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White House says Netanyahu offers no alternative but military action (and Liz Warren won’t say if she’s attending speech)

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Update: Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is offering no alternative but the “military option” against Iran, the White House press secretary said this afternoon. Josh Earnest said that Netanyahu has “not presented an alternative” to the negotiations that the U.S. is undertaking, and that military action won’t work. It will only “steel” Iran’s resolve to develop nuclear weapons and end an inspections regime that the Iranians have accepted as well as break up the international coalition that the U.S. has put together to talk to Iran.

Original post:

As the excitement mounts towards the Netanyahu speech to Congress in four days, more dissident Congresspeople are announcing that they won’t be going. Marcia Fudge of Cleveland, Ohio, just said she’s not going, citing the foreign interference issue:  “Inviting a foreign head of state to address the Congress is a clear breach of protocol and practice, and undermines the U.S. Presidency.”

Betty McCollum of Minnesota also refuses to advance a “clear effort to undermine the president.” Jan Schakowsky of Illinois doesn’t want a war with Iran. Reps. Jim McGovern and Katherine Clark of Massachusetts announced they’re skipping yesterday. This Florida political blog lists 30 Democrats who won’t show.

There’s pressure on Dianne Feinstein and Dick Durbin to skip. But Senator Elizabeth Warren is said to be on the fence:

An aide to Sen. Elizabeth Warren said Warren thinks the speech should be postponed. The aide would not say whether Warren planned to attend or not. The aide said Warren is a strong supporter of Israel and met with Netanyahu in Israel in November. But she is disappointed that Boehner is trying to politicize American support for Israel.

Warren must be feeling financial pressure not to alienate the Israel lobby. That’s surely the angle of these neoconservative Republicans who are pressing Hillary Clinton to attend the speech; she can’t build a campaign warchest without the Israel lobby.

But the Chicago Sun-Times urges all members of Congress to skip the speech, emphasizing the most important angle: “military action has a way of going horribly wrong in the Middle East.” In the Miami Herald Ahmad Abuznaid hits the warmongering angle, too:

the government of this so-called best friend is determined to push us into a war with Iran that many, perhaps most, Americans don’t want.

At the Weekly Standard, Elliott Abrams says that Obama’s obdurate line against seeing Netanyahu next week is a sign that he has cut his ties with Israel:

Israeli officials have complained to me for several years about the lack of contacts and communications with the White House…. the problem is not just bad chemistry at the top; it is an administration that has decided to create a tense and negative relationship from the top down.

It’s a smart piece. Abrams says that Obama is playing the confrontation for all its worth for three reasons: to seal a deal with Iran, to harm Likud in the Israeli elections, and to change US policy vis-a-vis Israel– “to use the current tension to harm Israel’s support in the United States permanently.”

All opinion polls in the last several years show a partisan edge in support: overall support for Israel is steady and high, but its composition is changing. More and more Republicans support Israel, and the gap between Democratic and Republican support levels is growing. President Obama acts as if he sees this as a terrific development, one that should be enlarged as much as possible before he leaves office…. Support for Israel would become less of a bipartisan matter and more a divisive issue between the two parties. It is not hard to envision Obama in retirement joining Jimmy Carter as a frequent critic of Israel, pushing the Democratic party to move away from its decades of very strong support for the Jewish state.

Palestine of course became a cause for Carter; and he got ostracized from his own party. But as Abrams seems to acknowledge, that’s not going to happen again. Do you hear that, Liz Warren and Rep. Sean Patrick Maloney?

But centrist Israel supporters are alarmed by the speech. Jeffrey Goldberg blames Netanyahu for setting the special relationship with the U.S. “on fire”– in order to keep his premiereship in the upcoming elections.

For decades, it has been a cardinal principle of Israeli security and foreign-policy doctrine that its leaders must cultivate bipartisan support in the United States, and therefore avoid even the appearance of favoritism. This is the official position of the leading pro-Israel lobbying group in Washington, AIPAC, as well, which is why its leaders are privately fuming about Netanyahu’s end-run around the White House. Even though AIPAC’s leadership leans right, the organization knows that support for Israel in America must be bipartisan in order for it to be stable. “Dermer and Netanyahu don’t believe that Democrats are capable of being pro-Israel, which is crazy for a lot of reasons, but one of the main reasons is that most Jews are Democrats,” one veteran AIPAC leader told me.

In Israel, cynicism about Netanyahu’s intentions is spreading.

This is why AIPAC pressured Netanyahu to change/cancel the speech, according to al-Monitor:

The news [of the speech] struck AIPAC heads like a thunderbolt. They had not been briefed about it before or after. They didn’t know about it, and they didn’t believe such a thing could happen to them. “This is AIPAC’s Day of Atonement,” one of the heads of the organization told me in a private conversation after the invitation was publicized. “This is the lowest point we have ever reached.”..

AIPAC prepared a detailed presentation that was given to Netanyahu with all the negative repercussions they believe would result from the controversial invitation to Congress and the cumulative damage. On Feb. 25 behind closed doors, one of the heads of AIPAC said, to paraphrase: All the things we warned him of, are materializing. We foresaw the domino effect that took place, the boycott by more and more Democratic Congress members, the significant deterioration in relations with Democratic legislators, the talks about boycotting the AIPAC convention (that is also being held at the beginning of March) by the administration. We protested, we warned. And who wasn’t impressed? Netanyahu. He’s coming.

Liberal Zionist J Street is angry at AIPAC for not doing more to cancel/postpone the speech.

And of course the left is working this split. “What does Netanyahu really think of the U.S.?” asks the US Campaign to End the Occupation in this great video. Answer: He thumbs his nose at us.

But Netanyahu’s wife Sara says in this reported phone call that her husband is a leader for the world:

“He [Binyamin Netanyahu] is one of the most veteran leaders in the world. In the United States they say that if he had been born in the US, he’d have been elected president there.”

Doing its part, Israel’s embassy to the U.S. retweeted this photo of Iranian forces blowing up a mockup of a US Navy ship in a military exercise, so as to demonstrate what US interests are. Not a smart move: Do Americans remember that Israel blew up a real Navy ship, in 1967 — the USS Liberty?

Yesterday Robert Siegel of National Public Radio interviewed two congressmen about Netanyahu’s speech. One is going– Steve Israel of Long Island — and one isn’t — John Yarmuth of Kentucky. Both are Jewish; Siegel informed us of this fact again and again.

Well, we’re going to hear from two Democratic members of Congress, both Jewish, both strong supporters of Israel.

Siegel explained that the Jewishness of the members was an important factor in the politics of the moment:

SIEGEL: You think that attendance of most, I gather, of the 19 Jewish members of the House of Representatives, all but one of whom are Democrats – that their attendance will be used as a signal in Israel to show – look, they all support Bibi Netanyahu?

Yarmuth dismissed that, making the important political point that this isn’t about Jews, it’s about Americans. “Well, I think the entire speech is going to be used to create that impression.”

Right, the pressure is on all Congresspeople from the Israel lobby. So why isn’t NPR talking to non-Jewish members? They count just as much in Congress as the Jews.

I think NPR’s approach is indicative of an attitude everyone in the Establishment quietly shares: Jews count more on this issue than non-Jews. When the New York Times ran Tony Judt’s article in support of Walt and Mearsheimer in 2006, they made Judt identify himself as a Jew. When Jan Schakowsky of Illinois announced that she was skipping the speech, she said, “As a Jew, support for Israel is in my DNA.” (I happen to disagree with that idea, but clearly there are more Jan Schakowsky’s in the Jewish community than people like me.) But if it’s so important to point out that Jewish public figures have a special relationship with Israel, then aren’t we allowed to ask Jewish members of the media how they feel about Israel? I always thought so. That’s one thing I admire about Roger Cohen and Peter Beinart. They dropped the pretense and said, I’m a Zionist, Israel matters more than anything to me. So did Bill Kristol, for that matter. Paul Krugman is the opposite. He knows about the question, but ducks it.

H/t Dylan Williams’s twitter feed.

About Philip Weiss

Philip Weiss is Founder and Co-Editor of Mondoweiss.net.

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109 Responses

  1. David Doppler
    February 27, 2015, 11:51 am

    I’d like to see some MSM analysis of what the Israeli-US relationship will look like post-Netanyahu. Who is Isaac Herzog? What kind of coalition is likely to emerge, with either Netanyahu – who called the election to stiffen his coalition’s right-wing spine and his own creds as stiff-spine leader – or Herzog/Livni, at the helm? Can’t the US MSM take on the Neocon/Likud vision/track record of escalating war/escalating settlement building directly?

    Netanyahu’s pretending that his address to Congress is about anything other than his own tanking election prospects, fits right into Boehner’s pretending that shutting down Homeland Security is about anything other than undermining the President: extremism over realism and good government.

    I almost threw up seeing Krauthammer lecturing Obama in the paper this morning. Enough of the Neocons! Shelf life expired. Failure to deliver on Iraqi guaranty deserving of tar, feathers, and a rail ride out of town.

    • Giles
      February 27, 2015, 12:07 pm

      “Netanyahu’s pretending that his address to Congress is about anything other than his own tanking election prospects..”

      I don’t believe it is. It is about pushing America towards war with Iran and demonizing Arabs so we look away from what Israel is doing to the Palestinians (and often to the Syrians, Lebanese, and Iranians).

      • Krauss
        February 27, 2015, 12:33 pm

        Giles I almost always agree with what you have to say but here I partially disagree.

        I think Netanyahu’s fanaticism on Iran is genuine. He really sees himself as Churchill. These few months ahead will be the crucial time to ink a deal or to walk away and he is willing to induce significant damage to the relationship – which he thinks will survive it – in order to get a really good deal and/or to blow it up.

        So while I agree with the first part of your sentence – about pushing the U.S. to war – I disagree on the latter. The latter argument carried more weight in 2009-2013 when Obama tried to get the 2SS going. But that effort has largely died and there’s no indication that it will resurface in the last two years of his administration.

        Either way, I think the fantasy that Israel will attack Iran on its own is over once and for all. Bibi has admitted as much himself in his reasoning to go to Congress. He basically said that the U.S. Congress is the last stop-gap between a deal or not and by saying so he implicitly ruled out an attack by Israel(not that one was ever going to happen, anyway).

      • Kay24
        February 27, 2015, 12:40 pm

        Of course it is one of the main reasons. It is a shame that the WH is not using that fact to keep informing the American people about it, stressing that the President is pushing for an agreement with Iran, to avoid a costly war, and prevent the American people from funding another war, and preventing the loss of American lives. They should point to the fact that Netanyahu is trying to derail those talks, aided by Boehner and Congress. As Americans we should not tolerate leaders of alien nations, who have war in their minds, interfering in any of our policies.

      • eljay
        February 27, 2015, 2:38 pm

        || Giles: … It is about pushing America towards war with Iran and demonizing Arabs so we look away from what Israel is doing … ||

        That (distraction) and removing Iran as a threat to Israel’s regional hegemony. IMHO.

      • JWalters
        February 27, 2015, 7:01 pm

        Giles, I also think it’s not just about Netanyahu’s personal interests. Netanyahu comes from the high finance world, home of the war profiteering bankers who financed the Jewish supremacists’ religious war in Palestine from the beginning (“War Profiteers and the Roots of the War on Terror”). Netanyahu replaced the assassinated Rabin when he took steps to end the conflict.

        Now on the internet their various cover stories are coming unraveled as more and more facts come to the public’s attention (e.g. Israel’s attack on the USS Liberty). I suspect they are becoming desperate over the possibility that their entire cesspool of crimes and deceptions is on the verge of breaking into public awareness, and it will be way worse than most people even imagine.

        Thanks again to Mondoweiss for the thorough and current reporting on this historically important story. Here is another excellent account of Israel’s deteriorating cover stories.
        https://consortiumnews.com/2015/02/25/the-gaza-test-for-world-justice/

      • Citizen
        February 28, 2015, 8:19 am

        @Giles
        I agree Netanyahu’s main motive is pushing America towards war with Iran and demonizing Arabs and mowing the Palestinian lawn every which way but loose. His track record to date is in accord.

      • piotr
        March 1, 2015, 1:14 am

        “I think Netanyahu’s fanaticism on Iran is genuine. He really sees himself as Churchill. ”

        It is a popular device to quote Churchill, but this is how Netanyahu sees himself:
        http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/e/e1/Alexander_the_Great_mosaic.jpg

    • broadside
      February 28, 2015, 3:58 pm

      Isaac Herzog is more of the same, I’ll buy everyone on this site a drink if Warren boycotts speech.

  2. Pixel
    February 27, 2015, 12:27 pm

    Does anyone know whether Bibi’s talk with be televised and/or live-streamed?

    If so, details, please.

    • retired
      February 27, 2015, 1:50 pm

      I just called CSPAN in DC and the whole speech will be televised on the main network, CSPAN. Time not certain, but it will be there. Given the interest, probably CNN and Fox will televise the speech. Let’s hope that other CSPAN and/or network cameras are at associated events around D.C. such as Phil Giraldi’s forum, and the demonstrations which will be taking place.

    • ziusudra
      February 28, 2015, 3:25 am

      Greetings,
      Mrs. Netanjahu must be pleading with Bibi. Bibi dear, if you go through with this, we’ll ne’er be invited to the WH for swedish salmon, cream cheese & polish bagels again under O’Barracks’ reign, & if those prostestant Reps get in, they’ll ban such kocher essen; they may even attempt to convert us!
      ziusudra
      PS Mrs N.: Had me hubby been born in the US, he could have become Pres.!
      Ms N. :No, he would have competed against McCarty &/or J.Edgar Hoover & had a great carreer!

    • ziusudra
      February 28, 2015, 3:30 am

      Greetings,
      Mrs. Netanjahu must be pleading with Bibi. Bibi dear, if you go through with this, we’ll ne’er be invited to the WH for swedish salmon, cream cheese & polish bagels again under O’Barracks’ reign, & if those prostestant Reps get in, they’ll ban such kocher essen; they may even attempt to convert us!
      ziusudra

      • DaBakr
        February 28, 2015, 8:51 pm

        @z
        yes. yes. everybody got your little ‘Jewish’ joke the first time time. and it doesn’t really appear as if mrs netanyahu cares if she comes to the obama wh ever again and there is a very good chance she will still be mrs. 1st lady while michelle is off plugging her autobiography.

    • Giles
      February 28, 2015, 9:51 am

      “It is a shame that the WH is not using that fact to keep informing the American people about it, stressing that the President is pushing for an agreement with Iran, to avoid a costly war, and prevent the American people from funding another war, and preventing the loss of American lives.”

      Might want to mention that the slaughter of thousands of Iranians to stop a non-existent nuclear weapons program on behalf of a nation that does have an undeclared nuclear weapons arsenal built on material and technology stolen from the USA is immoral.

  3. John Douglas
    February 27, 2015, 12:35 pm

    One of the lines you hear over and over by pro-Israel commentators and the MSM is that the present and widening split between the US and Israel is a matter of Obama vs. Netanyahu, there’s bad blood, they don’t like each other, or maybe that Obama always had it in for Israel, or maybe Netanyahu is an unstable character. This unfortunate spat between the closest of nations stems from the underlining personalities of the two leaders.

    This way of constructing the news story masks the most important point, namely that the interests of Israel and the US are in serious conflict. Israel wants the US to wage war on Iran the American people don’t want that. Israel wants the US to support Israel’s behavior, no matter how cruel and unpopular. This undermines the ability of the US to press its own interests abroad. To put it bluntly and personalities aside, Israel is bad for the US and bad for the security of the American people.

    • Kathleen
      February 27, 2015, 2:25 pm

      Obama has had it with Netanyahu undermining U.S. National Security. Not ever really co-operating. Enough!

    • Pixel
      February 28, 2015, 3:46 am

      @John

      I just read an article today that discusses your very concern.

      I want to say that the title was something like, “This isn’t about Netanyahu and Obama, it’s about Israel and the US.”

      I’ve scoured my browsers’ histories and the net and can’t find the thing. Maybe I dreamed it.

      If I run across it, I’ll return and post the link.

  4. pabelmont
    February 27, 2015, 12:43 pm

    Two Congressmen, both Jewish, and both strong supporters of Israel. Gosh what dya say I interview them? OK, they are clearly representative of something (Jewish congressmen who support Israel?) OK. and one is going and one won’t go.

    Misses this point: You can love Israel and support Israel and support Israel’s security BUT not support Israel’s wars and not fight Israel’s wars for them and not support the occupation or the settlements just because Israel does them. Israel, like all countries, gets things wrong and that is no reason for USA to follow in folly. Find a USA-reason for USA-actions! Saying “Yassuh, boss” to Netanyahu is not good policy for USA.

    And misses this other point: After all these years, and Israel evidently unwilling to make peace with the Palestinians and Arabs (other than Jordan and Egypt), there is no reason for the USA to continue to love Israel or support Israel or support Israel’s security. To do what the USA has done for all these years is to give Israel carte blanche to misbehave and that’s what Israel has done.

    • Pixel
      February 28, 2015, 3:50 am

      @Pabelmont

      there is no reason for the USA to continue to love Israel or support Israel or support Israel’s security.

      Campaign contributions.

      • seafoid
        February 28, 2015, 4:06 am

        and threats of violence/career destruction

        Thugs in suits. Tammany Hall 2.0.

      • RoHa
        February 28, 2015, 5:04 am

        And those interesting videos taken through the A/C vent in the hotel.

  5. amigo
    February 27, 2015, 12:43 pm

    Let,s hope the numbers of dems skipping the speech , (refusniks) increases and the numbers who do attend will sit out the clapping fest.

    Bibi , please do not back out.Show us what a real leader you are.

    A message to netanyahu,s security staff–check that plane real good.

  6. W.Jones
    February 27, 2015, 1:14 pm

    Flashback to 2011:

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9aFNEog9CDI
    The speech by Netanyahu “had all the trappings of a state of the Union address by a US president with soaring approval ratings.”
    Netanyahu got 29 ovations, Obama got only 25 before Congress.
    Ex-US Senator Gravel says Netanyahu is stronger than Obama on Mideast policy because of Aipac. Netanyahu comes to town and upbraids the president saying that what Obama wants won’t happen.

    • seafoid
      February 28, 2015, 4:09 am

      “Netanyahu comes to town and upbraids the president saying that what Obama wants won’t happen”

      too high
      too far
      too soon
      (too self referential )

  7. Scott
    February 27, 2015, 1:44 pm

    Gosh that US Campaign video is excellent. But please explain why so many of the perceptive commentators appearing on it are on Fox, not MSNBC?
    #only watch sports on TV

  8. chris_k
    February 27, 2015, 1:59 pm

    At Obama’s inauguration, Clinton and the other ex-presidents were on camera shaking hands with each other. Carter was standing there, apparently having been tipped off that no one was going to shake hands with him so not offering. That’s the threat Abrams is dropping, which will maintain its traction if Hillary gets the nomination.

    Warren’s position obviously involves a push and pull amongst tactical advisers and their contacts, with citizens who convene here and elsewhere speaking for rank and file opinion tugging her along with the Lobby. Abrams’ statement that Obama is confronting the Lobby is the same sort of ‘make it up if it sounds sort of ok’ that got him two federal censures for lying to Congress.. of course the Lobby is in touch with anyone near that White House portfolio. The tactical approach of Warren’s triangulation should cause people here to communicate to her people and make their own judgement of how she would utilize the powers of commander-in-chief.

    • David Doppler
      February 27, 2015, 6:23 pm

      How about a message to AIPAC that soon no one will shake Netanyahu’s hand any more, so elect Isaac Herzog, instead. Give us a prime minister who didn’t lose his credibility by guarantying that the Neocons were right on Iraq.

      • chris_k
        February 27, 2015, 8:29 pm

        The US standard invoked by the Obama camp is to not meddle in foreign elections with these outward gestures right before the balloting. Employ the same tactics for Herzog, employ the same tactics for Gaza, an eye for an eye and everyone’s..

    • chris_k
      February 28, 2015, 9:51 am

      actually my first reaction was ‘why postpone it?’ as an American with a nostalgia for sovereignty who understands there’s other issues to be addressed. Close your eyes and think about your roto lineup and wait til it’s over. On the surface, I guess she means til after the Israeli elections. Liz is using the suggestion to triangulate, but she also smells fresh meat in the race against Hillary.. Hillary wants this mess to be over cuz she got stuck with her paw in the wrong cookie jar.

  9. rhkroell
    February 27, 2015, 2:11 pm

    This is a real opportunity for Elizabeth Warren to distinguish herself further from Hillary Clinton by suggesting that she — unlike most U.S. politicians — is not “for sale.”

    This is a gift! Hopefully her campaign advisors will stomp their feet and repeat in unison to her: “Standing with President Obama over and against Bibi Netanyahu will resonate with the American public.”

    The average voter in the U.S. cannot imagine any U.S. politician standing up and looking directly into the mass media circle jerk of microphones, cameras, and camcorders in an honest, forthright manner and saying:

    “I cannot be bought. If I choose to run for the distinguished office of the presidency of the United States, I will represent the American people. I will defend their interests against all lobbyists no matter how powerful, well heeled and demanding they may be.”

    “There are no rubber stamps on my desk. Lobbyists FedEx me rubber stamps every day, and I just repackage the item and write on the box: “Return to sender, address unknown.”

  10. peacenotapartheid
    February 27, 2015, 2:23 pm

    Hope John Kerry’s calling Warren and Markey every day to ask.

  11. Kathleen
    February 27, 2015, 2:23 pm

    My bet is Warren will go. She followed Hillary long ago on this one. Have heard her repeat the I lobbies unsubstantiated claims about Iran several times. Rep Schakowsky not attending. The decades long bipartisan support that has been provided for pro Israel legislation no matter what they have done s coming apart a bit. A long time coming

    • ckg
      February 27, 2015, 2:51 pm

      I agree with Chomsky’s assessment of Warren:

      She probably knows nothing about the Middle East. I think it’s pretty obvious.

      • Kathleen
        February 27, 2015, 4:42 pm

        You can bet Warren knows a great deal about the issue, however because she has taken such a solid stance against the out of control Wall Street issues does not mean that will be the case on foreign policy. We have seen these kinds of acts over the decades. Totally just on domestic issues..loses all ability to apply those same just standards when it comes to middle east issues. A shame

      • piotr
        March 1, 2015, 2:30 am

        Concerning the knowledge of Middle East, I think that Chomsky has experience as an educator
        http://www.buzzfeed.com/summeranne/americans-try-to-place-european-countries-on-a-map#.kvwbQbX7N
        This is about the knowledge of Europe among the college students who presumably prepared for that test. If you check, the knowledge of the locations of Portugal, Spain, Ireland, France, and UK is almost universal (I guess that students started their preparations at the right side of the map) and as we go the the East, it is increasingly hazy, particularly in the case of smaller countries (not a single correct placement of Lichtenstein, although quite a few tried to place the latter in Luxemburg). Israel is even further to the East, and smaller than Macedonia (nobody placed Macedonia correctly).

        It is sometimes hard to grasp that people not interested in an interesting issue can know little. Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, President of Turkey, once said that “Since Turkey is the only country that borders both Russia and Ukraine blah blah” and I wondered: does this guy think that he is a Sultan of Belorus? (It is more probable that he overlooked the fact that Ottoman Empire is gone, there was a time that Turkey had borders both with Ukraine and Russia.)

  12. ckg
    February 27, 2015, 2:29 pm

    Do Americans remember that Israel blew up a real Navy ship, in 1967 — the USS Liberty?

    Of course they don’t. Do Americans remember that a real US Navy ship, in 1988, shot down a real Iranian passenger aircraft, killing all 290 passengers and crew on board?

    • DaBakr
      February 27, 2015, 6:05 pm

      @cg

      or that Iran funded Amal/hizbollah to murder 241 US marines in Beirut…oh right, Americans do remember that. And btw-did not the US admit the Iranian airliner was a mistake (wether people believe it was or was not) and paid compensation? And then was not lockerbie some form of retribution? Iran-no matter how it is presented does not have clean hands and other then the myth that Iran hasn’t ‘attacked’ other nations in years and is not looking to ‘expand’ I have not heard any reasonable explanation of why Americans should consider Iran to be a trustworthy ally let alone a ‘friend’.

      Also-while most Iranians old enough to remember do not miss the regime of the Shah it is not at all clear that the current regime is liked any better. The difference is-the Shah had a working relationship with Israel and the mullah dictators do not-which is one reason I suspect there is so much sympathy for the mullahs on MW

      and BTW-to those saying Obama will follow in Jimmy Carters path…why should Obama who has no background as a fundamental bible whacker follow Carters basically -missionary- path? He has his own issues and he comes from a completely different background. If he were truly ‘likely’ to do anything it might be more likely he would devote his post administration years to solving many of the intractable problems plauging US urban centers of poverty or in Africa where he spent some of his youth.Of all the things he seems cut-out for-middle east interloper and peace-maker seems the least likely of them all. Obama may be protected from reality by is cult-like staff but in no way is he as pompous and self-righteous as JC.

      • Annie Robbins
        February 28, 2015, 4:04 pm

        solving many of the intractable problems plauging US urban centers of poverty or in Africa

        doesn’t carter do this sort of thing?

      • Mooser
        February 28, 2015, 6:47 pm

        “or that Iran funded Amal/hizbollah to murder 241 US marines in Beirut…oh right, Americans do remember that.”

        Yes, we do. Ronald Reagen was President at the time.

      • DaBakr
        February 28, 2015, 9:15 pm

        @an

        yes he does. but as for his effectiveness (except in some specific examples of him negotiating with pariah dictator/warlords) he has had limited success. obama has the potential to take (especially the ‘africa’ thing to a new level. or- he could play golf and make a gazillion on speaking engagements. time will tell. somehow I don;t see Obama injecting himself into the kind of self-righteous controversy that Carter has. self-righteousness is not Obamas m.o. And he gave-imi-one of the best speeches of the 21tC in philadelphia before he was elected.

        @mosr

        your implying RR was to blame for the 241 marines that died? Or maybe you prefer blaming Israel like the known perjurer and liar Cap Weinbrger. (who was just out again-this week-buried under the netanyahu speech news-as passing nothing more then a BIG LIE to the judge in the pollard case that kept pollard in jail until now instead of making good on a DoJ promise to a plea deal for full cooperation. Funny how the USS Liberty is always dragged out here but never the marine barracks as if Iran -while burning the US flag and screaming “death to america” is the US’s new best friend.

      • Annie Robbins
        February 28, 2015, 9:41 pm

        mooser, it’s only the winep tools saying it was hezbollah. one of them wrote a book and sourced it to unidentified israel intel. what. ever.

      • Mooser
        March 1, 2015, 1:06 pm

        “mooser, it’s only the winep tools saying it was hezbollah.”

        Of course. They would say that.

    • lonely rico
      February 27, 2015, 7:26 pm

      >ckg
      Do Americans remember that a real US Navy ship, in 1988, shot down a real Iranian passenger aircraft, killing all 290 passengers and crew on board?

      The incident took place
      in Iranian airspace, over Iran’s territorial waters
      in the Persian Gulf …

      They gave the ship’s (USS Vincennes) captain a medal, the Legion of Merit “for exceptionally meritorious conduct in the performance of outstanding service as commanding officer …”

      Meritorious conduct indeed !
      Shooting down an unarmed commercial airline.
      Courageous fellow !

      • lysias
        February 27, 2015, 8:49 pm

        As a former naval officer, I well remember reading an article in the Proceedings of the Naval Institute by the commander of the USS Sides, which was stationed alongside the Vincennes at the time of the shootdown of the Airbus, about how totally unjustified the shootdown of the Airbus was. Mind you, I well knew, as a former intercept operator, how the crew of the Vincennes should have been aware that the Airbus was a civil airliner on a normal scheduled flight.

        Commander Rogers, the commander of the Vincennes, was promoted to Captain. The commander of the Sides was not.

  13. Annie Robbins
    February 27, 2015, 2:34 pm

    i love that video from end the occupation!

    phil, another great article. and this

    I think NPR’s approach is indicative of an attitude everyone in the Establishment quietly shares: Jews count more on this issue than non-Jews. – See more at: http://mondoweiss.net/2015/02/speech-fallout-warren#sthash.n2a1UR9s.dpuf

    it’s not just indicative of the establishment. how many times have i heard this thing can’t be moved until the jewish community moves.

    more power to – americans – all of us !!!

  14. seafoid
    February 27, 2015, 2:44 pm

    Warren may get very interesting if the Fed can’t raise interest rates and deflation takes over.
    Wall St is expecting labor to get wage increases that will generate inflation that would allow interest rates to be raised

    But the income gains all go to the top 1%.

    http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/wonkblog/wp/2013/09/11/how-the-1percent-won-the-recovery-in-one-table/

    http://monthlyreview.org/2014/01/01/the-plight-of-the-u-s-working-class/

    “By 2010, the labor share of the bottom 99 percent of taxpayers had fallen to approximately 50 percent from just above 60 percent prior to the 1980s.”43 In other words, including the compensation of the highest paid people—literally, the top 1 percent—adds enough to national labor compensation to skew the data for the entire labor force and make it appear that the declining share of the economy going to labor is not really that dramatic. This makes sense when we consider that in 2012 the top 1 percent took home an income estimated at eighty cents to “almost a dollar out of every $4 generated by the American economy.”

    She gave an interesting speech last month

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DJpTxONxvoo&list=UUTH9zV8Imw09J5bOoTR18_A

    http://www.ft.com/intl/cms/s/0/2003fdd4-877e-11e4-8c91-00144feabdc0.html

    “A wonkish former Harvard law professor and career-long consumer advocate, Ms Warren’s push to break up the big US banks appeals to the large swath of voters who believe financial institutions were never truly reined in after the crisis.
    The rhetoric she used on the floor of the Senate during the spending bill debate, and in particular the vitriol she aimed at Citi, which she has frequently attacked over its links to Capitol Hill, was typical of the message she has used on the stump and on the Senate banking committee.
    “Washington already works really well for the billionaires and big corporations and the lawyers and lobbyists,” Ms Warren said. “But what about the families who lost their homes or their jobs or their retirement savings the last time Citi bet big on derivatives and lost? What about the families who are living paycheck to paycheck and saw their tax dollars go to bail Citi out just six years ago?””

    The financial sector is way out of touch with ordinary Americans given the level of rent seeking

    http://www.ft.com/intl/cms/s/0/3ceb1fa6-8128-11e4-b956-00144feabdc0.html
    “Blackstone founder Stephen Schwarzman landed himself in deep trouble a couple of years ago when he compared US efforts to raise taxes on private equity to the Nazis. “It’s like when Hitler invaded Poland in 1939,” he said.
    Venture capitalist Tom Perkins, founder of Kleiner Perkins Caufield and Byers, provoked a similar outcry earlier this year with a letter to the Wall Street Journal that compared criticism of the wealthy to Nazi persecution of the Jews. Both men eventually apologised.”

    The system might well blow up in the next few years. I think it’s a debt trap.

    If it does and if it is the Democrats will have no choice but to dump Wall St. And that will be the end of Zionism.

    • ckg
      February 27, 2015, 2:59 pm

      To Warren, Israel is probably just a place where Stanley Fischer came from.

      • Mooser
        February 27, 2015, 3:37 pm

        No, he came from Rhodesia, and holds Israel and US citizenship.

      • ckg
        February 27, 2015, 8:55 pm

        Thx, Mooser.

      • Mooser
        February 28, 2015, 11:37 am

        Any certified Jewish person can become an “Israeli citizen” (or, rather, an Israeli Jewish citizen, which is a much better thing) by ‘purchasing’ property and if I recall, passing through to sign papers. It’s that darn certification which is so hard to get.

      • Mooser
        February 28, 2015, 8:14 pm

        Oh great, another person whose always got another place to go.

      • RoHa
        March 1, 2015, 10:54 am

        “. It’s that darn certification which is so hard to get. -”

        Even for those who are clearly certifiable?

  15. justicewillprevail
    February 27, 2015, 3:23 pm

    The man is fast becoming a laughing stock. No doubt leaked by officials they are mocking his wife’s delusions of grandeur on his behalf:

    http://www.theguardian.com/world/2015/feb/27/phone-transcript-reveals-sara-netanyahu-rant-at-political-rivals-wife

    Meanwhile Mossad makes a stand against his lunacy:

    http://www.theguardian.com/world/2015/feb/27/mossad-binyamin-netanyahu-meir-dagan-israel

    After leaving Mossad, Meir Dagan went public with his criticism of Netanyahu’s Iran policy, saying a military attack on Iran was “the stupidest thing I have ever heard”.

    And “The person causing the most strategic harm to Israel on the Iranian issue is the prime minister.”

    The knives are out. It couldn’t happen to a nicer man.Or one so inflated with delusions of his own grandeur, now seen as a liability.

    • Pixel
      February 28, 2015, 4:29 am

      @jwp

      wife’s delusions of grandeur…

      From Camelot to Spamalot:
      Why Mrs. Netanyahu is no Jackie Kennedy

      (subscription only but the title says it all)

      • justicewillprevail
        February 28, 2015, 7:01 am

        Pixel, although the tittle-tattle about his wife is hugely entertaining, what I find interesting is who is leaking against Yahoo and why. And the timing, of course.
        A security state, with the military involved at all levels of national and civic life, might have tired of the old braggart’s blundering messianic misadventures. A classic way of doing so is to release salacious details of the victims’ private lives. Ask the Palestinians, who are monitored constantly, with such details all carefully and systematically stored for future use.

  16. sawah
    February 27, 2015, 3:38 pm

    Wareen has heard plenty. Lat summer met with her foreign advisor along with 12 sages in Massachusetts. Very impressive But end result :…”we will have to agree to disagree…

    also in a followup letter to a participant regarding the documentation of Israel’s unethical actions:

    “Massachusetts has important business initiatives with Israel.”.. (so forget human rights, international law etc..)

  17. yonah fredman
    February 27, 2015, 4:06 pm

    If I might interpret the AIPAC official’s words:“This is AIPAC’s Day of Atonement,” one of the heads of the organization told me in a private conversation after the invitation was publicized. “This is the lowest point we have ever reached.” I think he is referring to the Yom Kippur War and Israel’s low point at that time. Otherwise Yom Kippur is not known as a low point.

    • seafoid
      February 27, 2015, 4:28 pm

      Zionists don’t do atonement. They continue whining.

      Israel hasn’t reached its nadir yet although many people think things can’t get any worse.

    • Mooser
      February 27, 2015, 5:01 pm

      “one of the heads of the organization told me in a private conversation after the invitation was publicized.”

      Yonah’s hearing voices again. And what they tell him makes no sense at all. This isn’t going to be good.

      • yonah fredman
        February 27, 2015, 5:33 pm

        If Mooser doesn’t get told at least once a week to get hit by a bus, he begins to misbehave.

      • Mooser
        February 28, 2015, 6:52 pm

        “If Mooser doesn’t get told at least once a week to get hit by a bus, he begins to misbehave.”

        And who is going to tell me, you? You’re quite the macher!
        But Yonah, if you want to call for my death, go right ahead, I can’t stop you. I know how you feel about the surplus Jewish population.

        Oh, I see why you are so pissed off, Yonah. I made a smart crack about Madonna, down-thread, and you’re fighting for the lady’s honor…

      • Mooser
        February 28, 2015, 8:09 pm

        So when it came time to start wishing death-by-public-transportation (or chartered-tour-company-conveyance) on unpopular commentors, it was an Israel and one of their slavish imitators who led the way.
        And Zionists (and the unsuccessful practitioners of Zionism) are always trying to tell us how violent other people are.

      • yonah fredman
        March 1, 2015, 3:27 pm

        Why not just officially call the MW comments section Mooser’s Spitball Emporium?

  18. JLewisDickerson
    February 27, 2015, 4:14 pm

    RE: “He [Netanyahu] is one of the most veteran leaders in the world. In the United States they say that if he had been born in the US, he’d have been elected president there.” ~ Queen Sara

    MY COMMENT:

    Sometimes it’s hard to be a woman
    Giving all your love to just one man
    You’ll have bad times, and he’ll have good times
    Doin’ things that you don’t understand . . .

    “I don’t believe we shall ever again have any form of society in which men will be free. One should not hope for it. One should not hope for anything. Hope is invented by politicians to keep the electorate happy.” ― Pier Paolo Pasolini, 1975

  19. italian ex-pat
    February 27, 2015, 4:20 pm

    I think it would have been much smarter for the Democratic congresspeople not to announce so publicly whether they are going to attend the speech or not. What’s the point? By giving advance notice they are actually doing a favor to Netanyahu and his supporters, who are going to keep count of all those missing attendees and will make sure to have replacement bodies to fill all the seats. How I relished the thought of him giving his speech to a half-empty hall. Bummer.

    On a lighter note, I read yesterday (in the NYT? – not sure) that Sarah Palin has started selling T-shirts emblazoned with the script “I Stand With Bibi” – $35 apiece, if anyone’s interested.
    Well, at least she didn’t print them with “Je suis Bibi” – too, you know ……. foreign. French yet, yikes.

    • Pixel
      February 28, 2015, 5:05 am

      @iep

      I understand his talk will be on 5 minute delay to Israel so that there’s time to edit out anything that might influence the upcoming elections.

      Haaaaaaa! Good one!

      Edit OUT? Hardly.

      Bibi will have his usual foley guy editing IN cheers and rousing applause, along with the sound of people rising and sitting in chairs.

      There will likely be a voiceover guy doing simultaneous play-by-play, announcements which number ovation it is.

      And then there’s another Bibi’s favorite, the green screen! There will definitely be NO empty seats, as a matter of fact, I’d say by the time it gets to Israel it will be SRO!

  20. Sulphurdunn
    February 27, 2015, 5:38 pm

    Publicly finance elections. Get rid of all the private money. Eliminate all mass media political advertising. Problem solved.

  21. eGuard
    February 27, 2015, 6:03 pm

    his so-called best friend. Ask London. Let me choose. The treacherous lying soldier-offering war criminal Tony Blair is a better friend.

  22. Frankie P
    February 27, 2015, 6:31 pm

    @Phil: “When Jan Schakowsky of Illinois announced that she was skipping the speech, she said, “As a Jew, support for Israel is in my DNA.” (I happen to disagree with that idea, but clearly there are more Jan Schakowsky’s in the Jewish community than people like me.”

    Thank God there are people like you in the Jewish community, Phil Weiss!

  23. Kay24
    February 27, 2015, 11:43 pm

    Taking up the cause:

    Madonna, who is supposedly in talks to buying luxury home in Telaviv about anti-semitism in Europe:

    “Intolerance in France and across Europe today is so high that “it feels like Nazi Germany,” American singer Madonna said in an interview on Friday.

    Interviewed on French radio station Europe 1, Madonna said “anti-Semitism is at an all-time high” in France and elsewhere in Europe, and likened the atmosphere to the period when German fascism was on the rise. The interview was reported on the Guardian website.

    The 56-year-old singer deplored what she said was the loss of France’s tradition of welcoming diversity and honoring freedom.

    “It was a country that embraced everyone and encouraged freedom in every way, shape or form – artistic expression of freedom,” Madonna said. “Now that’s completely gone.”
    Haaretz

    It feels like Nazi Germany eh? How dramatic.

    • oldgeezer
      February 28, 2015, 12:13 am

      Well it’s obvious to all that the French government is like the Nazi government in terms of it’s oppression of the Jewish people. Obvious to all racist zionists who believe in Jewish supremacy that is. Bow down or our God shall smite thee.

      I’ve always said nazi comparisons are juvenile and silly. Despite her years madonna joins the kiddies in her juvenile mindset and view.

      She should listen to her Pope… As problematic as he is there’s no doubt he has a better grasp on reality.

      • Kay24
        February 28, 2015, 12:50 am

        Well, being a Catholic will not get you the lucrative contracts. She obviously speaks for the Jewish people now. She knows very well which side her bread is buttered. Showing concerned for people who are targeted for violence because they belong to a specific group, I wonder if she was aware of the massacre in Gaza last year, where civilians(mostly women and children) were killed by precision bombs, banned weapons like the DIME, and that those were responsible even targeted UN shelters.
        https://www.middleeastmonitor.com/news/middle-east/13218-military-expert-israel-is-using-3-internationally-banned-weapons-in-gaza

        Some outrage about that would show genuine concern for those who are powerless and terrified.

        “Madonna: from Catholicism to Kabbalah Judaism

        Following her staunch Catholic upbringing and faith in her early career, frequently referred to in her songs, Madonna shocked the celebrity world by converting to the mystical Jewish belief system Kabbalah in 1997. Introduced to Kabbalah by her fellow celebrity friend Sarah Bernhard, Madonna adopted the Hebrew name ‘Esther’ and began to wear a red bracelet round her wrist – believed by the Kabbalah to ward off the ‘evil eye’. The Kaballah sect, which is made up of a mixture of orthodox Judaism and positive thinking and involves the drinking of £4 a bottle holy water, has since received millions of pounds from Madonna/ Esther. However, controversy abounded a few years back when rumours emerged that Madonna may be growing weary of her Kabbalah leanings.
        Independent UK

        Esther is being the drama queen at this moment.

      • oldgeezer
        February 28, 2015, 12:56 am

        @Kay24

        Well it’s not like impoverished Palestinians could ever meet her financial terms. Like a virgin she isn’t.

      • Kay24
        February 28, 2015, 1:00 am

        No of course not. They are poor and do not have strong influences/control of the media and the entertainment business. The aging Madonna still wants to make the moolas.

      • Mooser
        February 28, 2015, 11:41 am

        “Following her staunch Catholic upbringing and faith in her early career, frequently referred to in her songs,”

        Oy I remember that! Like such a virgin she was! ROTFLMSJAO!

    • oldgeezer
      February 28, 2015, 12:15 am

      ooops I kinda missed this part
      ““It was a country that embraced everyone and encouraged freedom in every way, shape or form – artistic expression of freedom,” Madonna said. “Now that’s completely gone.”

      Maybe she was referring to the French comic who has been banned, prosecuted and labelled as he doesn’t toe the zionist line. I don’t defned him as I have never listened to his comedy.

      • Walid
        February 28, 2015, 1:00 am

        Oldgeezer, the French comedian Dieudonné M’bala M’bala is in hot water not because he is anti-Zionists but simply because he is anti-Jewish and makes fun of the holocaust. The guy is France’s version of Bill Maher.

      • Kay24
        February 28, 2015, 1:04 am

        Walid the difference being Bill Maher is anti Islam….he never makes fun of the holocaust, and never utters a negative word about Jews, because being anti Jew is attacking Israel too.
        He has stated openly he is pro Israel and a zionist.

      • oldgeezer
        February 28, 2015, 1:14 am

        @Walid

        I don’t doubt you are right and appreciate your viewpoint. I have never listened to him as I have had that impression of him and not because I can’t speak French. That doesn’t mean I don’t support his right to free speech provided he isn’t inciting violence. Maher… I confess I liked him and watched his show frequently until his bigotry became obvious to me a half dozen years ago, give or take. He’s rather a nasty bigot and not liberal in any sense of the word. Let him play to his bigot followers.

      • Walid
        February 28, 2015, 1:24 am

        Kay, that’s what I meant. The French guy is to Jews what Maher s to Moslems. Both are vile people.

      • Kay24
        February 28, 2015, 1:29 am

        Walid I get your point. I do agree.

        OG I feel the same way about Maher. I used to look forward to Friday nights to watch him, but after the anti Islam/Muslim attacks, and deliberately tarring all Muslims with the same brush, I never tuned in again.

      • Walid
        February 28, 2015, 1:35 am

        Kay, Esther like a true falling star actually fell off the stage a couple of days back at the British Awards. She was making a grandiose entry up the stairs of the stage wearing a super-long Armani cape that someone was supposed to remove from her shoulders by tugging it away from her. It was tied too strongly and when the guy pulled on the cape, it dragged her down the stairs:

      • Kay24
        February 28, 2015, 1:54 am

        Walid, senior citizens should avoid wearing teenage heels, and strutting around a stage. Heh.
        That must have hurt Esther, including her pride.

      • Mooser
        February 28, 2015, 11:46 am

        Walid, senior citizens should avoid wearing teenage heels, and strutting around a stage.”

        When she embraced Kaballah and forgot about the Via Dolorosa it was bound to happen.

    • seafoid
      February 28, 2015, 2:44 am

      I feel sorry for Madonna. She’s 56 and it’s a business for perky 22 year olds.
      She’s very talented but she will do anything for attention. She reminds me of that other lost soul, Demi Moore.

      The Zionists probably tell her she’s still
      as good as she was in the 80s. She’s like them now.

      • DaBakr
        February 28, 2015, 9:32 pm

        @sf

        you can feel “sorry” for madonna as much as you like while she is crying herself all the way to the bank -which she owns- and built with her own business savvy and acumen, as a woman, in a world where mostly men call the shots. She’s always been a sensible ‘girl’.

      • eljay
        February 28, 2015, 10:15 pm

        || DaBakr @ February 28, 2015, 9:32 pm ||

        I agree that Madonna is an intelligent and talented woman. Unfortunately, her sense of morality is warped.

      • seafoid
        March 1, 2015, 3:29 am

        Mads can’t fight the culture that only values women in their early 20s as sexually interesting. She has to fight the aging of her body in public. Not easy even with oodles of money.

      • Mooser
        March 1, 2015, 1:13 pm

        “She’s always been a sensible ‘girl’.

        Grandad, the phrase you are trying to use is “material girl”.

        “She has to fight the aging of her body in public”

        She does isometric Kaballah exercises to keep her figure trim and lithe. And rests her elbows on Jaffa lemons to keep them trig and appealing.

      • seafoid
        March 1, 2015, 7:33 pm

        Yeah Mooser but the kids aren’t interested.
        She’s had her youth and it isn’t coming back.

        And she’s a metaphor for Zionism too.
        A facelift won’t do any more.

    • Giles
      February 28, 2015, 7:46 am

      America feels like Nazi Germany these days in its treatment of Muslims in the media, law enforcement, the courts, by our political class.

  24. chris o
    February 28, 2015, 1:08 am

    I thought Krugman said words to the effect, “I don’t care about Israel. It means nothing to me.” That’s not really ducking it.

  25. just
    February 28, 2015, 7:10 am

    Elizabeth Warren is a coward.

    Who does she pledge allegiance to?

    • Citizen
      February 28, 2015, 11:43 am

      @just

      For her senate campaign Warren spent the most of all contenders on consultants (80% from outside Mass.): 2 million. Democratic strategist Doug Rubin, the former chief of staff to Gov. Deval Patrick, was the state’s biggest earner; his Natick-based company, D&R Associates Inc., made $245,000 for advising Elizabeth Warren and Joe Kennedy.

  26. Ramzi Jaber
    February 28, 2015, 10:39 am

    And here we have it, Ladies and Gentleman, from the horse’s mouth……….. DRUM ROLL …………

    “In the United States they say that if he had been born in the US, he’d have been elected president there.”

    Nutnyahoo is angry, envious, and jealous of the US President. HE wanted to be the US President. He is angry that he had to settle for the head of the illegitimate zionists entity. King BiBi believes he deserves more and is entitled to more than that. He is smarter than that. He is the smartest in the wold, the destined child of God. So he always want to talk to the US Congress and play with American pols to satisfy his strange need to feel just a bit like the US President. This is where his true heart is. The zionist entity is just what he was able to get. But he’s angry he’s not the US President.

    And the truth always comes out from the strangest places………….

    • Ramzi Jaber
      March 7, 2015, 9:30 am

      Confirming what sara revealed about nutnyahoo could be President of the US, here’s an excerpt of what Michael Crowley, senior foreign affairs correspondent for POLITICO, said on NPR’s On Point (Ashbrook was off, Jane Clayson hosted):

      “An incredible spectacle almost reminiscent of a State of the Union speech. It seems to me that nutnyahoo in a way was playing president for a day. he arrived in the House chamber to much pomp and circumstance, had roaring applause even more applause than President Obama often receives when he addresses Congress. he introduced guests up in the rafters including eli weasel all in the service of trying to plead with the US and President Obama not to cut a deal with Iran.”

      You can hear the entire thing here starting at 1:50 http://audio.wbur.org/download.php?url=//audio.wbur.org/storage/2015/03/onpoint_0306_scotus-hillary-rodham-clinton-obamacare-netanyahu.mp3

  27. kma
    February 28, 2015, 11:55 am

    Who cares whether Warren goes to Netanyahu’s speech or not? She has already done her pilgrimage to Israel complete with statement of full support for the most recent slaughter of Gaza. She “dissented” on one or two of the ubiquitous pro-Israel resolutions and ass-licking bills in congress which gives her an A- by AIPAC instead of the usual A+.

    Is that all you guys want out of your politicians??

  28. Citizen
    February 28, 2015, 12:06 pm

    Here’s a run down on Warren’s stances to date regarding items very important to AIPAC & Israel: http://www.heritagefl.com/story/2015/02/27/news/where-does-liberal-icon-sen-elizabeth-warren-stand-on-israel/4091.html

    She’s apparently done her homework and is walking a fine line to retain support/donations from both PEPs and pure (populist) progressives. Will be most interesting to see if she attends Bibi’s speech or not.

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