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Palestinian Problems

Even after Arafat. Beautiful oil rigs. Clown cars. Plus more.

3.21.08

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GOOD DEED, PUNISHED
Re: R. Emmett Tyrrell, Jr.'s The Gaza Syndrome:

You must always file the Palestinian Peace Talks under: No good deed shall go unpunished. Those people invented the axiom!

However, if the Israelis want real progress, I agree they should employ the Golden Rule. That would get the attention of those ungrateful, nasty people. Just a thought for the serious, religious Jews: I think the time has come for them to stop appeasing the Palestinians and start showing them who has power and who doesn't. Can the situation get worse?
-- Judy Beumler
Louisville, Kentucky

Since I do not have a dog in this hunt I can only speculate what might happen if the IDF decided to forgo the precision and surgical strikes against Hamas and instead went with a much more casual "bomb the snot out of Gaza and let Allah sort them out" policy. Obviously, it would be far cheaper and require far less man power expenditure on the Israelis part, so it does make sense. But the loss of Hamas sympathizers, oh excuse me, "innocent civilians," would lead to much consternation in the Israel hating United Nations and the rest of the corrupt and backwards, think 12th century, Middle East. As long as Israel exists those that blindly follow Islam's teachings will hate it. I'm all for Israel turning Gaza into one big swirling dust storm of shattered concrete and rusting steel where no man dares cross. While their at it why not walk a path of destruction all the way to Tehran.. I'd love to see the look on President Tom's face when he opens the door to the posh Iranian Presidential palace and there is a JDAM equipped thousand pound bomb getting ready to knock.

If so many desire to visit Allah why shouldn't the rest of the world pitch in and help?
-- Mike Coffel
Auburn, Georgia

It's not for nothing that the symbol of Islam is the sword. When Arabs aren't fighting amongst themselves, tribe against tribe, they kill each other over religious beliefs, Sunni vs. Shiite, vs. Druze. But they are always happy to unite and kill the infidel, those being anyone not Muslim. Death is their guiding light, Shahidism their mantra, plunder and pillage their reason d'etre. They produce nothing, not even their own oil.

They've spend 1300+ years pillaging, murdering and raping the subjugated Jew and Christian dwelling among them. Does one really believe they can accept the Jew regaining control of a portion of historical Israel? Islamic and Christian dogma are similar: The Jew has been rejected and replace with others by Allah and God, their Bible superceded by a Koran or New Testament. But the Jew, a fraction of 1% of world population didn't disappear, didn't become a historical footnote; a slight fly in the ointment of subsequent theologies.

Instead of pressing Israel Europeans and American should impose resettlement of Gazan Arabs among the surrounding Arab countries. It's time to dispense with the fiction of palestinians. There aren't any! They magically appeared in 1968: They can magically disappear in 2008. They've had and squandered their chance to live in peace in Gaza. The greenhouses, that produced vegetable so sought after in Europe, that were developed over 30 years and left behind by the Jewish inhabitants, were destroyed within 2 days. TWO DAYS! They spent and misspent BILLIONS in aid with ABSOLTELY NOTHING to show for it. Yet, they are happy to sacrifice their children to the burning maw of the ancient god Moloch. And call it Islamic shahidism.

There's a really simple way to produce peace in Gaza: Cut off all UN, Euro and American aid, water, food and electricity. Let them eat their weapons. In 30 days all will be quiet or all will be dead.
-- Wolf Terner
Fair Lawn, New Jersey

Any Libertarian worth his salt, or even any high school honor student who has read any of Ayn Rand's works can clearly answer this question: what is the difference between selfish behavior and acting in one own enlightened self-interest? R. Emmett Tyrrell Jr. shows us that 84% of all Palestinians have no discernable interest in fathoming the question. The majority of Palestinians encourages, or at least tacitly supports, the terror agents in Gaza. As R.E.T. pointed out, the logical and rational position for these same people would be to develop the land, commerce and an attractive tourism trade so they could live with some comfort. The selfish, self-destructive, self-defeating choice is to continue attacking their cousins (as linked through Jacob and Esau). These attacks hurt the Israelis, but they do more damage to the Palestinian people. With each attack they invite retaliation, alienation, condemnation and damnation.

Israel, always the one asked to sacrifice for peace, ceded land for a promise of peace. What they received in return was a continuing flow of martyrs (terrorists) and mortars. Can any Palestinian believe these hostile actions will serve them well? The Palestinians cannot hope to defeat Israel militarily; the Israeli forces will continue to stand up to any who wish to tear down the nation. Even the most dovish Israeli can no longer believe cutting off a hand to feed vultures so the beast will not seek more is a productive strategy. The only way a Palestinian flag will freely unfurl in the region is when Israel feels that its borders and sovereignty are fully secured and respected. Every attack on her soil makes the narrow path to peace narrower. Palestinian terror attacks are self-defeating and ultimately irrational because they destroy their any chance of self-government, not Israel's.
-- Ira M. Kessel
Rochester, New York

The very ingrained ideology of hate that permeates the whole Palestinian culture appears as something without hope of ever being resolved by some peace accord. This tiny Israeli nation has endured the wrath of its neighbors for over a half century. The restraint shown by Israel is nothing short of remarkable. During World War II a strategic bombing campaign destroying the entire city would have been a "no-brainer" to quell such persistent attacks. Such devastation is required to break the spirit of fanaticism by demonstrating that their resistance is futile as was the case with Japan during WWII.

As we've seen since Vietnam, a PC war is a costly protracted war, and Israel knows that if she waits too long her enemies will have the means to wreak tremendous death and destruction. And that time is coming soon.
-- John Nelson
Hebron, Connecticut

BEAUTIFUL OIL RIGS
Re: Ben Lerner's Sirens in the Strait:

Excellent analysis.

Sadly, Mr. Lerner and others who have the sense to see what's coming with LOST, it appears that our Senate does not.

I wrote to both of my Senators with reasons to not vote to ratify. One answered with a short form letter saying that he would keep my thoughts in mind. The other answered with a long form letter
obviously written by some research group, repeating the history of the treaty.

I responded to the latter and asked him about one particular part of his response -- "accession to the treaty would not result in any changes to current U.S. domestic or foreign policy" and asked him these questions:

"1. Is the following clause not in the treaty: participating states, 'shall adopt laws and regulations and take other measures necessary to implement applicable international rules and standards applied through competent international organizations'?" [It's in the treaty several times, by the way.]

"2. Will not application of that clause require us to adopt laws and regulations because of the treaty, and, as a result, require the very "changes in current U.S. domestic or foreign policy" that you say will not result?

"3. And will not application of that clause require those changes whenever a "competent international organization" requires it?

"4. Would not such a requirement invade our sovereignty?"

This was his first answer: "Your message has been received by my office and will be carefully reviewed by a member of my staff." At least the other Senator used the first person singular.

His second answer will be his vote to ratify.

If I added to this letter the rest of what I want to say, you wouldn't print it.
-- A. C. Santore

One observation, it seems to me, about ratifying LOST is that if the U.S. does this it will surrender
its control of drilling off of our coasts. The end result may just be that you will be able to stand anywhere on the U.S. coast and see an oil rig.

I wonder if the enviros, in particular our Florida representatives have thought of this?
-- John Cropp

RUBE GOLDBERG
Re: John Tabin's Fun with Fascism:

Having heard Goldberg tout his book and read some exerts I now know one thing, Jonah missed his history classes. Apart from some interesting extrapolations -- anyone who thinks deeply about any issue is to be congratulated -- this book is a re-writing of history, revisionism if you will. It sounds appealing to those who think every ill of the world can be put down to the damn lefties, but unfortunately for Jonah, Mussolini's Italy and Hitler's Germany were as Right-wing as you'd get, more George W. Bush that Bill Clinton. As for Goldberg's coupling of Nationalism with Socialism, Goldberg better go back to the French Revolution and consider the seating at the Tennis Court Oath, then study a couple of centuries of history and then maybe Goldberg and his bedfellow Coulter wouldn't be national jokes. Also, thank you American Spectator for stopping your Obama fawning and you obvious love-in with him, and countering with a bit of journalism.
-- Nathan Maskiell
Melbourne, Australia

Mr. Tabin offers a fair and hopefully inviting thumbnail sketch of Jonah Goldberg's Liberal Fascism. It is arguably one of the most important books on American politics in the past several years, well worth the investment of time for those who haven't yet had the pleasure of reading it.

Tabin closes thusly: "Still, it would be nice if one of our potential leaders would give us some hint that there are part of our lives that the government has no business interfering in."

Here he puts his finger on what bothers many conservatives and libertarians about the current zeitgeist. We have no assurance that those who hold the reins of government recognize any aspect of American life that is clearly private. When everything becomes political, there is no life outside the umbrella of the State, precisely the fascist model advocated by Mussolini, Wilson, and their intellectual brethren. From the inception of the Progressive Movement of the late 19th century, the United States government has gradually morphed into something that was never intended to exist by the Founders, although it would take them only a few minutes to recognize it for what it is, for they offered warnings of the most explicit kind in the historical record.

The Founders key insight was that government is the ultimate blunt instrument, regardless of the holder of power, and that the only sure way to constrain the damage it does is to severely limit its scope and create internal tension within its structure to make it less capable of sustained over-reach.

Perhaps this explains in part why some are attracted to the smooth demeanor and lyrical rhetoric of a gifted speaker such as Sen. Obama. The superficially pleasant public symbol allows them to more easily avert their eyes from the irreducible brutality of the underlying mechanism.
-- Bud

CLOWN CARS
Re: Eric Peters's Smart Shoppers and Michael Tomlinson's letter (under "Don't Outsmart Yourself") in Reader Mail's Dumb Cars:

While it is easy to find fault, the Smart car does have benefits. One flaw of small cars is that they have been built for small people. The Smart has been designed with normal-sized and even large people in mind. His arguments in favor of other small cars are valid only for those who can fit in these cars. Although I don't like the thought of giving up my back seat, I must admit it has been more than 8 years since I've had more than one other person share my sedan.

With regard to the gas mileage, cost, and lack of a diesel engine in the U.S., these factors are partially the result of U.S. regulations. While it is easy to point out that previous VWs have had higher gas mileage, new regulations make these numbers harder to achieve -- just our government looking out for us. Also, you must consider that the EPA has a new way of determining mileage and the Smart's 41/33mpg translate to 46/39mpg on the old system. Comparing mileage determined using two different systems is dishonest (the 2000 VW New Beetle Diesel gets 44/35 on the new rating system). This section comparing the value of a new car to that of a decade-old used car is laughable. Of course if we were frugal, we'd never buy a new car, and everyone in the world would drive either a 10-year-old Camry or a 10-year-old Civic.

While there is a top speed of 90mph on U.S. models, this is dictated by software. I first took the Smart seriously when one passed me on the autobahn when I was doing 180kph (about 110mph). As far as safety goes, any small car is going to be more dangerous than an SUV; however, the steel cage built into the Smart probably makes this safer than most. Remember, this is a car designed by Mercedes. Because of my height, the nearest competitor I can fit into comfortably is a Civic costing 40% more. Is the back seat worth this premium? Doubtful, but I do like the thought of a back seat and may need one in the next eight years.
-- Gordon

I am in total agreement with Mr. Tomlinson's second paragraph.

There in lies a question. We have a Strategic Oil Reserve. Why not a policy of Strategic drilling in ANWR and off the coasts as well as building refineries and reactors? I view this as a national security issue and as such I believe the President may be well within the powers of his office to issue an Executive Order to the energy companies already holding leases and rights to get on with it.

Of course the Libs and enviromentalists would howl, but don't they do that on a daily basis anyway? The economic and job growth aspect would be beyond their powers of reasoning, although I believe some Union guys might get it. Investors with 401k's and IRA's, quite a few of we the people, would get it.

W might as well leave office with a bang rather then a whimper.

As to the Smart Car, BMW? built something similar several decades ago: the entire front opened for ingress and egress, popular in Europe, not so here.
-- Jim Woodward
Midvale, Utah

I'm afraid you have missed the point of marketing Smart cars in the U.S. In Europe, where I lived for 17 years, they are popular because (a) they are cute and small and come in crazy colors, (b) you can park them anywhere and (c) Europeans love gadgets, which is what a Smart car is.

But the reason they are going to be wildly popular here is reflected by the reaction of the 18-year-old best friend of my nephew when he first saw one several years ago in Germany: "Whoa! What a chick magnet!"

And up and down every suburban street across America from now on will rise the piteous cries of untold 16-year-old girls, "Oh, puleeeeze, Daddy!"
-- Lee Hoffman
Honolulu, Hawaii

HELPING HANDOUT
Re: Lawrence A. Hunter's Bye, Bye Birdie Bear:

Mr. Hunter isn't entirely off the mark when he raises the question of whether the Fed acted in collusion with "the Monetary-Financial Complex" to assist in a shady Wall Street deal. The exact arrangements between Bear Stearns, JPMorgan Chase, and the Fed are fuzzy at best, and, as commentators have pointed out, due diligence could not possibly have been done in one weekend. Certainly this is not an example of market forces at work.

That said, Mr. Hunter's assertion that Bear Stearns's assets should have been sold off at market prices begs the question of identifying the underlying problem. The fact is that no one knows the value of many of the SIV's and CDO's floating about in the investment universe, and that the Fed sensibly does not want the market to decide that they have zero value. If that were to happen, there is no reason not to think that other investment banks and hedge funds would be forced into yet another round writedowns, with the strong possibility that there would then be a cascade of bankruptcies in the financial industry. The doomsday scenario that Mr. Hunter thinks was scripted by Wall Street could actually happen.

It is also worth noting that Bear Stearns was not an arbitrary sacrificial lamb chosen by greedy capitalist conspirators. Bear Stearns was one of the most highly leveraged investment banks and would have been the first to go in any crisis of this magnitude.
-- Paul Dorell
Evanston, Illinois

Lawrence Hunter leaves one element out of his argument: the American public is a willing accomplice to the idea that their "lifestyles" should never be diminished, even temporarily. If that means abandoning market forces and capitalism itself? So be it.
-- Arnold Ahlert
Boca Raton, Florida

AND ANOTHER THING
Re: Clyde Wayne Crews Jr.'s Less is More:

Clyde Wayne Crews Jr. forgot one thing in his article about the U.S. economy: The need for a balanced budget. In 27 out of the last 28 GOP White House years the budget has been balanced once. In 4 out of 12 Democratic years the budget has been balanced. This means since 1968, 40 years, the Federal government has balanced just 1 in 8 fiscal years. The U.S. economy is struggling because of one reason, the Federal Government is spending more than it earns. I just wish there was one brave American who could call it how it is, and some more Ron Paul's and John McCain's who would stand in the way of waste, pork and bloat. If American families have to get it right, why can't Congress and the President.
-- Nathan Maskiell
Melbourne, Australia

RATS
Re: Gilbert Ross's Jumping Ship From the Rats:

Thank you for your article regarding the animal testing issues. It's so good to know that it is decreasing and that people are realizing the unnecessary-ness of this practice.

Om shantih!
-- Aubrey Hackman
Executive Director
Telluride Yoga Festival

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