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‘Moronic’ assurance

An Israeli newspaper reported last week that President-elect Barack Obama will put Israel under the U.S. nuclear umbrella.

Citing “a well-placed American source … who is close to the new administration,” Haaretz reported that Mr. Obama will offer to the Jewish state a declaration that “an attack on Israel by Tehran would result in a devastating U.S. nuclear response against Iran.” The paper noted that “Secretary of State-designate Hillary Clinton had raised the idea of a nuclear guarantee to Israel during her campaign for the Democratic Party’s nomination for the presidency.”

“Drew M.” at the Ace of Spades blog reacts with, “Let’s count just some of the ways this is moronic.

• “The most obvious thing about this is its irrelevance. They don’t admit it, but nobody doubts that Israel has a nuclear arsenal of its own that can retaliate against Iran (it really doesn’t take too many to ruin your day). So Obama’s promise is we’ll bomb the cities Israel has already bombed? …

• “If Iran gets the bomb, their use of it is simply the biggest problem but not the only one. Why is it so tough for India to deal with Pakistan? Because they know where that road ends … a nuclear exchange. The world’s track record isn’t so impressive in dealing with Iranian aggression and sponsorship of terror over the last 30 years, how much weaker will it be once Iran’s actions are backed up with nuclear weapons? Put simply, they won’t need to use the bomb to benefit from it. …

• “This reported plan makes it seem like Obama is already conceding that Iran will get the bomb. Apparently he’s no longer so sure that his awesome diplomatic skills are going to get the job done. That’s very different than what we heard during the primaries, isn’t it?

• “And lastly, I thought the idea that Iran was developing nukes was a neo-con scheme to get us to attack Iran for their oil or something. You mean it might be true that Iran wants nuclear weapons? My how times have changed.”

In conclusion, Mr. Drew writes: “So basically Obama’s plan (again, if this report is true) comes down to Israel getting a worthless promise and Iran getting nuclear weapons. That’s a hell of a plan Sparky! I’d rather send some [United Auto Workers] guys over to deal with Iran than Obama. At least they drive a hard bargain.”

Big hair

Speaking of Ace, the “flaming skull” icon he uses to signify breaking hot news has received a makeover for use in big developments in the scandal surrounding Illinois Gov. Rod R. Blagojevich.

The skull now has a toupee.

Yes - there’s now a big hair helmet bouncing up and down, most recently at the resignation of John Harris, the Democratic governor’s chief of staff.

2011 bailout

Libertarian blogger Megan McArdle wrote after the collapse of the Senate bill on bailing out Detroit’s Big Three automakers that she has been “hearing the truly bizarre argument that the UAW didn’t scuttle the negotiations; it was the Republicans’ unreasonable insistence that they cut their wages to levels comparable to that of their competition. After all, the UAW was perfectly willing to negotiate their compensation package - in 2011, when their current contract expires.

“And I think that’s perfectly reasonable. We’ll just wait until 2011 to give them the money, then,” she wrote dryly at her Atlantic blog.

“If you know why that’s stupid, then you know why the other argument is stupid, too. GM is losing money now. It needs to cut its labor costs (and its other costs) now, not in 2011. This seems so elementary to me that I cannot even believe we are arguing about it,” she concludes.

Trustworthiness

Martin Peretz is not one to mince words. A recent entry at his New Republic blog the Spine has the title “If You Trust The U.N. on Anything You’re a Fool” and the opening sentence: “The United Nations cannot be trusted even on procedural matters.”

The occasion was the 60th anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, and the chairmen of the various informal regional groupings were scheduled to give commemorative speeches. But everything at the United Nations finds a way to be about a certain small Middle Eastern country.

“Israel happened to be the rotating chairman of the representation called ‘Western European and other.’ As such, its ambassador to the U.N., [Gabriela] Shalev, was designated to give the address. Uh, uh. [U.N. General Assembly President Miguel d’Escoto] Brockmann said no. Not the lady from that state. Europe dug in its heels,” Mr. Peretz writes, linking to a Haaretz article noting that Mr. Brockmann responded by adding Arab and Third World speakers to the agenda.

Mr. Peretz began the item, though, by noting the company being kept by Mr. Brockmann, Nicaragua’s foreign minister and a former Sandinista-regime official. “He has attached to himself a special panel of ‘senior advisers,’ among whom are Howard Zinn, Noam Chomsky, Ramsey Clark and Richard A. Falk, the latter being an enthusiast of the theory that America was behind the 9/11 atrocity at the Pentagon and World Trade Center. Falk … also has a special appointment at the U.N. Human Rights Council. Guess what is his portfolio. Yes, you got it. Israel and the Palestinians. Israel is guilty of 99 war crimes. Why not a hundred? one asks. Well, maybe Falk didn’t want to overreach.”

“I hope [nominee for U.S. ambassador] Susan Rice is ready for these shenanigans,” Mr. Peretz wrote.

Chi(na)town

Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan told the state Supreme Court that Gov. Rod R. Blagojevich “is incapable of serving” and that the court should suspend his powers or remove him from office, citing a law designed to deal with debilitating illness or incapacity (think Woodrow Wilson, circa 1919-20).

But with the Illinois Legislature having the ability (and apparently a strong inclination) to impeach the Democratic governor and a criminal indictment not fitting the ordinary definition of a disability or incapacity, conservative bloggers suspect something smelled wrong in Miss Madigan’s insistence to the Illinois court that time was of the essence.

Jim Hoft, the self-styled Gateway Pundit, suggests the notoriously corrupt Chicago machine trying to cover its tracks.

“There was the obvious reason that Madigan wants Rod gone. It’s simple - Madigan is hoping to stop the dominoes from falling. But, this is Chicago, after all, and there is always more layers to the mess.”

Mr. Hoft then goes on to quote Chicago Tribune reporter John Kass, who said in an appearance on Fox News that Chicago politicians “don’t want a Blogojevich impeachment hearing, which basically would allow Blagojevich to talk about all of the deals they’ve done.”

Forget it Jake, it’s Chi-Town.

• Contact Victor Morton.

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