Well, this has been a festival of tantrums, has it not? What with ISIS/ISIL/Whatever is now huffing and puffing, threatening to blow our Christmas cottage down, and to execute President Trump and Benjamin Netanyahu. Might have some luck with some sub-normally-intelligent specimen of Muslim humanity with delusions of adequacy walking into a public place with a badly-constructed pipe-bomb, but looking on the most recent fearless lone-wolf jihadi warrior, who only managed to semi-eviscerate himself in trying to blow up … which reminds me, have the usual suspects begun winging on about the anti-Muslim backlash which, miraculously, never seems to descend? I’ve been sick as a dog all week with a seasonal cold, so it might have actually happened, and I never noticed. Meanwhile, the Palestinians and their fellow-traveler-symps in the Western world have declared another day of rage with regard to President Trump following through on the ever-so-tentative concept agreed upon by how many previous administrations – that the US embassy in Israel should be moved from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem.

Cue the day of pique, anger, rage, frenzy, furor, indignation, and bluster … any day which ends in ‘y’ will suit for the pathetic Palestinians, exploited by other Arab nations for seventy years. Look, Pallies, this is what happens when you and your badly-chosen Arab allies loose wars repeatedly, persistently and without fail pick the wrong side in a conflict, choose thuggish leaders who take the sweet, sweet internationally-donated lolly and stash it in a Swiss bank account… and then turn around and blame your self-inflicted woes on the nearest handy target. Nope, sorry – the well of sympathy in me towards the Poor Prosecuted Palestinians went dry sometime around 9/11, or possibly when in the depths of one or another of the intifadas – committing, enabling, excusing all sorts of terrorist atrocities – their spokes-feeb took a breath and whined that everyone in the West regarded the Pallies as terrorists. There is that concept concerning cause and effect, ya know. Gaza could have been a garden and beach-leisure spot, cheerfully raking in Israeli tourist dollars over the last seventy years, but no … better to marinate in poisonous resentment. Again – this is what happens when you a) pick bad allies, b) lose wars, and c) blame everyone else but yourselves.

Meanwhile, the Pervnado churns on and on and on, with the latest accused MCP being Russell Simmons. Has any powerful male figure in the national news media, music, the movies, or any other establishment not been a complete pig when it comes to conduct, professional or otherwise with women; women he worked with, interviewed, or who had careers which they hoped he would enable through being nice to him, or at least not slapping him into the next county for demanding sexual services? Boundaries, ladies and gentlemen – are nice things to have, loudly to publicize and faithfully to observe. Note that no one has been snickering at VP Mike Pence lately, for being a woman-hating prude, in never yet being alone with a woman not his wife.

And finally, kudos to Sarah Huckabee Saunders, she of the thankless job of daily wrangling the White House press corps – a body which for the most part increasingly resembles a class of bitchy middle-school mean girls, with her as their homeroom teacher. Looks like a darned nice pecan pie too. A note to April Ryan, and Rosie O’Donnell, too – a pecan pie is not that hard to make, even if you make the crust from scratch.

(Note: A Fifth of Luna City is now up in both paperback and Kindle ebook. Lone Star Glory is, as of yet, only available in Kindle – the paperback version won’t be up until around the end of the year.)

Paid work is piling up, and neither myself, my creditors or my employers were raptured on Saturday, so . . . hey, buckle down to it and provide that good bloggy ice cream. Top o’ Sgt. Mom’s list of stuff to blog about – the discovery that the Pima County Sheriffs department is about as good at doing no-knock SWAT raids on ordinary citizens as they are when it comes to protecting local politicians doing a meet’n’greet with constituents from an obvious and frequently offending nutcase like Jared Loughner. Which is to say – not very good at all, which accounts for the stonewalling from Sheriff Dupnik’s department. SWAT . . . I’ve always been told it was an acronym for Special Weapons And Tactics. It this case “Special” is more like “Special Ed.” The fact that all this went down early in May and two weeks later, there is nothing much about what the SWAT team was after, or found in the Guerena house only reinforces my suspicion that they had the wrong damn address. It’s not the crime, Sheriff Dupnik – it’s the cover-up.

On a cheerier note, the gourmet foodie suppliers Harry and David are encouraging customers to donate quantities of their Moose Munch chocolate bars to the troops – more here. Note that if you go to the linked Facebook page, they will provide another Moose Munch bar for every ‘favoriting’ of that page. I like Harry and David, by the way. Their fruit basket assortments are to die for.

In a satirical response to President Obama’s speech demanding that Israel return to its’ 1967 borders – Benjamin Netanyahu demanded that the United States return to it’s 1847 borders. The sarcasm, it burns. Finally, courtesy of Weasel Zippers – pictorial comparison of the commando and the hipster – comment is superfluous.

You know, being that I am a lady of certain age, and since I will freely admit – that in the full bloom of youth I was really nothing to launch a thousand ships over, and being presently quite grateful for any kindly camera angle and trick of fortunate lighting which does not make me look like my Dad in drag – I really have felt kinda queasy about making fun of Helen Thomas, the doyenne and senior-most reporter of that bit of preciousosity known as the White House Press Corps. Age has not been kind to her – it has been quite brutally and infamously unkind, but I really never felt a need to add to the mockery … well, until now.

Ma’am, I am given to say now that this video clip shows as ugly an interior as an exterior – and that is an exterior which resembles Jabba the Hut with lipstick. From now on I live in hope that this performance will see you exiled from the White House Press Room … but I really am not holding my breath. Have a nice day … you ugly, ugly bigot.

You know, this morning when I read about the Gaza-Blockade-Runners’ shoot-out – I kept thinking that this may be Israel’s “Let it all be done” moment … and thinking of the moment in the 1998 movie “Elizabeth” when Elizabeth I said exactly that. It’s at about 8:00 in the clip…

Was this Israel’s -nothing to loose, so might as well act and let the stuff fall where it does – decision? Discuss in comments.

Oh, man – there are some people who just cannot take being laughed at, as richly as they deserve it. Kudos for Sacha Baron Cohen, for having a brass pair … tastefully trimmed with some fashionable and expensive designer-something-or-other, I am sure.

A send-up from Israel’s answer to “Saturday Night Live”, on BBC coverage of the current situation in Gaza

Link: the BBC coverage of Gaza - with subtitles

Found by degrees through Rantburg and Hot Air. Enjoy – it’s subtitled, which puts almost everyone in on the joke. Look, haven’t I been saying we ought to make fun of these guys … and this one makes fun of the Palestinians as well.

To: Our Friends in Palestine – Specifically in Gaza (and all their good buds in Mainstream Media)

From: Sgt Mom

Re: Why I Don’t Give a Rat’s Ass

1. I really don’t – having written about it several times before and most memorably here.

2. Really, if there is an aggrieved party anywhere else in the world who had a more legitimate grievance, a larger fund of donations in the form of coin, sympathy and goodwill and yet still managed to alienate, annoy, and piss away any residual body of good-will and sympathy (save of those mush-brained lefty luvvies exemplified by idiots like Rachael Corrie and her fellow tools in various so-called solidarity orgs)… well, it’s just hard to come up with any other religious/national/ethnic group who has managed to equal the record of your illustrious selves. I’d like to hear about them. Seriously, I would. The world record for political Darwinism is in contention here

3. And yet you still manage to blame plight on the Eternal Juice, and their infernal allies in the media… which is really sweet, since most of those media whores (to include the BBC and our very own terror-symps, NPR – not for nothing is it bitterly said that it stands for National Palestinian Radio) – they all still take your calls, choke down your spittle-flecked rants, and manage heroically never to mention all the rockets sent towards Southern Israel over the last few years. 6,000 is the last figure that I read – no thanks to NPR for this interesting tidbit.

4. So, my dear little Gaza chickadees – It has all to do with consequences. Having sent all those indiscriminately-aimed rockets in the general direction of those feelthy Juice, dressed your little children up in suicide bomber costumes, and fed them all sorts of Jew-hatred from the very cradle, sent your older children out to throw stones, and your young men and women to blowup restaurants, public buses and hospital emergency rooms, generated a tidal-spew of misinformation, disinformation and outright lies, and given every evidence of welcoming a good fight… well, now you have one.

5. It might seem also that although your allies in mainstream media are doing their usual heroic work in passing on every scrap of the disinformation and lies noted in item 4, it doesn’t seem to be going down quite as well as previous. Too much of the audience maintain vivid recall of incidents like the Jenin massacre that wasn’t, the al-Dura fraud, Green Helmet guy, and divers others. It’s pretty much taken as a given that any local stringers reporting for the news services are shills for one or another Paleo-faction.

6. So there you go – scream, rant and rave all you like, play the victim card and whine for intervention and rescue 24-7 . I don’t care. You provoked a fight; if the IDF air and ground forces are now having a contest to see how high they can make the rubble jump – it’s no skin off mine.

7. Frankly, if it had been a group of Mexican narco-traffickers planted just over the border from San Diego or Yuma, launching large numbers of rockets in a northerly direction, I can pretty well guarantee that the US wouldn’t have put up with it for more than a couple of months.

Sincerely,
Sgt Mom

PS – I am now waiting for a Jenin-like ‘ultimate atrocity story’ to surface, thanks to your apparently-farcical dramatic abilities, but which turn out to be strangely convincing to the gullible international media.

Of all of the manufactured news events* of the last couple of years the Koran flushing story, the so-called Jenin massacre, the adventures of Green-Helmet Guy and his penchant for playing with dead children, 60 Minutes and Dan Rathers amazing faked TANG memos – the Al-Dura hoax sets a number of awful records, besides being about the first of them all. Jenin was debunked within a couple of weeks, ditto for Green-Helmet Guy, and about the only casualty for Dan Rathers adventure with copies of old files was his own credibility. The Koran-flushing story sent the Moslem world screeching like a cage full of howler monkeys, even though no one could explain how on earth a solid book could be flushed all the way down past the u-bend anyway.

The Al-Dura story that stands by itself for a couple of reasons, not least because of the very horror of the event that it presented; a frightened, cowering child, killed by Israeli troops right in front of the news cameras. A horrible event, as presented but what was even more horrible was the speed with which the image and the event became an icon and how unquestioningly it was accepted at face value across the Moslem and the western world as well. The Al-Dura story also killed people, quite a lot of them, starting with the two lost Israeli reservists who were murdered and torn apart by a Palestinian mob within two weeks of its incendiary broadcast.

Of course it had happened, right in front of the television cameras couldnt you believe your own eyes? But as it eventually developed, maybe you couldnt. Compare all the other video footage shot that day, of Palestinian mobs trying to provoke a reaction from Israeli solders at the Netzarim junction, while dozens of news cameras rolled, to the final edited version of the apotheosis of the littlest Paleo-martyr which no apparently no one saw fit to do until months and years afterwards. If anything, the whole appalling story is proof of the axiom that a lie can go halfway around the world while the truth is still putting its boots on.

To me, the worst thing about matters like the al-Dura affair, and the TANG memo was how eagerly a thin story and staged footage were initially embraced as a representative of a gospel truth by reporters and news establishments that we had come to expect better of. Never attribute to malice what can be adequately explained by stupidity doesnt even begin to excuse actions like that. I dont know which is worse that our national and international media overlords would be so stupid as to swallow stuff like that listed in my opening graf whole, or so venial, malicious and arrogant as to cooperate in perpetuating a blood-libel, fully knowing the basis for their story was manufactured.

I do know that increasingly the credibility of the traditional news media has been pissed away over the last half-decade, now that we have the ability through the internet to follow-up on stories like this, that once would have been relegated to the newspaper morgue and to history books written decades after events. Progress in that, I suppose. Tn the popular mind, the half-life of a libel like the al-Dura hoax is probably right up there with that of plutonium, and President Bush’s famous plastic turkey and several times more harmful.

Its a rhetorical question, to which the answer is probably straight down the same old drain that it has been circling for thirty years and which have become even more circumscribed since the latest intifada and the election of an even more unsavory lot of gangsters than Yassir Arafat if that were &&$#@ing possible and why the &$##@ does anyone still care? I certainly dont, except for a lingering bit of curiosity about how long until oh, but Ill get to that.

Now the whole of Gaza looks like a sandy and surrealistic version of Escape from New York, combined with one of those nature films which have quantities of rats or scorpions or something equally unattractive, all crammed together at the bottom of a pit, or in a wire cage and either frantically clawing/stinging each other to death and trying to escape, while the dispassionate camera stands above the tangle, and watches.

Watching dispassionately is about all that is left for all but the die-hard pro-Palestinian adherent to do. The rest of us have becoming increasingly disabused of our illusions and our natural sympathies. Fifty years of sucking on the international charity teat, and being waved as a bloody shirt every time someone gets a little narked at Israel, or the Jewish community, or the US, or whatever the middle-east cause du jour is. Thirty years of murdering Americans, culminating by rejoicing in the streets after 9/11. The unstoppable torrent of lies, sickening violence, whining self-justification, of children dressed up in little bomb vests, of honor killings and mob killings and plain old killings. Of hijackings and assassinations, and the desecration of Christian holy sites. The corruption of international agencies tasked with responsibility for looking after three, or is it four generations of those who backed the wrong side in a war they thought they might win, the perversion of the news agencies who are supposed to do more than shill for one side, and of intellectuals who have rather more invested in striking a pose in an artfully draped kaffiyeh

Nope, every shred of sympathy I ever had for the poor, pitiful Palestinians dissolved about two years ago. In the words of a tee-shirt I used to have, I used to be disgusted. Now Im only amused. And not even very much amused, since there is really only thing I have left to wonder about in this regard. And that would be, how soon the usual media shills, international charity busy-bodies and intellectual frauds will start prancing around, telling us how sorry we have to be for the Palestinians and demanding that we do something. Oh, yeah, and I wonder if it will have any effect this time around, outside the very small circle of media shills, international charity busy-bodies and intellectual frauds. Even Jimmy Carter must be getting fed up.

In answer to those impassioned pleas, I will do something, of course. I will go and make more popcorn.

This essay linked last week via Instapundit, and PJ Media, and no doubt others.
I anticipate the usual anti-nuclear war concerns to be out there in the streets protesting away, with paper-mache puppet heads and signs and all.

Not.

Ive been following the AP-Captain Jamail Hussein-Sock-Puppet imbroglio with somewhat less than my usual vicious interest in the follies of the MSM for two reasons: one, Im distracted by the entrancements of the 19th century, and two, Ive been pounding on this over the last two or three years, and Im really, really tired of repeating myself.

Its become pretty damned clear to us news junkies that depending on local stringers in certain areas of conflict, unrest or just generally feelings of bad karma was a shaky construction for a news entity who still wished to maintain some pretension of impartiality. The list of news-producing areas— those places which generate an inordinate number of headlines and passionate concern — where the crystalline flow of pure information has been tainted by the sewage of partisan interest has always been long. In my youth it included practically every news organization behind the Iron or Bamboo curtain; of course, the news bureau of a Communist state was slanting, censoring, bending folding and mutilating the news, and you were an idiot or a college professor of the Marxist bent if you didnt know it and apply salt to taste.

Add to that now any coverage of the Gaza Strip and the West Bank, southern Lebanon, Iraq and Iran, and hefty chunks of the Middle East by entities like Reuters, AP, CNN, France 2, the BBC, 60 Minutes. Well, you get the idea. There isnt a chunk of salt big enough to take away the taste of krep when partisan journalism masquerades as impartial newsgathering.

And what is the reaction of formerly trustworthy purveyors of news, upon having been repeatedly busted for falsifying pictures, for use of incompetently faked documents, staged footage and outright lies, pissing away decades or more of accumulated credibility? Oddly enough, it appears to follow a progression rather like the five stages of grief: denial, followed by anger, followed by bargaining, depression and finally acceptance.

AP, as an aggregate news distributor has the most to lose when busted for credibility. It is not just one channel, or one reporter, like CNN or the egregious Dan Rather, but it feeds stories to newspapers world wide. Its an authoritative higher power, kind of like the Pope. To have thousands of readers across the US open their various daily papers, see a story from Whereverthehellistan credited to the AP, and to realize that all of them are thinking, derisively Whotta load! and turning the page must be a bitter pill indeed for APs management. Hence the denial and the anger directed at those pesky bloggers who raised questions about the APs Baghdad Sock-puppet othe Month, Captain Jamail Hussein. After all, we might start wondering about how many other sock-puppet sources feature other AP stories or how many featured in the past.

Anyone else see APs credibility and profitability , flaming up and collapsing in ruin like a journalistic Hindenburg, if readers begin putting the AP brand on par with those supermarket tabs that always have stories about alien abductions, monkey-human babies and antique airplanes on the moon?

Give Reuters credit, at least their management zipped through the cycle to acceptance, in pulling suspect pictures from their archives. They can see the writing on the wall clear enough, and what they will loose by no longer being credible. But Dan Rather is still stuck in the bargaining phase, and it looks like AP is mining rich veins of denial.

I love the smell of desperation in the morning. It smells like victory. Or maybe its just those weird pine-scented aromatherapy candles my daughter insists on burning.

Does anyone know how many Missiles/Rockets Hezbollah has fired into Israel to date?

The last count I saw was 2200 but that was earlier in the week.

Kind of blunts that whole “dispraportionate response” thing, huh?

After reading and watching some of the news today, let me see if I’ve got this straight:

After decades of cycles of being attacked, retaliating, told to quit winning, which allows their enemies to resupply and recruit new members and begin the cycle all over again, the rest of the world, including the Vatican, is pissed off because Israel isn’t fighting fair?

And Lebanon, who hasn’t lifted a finger to get the terrorists out of their own country, is bitching about Israel doing the job that they refuse to do, and is threatening to join the terrorists in repelling Israel should they come in to finish the job that they wouldn’t do?

Do I have that just about right?

Sometimes I’ve very proud to be an American and extremely proud of the fact that we seem to be the only country on the planet that’s on Israel’s side.

I’m curious…does that assume that the rest of the world is okay with Israel’s destruction? After a day like today, I have to wonder.

…and while I’m thinking about it, does this point of view make me a Republican, or just an asshole?

I suppose a lot of midnight oil is being burned, in the Manchester Guardian editorial offices, at the UN and other various Euro-Transnational entities, the various offices of CAIR, and departments of Middle East Studies at universities everywhere, where the denizens thereof are trying to figure out and explain just why the general run of Americans— despite every inducement; intellectual, political and economic— continue in their stubborn, sentimental and persistent attachment to the State of Israel, and ensuring it’s continuing, if perilous existence. (Hey, wow! Totally complicated sentence— do I get any prize for this from the 19th Century literary appreciation wonks? No? OK, then, on with the explanation.).

I think there are a great many reasons for this; chief among them being that Jews have been part of the American scene, and more or less integrated into the great nation-building adventure since Colonial times. There has always been— depending on the time, place and social caste— a certain degree of social anti-Semitism, but generally achieving nothing like the degree of virulence it takes to achieve a pogrom, a Dreyfus Affair or a Holocaust. Congress making no law respecting a particular religion left us in the habit of seeing ones’ particular religious beliefs as a personal one, however outre they might be. Frankly, more political outrage and general suspicion was expended on Catholics— Popery! The Bishop of Rome! The Whore of Babylon! — at the time of the great Irish migrations in the mid-19th century. It was pretty difficult to work up much alarm about off-standard religious beliefs when Jews were compared against groups like the Shakers (no sex, communal living, workshops and free enterprise!) and the Mormons (plural marriages, communal living, free enterprise and separation!) and a whole other range of non-standard and extremely creative social and religious communes. All our base impulses leading towards rioting, lynching and intermittent attempts at genocide were pretty much focused during the 19th century on parties other than those of the Jewish persuasion; towards blacks, Hispanics, Mormons, and Native Americans, mostly. From reading various 19th century American writers, one gets the general impression that they knew of anti-Semitism, but didn’t quite grasp what all the fuss was about and relegated it to the intellectual back burner. Some time ago I had read of a famous American literary personality — I believe it was General Lew Wallace (the author of “Ben Hur”) who was asked what he felt about Jews, and he replied in all seriousness (IIRC) that Jesus had been born a Jew, and for him that pretty much settled the matter.
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Things are happening so fast in and around Israel, it’s hard to get a handle on what’s happening. I mean just a couple weeks ago it was Hamas kidnapping Israeli soldiers out of Gaza and now we’ve got Hezbollah kidnapping Israeli soldiers and lobbing rockets across the border from Lebanon. It’s hard to know the players without a program.

And as I surf around the news sites this morning, I see calls for the West (translation, The United States) to step in and do something before Israel kills any more civillians or destroys more Lebanese infrastructure. Shakes my head a couple of times and gives it a biff with my hand. Come again?

What is happening in the Mid-East is proof that trust in the West will never help Muslims. –Some Guy named Hosan in Egypt quoted on the BBC Web Page.

Hosan, no offense Bro, but I would counter that what’s happening in the Mid-East is proof that trust of Fundamentalist Islam will never help Muslims.

There wasn’t enough crap going on in that part of the world, no, Iran and Syria decided that Hamas had a good idea and kicked it up a notch by getting Hezbollah involved and attacking from Lebanon. Now Iran and Syria get to giggle like the little instigators they are and wring their hands as they watch Lebanon destabilize, and Israel take shit, once again, for defending itself.

If the Muslim world doesn’t want any more innocents dying then they’re looking to the wrong country to help them out. It’s time, once and for all, that the Muslim world take responsibility for their more psychotic members and throw a choke chain on them. You want help from the U.S. in calming down Israel? Fine. You calm down Iran and Syria and maybe we can talk about it.

I once had a call from base housing in Hawaii asking me if I could calm down my wife over a particularly stupid circumstance that they had created. I told them, “Absolutely not.” He asked why? I told him, “Because I didn’t piss her off, you did.” And that’s the way I feel about Israel. We didn’t piss them off, it’s not our responsibility to calm them down.

Here we are then, with things happening too fast and close together to keep track, and the definite feeling that all most participants can do is tighten grip and hope to hold fast, as events gallop towards an abyss. Hezbollah picking a fight with Israel, and Iran holding their coat, and f**k all the UN or any other internationally based busybodies will ever be able to do. I was resoundingly chided by some of our international commenters last month for voicing my personal and inchoate feelings of dread I am drinking some cheap Chablis this evening, and I do not feel any better than I did when I wrote this.Events and portents appear, flashing like lightning in one of our summer Texas thunderstorms, finally occurring so frequently that the sky is continuously lit with an eerie blue-white light”
See, heres an analogy about co-incident and co-dependent states who have a certain history; its not a perfect analogy because theres only a few features that the Independent Entity of The Gaza Strip has in common with Mexico; a lot of acrimonious and co-dependent history, and a lot of back-and-forth familiarity. Sort of like a lot of countries in Europe, come to think on it in my nave American way.
Suppose, just suppose that — just by way of example, a group of Mexican narco-traffickers (who are a powerful influence in the borderlands, and perhaps not entirely de-linked from the official Mexican establishment, such as it is) decided to pop across the border— after months of lobbing a lot of indiscriminate and indifferently aimed rockets— say into Brownsville and Laredo, or El Paso and Yuma, where they had succeeded in doing nothing much except make local residents extremely nervous about loud noises, and extraordinarily prompt about hitting the deck— and snatched a couple of soldiers from Ft. Huachuca. Suppose they took them back over the border, and demanded that the federal government immediately free any Mexican nationals held by the various American law authorities. Imagine how that would go over?! And just to extend that simile— how would it go over, if Basque separatists in Spain did the same to soldiers of France? Or any other irredentist European community to a neighboring state and consider that all any other such group would have do thereafter to extract concessions would be to go on a brief cross-border shopping trip for human capital.

No, d’huh. I do not have a good feeling about this.

The eastern world it tis explodin’,
violence flarin’, bullets loadin’,
you’re old enough to kill but not for votin’,
you don’t believe in war, what’s that gun you’re totin’,
and even the Jordan river has bodies floatin’,
but you tell me over and over and over again my friend,
ah, you don’t believe we’re on the eve of destruction.

Don’t you understand, what I’m trying to say?
Can’t you see the fear that I’m feeling today?
If the button is pushed, there’s no running away,
There’ll be no-one to save with the world in a grave,
take a look around you, boy, it’s bound to scare you, boy,
but you tell me over and over and over again my friend,
ah, you don’t believe we’re on the eve of destruction.

Barry McGuire “Eve of Destruction”

So, one of NPRs news shows had another story, banging on (yet again) about the plight of the poor, pitiful, persecuted Palestinians, now that the money tap looks to be severely constricted; no money, no jobs, no mama no papa no Uncle Sam, yadda, yadda yadda. (Its sort of like an insistent parent insisting that a stubborn child eat a helping of fried liver and onions, with a lovely side helping of filboid sludge. You will feel sorry for these people, the international press, a certain segment of the intellectual and political elite insist— you must! You simply must! Its good for you!) I briefly felt a pang, but upon brief consideration, I wrote it off to the effect of the green salsa on a breakfast taco from a divey little place along the Austin Highway. (Lovely tacos, by the way, and the green salsa is nuclear fission in a plastic cup. Name of Divey Little Place available upon request, but really, you cant miss it. Its painted two shades of orange, with navy blue trim.)

It may have been a pang of regret, barely perceptible, for the nice, sympathetic person I used to be. I used to feel sorry for the Palestinians, in a distant sort of way, the same way I feel about the Tibetans, and the Armenians, and the Kurds, and the Chechens (well, once upon a time, say before the Beslan school atrocity) and the poor starving Biafrans and Somalis, and whoever the international press was holding the current pity party for. Really, I used to be a nice person. I really did feel kindly, and well-disposed to those parties, and I wished them well, since all of them (and more) being victims of historical misfortune.

My appreciation of Palestinian misfortune didnt diminish the way I felt about the state of Israel, particularly— like I should jettison my preferential feelings for the only state in the middle east with more than a cosmetic resemblance to a fully functioning democracy, the only one with a free press, the one hacked out and fought for by survivors of the 20th centurys most horrific genocide? Oh please. Yes, there are things to criticize Israel but it exists, it has a right to exist, dont google-bomb me with comments to the contrary, Ill delete them without a second thought. The right to ride a bus or cross a street or go to a grocery store or a pizza restaurant without running an excellent chance of being perforated by bits of scrap metal and nails coated with rat poison is one of those non-negotiable things.

And no, that really is one of those non-negotiable and bottom-line demands; right up there with being able to go to work on a sunny September morning, without having to make an unenviable choice between jumping from the 102nd floor or burning to death. Or being able to take your kid to school on the first day of the new term without being taken hostage, and having to watch your kid drinking their own pee in 100 degree temperatures. After a certain point has been reached, I really dont give a rodents patoot about the righteousness and worthiness of your cause, or how much you have been persecuted and for how many centuries, blah, blah, blah. And no, I dont want to argue about American hegemony, sponsored terrorism, or responsibility for x deaths in fill-in-the-blank-here because of our nasty/bad/counterproductive/policies here, there or wherever. Pay attention; the topic is me, my personal feelings and I, and that charming little body of international residents upon the world stage who describe themselves as Palestinian.
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Reynolds and Yourish both want everyone to read this:

Charter explicitly details Hamas agendaBy Mark Lavie

JERUSALEM – It was summer 1988. We were sitting in a cramped office, more like a closet, just off a darkish corridor in the Islamic University in Gaza City, a block-like building with green hallways and cement floors, the nerve center of Hamas.
The other people in the room, sipping coffee, trading cigarettes and jokes, were two of the founders of Hamas Mahmoud Zahar, a physician, and Atef al-Adwan, a professor at the Islamic University.

Outside on the dusty, steaming streets and rutted paths of poverty-stricken, overcrowded Gaza, Palestinians were battling Israeli soldiers with rocks, bottles and firebombs. The first intifada, or uprising, had erupted in the winter, leading to the emergence of Hamas, an Arabic anagram for Islamic Resistance Movement.

Hamas was a whole new concept for fighting Israel. The PLO, Israels prototype enemy for decades, paled in comparison.

Since I’m a Zionist by Hamas’ definition, I have to say reading that is a good idea.

This from J. Peter Pham and Michael I. Krauss at TCS Daily:

One of the largest humanitarian programs is the UN Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA). One-third of UNRWA’s $350 million annual budget is furnished by American taxpayers, and a little more than half comes from their European counterparts. UNRWA is unlike any other international agency. It was established in 1949 by the General Assembly to carry out relief programs benefiting Arabs displaced (some quite voluntarily) during the fighting that erupted after the new state of Israel was simultaneously invaded by its five Arab neighbors. (Remarkably, the UN offered no such succor to the numerous Jewish communities, some dating from biblical times, which were forcibly evicted from Arab countries.) Not only is UNRWA unique in its exclusive concern for original Palestinian “refugees” and their descendants (now numbering over 4 million according to the agency’s rather loose criteria), it is the only refugee services organization whose raison d’tre is not to resettle its charges, but rather to keep them and their dependents in squalid temporary dwellings while they await their “right of return.”

The needless festering of grievance in the undeniably miserable 59 camps (27 of which are located in the West Bank and Gaza) is not UNRWA’s only flaw, however. Indeed, far from being an impartial dispenser of humanitarian relief, UNRWA has become an enabler of terrorists, complicit through sins of commission and omission, in the cycle of violence wracking the Middle East.

Until the Bush administration blocked his reappointment last year, long-term UNRWA commissioner-general Peter Hansen made a career out of “see no evil, hear no evil” with respect to Hamas while imputing all manner of malfeasance on Israel. The final straw for Washington may have been Hansen’s candid admission during a television interview with the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation in late 2004: “I am sure there are Hamas members on the UNRWA payroll, and I don’t see that as a crime.” Hansen’s placid acquiescence to paying Hamas is usefully contrasted with his hysterical comments — since proven false by the UN’s own investigation — that Hansen had seen “with my own eyes” Israeli “helicopters strafing civilian residential areas,” “wholesale obliteration,” and “mass graves” during Israel’s Defensive Shield operation following the massacre of Passover celebrants by Palestinian terrorists in 2002. These “big lies” are on a par with Hamas’s citing the Protocols of the Elders of Zion in its founding Covenant.

UNRWA’s anti-Semitism is not merely doled out to the press, however. The agency runs one of the region’s largest networks of schools, in which similar “ideas” are inculcated into a new generation of potential militants.

Read the whole thing (Hat Tip: Eugene Volokh, who’s post has a follow-up with Michael Krauss). But this is nothing new; this from Intelligence and Terrorism Information Center at the Center for Special Studies (C.S.S):

  1. Reuters has a [video (WMV file)] taken during the Israeli army operation in the Zeitun quarter of Gaza City on May 11, 2004. It shows armed Palestinians using UNRWA ambulances to transport terrorists and possibly also remains of fallen Israeli soldiers.
  2. Partial confirmation came from the statement made on May 13 by a UN spokesman, that during the incident (which occurred in Gaza on May 11), armed Palestinians threatened an UNRWA ambulance team and forced them to transport an armed and wounded Palestinian and his two armed escorts to a Gaza hospital. The spokesman noted that UNRWA censured the action in the strongest terms possible. He also noted that armed personnel are not permitted to enter UNRWA vehicles on any pretext whatsoever, and called upon Israel and the Palestinians to respect the agency’s neutrality.
  3. In addition, since the beginning of the current ongoing hostilities, several incidents have been recorded in which terrorist organizations have used UNRWA facilities and vehicles (including ambulances) to facilitate their terrorist operations. Two prominent examples are:
    a. Nidal Abd al-Fataah Abdallah Nizal, a Hamas activist from Qalqiliya who worked as an UNRWA ambulance driver (arrested in August 2002), admitted he had used one such vehicle to transport munitions to terrorists and had also exploited the freedom of movement he enjoyed to transmit messages to and from Hamas activists in various places.
    b. Nahd Rashid Ahmad Atallah, a senior UNRWA employee working in the Gaza Strip who was in charge of distributing aid to refugees (arrested in August 2002), admitted that during June and July 2002 he had given rides in his car an UNRWA vehicle to armed terrorists belonging to the Popular Resistance Committees. The terrorists were on their way to attack Israeli soldiers at the Karni Checkpoint and to fire rockets at Israeli settlement in the northern Gaza Strip. He also used his UNRWA car to transport a bomb weighing 12 kg (about 25 lbs) to his brother-in-law, a Popular Resistance Committees operative (Note: the Popluar Resistance Committees are a militant faction of Fatah and are active primarilyin the Gaza Strip).
  4. Nahd Atallah explained that he had used his car to transport terrorists to their targets because it belonged to the United Nations, and since the Israeli army did not search such vehicles, he could travel freely. His admission is a striking example of the way terrorist organizations exploit the privileges of relaxed security restrictions accorded UNRWA vehicles by Israeli forces. Such privileges are the result of humanitarian considerations and the Israeli desire to maintain correct relations with UN representatives active in the Palestinian Authority-administered territories.

And then there’s this four year old piece from Dr. John Hagee at World Net Daily:

The benefits are as follows: Suicide bombers come from the refugee camps to produce carnage on the streets of Jerusalem; killers take asylum in the refugee camps; mortars are fired from the refugee camps into Israeli settlements; food warehouses in refugee camps have been transformed into storage facilities for artillery shells, ammunition and mortar rounds; al-Qaida terrorist squads are based in the refugee camps; refugee camps organize official celebrations in honor of suicide bombers who kill Jews in Jerusalem.

This is really a terrific “benefit package,” funded entirely by the United Nations who is asking the United States to double its contribution. What’s wrong with this picture?

And then there’s this (also from 2002) from Ian Williams at The Nation:

That led to a joint call by Tom Lantos, ranking Democrat on the House International Relations Committee, and Tom DeLay, the GOP whip, for Congressional hearings on UNRWA, with a suggestion of ending US funding, which pays for a third of UNRWA operations. Jumping on the bandwagon, Republican Eric Cantor of the Congressional Task Force on Terrorism repeated the allegations.

We talk of cutting off aid to the PA under Hamas. But why are we continuing to fund terrorism through the UN?

I had long put it out of my mind, and was only reminded when I ran across this picture at Chicago Boyz… that I actually went to see one of these men speak. For some reason (probably because he had recently resigned from the government) he came to speak at Cal. State Northridge, sometime in the spring of 1975 or 1976, under the sponsership of (I think) the campus chapter of Hillel.

I an fairly sure it was spring, because it was raining cats and dogs, and I was still inexperienced enough a driver to be mildly terrified of the ordeal of driving across the Valley in a downpour, what with the lights reflecting off the water in the road making it hard to see where the lanes were. On the whole the drive was a titch more unsettling than getting into the campus theater was. Each of us lined up to go into the theater— and there was a fair turnout— was patted down, briskly and effeciently, and all the women’s handbags were opened for inspection. Now that was unsettling. It hadn’t been unheard of, that kind of precaution, after all, it was only a half-dozen years after Bobby Kennedy’s assassination, a dozen since Jack Ruby walked into a police station in Dallas and killed another Kennedy assassin… but still.

Even on a wet and unpleasant evening, there were protestors, or course…. practically the only time I had ever seen such on campus with my own eyes… chanting dispiritedly “Palestina! Palestina!” in the downpour that the weather gods save for those who are convinced the sun always shines in Southern California. (There was hardly any campus culture of protest after about 1972, and anyway, Northridge was a commuter school— most students going there had jobs and real lives, and just wanted the damned education, thank you very much.)

I think most of the other people in the audience were, like me, curious and interested… and polite. The person we had come to hear speak was famous, of course, mostly for winning wars— something that our own generals had not lately had much experience with. He had been on the cover of Time, and all. There was an air in the audience of pleasant anticipation, not excitement as if for a rock concert, but more like that in a classroom, when a really rivetingly good lecturer is about to begin. And there were good lecturers at Cal State, and there was a history prof at Glendale JC who was so fabulous that people sat out in the corridor to audition his classes. This man was truely a historic person, well worth driving across the Valley in driving rain to see and listen to.

For a hero, though, he was pretty short, and rather modestly ordinary looking, for all the world like a small local business owner at a Rotary or Lions meeting, wearing a plain tan-colored suit and a wholly lamentable tie. Perhaps I should have looked back in the diary I kept at the time before writing this because I would have written about what he said, because I can’t really remember any of it. But I am good with voices and accents, and they stick in my mind more tenaciously, and I thought it was curious how he spoke English well, but with sometimes a very pronounced accent, alternating jarringly with some words and phrases in perfectly fluent British English— as if he had once spoken English often and comfortably, but not lately, and so become rusted linguistically.

Exept for the eye-patch, one would have hardly noticed Moshe Dayan at all, in that campus theater; he had, I think now with my own experience in the military, perfected the art of putting aside the command presence that a military leader must have in order to lead… but that only the very finest of them can put aside when the occasion demands, and appear to be only ordinary.

(I saw Ray Bradbury lecture once, in the same theater, and remember that he told the story of being arrested for walking in LA, but I think he’s been telling that one for years.)

Scott Wickstein at Samizdata blogs on European ineptitude in dealing with Iran:

Of course, the real negotiating tool is the United States Army, Navy, and Air Force. With American troops still in Iraq, Iran knows that it has to tread warily, but the cunning men in Tehran may well be counting that the US will not feel able to take decisive action before the 2008 Presidential elections change the political landscape in a possibly decisive way.

I personally am very pessimistic about these developments.

Of course, there’s always Israel to consider; they won’t feel restrained by the realities of American politics.

Update: Europe is giving up on diplomacy:

BERLIN (AP) – The British, French and German foreign ministers said Thursday that negotiations with Iran over its nuclear program had reached a “dead end” and the Islamic republic should be referred to the U.N. Security Council.

The ministers did not specify what action should be taken by the Security Council, which could impose sanctions. They called for a special session of the International Atomic Energy Agency to decide the referral.

According to this Sunday Times article, it’s all go for March:

ISRAELS armed forces have been ordered by Ariel Sharon, the prime minister, to be ready by the end of March for possible strikes on secret uranium enrichment sites in Iran, military sources have revealed.

The order came after Israeli intelligence warned the government that Iran was operating enrichment facilities, believed to be small and concealed in civilian locations.

Irans stand-off with the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) over nuclear inspections and aggressive rhetoric from Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, the Iranian president, who said last week that Israel should be moved to Europe, are causing mounting concern.

The crisis is set to come to a head in early March, when Mohamed El-Baradei, the head of the IAEA, will present his next report on Iran. El-Baradei, who received the Nobel peace prize yesterday, warned that the world was losing patience with Iran.

I wonder if Israel has the weapons systems to accomplish this without considerable collateral damage?

After John Bolton’s success at getting the UN Security Council to condemn Hizbullah’s recent attack of Israel, OpinionJournal’s James Taranto want’s to know:

Would someone remind us again why senators filibustered Bolton’s appointment? Was it because he was supposed to be an ineffective diplomat, or an effective one? Or was it just because he hurt George Voinovich’s little feelings?

This from Scott Wilson at WaPo:

JENIN, West Bank — A photo of a slightly smiling Ahmed Khatib has joined the martyr posters on the walls of the refugee camp here. But the 12-year-old boy is shown cradling a guitar instead of the assault rifles brandished in the grim tributes around him. A large red question mark appears at the bottom.

“Why the Palestinian children are killed?” it asks in stilted English.


Ahmed Khatib

Ahmed Khatib, 12, was fatally shot by Israeli
soldiers on Nov. 3. (AP photo)


Ismail Khatib and his wife, Abla, have offered a response that has drawn praise from Israeli leaders and challenged Palestinians in this cramped refugee camp, a focal point of Israeli-Palestinian violence for years.

Ahmed, the couple’s son, was shot twice last week by Israeli soldiers in what the military said was a mistake made during the heat of street fighting near their house. The boy had been holding a toy gun. He died two days later in an Israeli hospital, and the Khatibs made the surprising choice of allowing his organs to be harvested for transplant to Israelis.

Six people, including five Israeli Jews, have received the boy’s heart, lungs, liver and kidneys since then. The recipients range from a 58-year-old woman to a 7-month-old girl, who died two days ago after failing to recover from surgery that gave her half of Ahmed’s liver. The rest are recovering.

I don’t think enough praise can be lavished on Ismail and Abla Khatib, for seeing past their own grief and the hatred teeming all around them.

OpinionJournal.com (free registration required) shares a story today written by a Major in the IDF Reserves, who is a historian in his civilian life.

Together with thousands of Jews, I sat on the flagstones before the Western Wall in Jerusalem. The time was midnight on the ninth day of the Hebrew month of Av, the day on which, according to tradition, invaders twice overwhelmed the city’s defenders, destroying their Temple and crushing Jewish independence in Israel. Two thousand years later, a new Jewish state with a powerful army has arisen, yet Jews continue to lament on that day, and rarely as fervidly as now. For the first time in history–ancient or modern–that state would send its army not to protect Jews from foreign attack, but to evict them from what many regarded as their God-given land, in Gaza.

It’s well-written, and worth reading.

disclaimer: Personally, I hate sites that make me register before reading, but in the several years I’ve read their pieces, I have never regretted registering, and as far as I can tell, I’ve never been spammed by them.

Are those folks who disagree with what the government of Israel is doing today, clearing out the Gaza Strip, anti-semetic?

I’m curious, because it does seem that if you disagree with Israel these days, you’re immediately labeled a Jew Hater.

Personally, I think they’ve been way too moderate in dealing with terrorism over the years, but the paradox struck me as I watched the news this morning.

…Undersea by rail.
Ninty minutes from New York to Paris.
Well by seventy-six we’ll be A.O.K.

I’m currently watching this crazy show on Discovery Channel – Transatlantic Tunnel. They are proposing a 3100 mile submersed teathered tube, through which will run mag-lev trains running at 5000 mph! I’m still waiting to see how they propose to pump the air pressure down in the tunnel low enough to eliminate the aerodynamic friction.

But now for something really absurd! I’m reminded of this post from a couple of weeks back in LGF:

This seems to be the day for mainstream media emissions that you just cant believe. From the New York Times: The Day After Peace: Designing Palestine. (Hat tip: ted.)

His high-speed railway would run for 70 miles along the West Bank ridges, linking Jenin in the north with Hebron in the south. The railway would then slip like a fishhook through the Negev desert to attach the West Bank to the Gaza Strip, running 130 miles in all and establishing the connection between the two territories that development officials consider essential to a Palestinian economy. Alongside the railway, Mr. Suisman proposes stretching a water conduit, a trench for fiber-optic cable, power lines, a toll road and a strip of parkland.

He would site the train stations at a distance from existing city centers, connecting each pairing with other public transportation. The idea was to create new frames for housing and businesses, to accommodate the expanding population while preserving open space. He compares his crosshatched line to an embryos backbone and, inevitably, an olive branch.

The Rand studies were prompted by California-based donors hoping to see an end to the conflict. Carol and David Richards, financed the detailed study of the viability of a Palestinian state. Mr. Richards said he acted after Mr. Bush came out in favor of a two-state solution.

Im a supporter of Israel, but I think their occupation of the West Bank is hurtful to Israel, said Mr. Richards, a former mutual fund manager who is now a private investor. The policy is wrong, and we as Americans have condoned it and supported it.

The Arc grew out of a proposal by another donor, Guilford Glazer, that Rand design a new Palestinian city to accommodate any returning refugees of the 1948 Israeli-Arab war and their descendants. Born in Knoxville, Tenn., in 1921, Mr. Glazer, a real estate developer, was partly inspired by the model of the Tennessee Valley Authority, believing the Palestinians would benefit from a project of similar scale. (Rand estimated that the Arc would cost about $6 billion, and that it would help the Palestinians power their economy by employing 100,000 to 160,000 Palestinians a year for five years.) When the Arc is built, he said, itll be too precious to lose, and itll cause them to resist violence.

I have to agree with this comment from LGF reader Kragar:

When the Arc is built, he said, itll be too precious to lose, and itll cause them to resist violence.


Considering these people are willingly sacrifcing their own childen, what makes this tool think a few buildings would change the Palis?

LMFAO