented my views and, in contrasting them with another scholar’s arguments, oversimplified the issue.

    It is not true that my book “Guns, Germs and Steel,” as Mr. Romney described it in a speech in Jerusalem, “basically says the physical characteristics of the land account for the differences in the success of the people that live there. There is iron ore on the land and so forth.”

    That is so different from what my book actually says that I have to doubt whether Mr. Romney read it.

    http://www.nytimes.com/2012/08/02/opinion/mitt-romneys-search-for-simple-answers.html?_r=2&ref=opinion

    Ouch. And now he’s misrepresenting a whole lot of economists.

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