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Generational Dynamics Web Log for 19-Jul-2010
19-Jul-10 News -- The NAACP versus the Tea Party movement

Web Log - July, 2010

19-Jul-10 News -- The NAACP versus the Tea Party movement

Egypt pressures Abbas to agree to direct talks with Israel

NAACP versus the Tea Party movement

The NY Times Opinionator blog does a pretty good job of laying out both sides of the NAACP versus Tea Party ruckus this week.

Basically, the NAACP is calling the Tea Party racist. In reply, the Tea Party's defenders say that anyone who disagrees with Barack Obama is automatically racist, even Bill and Hillary Clinton.

What I found most interesting about the article was that I read about 100 of the comments, and all but 5 or 6 seemed to condemn the NAACP for making the blanket condemnation of the Tea Party as racist. Given the generally left-leaning policy of the NY Times, this seems like a remarkable shift. I don't believe that any thing even remotely like that could have happened ten years ago.

This is a sign of the huge generational change that's occurred in the last decade, as the young Millennial generation are well into their 20s, making their political feelings known, and sick and tired of all the bickering and arguing that they hear from their elders.

This view is confirmed by another NY Times article, a snarky anti-Tea Party article that points out that: "The Tea Party and the N.A.A.C.P. represent disproportionately older memberships. And herein lies a problem with so much of our discussion about race and politics in the Obama era: we tend not to recognize the generational divide that underlies it."

As I've pointed out many times in the last five years, America is going through a major political realignment, as the old, decayed ideas from the 1960s become less and less relevant.

One question that keeps coming up is: "Will the Tea Party succeed or fail?"

This question doesn't even make sense. How exactly would you decide whether the Tea Party has succeeded or failed? The Tea Party isn't a party, and doesn't have any real leaders. If it can be characterized at all, it's a collection of people who are angry at President Obama, at Democrats, at Republicans, at Wall Street, and at almost any other leadership group, especially incumbents.

As I've said many times, the Tea Party will play a major role in the political realignment of the country, but the scenario cannot be predicted. It may metastasize into real political party, but it's more likely that one of the existing parties (not necessarily the Republicans) will change direction enough to subsume it, especially as the country goes deeper into a crisis era.

Egypt pressures Abbas to agree to direct talks with Israel

Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas announced in March that he would no longer have direct talks with the Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, as long as the Israelis were building new settlements in Jerusalem, and until they agreed to return to the 1967 borders. However, he agreed to "proximity talks," meaning that they would negotiator through a mediator, George Mitchell, the US special envoy to the Middle East.

(See "28-Mar-10 News - Arabs contemplate failure of peace process" and "2-May-10 News -- Israelis and Palestinians to resume indirect talks.")

On Sunday, Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak met with Abbas, Netanyahu and Mitchell separately in Cairo, according to the Associated Press.

After the meetings, Egypt's foreign minister, Ahmed Aboul Gheit, called for a "more hands-on" U.S. role to bring the two sides together. "There must be a strong Israeli strategic move that would deepen Palestinian trust in Israel's intentions, so we can move from indirect to direct talks. Egypt thinks there is the need for direct talks, that they are the road to reach a settlement ... but to have these direct talks, the atmosphere must be ripe and enough progress made."

As I've said many times, beginning in 2003 (see "Mideast Roadmap - Will it bring peace?"), there is no chance of peace because the Arabs and Jews will be re-fighting the bloody war that followed the partitioning of Palestine and the creation of the state of Israel in 1948.

However, Mahmoud Abbas gave some very interesting recent interviews, with Memri providing a translation.

Abbas stressed his commitment to the peace talks, and said:

"We don't want to take [the initiative] off the table. We talk at length with many people who have been disappointed. Because it is the only call for peace, the initiative cannot be rescinded; the alternative is war. We do not want war, no one wants war. No country seeks war I speak at least for the Arab states.

Thus, there is one path before us, and that is peace, by means of a clear and defined initiative with no obscurity, ambiguity, or opaqueness. We hope that it will resonate with the Israeli leadership [as well]... Naturally, whether we like [Israeli Prime Minister] Netanyahu or not, he is the prime minister of Israel, elected by the Israeli people. We must negotiate with him, because we do not choose our partner, just as they do not choose their Palestinian partner. ...

We do not have the capability to confront Israel militarily, and this point was already discussed at the Arab summit in Sirte [Libya] last March, when I told the Arab countries: If you want war, and if everyone will fight Israel then we will support it. But the Palestinians will not fight alone, because they have no capability to do so. The West Bank was completely destroyed [in the Al-Aqsa Intifada], and we will not let it be destroyed again."

This statement is from a man who, born in 1935, lived through the last war between Arabs and Jews, and has spend his entire life with the objective of never allowing anything like that to happen again. You can be certain that the middle-aged people who lead Hamas have no such aversion.

And you can be even more certain that the children who make up the population of Gaza (the average age is 16) are not only not averse to a war, but they're looking forward to it.

Abbas expressed much sadness during the interviews, and explained why he would not run for another term as Palestinian president: "I cannot go on ruling, and I need to rest; I'm at the age where I can't continue to lead."

Baltic dry index continues its collapse


Baltic Dry Index - 3 years <font size=-2>(Source: StockCharts.com)</font>
Baltic Dry Index - 3 years (Source: StockCharts.com)

The Baltic Dry Index has been collapsing sharply for almost two months, though it rose slightly on Friday, according to Bloomberg.

The Baltic Dry Index (BDI) is a measure of shipping costs for cargoes in "capesize" vessels -- vessels that are too large to fit through the Suez or Panama canals, and so must go around the Cape of Good Hope or Cape Horn. These vessels transport the huge cargoes of copper, iron ore and other commodities.

The BDI surged to bubble levels in early 2008, thanks to enormous Chinese demand for commodities prior to the Beijing Olympics in August. Once the Olympics games ended, Chinese demand plummeted, creating a chain reaction that brought world wide trade and transportation almost to a standstill. The Baltic Dry Index plummeted an astounding 95% by April 8, 2009, and then recovered part of its losses.

Analysts are giving two reasons for the new collapse. One reason is the availability of more ships, as ships ordered during the bubble period start to come online. The other reason is a worldwide slowdown in the demand for iron ore, especially from China.

As we've been reporting for several weeks, the world economy really hit a wall in May, and the ominous trends continue.

Additional links

Apparently Hong Kong tour guides have been very abusive towards shoppers from China's mainland, demanding that they spend more money. A viral video of an abusive Hong Kong tour guide has sparked a storm of public criticism. WSJ Blog

A drug cartel in Ciudad Juarez has used a car bomb for the first time on Thursday, killing three police officers. Associated Press

Gender politicians have claimed that only men perpetrated the atrocities of the Holocaust, but recent evidence shows that women were fully involved. NY Times

A new North Korean propaganda poster appears to boast about North Korea's sinking of the South Korean warship Cheonan. US Naval Institute

China has unofficially asked the United States to persuade South Korea from taking retaliatory action against North Korea for the North's torpedo attack on the warship Cheonan. Chosun

In a recent interview, Thailand's foreign minister Kasit Piromya insisted that there's no ethnic division in Thailand, and that the Red Shirt protestors simply wanted to bring back former Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra. He claimed that the protests were the fault of Marxist-Leninist agitators. He seems to be in a state of denial. Spiegel

During the recent violence in Kyrgyzstan, young men signed up for voluntary militias (narodniye druzhiniki) to patrol the streets and restore order. Now these druzhiniki groups are becoming politically powerful. Eurasia Net

The Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) wants to extend its influence beyond Europe, and wishes to get involved in the situation in Kyrgyzstan "to restore stability and return the country on a path of stable constitutional development." VOA

NY real estate and reality show personality Donald Trump is planning to build a new Trump Tower in Tblisi, Georgia. Eurasia Net

(Comments: For reader comments, questions and discussion, see the 19-Jul-10 News -- The NAACP versus the Tea Party movement thread of the Generational Dynamics forum. Comments may be posted anonymously.) (19-Jul-2010) Permanent Link
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