Bigwig has essentially proposed that we hold out immigration to the US as a bribe to the broader Palestinian community to a) stop the violence against the Israelis; and b) abandon the ‘Right of Return’ which is probably one of the key issues holding the two sides apart.
I’m attracted to the idea, but for different reasons than Bigwig sets out. I reserve the right to change my mind once I sleep on it, but restate my belief that right now two very stubborn and resilient people are playing Irish Sit-Down (a game I’ve seen played in which two thickheads take turns hitting each other until one of them can’t get up). Even if we don’t care about the players, all the furniture is getting broken. The solution to this problem is going to either come from exhaustion, which I doubt, or from outside the narrow band of negotiation both parties seem trapped in.
Comments and email have flowed, and they make two sensible points:
1) The Palestinian crisis is really a mask for a deeper crisis with Arab world, so ‘solving’ this problem will only deal with the symptom, not the problem;
2) Why would we let thousands or hundreds of thousands of virulently Anti-American folks into the country?
First, let me explain why I think this would be a brilliant move.
It seizes the moral high ground: No one can accuse the US of not extending a hand to the poor oppressed Palestinian population after we make an offer like this. I’m ignoring the fine details of Bigwig’s plan, like the ‘tax’, and simplifying the plan into: if you’ll stop bombing and accept a peace plan, we’ll let 100,000 Palestinians who pass security checks into the US per year.
It gives us a stick to hold over the Palestinian and Arab leadership: Play ball or we turn off the tap. I have to believe that the hope of immigrating to the US would be a strong enough lure for the average person that the PA would risk losing control if they messed with it.
It divides our opponents: I believe there is a ‘silent middle’ in the Palestinian world; people who just want to live their lives and raise their kids. Right now they are cowed by the thugs with guns, in large part because they have nothing to fight for. The thugs steal the aid dollars, kill political opponents, and will wind up with whatever wealth can be created. This is an appeal to them, an offer to them of a future both in Palestine, and possibly here in the U.S. What is needed is for the Arab and Palestinian middle-class to stand up; something that has been rare up until now because, in part, they haven’t had anything to stand up for. Suddenly the political spectrum there isn’t narrowed to IJ, Hamas, and Hezbollah, and while the PA might get away with ‘retail violence’ – the occasional murder of a political opponent, ‘wholesale violence’ against large crowds would not play well for them at all.
As to the issues raised, my responses are simple:
Yes, I deeply believe the Palestinians are a proxy used to mask a deeper conflict between the Arab/Islamist world and the West (and its beachhead, Israel). We keep getting stuck in the proxy argument and not being able to deal with the deeper one. Let’s get the proxy off the table so we can see what’s really going on.
No, I don’t think that the Palestinian immigrants will substantially place us at risk; we’re already at risk. The only reason Hamas hasn’t attacked on U.S. soil is that they don’t want to, and I don’t believe that Homeland Security could do a damn thing about it.
I don’t think that the average Palestinian is virulently anti-American. If that was the case, we’d have no choice except to kill them. I think they are trapped physically and economically and culturally, and the question is how can we help them out of the trap?


They’re smarter than we think.
Bigwig at Silflay Hraka actually presents a damn good idea that could make a difference in the Middle East.

According to best estimates, there are just over 5 million Palestinians in Israel and the occupied territories. There are maybe 5 million more scattered throughout the Middle East. Let’s start with the ones in the occupied territories and let them emigrate; in small numbers at first, then more, then hundreds of thousands a year. Let them come to America. And in exchange, they give up the Right of Return for themselves and all their progeny, forever.

Maybe it’s the aftereffect of too much raw honey, but I’m suddenly hopeful. This idea may not work, but if Bigwig can come up with this, there are other ideas that get us out of the box we’re in.
Open the doors…


So my ex- lives about a block and a half from our new place (my SO is still working on that one), and wandered by with the Littlest Guy. They were headed to the park across the street, and I had his mitt and ball.
After they took off, I heard a siren, peeked out the window, and saw the paramedic truck pulling up. I’m out the door at this point, but see that they’re pulling up to and then working on a couple sitting on the ground next to a car, so assume it was an accident of some kind. The grownups (EMT) are there, I can’t be of any assistance, it’s not my son or ex-, so I head back to the office. At that point the doorbell rings, and they’ve come back…it appears that two people at the park were attacked by a bee swarm.
So his mom leaves, and LG hangs out with me for a bit, and then I decide to go talk to the apiarists who have shown up and see if we have Africanized bees living nearby. (we don’t)
LG walks with me and we go talk to the lady apiarist, who is cleaning out the remains of a hive from an empty wheelbarrow (there is a community garden across the street as well), and then she gives him a fist-sized chunk of comb, dripping with honey.
She explains that this part of the hive was where baby bees would have grown up, and we can see some larval bees in a couple of the cells. He and I have talked about bees and what they do…there are flowers in front of the house, and where we hike in Palos Verdes, there are chest-high flowers that always seem to have bees on them.
He starts licking the dripping honey off his hand, looks up and offers me some…and I take it and it is just amazingly good. A Platonic ideal of what the honey in the stores ought to taste like. A burst of sweetness then an incredible flavor that I find nowhere else.
Then I walked him back to his mom’s house.
Somehow, walking down the street with your kid, licking honey from a comb off your fingers, and watching him happily lick the comb, makes the day perfect. All you folks who don’t live in big cities may scoff and do this every day. But for me it just put a sweet glow on the day that I hope will last for a while.


The acerbic and smart as hell Jill Stewart goes after the race for Governor, in this week’s New Times L.A.. A sample:

I don’t normally offer campaign tips to politicians, but I can’t help it after watching gubernatorial candidate Bill Simon squirm and dodge and get blasted by the media in a week when he should have easily turned reporters’ attention back to the antics of our unpopular and slimy Governor Gray Davis.
Not that I am pro-Simon. Both candidates, whom I refer to as Icky and Creepy (you figure out who’s who), so turn me off that I am perusing candidates from the Peace and Freedom, Libertarian and Green parties in hopes that one of them may offer a non-nut.

News coverage made Simon look like an ass. I got my own licks in with Republican commentator Allen Hoffenblum on KCET’s Life & Times Tonight, where we marveled over the fact that Simon paid a sizable federal tax for 10 years — 24 percent — and should have looked fairly good. But, as Hoffenblum noted, “He managed to appear to be covering something up.”
It didn’t matter that the coverage of “Taxgate” was just plain wrong. Few newspapers that reported that journalists were given just three hours to examine the documents later corrected themselves to say that Russo dropped that rule, allowing reporters to peruse the documents for as long as they could stand. And few media outlets that initially reported that only one journalist per news organization was allowed into the room later correctly reported that that rule was dropped, too. Few mentioned that when rich Democrats Dianne Feinstein and Al Checchi released their massive returns, they too required journalists to stay in a room and adamantly refused to allow copying.

There’s more, plus an analysis of What’s Going Wrong in the Simon campaign.
I’m still worried about the woodchipper.

From the discussion below:The only

From the discussion below:

The only thing that will break the culture of self-destruction (suicide bombers kill the legitimate goals of the Palestinians) is an end to the occupation, removal of the settlements, and a fair settlement to the problem created in 1948. Saying “everyone occupies everyone else’s land” is completely false, no one is occupying someone else’s land to the extent is has happened to the Palestinians. Simple Zionist history (as you seem unlikely to pick up Tom Segev or Benny Morris) will clue you in to the simple facts behind this conflict: the Palestinians lost most of their land in 1948, and have had the rest occupied since 1967. There is no historical parallel for one modern society displacing another modern society and then occupying the remainder of that land for 35 years.
That being said, it will be impossible for Israel to withdraw (something a majority of Israelis, myself included want) under the terrorist bombing situations. However I disagree completely with Sharon’s response, which is only fueling the conflict. Does anyone remember in December when we had close to 20 days of quiet on the Israeli side? Immediately after that Karmi was assassinated. It is a cycle that BOTH sides are perpetuating, and BOTH sides must be “broken”. Israel must break the fanatics who are driving the settlement policy, which is really the ethnic cleansing policy in slow-motion. Palestinians must break their claims to their former land and accept fully that their country will be on the W. Bank. Only once BOTH sides have been broken, when the extremist ultra-nationalists on both sides are in the margins, will we move away from this.
— Eric Pinhas

I don’t completely agree, and obviously have some thoughts but this was a good enough comment to promote to the blog and see what other folks think. There are some other smart comments in this thread (I can’t figure out how to link to a discusson thread, sorry…), so take a look, please.


Jeff Cooper (the law one, not the gun one) has a great post at Cooped Up, setting out the political audience and opportunity waiting for someone to wake up and seize it.

Participants in the new economy, Judis and Teixeira write, tend to be fiscally moderate but socially tolerant, believers in capitalism but also in the need for government to act as a fair referee to curb capitalism’s excesses, supporters of political reform. And, Judis and Teixeira posit, as America increasingly moves to a postindustrial economy, these voters will become more numerous. They will not alone be sufficient to form a majority of voters, but they will represent an increasingly important portion of any majority coalition.
The Bush administration is in no position to benefit from the posited shift. From the large tax cuts for the richest Americans, to the refusal to do anything about American corporations relocating offshore to avoid tax liability, to the weak corporate governance reforms, to the massive giveaways in the farm bill and the energy bill, the Bush administration, at least in its domestic policy, is dedicated principally to the proposition that government of the cronies, by the cronies, and for the cronies shall not perish from this earth. Its basic outlook is therefore antithetical to the emerging center-left voters that Judis and Teixeira believe they have identified.

And he identifies the problem that the current Democrats will face:

Much of the blame must be laid at the feet of the Democratic Leadership Council, which in recent years has devolved from a useful counterweight to other factions within the party into a pure tool for business interests and the wealthy. Thanks to the influence of the DLC, Tom Daschle has refused to allow a straight vote on requiring stock options to be treated identically on tax returns (where many corporations treat them as expenses) and financial reports (where most do not treat options as expenses). Thanks to the influence of the DLC, the Democratic leadership refuses to call for repeal of the large prospective tax cuts enacted last year, cuts that redound almost exclusively to the benefit of the very wealthy. Thanks to the influence of the DLC, a number of Democrats support the egregious bankruptcy bill that, in a time of economic slowdown, would greatly favor the large banks that bombard consumers with solicitations for cards carrying usurious interest rates. And thanks to the influence of the DLC and the Democrats’ ties to the entertainment industry, Democrats are supporting dramatic expansions of copyright law that would significantly complicate the creation, dissemination, and use of content for all but the big media players. These actions on behalf of the powerful over the people, combined with the failure to articulate and advance a coherent agenda in the one branch of the federal government in which they exercise control, means that Democrats, especially Senate Democrats, are ill-suited to seize the opportunity that, according to Judis and Teixeira, presently exists.

I could not have said it better, there’s lots more, go take a look right now