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Saturday, August 03, 2002
Now, as to Hraka's (aka Sid Stafford) response to my comment on his post:

SH aka SS says, "Well, most of [the people who are going to take up arms in order to qualify for the program] are going to get caught. Certainly most of the Palestinians do. In any case, they must not only escape Justice, they've got to create a conflagration that burns the US, as this one has. It's not right, but it's the way of the world."

A. I hope that most of the Palestinians who are conducting the terror campaign in Israel are getting caught, but I don't know that to be a fact. Certainly the grunts who actually conduct the attacks are getting caught. What about the leaders and planners and financers and bombmakers and such? Certainly Yasser Isaliar is still walking around.

B. We are talking about an incentive to avoid taking up arms. How many of those who actually take up arms think that they will get caught? And if they do think that they will get caught, are they still rational if they nonetheless persist in taking up arms? And if they are not rational, no incentive is going to have the desired effect on them.

C. Granted that the Middle East has a unique economic and strategic importance to the US because it is floating on a sea of oil, and therefore the conflagration there can burn the US. However, as the recent threat of nuclear war on the Indian subcontinent showed, the Kashmir conflict could have a similar result, in that it could cause the fall of the secular Pakistani government (along with control of nuclear weapons) in favor of an Islamo-fascist regime. I am sure that the Blogosphere can come up with more examples of local conflicts having an effect in the US.

He also says, "There's no incentive for us to do anything ten [subsequently changed to twenty --CG] years after they've finally calmed down over there."

Except keep our word, which I think is important.

Silflay Hraka (who turns out not to be named Silflay Hraka ... Doh!) read my comment on his Palestinian Green Card proposal, emailed me to say thank you and was kind enough to link to the post below and comment re same (on which, more later).

So I read some of his blog and found a link to this.

Question: What do the Christians who control Christianity's most holy site do when they can't get along?

Why, call in the Jews to keep the peace, of course.

There must be a God. Who Else could have a sense of humor like that?

And don't miss the Money Dance.
Steyn. Read it, if only for the Songs for Splodin' Losers crack.
Via InstantMan:

Silflay Hraka says that simply punishing the Palestinians for being murderous assholes who revel in the wanton slaughter of innocents is insufficient. He says we should invite them here, subject to an applicant being disqualified for entry into the US if there is a Mossad file on him, as an incentive to behave in civilized manner. A metaphorical carrot. Hraka is not talking about dropping the negative incentives, just adding positive ones. To be fair, he clearly states that the Palestinians have crossed the line dividing the civilized from the barbaric. And he makes a valid point that it is literally impossible for all individual Palestinians to be bloodthirsty crazies bent on revenge.

Despite the obvious validity of that argument, my gut reaction was still NOT A CHANCE IN HELL, pal.

Hraka responded to various critics of his post here. Having read his responses, I still vehemently disagree with his proposal, as stated.

I think we and the rest of the world have every right to expect, and should demand, a minimum standard of civilized behavior from everyone. Everyone. No exceptions. I simply don't want to hear any crap about how this culture or that should be exempt from such an expectation or demand. We are talking minimum level, here, as in don't allow, much less encourage and facilitate, a fifteen year old to blow himself up in the hope of taking out as many people on the other side as possible, and don't have mass celebrations in the streets when someone actually does it. When I saw those pictures on LGF, I wanted to vomit.

That does not mean that the US (or anyone else) has to enforce that standard. But if it is reasonable to expect some minimum level of civilized behavior from everyone, then no one should be required to provide incentives for any group or individual to meet that minimum standard. Compliance with a minimum level of expectation should not be rewarded at all, much less rewarded with what the rest of the world regards as the brass ring: permanent US residence. Providing such an incentive will have the perverse result that groups with real or imagined grievances will engage in barbaric behavior so as to become "eligible" for the incentive.

However, there might be a way to modify Hraka's proposal so as to make it acceptable (to me, at least). Not just more acceptable. Acceptable.

The US would grant permanent visas to all Palestinians who do not have a Mossad file. The mere existence of the file would be sufficient to disqualify a person for the program. No arguments about what's in the file or whether it is true. (In this regard, I hope the Mossad is like the FBI, and keeps files on every possible threat and their grandmother. Just to be safe.) BUT, this special visa program would not come into being until the US President (whoever he or she is at the time) certifies, and both houses of Congress agree by a roll call vote of more than 60% in each chamber, that there has been zero political violence perpetrated in the name of or on behalf of the Palestinians for the preceding twenty years. Zero. None. Full disclosure: when the idea first occurred to me, I put down ten years in a comment on Hraka's site. Upon further reflection, I think twenty years is better. Each act of political violence restarts the 20 year clock. I don't care how many times or for what reasons Yasser Isaliar or anyone else condemns it.

That's an entire generation. If a whole generation of Palestinians can grow up without political violence, then I have no problem admitting them to the US en masse.

Oh, and maybe there should also be a requirement that no PA sponsored school uses the kind of antisemitic propaganda in their textbooks that they've been screwing up their kids with. What the hell. I'm pretty sure we rewrote the textbooks the Nazis were using.
Thursday, August 01, 2002
Can someone in Oregon please check on Moira Breen. She was last heard from more than a week ago, saying something about a keed.
To Glen Wishard: Get a blog.

Mr. Wishard posts a comment on Little Green Footballs in response to images of Palestinians celebrating the premeditated murder of students in the Frank Sinatra cafeteria:

When you consider the number of nations that profess some degree of "solidarity" with the Palestinians, and you consider the vast wealth commanded by those nations --- not to mention the largesse that the U.S. is prepared to dish out --- why don't these kids have some kind of future that includes a real education and reasonable economic opportunity?

Because they're TOOLS, that's why. The Lords of Jihad don't want happy, peaceful, well-fed Palestinians, they want dead ones --- as Arafat so helpfully put it: "Martyrs, martyrs, martyrs by the millions!"

So they drench them in hatred and hopelessness until they're old enough to sacrifice, in the sacred cause of murdering as many Jews as possible. What could be sadder than this? The fact that the safe and well-fed idiots of this world stand in utter awe of this disgusting process, as if it were the most noble and beautiful thing they ever beheld

I especially like the Lords of Jihad phrase.

Via Damian Penny.

I installed Site Meter. The icon is at the bottom of the page. Now I can tell if I am just talking to myself.
Tuesday, July 30, 2002
Confession time.

I made a deal. I have sold my soul. Actually, I mortgaged it.

I promised my daughter that if she got into a good college I would ...


Deep breath.

I promised my daughter that if she got into a good college I would (give me strength, give me money) buy her a horse.

Yes, archtypical northeastern skinflint wusses out. Bows to daughter's decade long desire. Call the Times.

I have been a good boy. I have paid and paid and paid for lessons. I have bought equipment to be used with horses I devoutly hoped I would never own. I have paid for several bouts of summer long horse camp (a very nice place in New Hampster, girls only, and if anyone wants a recommendation, I can give it). I have gone to show after show after show. I even went the City Slickers route and took the family to a dude ranch on vacation one year (a great time was had by all, to my vast surprise). I was the Billy Crystal character. OK, I can wait for you to stop laughing. And when my daughter announced (shortly after Man of Steel Christopher Reeve had his disastrous riding accident) that she was taking up three day eventing, I bit my tongue.

For those of you who presently labor in the ignorance I used to enjoy (and wished I still did), three day eventing involves dressage (technical and, to my unexpert eye, just about as undangerous as you can get when balancing precariously atop an eight hundred pound animal that you "control" with two thin pieces of leather held lightly in your hands) stadium jumping (just what it sounds like) and cross country. Stadium jumping is bad, but cross country was invented to scare the living bejeesus out of fathers. A course is set up consisting of obstacles over which the horse and rider must jump (fences, water jumps, cliffs ...) which obstacles are separated by varying distances. Horse and rider are judged based on completing the course (without going around or balking at any obstacles) within set time limits. It is not a speed competition, but you certainly cannot do it at a walk (MY kind of speed). In between the obstacles is no real problem for me. A canter is a canter is a canter, whether the trail on which you are cantering is in Central Park or Grand Canyon National Park. Well, alright, there is a difference, but at least plain old cantering does not involve anyone intentionally placing huge obstacles in your path for the express purpose of causing horse and rider to voluntarily lose contact with terra firma while proceeding forward at an entirely unreasonable speed. I attribute what grey hair I have entirely to cross country.

Tongue biting paid big dividends. Shortly after beginning to train for three day eventing, the daughter discovered a talent for dressage and fell in love with that aspect of horsemanship. Fortunately, whatever gods look after me and mine have arranged for there to be competitions solely in dressage. TTFN, cross country!

Where was I? Oh yes, THE DEAL. The daughter was spending more and more time at the farm and less and less time on her more pedestrian pursuits. Like homework. Before the grades slipped too much, I offered THE DEAL, which was accepted with alacrity. Naturally, THE DEAL was interpreted by my beloved offspring as requiring the immediate launch of a thorough (as in nationwide) search for the ideal equine purchase, more than 9 months before acceptance at any college. ("Dad, who cares if we have to ship the horse three thousand miles, he's perfect and he costs three cents less than the one down the road from our house!") And just as naturally, when skinflint (that would be me) pointed out that the deal required actual admission to an actually good actual college prior to the equine purchase, there was much wailing and rending of clothes. Well, some wailing, anyway, and no rending. Denim is so hard to rend. Missed opportunities! Lost training time! Goddamn lawyers and their goddamn deals.

And then, following lengthy debate about where to apply, came college applications. I leave other fathers to discover that particular joy themselves. It seemed so much easier when I did it in the early 70s. I have to wait more than 15 years to see what James Lileks has to say about it. The daughter was immediately accepted into her "safety school". Suffice it to say, it wasn't Harvard. I considered the safety school someplace to go if nowhere else would have you (in fact, I always thought that was why they called it a safety school). I didn't think that it qualified as the "good" school required by THE DEAL. Note to fathers who attempt the perilous act of bribing their offspring: Do not, ever under any circumstances, consider telling said offspring who have, at least facially, met the conditions of the bribe, that their surface compliance is insufficient to trigger payment of the bribe. I managed to temporize until more acceptances came in.

Although the daughter was certainly smart enough to recognize the stalling tactics, she was also smart enough to avoid going to war about it until it became necessary. And lo and behold, several of the acceptances were from "good" schools. Major sigh of relief (from both parties). Arguments concerning the goodness of the safety school avoided.

So now its time for me to pay up. I sent the wife and daughter to the school for orientation and while there, they located a reportedly gorgeous three year old (that's very young) mare with a delightful disposition. Vet inspection made and passed with flying colors. Even writing the check for the purchase price was not that hard. Of course, now that I (or more properly, the daughter) owns this beast, the expenses have only just begun. Feed, vet, stable, shoeing, equipment.

Stay tuned.

Mark Steyn may be on to something.

You can fly a jet at full speed into the bureaucratic mindset but it just bounces off, barely felt.

Now all we have to do is figure out how to turn the bureaucratic mindset into a building (or better yet, a tank).

Fritz Schrank has noted the (extremely effective) retaliation by the California Coastal Commission against Hollywood biggie David Geffen.
Sunday, July 28, 2002
This is so cool. I have a perma link on Damian Penny's site. My first. Thanks, Damian!
Damian Penny writes about report of a mob of Israeli settlers who, on their way home from a terrorist attack related funeral, attacked and killed several Palestinian civilians, including a little girl. Damian comments:

If this is true, not only is it an inexcusable atrocity, but it could also be a disturbing sign that Israelis are becoming less concerned about making any distinction between Palestinian militants and civilians. On the heels of last Monday's Gaza air strike, in which it appears the Israelis were at least wilfully blind about the presence of civilians in the area, this is the last thing the Israelis need right now. If this crazed mob deliberately targeted a little girl, they're no better than gunmen who invade Israeli "settler" homes and shoot children as they lie in bed.

First, I think Damian is wrong to lump together the actions of the Israeli military ( the Gaza airstrike) and the actions of a mob of Israeli civilians described in the report for the purpose of analyzing which way events are trending. Second, and probably more important, I think the actions of the Israeli settlers as described in the article, are understandable, if not justifiable.

I don't remember which blog I read this on, but the thought is not original with me:

A group that intentionally sends the message, "Anyone of us can and will kill anyone of you at any time" is a one with respect to which the only effective defense is genocide.

Does this justify a mob attack on a little girl? No. But...

Surely Israelis as a group have a right to defend themselves. And just as surely, they have the right to do so effectively. Defending themselves effectively means removing or neutralizing the threats posed by their enemies. I assume that less than all Palestinians desire the complete destruction of Israel. How much less than all is irrelevant. Israel's opponents refuse to remove themselves from that portion of their own population which is noncombatant. They refuse to physically differentiate themselves in any way from that same noncombatant population. By routinely murdering "collaborators" (sometimes literally in courtrooms in the midst of a trial), they cow members of that noncombatant population into keeping silent about the precise location of combatants within the noncombatant population. By publicly indoctrinating kindergarten age children in the propriety of violent opposition to Israel and the culture of antisemitism, and by sending teenagers and women on suicide bombing runs, they are quite literally threatening Israel with violence from every demographic segment of their population.

The portion of the Palestinian population which uses violence to oppose Israel's existence is deliberately issuing their threats in the name of all Palestinians, without significant or even noticeable opposition. They therefore appear to be saying to Israel, in essence, that to defend itself, it must kill, control or remove all Palestinians. Period. So it is understandable (to me at least) if Israelis are "becoming less concerned about making any distinction between Palestinian militants and civilians." Until Palestinians become more concerned with making that very distinction, it may not be possible (or reasonable, or safe) for Israelis to do so.

When every unremarkable Palestinian on the street can pose a mortal danger to any Israeli (rabbi, ambulance driver, soldier, settler, pizza-eating teenager, sleeping 5 year old, take your pick), how surprised or sympathetic can you be when unremarkable Palestinians are treated as threats?

That does not stop me from sympathizing with the family that may have lost a little girl. Nor does it stop me from being alarmed at the savagery of the conflict. It just stops me from sympathizing with the Palestinians, politically. This is a problem of their own making and one which they can very easily solve by "regularizing" their military forces and tactics. It would be a disaster, militarily, so they won't do it.

I think that the Palestinians have lost the military aspect of the conflict with Israel. They lost when they acknowledged that the only effective weapon they had was a human bomb. But until they recognize the military reality and switch to nonviolent means to oppose what they call the occupation, Palestinians will continue to suffer, militarily.

My (completely unwanted) advice to the Palestinians? Surrender now. After that, you have a chance to win. Until then, you don't. The Israelis are not like you. I do not believe that they will treat a military surrender as a sign of political weakness and go for the jugular.

As you can see, the links list is growing. It's not that these are new sites that I've found. I have been working on a different computer lately (without my favorites bookmarked) and I am adding people and sites as I remember them.
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