newsCO.com.au –Amazon’s winner may be the big loser, the coming Israel-Iran confrontation & other comments

October 19, 2017

From the left: Amazon Winner May Be Biggest Loser

Thursday was deadline day for formal offers to house Amazon’s second headquarters, and New York, like dozens of other cities, submitted bids laden with what Neil deMause at the Village Voice notes is “a hefty but unspecified helping of state tax breaks.” But, he asks, is it really worth it? The scale of money being offered by New York and other bidders ranks with other corporate mega-deals which “have had an average cost for taxpayers of $658,000 per job” created. As one local activist notes, the $7 billion in tax breaks being offered by New Jersey “is just insane.” Worse yet, New York City could lose out to a joint bid by Buffalo and Rochester, “leaving us with all of the state tax drain but none of the juicy jobs.”

Mideast desk: Israel-Iran Confrontation Is Coming

Discussions about Iran in the US center almost entirely on the nuclear accord. But “things are different” in the Middle East, where “Iran has been acting — and Israel has been reacting,” notes Elliot Abrams at The Atlantic. Indeed, “Israel has struck sites in Syria 100 times in the last five years, bombing when it saw an Iranian effort to move high-tech materiel to Hezbollah in Lebanon.” Now Iran reportedly is looking to build an airfield near Damascus and deploy a division of soldiers in Syria, all of which would “change the military balance in the region.” Previous Israeli efforts to halt Iran have failed, “which suggests that Israel will need to do so itself, alone.” After all, under the accord, “limits on Iran’s nuclear program begin to end in only eight years.”

Media critic: Making the World Safe for Communism

Commentary’s Sohrab Ahmari says “a recent surge of Communist nostalgia suggests that a Marxist revival of sorts may be afoot in some elite American quarters” — particularly The New York Times op-ed page, which is running a year-long series commemorating the Bolshevik Revolution’s centennial. The articles, he says, mostly are “written in regret over what became of the righteous cause of world socialist revolution,” romanticizing the “starry-eyed idealists who set out to repair the world and who made tremendous progress.” Yes, a handful were critical of Communism’s legacy — but you won’t find “a detailed treatment of the horrors of the gulag” or any coverage “of the misery that socialist regimes in Cuba, North Korea, Venezuela and elsewhere inflict on their citizens to this day.” Yet “young readers unfamiliar with history will learn about Star Trek’s supposed debt to Marxist ideology, but they won’t encounter major Cold War heroes such as Vaclav Havel, Alexander Solzhenitsyn, John Paul II, and others who inspired Communist citizens to live in truth.”

Statistician: Put Baseball On the Clock, or Else . . .

Baseball — America’s national pastime — has lost over 70 percent of its TV viewership for the World Series, its signature attraction, over the past 40 years “by turning off the young,” laments Stephen J.K. Walters at National Review. Today’s average baseball fan is 57, and those “gray-haired fans won’t be around forever.” But “its key problem” is “the leaden pace of play.” Games are still getting longer and longer, and steps already taken to shorten them haven’t worked. As “a sign of good faith,” Walters suggests trimming “another half-minute from between-innings commercial marathons,” bringing back the high strike and “allowing players and coaches to communicate electronically.” Bottom line: “Baseball’s magnates and players alike need to be bold if they want their sport to once again be part of America’s cultural common core.”

Liberal take: How the Left Lost Its Way on BDS

Jo-Ann Mort at Fathom Journal says “it’s no surprise” that the Democratic Socialists of America just endorsed the anti-Israel Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions campaign. The DSA’s socialism “is more concerned with ‘anti-imperialism’ than the democratic socialism that inspired [its] founders,” including her. Which is why it also severed its decades-old ties with the Socialist International, which long “played a key role in promoting Israeli-Palestinian negotiations.” Indeed, DSA founder Michael Harrington “was a deep believer in Israel and its socialist roots.” Frankly, “it’s unlikely that he would have felt at home, were he alive, in the organization he founded” — and “it’s not even clear . . . that he would [be] welcome in today’s DSA.”

— Compiled by Eric Fettmann

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