Saturday, July 15, 2006

To my Arab brothers - they won

Youssef M. Ibrahim wrote on JWR With Israel entering its fourth week of an incursion into the same Gaza Strip it voluntarily evacuated a few months ago, a sense of reality among Arabs is spreading through commentary by Arab pundits, letters to the editor, and political talk shows on Arabic-language TV networks. The new views are stunning both in their maturity and in their realism. The best way I can think of to convey them is in the form of a letter to the Palestinian Arabs from their Arab friends:

Dear Palestinian Arab brethren:

The war with Israel is over. You have lost. Surrender and negotiate to secure a future for your children.

If you really mean it, I believe you will find Israel to be a very good neighbor, as long as you are not shooting rockets at them, sending suicide bombers in to kill them, etc.
We, your Arab brothers, may say until we are blue in the face that we stand by you, but the wise among you and most of us know that
We don't mean it. We like to focus the anger of our citizens at our oppression, and redirect it toward Isrel, but we saw what the did to four Arab armies in the Six Day War in 1967, and we don't want a repeat of that defeat.
we are moving on, away from the tired old idea of the Palestinian Arab cause and the "eternal struggle" with Israel. Dear friends, you and your leaders have wasted three generations trying to fight for Palestine, but the truth is the Palestine you could have had in 1948
When you go greedy.
is much bigger than the one you could have had in 1967,
When you got stupid.
which in turn is much bigger than what you may have to settle for now or in another 10 years. Struggle means less land and more misery and utter loneliness. At the moment, brothers, you would be lucky to secure a semblance of a state in that Gaza Strip into which you have all crowded,
And which you had a chance to show what sort of state you wanted when Israel withdrew unilaterally, using force on their own citizens.
and a small part of the West Bank of the Jordan. It isn't going to get better. Time is running out even for this much land, so here are some facts, figures, and sound advice, friends. You hold keys, which you drag out for television interviews, to houses that do not exist or are inhabited by Israelis who have no intention of leaving Jaffa, Haifa, Tel Aviv, or West Jerusalem. You shoot old guns at modern Israeli tanks and American-made fighter jets, doing virtually no harm to Israel while bringing the wrath of its mighty army down upon you. You fire ridiculously inept Kassam rockets that cause little destruction and delude yourselves into thinking this is a war of liberation. Your government, your social institutions, your schools, and your economy are all in ruins. Your young people are growing up illiterate, ill, and bent on rites of death and suicide, while you, in effect, are living on the kindness of foreigners, including America and the United Nations. Every day your officials must beg for your daily bread, dependent on relief trucks that carry food and medicine into the Gaza Strip and the West Bank, while your criminal Muslim fundamentalist Hamas government continues to fan the flames of a war it can neither fight nor hope to win. In other words, brothers, you are down, out, and alone in a burnt-out landscape that is shrinking by the day. What kind of struggle is this? Is it worth waging at all? More important, what kind of miserable future does it portend for your children, the fourth or fifth generation of the Arab world's have-nots? We, your Arab brothers, have moved on. Those of us who have oil money are busy accumulating wealth and building housing, luxury developments, state-of-the-art universities and schools, and new highways and byways.
And we have no intention of sharing it with you.
Those of us who share borders with Israel, such as Egypt and Jordan, have signed a peace treaty with it and are not going to war for you any time soon.
We tried that in 1967.
Those of us who are far away, in places like North Africa and Iraq, frankly could not care less about what happens to you. Only Syria continues to feed your fantasies that someday it will join you in liberating Palestine, even though a huge chunk of its territory, the entire Golan Heights, was taken by Israel in 1967 and annexed. The Syrians, my friends, will gladly fight down to the last Palestinian Arab. Before you got stuck with this Hamas crowd, another cheating, conniving, leader of yours, Yasser Arafat, sold you a rotten bill of goods — more pain, greater corruption, and millions stolen by his relatives — while your children played in the sewers of Gaza. The war is over. Why not let a new future begin?

TinkertyTonk blogged Read it all. Unfortunately, I don't think they're listening

Kim Priestap blogged The Palestinian leaders have blamed their citizens' suffering on the Jews, and their people believed their lies because they were and still are too ignorant to know otherwise. They have been told that when the Jews are defeated and run out of Israel that their suffering will end. But, as most of their Arab brothers have already learned, that will never happen.

Now the Lebanese people also suffer as Hezbollah escalates this war of futility, egged on by not only Syria, but Iran, whose leader sacrifices them for his own ambition and ego.


Public Schools Perform Near Private Ones in Study

NYT reported The Education Department reported on Friday that children in public schools generally performed as well or better in reading and mathematics than comparable children in private schools.

The operative phrase is "comparable children." As the report says "students in private schools scored significantly higher than students in public schools for both reading and mathematics. But when school means were adjusted in the HLM analysis, the average for public schools was significantly higher than the average for private schools for grade 4 mathematics and not significantly different for reading."

In other words they did not like the raw results, which showed the private schools did better, so they "adjusted" the answers, "statistically controlling for individual student characteristics (such as gender, race/ethnicity, disability status, identification as an English language learner) and school characteristics (such as school size, location, and the composition of the student body)"

It would be very unPC to say that students of one race were inferior to another, but these statisticians would give certain races more points to make up for their supposed inferiority, if it meant they could get the results they wanted to see. If they thought that smaller schools were better than larger schools, they would not just build more smaller schools, they would give the larger schools extra points because of the disadvantage they had in being so large.
The exception was in eighth-grade reading, where the private school counterparts fared better. The report, which compared fourth- and eighth-grade reading and math scores in 2003 from nearly 7,000 public schools and more than 530 private schools, also found that conservative Christian schools lagged significantly behind public schools on eighth-grade math.
I wonder what they tweaked to show that? Did they give the public schools extra points because they were teaching a secular program?


Thursday, July 13, 2006

Hizbullah wants soldiers moved to Iran

Jerusalem Post reported Israel has information that Hizbullah guerrillas who captured two Israeli soldiers are trying to transfer them to Iran, Foreign Ministry spokesman Mark Regev said. Regev did not disclose the source of his information. The IDF released the names of the two soldiers on Thursday. According to the IDF Spokesperson, the two reserve are Ehud Goldwasser, 31, from Nahariya, and Eldad Regev, 26, from Kiryat Motzkin. Hizbullah guerrillas, who are backed by Iran, seized the soldiers Wednesday in a cross-border raid.

These nutcases thought they could just swap them for a few thousand palestinian prisoners; they had no idea that Israel would react by attacking their bases in Lebanon. It is like they picked up a hot potato, and don't know what to do about it. They are cowards, and don't want Israel attacking them, but they don't want to free the soldiers, because they would lose face among their fellow terrorists, so they want to send them to their bosses in Iran.

Stop the ACLU blogged Iran is itching to get involved of course. After all they do want to usher in the apocalypse and “wipe Israel off the map.” Well now it looks like Hizbullah wants to give them a chance to get involved.


Tuesday, July 11, 2006

Cindy Sheehan's Fast

Political Affairs Magazine wrote I find traveling out of the country very challenging being on a fast. When I was on a layover in Madrid on my way to Venice, Italy yesterday, the closest thing I could find to a smoothie to get a little protein was a coffee with vanilla ice cream in it.

You said you were just going to drink water. It is only 6 days, and now you are on coffee and vanilla ice cream?
Traveling for 22 hours is very taxing under normal circumstances--but then again, when have we had normal circumstances since the 2000 and 2004 successful coup attempts that have brought BushCo into power?
Those "successful coup attempts" are called ELECTIONS. We have been having them for more than 200 years.
I traveled from Venice to the frontier of Italy to the province of Udine which is right at the foot of the pre-Alps. I am here for a huge youth festival which includes many elements of social justice and peace work. It is beautiful and the air feels different from other places that I have travelled. It is strangely soft and gentle as is the natural light. However, there is not a Jamba Juice on every corner, so blended juice drinks with protein powder are impossible to find.
It must be difficult pretending to fast when you can't sneak a fruit smoothie.
I have also received so many emails from worried, wonderful, and well-meaning friends and supporters in the US who are concerned about me and all of the others who are fasting. I don't like being on this fast,
But as long as I can eat and drink whatever I want, it is not too bad.


Aggression Under False Pretenses???

Ismail Haniyeh (Prime Minister [Hamas] of the Palestinian National Authority) wrote in WaPo As Americans commemorated their annual celebration of independence from colonial occupation, rejoicing in their democratic institutions, we Palestinians were yet again besieged by our occupiers, who destroy our roads and buildings, our power stations and water plants, and who attack our very means of civil administration. Our homes and government offices are shelled, our parliamentarians taken prisoner and threatened with prosecution.

And this is just because to thank them for withdrawing completely from Gaza and giving us the country we said we wanted, we launched 1,000 rockets into their land, and tunnelled into their land and killed soldiers and took one hostage. Don't they understand this is the way Palestinians say thank you.
The current Gaza invasion is only the latest effort to destroy the results of fair and free elections held early this year. It is the explosive follow-up to a five-month campaign of economic and diplomatic warfare directed by the United States and Israel. The stated intention of that strategy was to force the average Palestinian to "reconsider" her vote when faced with deepening hardship; its failure was predictable, and the new overt military aggression and collective punishment are its logical fulfillment. The "kidnapped" Israeli Cpl. Gilad Shalit is only a pretext for a job scheduled months ago.
Then why were you stupid enough to give them that "pretext"
In addition to removing our democratically elected government, Israel wants to sow dissent among Palestinians by claiming that there is a serious leadership rivalry among us. I am compelled to dispel this notion definitively. The Palestinian leadership is firmly embedded in the concept of Islamic shura, or mutual consultation;
The fact that we have frequent gun battles with Fatah is just our way of consulting them.
suffice it to say that while we may have differing opinions, we are united in mutual respect and focused on the goal of serving our people.
Actually we don't care about serving our people, we want to destroy Israel.
Furthermore, the invasion of Gaza and the kidnapping of our leaders and government officials are meant to undermine the recent accords reached between the government party and our brothers and sisters in Fatah and other factions,   Read More

on achieving consensus for resolving the conflict.
And it is getting harder for us to wage war against Israel when they keep killing or arresting our leaders.
Yet Israeli collective punishment only strengthens our collective resolve to work together. As I inspect the ruins of our infrastructure -- the largess of donor nations and international efforts all turned to rubble once more by F-16s and American-made missiles -- my thoughts again turn to the minds of Americans. What do they think of this?
They think you are idiots for attacking Israel with 1,000 rockets and kidnapping a soldier. You should have begun building the country of your own you pretend to want.
They think, doubtless, of the hostage soldier, taken in battle -- yet thousands of Palestinians, including hundreds of women and children, remain in Israeli jails for resisting the illegal, ongoing occupation that is condemned by international law. They think of the pluck and "toughness" of Israel, "standing up" to "terrorists." Yet a nuclear Israel possesses the 13th-largest military force on the planet, one that is used to rule an area about the size of New Jersey and whose adversaries there have no conventional armed forces. Who is the underdog, supposedly America's traditional favorite, in this case?
Israel is surrounded by a large number of Arab countries. Four of them attacked a peaceful Israel in 67, and in so doing lost a lot of land to Israel. Israel has given back some of the land, to countries that want peace. You don't want Peace; you just want to destroy Israel.
I hope that Americans will give careful and well-informed thought to root causes and historical realities, in which case I think they will question why a supposedly "legitimate" state such as Israel has had to conduct decades of war against a subject refugee population without ever achieving its goals.
Which are to live in peace. Which they do, until terrorists attack with Suicide Bombers, rockets, etc.
Israel's unilateral movements of the past year will not lead to peace. These acts -- the temporary withdrawal of forces from Gaza, the walling off of the West Bank -- are not strides toward resolution but empty, symbolic acts that fail to address the underlying conflict.
Which is they continue to live, while you want them dead.
Israel's nearly complete control over the lives of Palestinians is never in doubt, as confirmed by the humanitarian and economic suffering of the Palestinians since the January elections. Israel's ongoing policies of expansion, military control and assassination mock any notion of sovereignty or bilateralism. Its "separation barrier," running across our land, is hardly a good-faith gesture toward future coexistence.
If you showed them you wanted peacful coexistence, they would not need the separation barrier.
But there is a remedy, and while it is not easy it is consistent with our long-held beliefs. Palestinian priorities include recognition of the core dispute over the land of historical Palestine and the rights of all its people; resolution of the refugee issue from 1948; reclaiming all lands occupied in 1967; and stopping Israeli attacks, assassinations and military expansion.
Try showing them you can live in peace in Gaza, without firing rockets into Israel, and without killing or kidnapping Israeli soldiers. Maybe then they will listen to you.
Contrary to popular depictions of the crisis in the American media, the dispute is not only about Gaza and the West Bank; it is a wider national conflict that can be resolved only by addressing the full dimensions of Palestinian national rights in an integrated manner. This means statehood for the West Bank and Gaza, a capital in Arab East Jerusalem, and resolving the 1948 Palestinian refugee issue fairly, on the basis of international legitimacy and established law. Meaningful negotiations with a non-expansionist, law-abiding Israel can proceed only after this tremendous labor has begun.
Or the alternative is to kill all of you. Since you are the one originating the attacks, that seems the best way to proceed.
Surely the American people grow weary of this folly, after 50 years and $160 billion in taxpayer support for Israel's war-making capacity -- its "defense." Some Americans, I believe, must be asking themselves if all this blood and treasure could not have bought more tangible results for Palestine if only U.S. policies had been predicated from the start on historical truth, equity and justice.

However, we do not want to live on international welfare and American handouts. We want what Americans enjoy -- democratic rights, economic sovereignty and justice. We thought our pride in conducting the fairest elections in the Arab world might resonate with the United States and its citizens. Instead, our new government was met from the very beginning by acts of explicit, declared sabotage by the White House.
All they did was say we would not give you handouts until you agreed to live in peace with Israel.
Now this aggression continues against 3.9 million civilians living in the world's largest prison camps. America's complacency in the face of these war crimes is, as usual, embedded in the coded rhetorical green light: "Israel has a right to defend itself." Was Israel defending itself when it killed eight family members on a Gaza beach last month
They were responding to rocket attacks, and it is not clear what killed the family members, an Israeli Rocket, a Hamas rocket, or a Hamas bomb, or a mine.
or three members of the Hajjaj family on Saturday, among them 6-year-old Rawan? I refuse to believe that such inhumanity sits well with the American public.

We present this clear message: If Israel will not allow Palestinians to live in peace, dignity and national integrity, Israelis themselves will not be able to enjoy those same rights. Meanwhile, our right to defend ourselves from occupying soldiers and aggression is a matter of law, as settled in the Fourth Geneva Convention. If Israel is prepared to negotiate seriously and fairly, and resolve the core 1948 issues, rather than the secondary ones from 1967, a fair and permanent peace is possible. Based on a hudna
a tactical cease-fire that allows the Arabs to rebuild their terrorist infrastructure in order to be more effective when the "cease-fire" is called off
(comprehensive cessation of hostilities for an agreed time), the Holy Land still has an opportunity to be a peaceful and stable economic powerhouse for all the Semitic people of the region. If Americans only knew the truth, possibility might become reality.

CQ blogged The Israelis pulled out of Gaza completely, however, several months ago. They packed up the IDF, forced thousands of settlers out of their homes, and sent everyone back into Israel. The Palestinians held Gaza for themselves. What did they do with it? They used it as a launching pad for Kassam rockets into Israel almost since the day the IDF left. Now Haniyeh wants us to hearken back to our colonial roots to understand ... what? That an act of war, repeatedly taken, results in a military response?

Blue Crab blogged What in HELL is the Washington Post thinking? They are giving op-ed space to Ismail Haniyeh, the Hamas Prime Minister of the Palestinians? A terrorist front man gets top space in a top American newspaper?.... The reality is that the Palestinians, as represented by Haniyeh want Israel destroyed. Nothing else will do. And the Washington Post has decided to be their mouthpiece.
They had to. The NYT was busy helping Al Qaeda.

Meryl Yourish blogged The hundreds of women and “children” (funny how a 19-year-old palestinian is a “youth” or “child,” but a 19-year-old Israeli is a “soldier”) are in jail because they took part in terror attacks. You know, that “resistance” thing Haniyeh talks about? It includes knives, bombs, molotov cocktails, and generally killing Israelis. As for the “battle” that took the soldier? It was a sneak attack, a shoot-from-behind operation made by terrorists dressed as close to Israeli soldiers as possible.... Hamas doesn’t want “democratic rights.” Hamas wants an Islamic Caliphate established where Israel stands today.


Blog blunder fells UA teacher reported A University of Arizona adjunct instructor resigned Saturday after a nationwide firestorm erupted over her comments on a political blog. Deborah Frisch, 44, posted last week on a site named "Protein Wisdom," which belongs to Colorado resident Jeff Goldstein.

Blog blunder????? I think threatening to Jon-Benet his two year old son, or saying "If I woke up tomorrow and learned that someone else had shot you and your 'tyke' it wouldn't slow me down one iota. You aren't 'human' to me." is a bit more than a blog blunder.


An Air Force Colonel's View of Marines

Fire and Ice blogged Some things are just too good to keep to yourself....this is one of them. The email below is from USAF Colonel Brett Wyrick who is the commander of the 154th Medical Group, Hawaii Air National Guard, and is serving as a surgeon in Balad with the 332nd Expeditionary Medical Group. Col. Wyrick had been sending his father, a Vietnam-era fighter pilot, emails about his experiences in Iraq:

Dear Dad, If I ever hear airmen griping and complaining, I jump into them pretty quickly, now. Most people over here have nothing to gripe about compared to Marines. Marines are different. They have a different outlook on life. One Marine Private was here for several days because he was a lower priority evacuation patient. He insisted on coming to attention and displaying proper military courtesy every morning when I came through on rounds. He was in a great deal of pain, and it was a stressful to watch him work his way off the bed and onto his crutches. I told him he was excused and did not have to come to attention while he was a patient,and he informed me that he was a good Marine and would address "Air Force Colonels standing on my feet, Sir." I had to turn away so he would not see the tear in my eye. He did not have "feet" because we amputated his right leg below the knee on the first night he came in.
I don't know what Marines are made of, but I wish they could find out, and figure out a way to make more.
I asked a Marine Lance Corporal if there was anything I could get him as I was making rounds one morning. He was an above the knee amputation after an IED blast, and he surprised me when he asked for a trigonometry book. "You enjoy math do you?" He replied, "Not particularly, Sir. I was never good at it, but I need to get good at it, now." "Are you planning on going back to school?" I asked. "No sir, I am planning on shooting artillery. I will slow an infantry platoon down with just one good leg, but I am going to get good at math and learn how to shoot artillery". I hope he does.
Again I ask, what are Marines are made of, and can we figure out a way to make more?
I had the sad duty of standing over a young Marine Sgt. when he recovered from anesthesia - despite our best efforts there was just no way to save his left arm, and it had to come off just below the elbow. "Can I have my arm back, sir?" he asked. "No, we had to cut it off, we cannot re-attach it", I said. "But can I have my arm?", he asked again. "You see, we had to cut it off." He interrupted, "I know you had to cut it off, but I want it back. It must be in a bag or something, Sir." "Why do you want it?" I asked. "I am going to have it stuffed and use it as a club when I get back to my unit." I must have looked shocked because he tried to comfort me,"Don't you worry now, Colonel. You did a fine job, and I hardly hurt at all; besides I scratch and shoot with my other hand anyway."

God Bless the Marines!
Col. Brett Wyrick
Jay Tea blogged I defy anyone to read this article and who can believe that United States Marines are regular human beings like the rest of us...


Provost review clears Barrett to teach class on Islam

University of Wisconsin announced Following a thorough review, University of Wisconsin-Madison Provost Patrick Farrell today announced that lecturer Kevin Barrett will teach, as scheduled, a class titled "Islam: Religion and Culture."

Another stupid decision on the part of University Administrators
Barrett's remarks regarding his theories on the events of Sept. 11 recently drew widespread attention and criticism.
And now the University of Wisconsin-Madison is going to let him teach them to students.
As a result, Farrell, along with Gary Sandefur, dean of the College of Letters and Science, and Ellen Rafferty, chair of the department of languages and cultures of Asia, met with Barrett. They reviewed his course syllabus and reading materials and examined his past teaching evaluations.
How could you keep from laughing?
"There is no question that Mr. Barrett holds personal opinions that many people find unconventional," Farrell says. "These views are expected to take a small, but significant, role in the class. To the extent that his views are discussed, Mr. Barrett has assured me that students will be free - and encouraged - to challenge his viewpoint."
It is nice that the students will be free to challenge his viewpoint, but realize he is the one that will be giving them a grade for the class, and they need a good grade to graduate.
Farrell says that Barrett told him that the semester-long course will spend a week examining current issues, including a brief discussion of various views on the war on terror. Barrett told Farrell that he plans to base the discussion on readings from authors representing a variety of viewpoints.

Blue Crab blogged The University of Wisconsin, Madison, has completed it's review of the , er, unusual theories of Kevin Barrett, an instructor who teaches that the collapse of the Twin Towers on 9/11 was done by controlled demolition. Because, you see, no jet fuel fire could melt steel. Mr. Barrett will be allowed to teach his courses. Now, all these years that the NFPA has required the fireproofing of structural steel can be seen to be a long-simmering Bushitlerian plot. Going back almost to the dawn of the NFPA, in fact! All the fines the government collected from various power plants for having insufficient fireproofing on their structural steel can now be refunded! I, of course, will immediately apply to the UW-M to teach a course about the flat earth, since this spherical nonsense has gone on much to long. (Please, do not try to tell an engineer jet fuel fires cannot "melt" steel. It is not, and never has been necessary to melt steel to cause a structural failure. One only needs to soften it and remove it's ability to bear load.)

Sister Toldjah blogged I guess the U of W-Madison is ok with people teaching false history in the name of ‘freedom of speech.’ Come to think of it, I wonder how many elite university history classes do the same thing, just with other aspects of our history?

PostWatch blogged "Unconventional" is a Toyota Prius. Unconventional is, I don't know, out-and-proud gay Muslims. Advocating a theory that the terror attacks are a hoax orchestrated by the American government is an intellectual felony. The University perfumes this nonsense with statements about "freedom of speech," but that freedom doesn't actually require taxpayer-funded institutions to promote unsupportable fantasies.


Taliban war on knowledge

Independent reported The letter pinned overnight to the wall of the mosque in Kandahar was succinct. "Girls going to school need to be careful for their safety. If we put acid on their faces or they are murdered then the blame will be on their parents."

The Taliban are evil, and should be exterminated.
Today the local school stands empty, victim of what amounts to a Taliban war on knowledge. The liberal wind of change that swept the country in 2001 is being reversed. By the conservative estimate of the Afghan President Hamid Karzai, 100,000 students have been terrorised out of schools in the past year. The number is certainly far higher and many teachers have been murdered, some beheaded.

In the province of Zabul a teacher and female MP, Toor Peikai, said yesterday: "There are 47 schools in my province but only three are open." Only one teaches girls. It is 200 metres from a large US military base in the provincial capital.
We need more military bases in Afganistan, and if necessary actually put the schools on base.


Monday, July 10, 2006

Palestinian suicide strategy

Barry Rubin wrote in Jerusalem Post Here are the basic points for understanding Palestinian politics:

  1. There are hardly any moderate Palestinians in public life and even those few generally keep their mouths shut, or echo the militant majority. With few exceptions - countable on your fingers - a Palestinian moderate in practice can usually be defined as someone who apologizes for terrorism in good English. The mantra of "helping the moderates" cannot work under these conditions.
    We first need to create some true Moderates, and figure out some way of keeping them alive. Perhaps a radio or tv station in the Gulf beaming a very strong signal into the area.
  2. Fatah and PLO strategy rests on the belief that defeat is staved off as long as you keep fighting.
    Which is why the Israeli policy of targeting their leaders is a good one. Sooner or later they will run out.
    Their only true victory is to continue the struggle. Of course, the cost of this is not only violence, suffering and disruption, but also a failure to achieve anything material. This is why the "cycle of violence" concept is useless. Palestinians don't attack Israel because Israel attacks them, but because that is their sole program.
  3. Whatever the common people think privately, the vast majority of activists believe everything must be subsumed to the struggle. Democracy, living standards, women's rights and so on have no value outside contributing to the battle against Israel. This is why the idea of appealing to Palestinian material interests or finding some leader who puts the priority on achieving peace and plenty fails.
  4. The interim goal is to be able to claim phony victories, which are actually costly defeats. If after 40 years of armed struggle the movement's great triumphs are destroying one Israeli outpost a year or kidnapping a single soldier, this shows its remarkable weakness on the battlefield. Inflicting damage on Israel via rocket attacks serves no Palestinian strategic objective except to make people feel good about damaging Israel (even while they suffer far more damage themselves). Celebrating martyrs simply means bragging about your own casualties.

    CQ blogged This makes more sense when one reviews the long history of Western engagement in attempting to reach a two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. When Ehud Barak offered Yasser Arafat 95% of the territory he demanded for a Palestinian state, Western leaders thought that Bill Clinton achieved a major breakthrough. Clinton could not be faulted for thinking so; a string of American presidents had pressed Israel into returning the West Bank and Gaza in exchange for peace, and Clinton had finally succeeded in making it happen.

    Of course, Arafat turned it down. Why? Because the deal gave him what he demanded, but not what he wanted. His answer to the Israeli offer came in the form of two intifadas, while Europe continued to castigate the Israelis for their continuing oppression of the Palestinians who terrorized them.
    The Europeans are idiots.
    Last year, Ariel Sharon decided to give back Gaza unilaterally. The disengagement gave the Palestinians their own territory to govern, and it solved a tough military problem for the IDF in protecting the few thousand settlers among over a million Palestinians. One would have expected the Palestinians to celebrate and establish their own governance of the territory, especially since the Israelis gave back all of it. What happened? They complained that the Israelis left without negotiating for Gaza's return,
    So they could have claimed credit for winning the negotiation.
    and then paid them back by using Gaza as a launching pad for hundreds of rocket strikes. In the meantime, the Palestinians did nothing to maintain civil control of Gaza. They do not want peace. They want Israel. Nothing short of that will satisfy the Palestinians,
    Actually even that would not satisfy them. If they somehow got powerful enough to drive Israel out of their own land (very unlikely) they would just find some neighboring Arab country to attack.
    and all of the talk in the world will do not one whit of good until they understand that we will not allow them to destroy Israel, and of course neither will the Israelis.

    This, as Rubin explains, is why the Palestinians do not care about economic development or rational self-government. Hamas, Fatah, and Islamic Jihad emulate the Middle Eastern kleptocracies to the extent that they continue to keep their people poor and radicalized, ready to martyr themselves rather than live peacefully in prosperity. The Palestinians themselves support these leaders because they give them what they want -- a purpose in life and especially in death: the destruction of Israel and death to the Jews.

    The West needs to shut down the negotiating process and allow Israel to defend itself. No one in the Palestinian political structure has any interest in peaceful co-existence with Israel. If they did suddenly endorse it, the Palestinians would realize how badly they have been led for decades and would probably rise up and kill them, and still would take another generation to figure out that their misery comes from their own bad decisions. Our interference in that process only delays the eventual epiphany.


Congressman Says Program Was Disclosed by Informant

NYT The chairman of the House Intelligence Committee said Sunday that the Bush administration briefed the panel on a "significant" intelligence program only after a government whistle-blower

This time the whistle-blower did the right thing; he privately informed the head of the Intelligence Committee about something, rather than telling it to a reporter from the New York Times, or some other Al Qaeda connected media organization.
alerted him to its existence and he pressed President Bush for details. The chairman, Representative Peter Hoekstra, Republican of Michigan, wrote in a May 18 letter to Mr. Bush, first disclosed publicly on Saturday by The New York Times, that the administration's failure to notify his committee of this program and others could be a "violation of law."
The operative phrase there is "could be". As Hoekstra later admits, they should not be informed about every minor detail, and it is a matter of judgement what is minor, and what is major.
Mr. Hoekstra expanded on his concerns in a television appearance on Sunday, saying that when the administration withholds information from Congress, "I take it very, very seriously." Mr. Hoekstra and other officials would not discuss the nature of the undisclosed intelligence programs.
And they should not, but I bet it really ticked the NYT off that they would not, so that the NYT could inform their allies in Al Qaeda about the program.
But officials have said he was not referring to the National Security Agency's wiretapping operation or to the Treasury Department's bank monitoring program, both of which he was informed about.
And both of which the NYT already informed their allies in Al Qaeda about.
Mr. Hoekstra made clear on Sunday that he was particularly troubled by the failure to notify the Intelligence Committee of one particular major program. "We can't be briefed on every little thing that they are doing," Mr. Hoekstra said in an interview on "Fox News Sunday." "But in this case, there was at least one major — what I consider significant — activity that we had not been briefed on that we have now been briefed on. And I want to set the standard there, that it is not optional for this president or any president or people in the executive community not to keep the intelligence committees fully informed of what they are doing."
You asked about the program, and they told you about it, but you are an arrogant popinjay if you think it is up to you to set standards about what you will or will not be told about.
The White House declined to comment on the issue Sunday but said last week that it would continue to work closely with Mr. Hoekstra and the intelligence committees.


West mounts 'secret war' to keep nuclear North Korea in check

Sunday Times reports A programme of covert action against nuclear and missile traffic to North Korea and Iran is to be intensified after last week’s missile tests by the North Korean regime. Intelligence agencies, navies and air forces from at least 13 nations are quietly co-operating in a “secret war” against Pyongyang and Tehran.

13 nations are at war, and it is a secret???? Somebody does not understand what the word war means, or they are trying to stir one up, by telling North Korea that 13 nations are at war with it, and it does not even know it.
It has so far involved interceptions of North Korean ships at sea, US agents prowling the waterfronts in Taiwan,
Since when is a US agent walking down the waterfront in Taiwan an act of war. And not against Taiwan, but presumably against North Korea.
multinational naval and air surveillance missions out of Singapore,
air surveillance is now an act of war? What else.
investigators poring over the books of dubious banks
Oh I see, reading books is now an act of war. Is it only if they are reading the books of dubious banks? What if they are looking at books of a legitimate bank, or perhaps reading a new novel that has just come out?
in the former Portuguese colony of Macau and a fleet of planes and ships eavesdropping on the “hermit kingdom” in the waters north of Japan


Sunday, July 09, 2006

Gays at Globe told to marry or lose benefits

BostonHerald Memo to Boston Globe gay and lesbian Guild employees: Get married or lose your domestic partner benefits. Globe staffers have been told that health and dental benefits for gay employees’ domestic partners are being discontinued.

They will probably claim they are being discriminated against, but it is not true, because the Globe does not extend benefits to unmarried hetrosexual couples.
Gay couples who want to keep their benefits must marry by Jan. 1....
So if you are living in sin.....
Benefits for domestic partners were originally offered to gay employees because they couldn’t legally marry, said Ilene Robinson Sunshine, a lawyer at Sullivan & Worcester. Now that gay marriage is legal in Massachusetts companies that offer benefits to gay employees’ partners risk hearing cries of discrimination from unmarried straight couples. Such concerns played a role in the policy change at the Globe, said Steve Behenna, the newspaper’s compensation and benefits director. The Globe does not extend benefits to live-in partners of its heterosexual employees. Like many companies, it offered benefits to partners of gay employees because marriage was not an option for them. Now that gay marriage is an option in Massachusetts, Behenna said the paper could be more susceptible to claims of discrimination.Paul Holtzman, an attorney specializing in employment law at Krokidas & Bluestein, said you can expect more local companies to change their policies.


No offence, imam, but we must call it Islamic terror

Michael Portillo wrote in Times Online Muslim complaints about being victimised are perversely directed. Muslims are victims of the bombers, not of the state or the police. It is the terrorists who make Muslims potential objects of suspicion and fear because the bombers murder in the name of Islam. Muslims have every right to be outraged, but their fury should focus on the men of violence.

Absolutely. And it is not us that are pointing out they are Muslims, They identify themselves as Muslim, and they say the Quran tells them to do what they do. If moderate Muslims do not feel the terrorists are acting in an Islamic way, they should say so, and as loudly as the Islamoterrorists cry out, and if they believe they are acting against the instructions in the Quran they should say so, and provide a counter examplle when the Islamoterrorists quote the Quran.
The police action in Forest Gate was cack-handed and the shooting of one of the “suspects” was indefensible. But given the profile of the terrorists, Muslims are bound to be more affected. By analogy, when police are looking for a rapist they interview males without anyone believing them to be institutional men haters.
And if someone says their car was stolen by someone of a particular color, they will stop cars with that make, driven by people of that color, without being racist.
There are those who in the interests of community relations denounce linking the word Islamic to “violence” or “extremism”. They object that we did not call the IRA “Catholic terrorists”, nor do we speak of “Christian extremism” or link Christian fundamentalism to violence. There are good reasons for that. Although the IRA is rooted in the Catholic community, its aims are political and secular. Although there certainly are Christian extremists today, just now they are not murdering people in the name of purifying the world. By contrast, across the globe human beings are being slaughtered in large numbers by Muslims quoting from the Koran and vowing death to infidels, including other Muslim sects. Their objectives are political and religious.
And the religion they are hijacking is Islam, so it is up to real Muslims to challenge them anytime they say they are acting as Allah would have them act.
So to try to condemn the expression “Islamic violence” is a dangerous attempt at censorship that would hamper our understanding of the threat we face. The term is certainly offensive to Muslims, but the offence is caused by the bombers, not by those who describe the process.

Last week Tony Blair caused a furore by calling on Muslims to do more to control, denounce or deliver up the men who preach and practise violence. Some Muslim spokesmen said that was a divisive remark that stigmatised Muslims instead of recognising that the problem was one for British society as a whole. The prime minister’s exhortation was valid. The bombers are not casualties of British society. Shehzad Tanweer, the Aldgate murderer, was only 22 yet left £121,000 after tax. The bombers’ grievances cannot be bought off with more money for schools or a new youth centre. They were corrupted, I assume, by theoreticians of annihilation from within their community. Their training was probably perfected in an Al-Qaeda camp in Pakistan.

Wisbang blogged Airport screeners are told to search airline passengers randomly. As a result, our screeners waste their time searching four year old children and 83 year old grandmothers instead of being purposeful and searching those who fit the terrorist profile. Yes, the terrorists my try to recruit members who are outside the profile to blow themselves up and kill innocents in the name of Islam, but the argument that these recruits could be children and grandmothers is pretty weak.... As Mr. Portillo points out, many Britons disapprove of Prime Minister Blair's Iraq and Afghanistan policies, but it is only the Muslim extremists who are blowing themselves up in subways and on busses.


Why The Left Hates Lieberman

Cenk Uygur writes in The Huffington Post I am constantly amazed by how uninformed people are when their job is to inform others. Every press article or editorial I've seen on the Lieberman issue completely misses the point. We are not against Joe Lieberman because we are leftists who require ideological purity. We are against him because he aids and abets an out of control Republican Party.

He ignores the left wing anti war bloggers who want us to get out of Iraq immediately, regardless of what it will do to Iraq, and the threat that an unstable Iraq will pose to everyone.
I have been a centrist all my life and I was a Republican until five years ago. Lieberman doesn't offend my non-existent leftist ideology. So why would a centrist be so angry with a senator who claims to be a centrist and tries to find common ground between the two parties?
News Flash. That is what a centrist does.
Because the Republicans today are so far to the right that going over to their side is abandoning centrists in favor of siding with right wing zealots.
And you think he should side with the left wing zealots. That is not being a centrist. A true centrist would try to join forces with moderate Democrats (if there are any left) and moderate Republicans, and seek common ground.
He knows. Lieberman knows that these are the same guys who have been unabashedly using 9/11 as a political tool. He knows these are the same guys who linked Iraq and 9/11 when there was absolutely no connection.
At least that is what it says on your talking points.
He knows they campaign against gays, immigrants and anyone else they can focus people's hatred on.
There go those talking points again.
He knows they have devolved into a party of misinformation, propaganda, ill-conceived wars and religious zealotry -- and he still loves them.
And you think he should go with a party of misinformation, propaganda, ill-concieved withdrawal policies, and anti-religious zealotry.
He doesn't just vote with Republicans, he relishes it. He talks like them, he walks like them,
How does a Republican walk?
he is them. It's not the Iraq War vote people care about nearly as much as when he said, "It is time for Democrats who distrust President Bush to acknowledge that he will be commander-in-chief for three more critical years,
Do you have reason to believe that he will not be President till the end of his term, and if so would you mind explaining your thoughts to the Secret Service?
and that in matters of war we undermine Presidential credibility at our nation's peril." That's going out of your way to support not just their ideology and their war, but to support their demagoguery. It's ugly and it reeks. We get plenty enough of that from Republicans, we don't need any of that from so-called Democrats. That above quote is symbolic of Joe's whole state of mind. He'll go to any length to support this war and this administration. He didn't get roped in, he wasn't tricked, he was a willing participant.
He supports the war, but he has opposed many other Republican proposals.
It's very frustrating to see some Democratic politicians buy into Republican framing of the issues. But Lieberman is different. He isn't just buying Republican talking points, he's selling them.
He knows the Republicans have the White House and a majority in both houses of Congress, and if he is to have any opportunity to get his ideas heard, he knows he must reach out to them.
He shares an ideology, a mind-set and a worldview that sets him apart from the rest of us,
Yes, he wants to get things done, rather than just crying about how mean the Republicans are for not letting you control everything.
the reality-based community.
As viewed from your state of mind.
He isn't coerced or intimated by the Republicans like some of the other Democrats. He is part of the apparatus of coercion and intimidation.


Joking Muslim cleric mocks victims of London blasts

Sunday Times reported A speech by an extremist Muslim cleric praising the London bombers and mocking victims of suicide attacks has been broadcast on the internet to coincide with the anniversary of the July 7 attacks.

Britain will not eject these extremist clerics for preaching hate. Will this tick them off, and will they finally take action?
The audience laughs as Omar Brooks, a British Muslim convert who also uses the name Abu Izzadeen, makes fun of non-Muslims as “animals” and “cowards”.
The Islamoterrorists are the cowards, because they refuse to meet their enemy's soldiers on the battlefield, but rather blow up innocent civilians.
Brooks — who has previously described the London bombers as “completely praiseworthy” — identifies with the views of Mohammad Sidique Khan, the ringleader of the London attacks. He contrasts the supposed bravery of Khan’s suicide to the “kuffar” (non-Muslims) who are characterised as debauched binge-drinkers who vomit and urinate in the street.
I don't really care for either, but I would rather see a binge-drinker vomit and urinate in the street than a suicide bomber that blows up innocent civilians.
The speech is peppered with jokes that bring laughter from his audience at the Small Heath youth and community centre in Birmingham, where it was filmed last Sunday. At one point he announces dramatically that the September 11 attacks on the World Trade Center “changed many people’s lives”. After a pause, he brings the house down by adding: “Especially those inside.”
It really did change everything, because for a few years both Republicans and Democrats were patriotic and supported the military.