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By request from the participants in the discussion below I’m posting for a thread on settlement possibilities. This is not a thread to rehash the same old arguments about who is in the legal right. If the cases don’t settle they will be resolved in arbitration and court – with harsh consequences for one or all parties.

I have heard rumors that all parties are putting out feelers for further settlement discussions. I’m not sure where they could go where they haven’t gone before, but maybe if the Reggae Rising event was a financial success there may be enough money on the table to mitigate some of the previous issues.

So what could a settlement look like? I’ve proposed from the beginning that the Mateel make a clean break and sell the event – maybe for 3 or 4 million. PP could go public and raise money with investors, or create a corporation based simply on Reggae on the River.

There may be some argument from PP side that now that RR has happened ROTR is worthless as a trademark. But that’s only the case if PP defenses the interference/trademark violation causes of action. And as we’ve learned in recent months, the case is far more complicated than most anybody knew. I knew it as soon as I read Bob D.’s summary of the complaint which is why I drew ire from both sides when I called for an immediate settlement. This is the type of case that multi-million dollar corporations file against each other and expect resolutions years away.

I know there are strong feelings about the justice of the matter from both sides of the fence. If you feel too strongly to consider settlement possibilities, please, I’ll start up another thread to flame. Let’s leave this one to creative settlement ideas.

I’ve heard a couple of the broadcasts, part of them. The new woman (Terry something?) seems to be filling in quite well.

There’s no introduction at the KMUD site. I think she deserves an introduction, particularly as she’s coming into a very difficult situation.

Obviously many of us miss Estelle, but as the cliche goes change is the only constant. This too shall pass, and it appears so far that this hiring was very successful.

The North Coast Journal makes note of David Katz’ entry into the business hall of fame (right under an article about LSD and the Cotton Death). For those outside the area, or new to it, David is the founder of Alternative Energy Engineering which is becoming known in the business world by its hip initials AEE.

The NCJ article was prompted by this Inc, Magazine article. The business has expanded over 800 percent in 3 years and made over 28 million last year.

I hope he doesn’t get too big for Redway.

How many of us would continue to protest?

Oh, and some of the protesters were given 6 months to 5 years in prison – for protesting polygamy and demanding equal rights.

But should we mention this development lest we’re accused of slandering Islam to support the “Zionist war?”

Incidentally, I see events like these as evidence against Andy’s pessimism about progress. These women are precisely among the individuals who make change possible – perhaps even more profoundly than these women.

The photo is from the above-linked article.

Thanks to Mark for bringing this to my attention. From Alternet:

Last time we checked in on the bizarro nexus between cannabis and terrorism, it was none other than actor/director Tommy Chong who was feeling the Bush administration’s post-9/11 wrath. In fact, the stoner icon, whose fabled act was concurrently resuscitated for Fox’s drugged and confused comedy hit That 70s Show, was being slapped by John Ashcroft with a nine-month prison bid, a $20,000 fine and over $100,000 in seized assets for selling bongs. The terrorism connection? He was sentenced on Sept. 11, 2003. And if you think that’s a specious connection, it’s only gotten worse since. In fact, over the last few years, “terrorist” has become an epithet for all seasons.

In 2003, Iraq occupation architect Richard Perle slapped investigative journalist Seymour Hersh with the term, saying, “Look, Sy Hersh is the closest thing American journalism has to a terrorist, frankly.” As if filing a story about the doomed occupation of a sovereign state in the pages of the New Yorker was the same thing as flying a 747 into the World Trade Center.

In 2004, Secretary of Education Rod Paige called the National Education Association, the country’s largest teachers union, “a terrorist organization” because of what Paige defined as the “obstructionist scare tactics” used by its lobbyists. Because we all know it’s every educator’s dream to buck the system by blowing themselves up in front of their students.

And just this month, the Bush administration decided to employ the term to legally target the entire Iranian Revolutionary Guard, a sovereign nation’s standing army numbering in the hundreds of thousands. When you want a war that badly, you’ll pretty much do or say anything to get it.

So how does the Bush administration get away with crying terrorist at every opportunity? Say hello to the Military Commissions Act….

and the semi-local angle:

Unable or unwilling to solve the nation’s crippling meth addiction or its hypocritical dependency on prescribed narcotics like oxycontin, the Office of National Drug Control Policy (ONDCP) recently rang the terrorism alarm to nail pot growers in Redding’s Shasta-Trinity National Forest in California.

Addendum: Uh oh! Someone’s going to accuse me of trying to steal Heraldo’s thunder.

Tom Hanson asked me to post a link to this TNR interview. He thought you might be interested. The intro:

On Monday, Atlanta Falcons quarterback Michael Vick plead guilty to federal charges of dog fighting, including charges that he personally endorsed the execution of underperforming dogs by hanging or drowning. For insight into the reaction to Vick’s case, The New Republic spoke with ethicist Peter Singer, the Ira W. DeCamp Professor of Bioethics at Princeton University. His book Animal Liberation, first published in 1975, is considered the foundational text of the animal rights movement. He discussed the sorry lives of the American pig, the ethical difference between hunting and dog fighting, and why both of those are minor cruelties in the scale of things.

Some of the comments attached to the article are interesting as well.

The views expressed are not mine – not all of them anyway. If anybody would like to type up a thoughtful response, I’ll give it front page billing – EVK.


By Andrew Stunich

The battle for the land we call Israel rarely disappears from the news. The dispute is often referred to as the Arab-Israeli conflict, but as shown below that label is under-inclusive. The dispute garners so much media attention for several reasons, most of important of which is the obvious conclusion that it is a conflict that has the potential to ignite a regional war that could further erupt into a larger, more global conflagration. Such a global confrontation could result in an associated economic depression.

An understanding of the roots of the Arab-Israeli conflict is crucial if we are to have any chance of ending or containing the conflict. An accurate understanding is also essential to a deeper appreciation of the complex forces causing war, famine, terrorism and refugee problems in diverse places.

Many people believe that the conflict between the Jews and Arabs dates back to the well known story of Isaac, Abraham and Ishmael. Arabs trace their lineage to Ishmael and Jews trace their lineage to Isaac. Both Isaac and Ishmael were the sons of Abraham – Ishmael from his wife Sarah’s maid and Isaac from his wife Sarah. Belief in the story of Abraham, Isaac and Ishmael is widespread, but Arabs believe in a different version of the story than is taught in the Bible. The Arab version of the story is taught in the Koran. Both groups find their version of the story to be favorable and, therefore, the widespread belief that Isaac and Ishmael descend from Abraham is not a significant factor that drives animosity between Jews and Arabs.

The Arab-Israeli conflict has its real genesis in seventh century Arabia and the advent of Islam as a world religion.

The Jewish people were conquered by the Romans and ceased to exist as an independent Jewish state several hundred years before the advent of Islam and the Arab conquest of the Middle East in the late seventh century and early eighth century. The Jewish people were scattered throughout the Middle East and beyond. As a result, vibrant Jewish communities existed on the Arabian Peninsula during Muhammad’s time and they became a prime target of Islamic aggression soon after Muhammad gained political and military power in Medina.

Arab Muslims, led by Muhammad himself, attacked and ruthlessly subdued Jews located on the Arabian Peninsula. Entire Jewish tribes were destroyed by some combination of slaughter, slavery, or forced expulsion from the Arabian Peninsula. The nexus between that early conflict and the present Arab-Israeli conflict is indirect, but nonetheless existent and extremely important to an understanding of the modern Arab-Israeli conflict.

Because of their long-term familiarity and sometimes close association with one another, both groups have some common cultural ties. As noted above, both Jews and Arabs tend to believe that they are descendants of Abraham. They are both monotheistic people. Many Arabs presently live comfortably as citizens of the State of Israel with few restrictions. At least on the surface, it is part of what the two sides have in common that has become the focus of the conflict.

Both sides have long-term, historical ties to the disputed Holy Land that neither side is willing to relinquish. The present outward manifestation of the conflict between the two groups revolves around a claimed right to the Holy Land and control of Jerusalem. The conflict has a deeper root cause as explained below, but the territorial dispute exacerbates the conflict. While both groups claim rights to the Holy Land and consider control of Jerusalem as paramount to their claims to the Holy Land, it is a mistake to view the conflict as nothing more than a territorial dispute. The dispute excites Islamic fervor in millions of Muslims that were not born in, have never visited, and have never owned property in the Holy Land. Yassir Arafat, for example, was born in Egypt, but nonetheless became the most famous, iconic leader of Arab Palestinians and champion of their claims to the Holy Land and Jerusalem.

While both sides have long-term ties to the Holy Land, some of the Arab sentiments are more manufactured than the result of actual historical reverence. The Jewish reverence for Jerusalem is based on undisputably ancient historical and religious claims to the city. The Islamic claim to Jerusalem is far more manufactured by modern Islamic leaders than it is rooted in legitimate religious or historical claims to the city. In the late seventh or early eighth century Arabs built sacred sites on top of the ruins of the most sacred Jewish site in Jerusalem despite knowledge of the fact that both the city and the sacred site were perceived as profoundly holy and revered by Jews.

The destruction of and expropriation of other religion’s holy sites was a common Islamic practice for centuries. Even in modern times, the Taliban resurrected the ancient Islamic practice by destroying magnificent statues of Buddha in Afghanistan. Muslims destroyed countless Hindu Shrines in India. The Hindu Shrines were seen as an especially moral affront to Islam because of the incorporation of art and statues depicting nudity and sexual acts into the temple designs.

Under the original United Nations mandate seeking to peacefully partition the Holy Land, Jerusalem was declared an international city to be administered by the United Nations. That partition attempt by the United Nations was rejected by several Arab states and they attacked the nascent Jewish state of Israel in an expressly stated attempt to destroy it. Israel prevailed in what many describe as a David versus Goliath type confrontation, but Israel’s existence has been vehemently opposed by most of the Arab and Islamic World with the result that several subsequent wars, violent skirmishes, and repeated acts of terrorism have ensued.

These continued conflicts further deepened the dispute and in 1967 added additional territories to the land dispute aspect of the conflict. The 1967 Six-Day War also exacerbated the Palestinian refugee problem, as well as the dispute over Jerusalem. Israel gained full control of the city from Jordan during the 1967 war.

The underlying root cause of the Arab-Israeli conflict, like so many issues related to the conflict, is highly contested. There are many theories as to the root cause and little consensus. The most strident anti-Israel view of the conflict is that it is the direct result of Imperialism. The ultra extremist view that the Jews themselves were Imperialists is not addressed herein as it is patently untenable. There must be an empire before any people can potentially engage in empire building.

Adherents to the more mainstream view that British Imperialism caused the conflict have a more realistic, albeit ultimately inaccurate assessment as to the roots of the conflict. Adherents to the view that British Imperialism caused the conflict argue that after the British took control of Palestine following a mandate from the League of Nations to administer the land, they mismanaged the competing claims to the land and made inconsistent promises to both the Arabs and the Jews. It is claimed that the British used a small force to garrison the Holy Land without working to create a national government to administer the region or to transfer any political power to either the Arabs or the Jews. It is further claimed that without strong central authority and a viable plan to transfer power or control to the local inhabitants and to peacefully resolve their differences, it was inevitable that factions emerged to advance the interests of the competing Jewish and Arab communities. There is a great deal of truth in some of the premises that underlay the argument that the conflict is a result of British Imperialism. Both the Jews and Arabs wanted, at a minimum, autonomy and were displeased with British governance.

Both sides claimed that the British were biased against them and had broken promises to give them control of the land. Arabs complained to the British about Jewish immigration and sought to curtail that immigration as much as possible. Jews legitimately complained to the British about the limits placed on Jewish immigration and that the British were not only not defending them from Arab violence, but were hindering their ability to protect themselves from Arab aggression. British indifference, hostility, or shifting allegiance to the Arabs resulted in the Nazi slaughter of countless Jews trapped in Europe. Many Arabs applauded the slaughter and hoped to expand it to the Holy Land.

Despite a host of errors made by the British in the Holy Land, it is unfair to blame the British for the Arab-Israeli conflict. At best the British are guilty of failing to manage the conflict in the best possible manner. The reality is that the Arab-Jewish conflict was an impossible problem for the British or anyone else to resolve. There had been a continuous Jewish presence in the land for thousands of years, much longer than the Arab presence, but the Arabs were the majority population and they were violently opposed to the increasing Jewish presence. Arabs also could not accept the refusal by the Jews to adopt a traditional role of subservience to Islamic culture in the Middle East. Neither the Jewish desire to develop a home in the Holy Land nor the Arab opposition to Zionism resulted from British malfeasance or nonfeasance. At worst, Britain added fuel to a fire that was destined to burn. The reality is that it is the norm rather than the exception for there to be conflict wherever the Islamic world comes in contact with the non-Islamic world. Consider the situation in Kashmir, Nigeria, and Sudan.

No one disputes that Palestine, the Roman name for the Holy Land after the Romans were angered by a Jewish revolt, is also the Promised Land, but to whom was it promised? “The Jew, who came first? Or the Arab, who was there last?” (see fn. 1) Both Britain and the United Nations proved incapable of achieving a peaceful solution to such a difficult problem.

Both Jews and Arabs were willing to fight for the Holy Land and eventually the situation deteriorated to the point that members of both sides attacked British soldiers or each other. It is, however, undisputed that Arabs initiated the violence by attacking and slaughtering Jews in Hebron, one of the four most holy cities in Judaism. The violence spread to other parts of Palestine. Britain eventually came to understandably realize that it could not resolve the conflict and decided to withdraw from its mandate.

The United Nations attempted to resolve the problem and legitimately tried to do so. The eventual two-state solution was not a mediated solution between the Jews and Arabs; however, it was decided by the United Nations after considerable study, analysis and debate and a mediated resolution was impossible to obtain. The Palestinian Arabs were well represented at the United Nations by a host of Arab nations and the Arab League that vehemently opposed the United Nations Partition Plan.

The Arab nations were flatly unwilling to recognize the legitimacy of an independent Jewish presence in Palestine under any terms and, even after the United Nations voted to partition Palestine and Israel declared its independence, sought to supplant Israel with some type of Arab state or to divide the area among Egypt, Syria and Jordan. The following September 16, 1947, quote from Arab League secretary Abd al-Rahman Azzam Pasha reveals both the negotiating intransigence of the Arabs and the Arab view that the fight over Palestine was simply a front in the larger historic battle between Islam and the West:

“The Arab world is not at all in a compromising mood. The proposed plan may be logical, but the fate of nations is not decided by rational reasoning . . . . You will achieve nothing with talk of compromise or peace. You may perhaps achieve something by force of your arms. We will try to rout you . . . We succeeded in expelling the Crusaders, but lost Spain and Persia, and may lose Palestine. But it is too late for a peaceful solution.” (see fn. 2)

The belief that the root of the Arab-Israeli conflict arises from Imperialism or is simply a land dispute is nothing more than the result of Western ignorance about Islam and Islamic culture. After the increased study of Islam and resulting better understanding of Islam that followed the horrific events of September 11, 2001, the roots of the Arab-Israeli conflict can be more accurately assessed and disclosed.

The real root cause of the Arab-Israeli conflict lies within Islamic doctrine and history and the resulting Islamic anti-Semitism with its origins dating back to the rise of Islam in the seventh century. Several verses from the Koran assign negative attributes to Jews. (see fn. 3) The Koran and hadiths contain a few favorable verses about Jews, but overall Islamic doctrine and Islamic history and culture results in fervent anti-Semitism by fundamentalist Muslims. This fervent anti-Semitism is described in “Islam and the Jews” written by Mark Gabriel. Dr. Gabriel was born in Egypt and once taught at the prestigious Al-Azhar University in Cairo, Egypt. His story of how difficult it was for him to shed the anti-Semitism bred into him during his upbringing in Egypt brings to life just how deeply ingrained and fervent anti-Semitism is in the Islamic world.

Palestinian religious leaders such as Haj Amin Hussein, the Grand Mufti of Jerusalem and uncle of Yassir Arafat, were virulently anti-Semitic and played a major role in fomenting Arab violence against and hatred of Jews. The fanatical hatred of Jews by Haj Amin Hussein and his position of leadership virtually assured that Palestinian Arabs would reject any and all compromises and assured that peace would be a transitory concept in the Holy Land for the foreseeable future.

Haj Amin Hussein’s fanatical anti-Semitism fell on fertile ground. The type of institutionalized discrimination mandated by the Pact of Omar applied to Jews throughout the Islamic world to one degree or the other over the centuries inevitably led to deeply ingrained feelings of a natural right to Muslim authority over any Jews living in the Middle East or North Africa. Muslims also developed an abiding belief in the supremacy of Islam as a result of its early conquests and centuries-long status as a dominant religious and political force in the Middle East and beyond. Muslims, as the quote above reveals, perceived the fight over Palestine as a continuation of the conflict between Islam and the West that began when the early Muslim community attacked the Byzantine Empire. From the Islamic perspective, the conflict had simply simmered for approximately three hundred years. From the Western perspective, few outside of academia even realized that an epic historical fight had occurred between East and West.

The relative decline of Islam as a dominant military and political force has ultimately engendered in the Islamic world a deep-seated desire to regain Islam’s past glory. It follows that the presence of Israel, a Jewish state anddemocracy, in the heart of the Islamic world is very difficult for Muslims to accept. It is very difficult for Muslims to reconcile Israel’s presence and its regional military supremacy with the prevalent Muslim view that, as alleged recipients of Allah’s final revelation, that no Muslim should be subject to the political supremacy of a Jewish state. It followed that, regardless of the small size of Israel and the vastly larger land mass of the surrounding Arab lands, from the Muslim perspective, Israel’s existence was a cancer in the heart of the Islamic world that needed to be excised.

An additional important factor in the inability to resolve the Arab-Israeli
conflict over-looked by most Middle East analysts is the tribal roots of Arab culture and Islam. The Christian concept of forgiveness and “turning the other cheek” is just that – a Christian concept that has influenced most Western belief systems, including secular ideologies, but has made little inroads into Islamic culture in the Middle East. Islam has its origins in Arab tribal culture with its blood feuds. Islam simply traded sanguinity for belief in Muhammad as Allah’s Messenger as the basis for primary tribal affiliation. In fundamentalist Islam and Arab culture, there is no concept of forgiveness for forgiveness sake. Perceived honor is paramount and any suspected slight in a family’s honor can lead to violence. It is for this reason that an Arab family can and often does kill female family members who are suspected of violating the family honor. In Arab culture, blood feuds are infused with issues of honor and any settlement or resolution must restore any perceived loss of honor. Blood feuds are settled by paying the appropriate price and disputes are not settled on the basis of forgiveness along with a negotiated solution that is acceptable to both sides with no admission as to who is at fault.

It is not that honor is completely ignored in Western culture, many of us will
recall Richard Nixon’s need for “peace with honor” during the Vietnam War, it is simply that the concept is restrained, tempered by, and competes with other,often stronger cultural influences that are either non-existent or not as strong in the Islamic World.

Israel is a Western culture and it has in large part adopted the Western concept of forgiveness and willingness to reach a fair negotiated solution. While this cultural difference may at first blush seem insignificant, it is not. It makes peace difficult to obtain on reasonable terms because Arabs feel wronged and have a perceived sense of a humiliating loss of honor. Arabs expect peace to come in the form of a bargained capitulation to end the blood feud that essentially pays a premium price for perceived loss of honor. Israel is unwilling to pay such a steep price for peace as it believes Arab demands would leave it defenseless or Arab demands for all or part of Jerusalem are too steep of a price to pay emotionally and culturally. It is this cultural difference that results, at least in part, in Arab refusals to accept settlement offers that, at least to Westerners, appear very favorable to Arabs in light their relative military weakness and apparent inability to achieve anything more favorable by continuing the conflict.

Islam also instills in its adherents the belief that everything that happens is
Allah’s will. This concept is known as predestination. Muslims tend to believe that it is Allah’s will that they ultimately triumph and, therefore, there is no need to negotiate a solution. The news media and entertainment industry in the Middle East plays to an already pervasive anti-Semitism that adds to the intractability of the conflict. Even children’s cartoon characters such as Farfur the mouse advance Islamic anti-Semitism and Jihadist ideology.

Because the strongest source of the Arab-Israeli conflict is deeply ingrained in the centuries’ old religious and political experience of the Islamic World, resolution of the Arab-Israeli conflict has defied resolution. Many analysts, including Henry Kissinger, have accurately concluded that the Arab-Israeli conflict is incapable of any foreseeable, permanent resolution and that all that can be achieved is some degree of crisis management.

Only complete domination and control of Islamic society by Western culture and the slow dampening and reduction of the influence of Islam over time could ever result in a real, lasting peace in the Middle East. That process would require control of the media, entertainment industry, education system, and Mosques in Islamic countries until decades of education eliminated pervasive Islamic control over the beliefs and cultural values of the region. Such an approach is beyond the parameters of what is acceptable in Western democracies so we are left with attempts to manage the crisis and the unrealistic hope that Islamic culture will miraculously change from within.

The attribution of Imperialism as the alleged source of the Israeli-Arab conflict also fails to account for the fact that the United Nations thoroughly investigated the conflict prior to voting to recognize Israel and partition that portion of Palestine not already assigned to Jordan, an Arab state and monarchy, into separate Jewish and Palestinian homelands. Such diverse countries as the United States and U.S.S.R., bitter cold war opponents at the time with divergent interests, both voted for the partition and to recognize Israel as a nation which suggests that the partition was as objectively fair as learned minds could determine.

Proponents of the view that the root cause of the conflict stems from deep-seated animosities point out that, at the time hostilities commenced, the Holy Land was far from its historic high population levels and the existing high population level today. There was, therefore, no legitimate reason for such fervent Arab opposition to continued Jewish immigration. Local Arabs did not register similar complaints about Arab immigration from surrounding Arab countries revealing that racial and religious bigotry was a driving force in Arab opposition to Jewish immigration.

It is also noteworthy that Jewish immigrants toiled hard to reclaim lost agricultural land and develop the Holy Land and their efforts raised the standard of living of both Jews and Muslims, as well as health standards and life expectancies. Jewish efforts benefitted all of Palestine’s inhabitants. Moreover, Jewish land purchases resulted in a higher percentage of ownership of land in the hands of local inhabitants and away from absentee Arab landowners.

Israel’s fair treatment of its Arab citizens also proves that Arabs had no reason to fear Jewish immigration and statehood. Arabs are treated by the Israeli government far better than most Arabs are treated by their own Islamic governments and Israeli Arabs have far greater free speech rights and other freedoms than most other Arabs in the Middle East.

Whatever the original origins of the conflict may be, it is clear that the conflict seems to be gaining in intensity for many reasons. There are Palestinians who were displaced during the conflict and their desire to return to their former homes within the borders of modern day Israel has been an open wound and certainly contributes to the ongoing nature of the conflict. The plight of these Palestinians has been manipulated and intentionally left unresolved by the Islamic world. In Saudi Arabia, for example, Palestinian Arabs are expressly excluded from the right to become citizens of Saudi Arabia for the admitted purpose of not diluting Arab claims to Israel.

The conflict has also resulted in the voluntary and involuntary expulsion of Jews throughout the Islamic World and the ingathering of many of them to Israel. That population infusion of displaced Jews into Israel and the Arab states’ refusal to reciprocate and accept large numbers of Palestinians as welcome fellow Arabs and citizens have contributed to the ongoing nature and exacerbation of the dispute. Even if Israel had wanted to, its need to accommodate, house, and feed hundreds of thousands of Jewish refugees would have rendered it incapable of successfully absorbing the return of Palestinians whose high birth rates caused their ranks to swell during their exile.

Some analysts claim that Israel’s demand that any right of return granted to
Palestinians must involve a comprehensive, permanent peace, has also contributed to the ongoing nature and exacerbation of the dispute. I disagree and believe that allowing more Arabs to live within the borders of Israel would simply destabilize the country and threaten its ability to remain a viable democracy. Any Israeli instability would translate into a perception in the Islamic world that Israel is vulnerable and would increase the likelihood of armed aggression and increase the likelihood of a new Holocaust.

A fundamentalist Islamic awakening or revival has added additional fervor to the conflict. The Islamic world has experimented with many Western ideologies, none of which have led to parity between the Islamic world and the Western world. As the Islamic world falls further behind the West and Muslims feel increasingly inferior, there is a natural reaction or tendency to turn to Islam under the belief that Islam and Islam alone made the Muslim world great and only Islam can make it great once again. There is also some understandable revulsion, from a Muslim perspective, at the decaying moral values of Western civilization. The increasing ease of communication means more exposure to Western culture at its worst as represented by Hollywood movies.

Some Jews and Christians also believe that God promised the Holy Land to the Jews and that Israel’s borders should be expanded to its ancient boundaries further adding to the conflict. The Bible promises all of the land between the Nile River and Euphrates River to the Jews and many Jews and Christians believe that the Jews are obligated to accept God’s gift. Palestinians become enraged when Jewish settlers take up residence in Judea and Samaria, known more popularly as the West Bank and Gaza Strip.

Now that population levels in the region are high, it is anticipated that further rising population density in the region will add further demands to the relatively limited land space and already strained water supplies and potentially deeply exacerbate the conflict. The increasing sophistication and intensity of international terrorism and the response to that terrorism are both adding further instability to the region. Knowledge and education are increasing with the associated sophistication of the type of weaponry sure to be used in future battles.

The threat of the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction increases with each passing year with the concurrent increase in the danger to the region’s inhabitants and the very real possibility that Israel will undertake preemptive strikes against Iran, Hamas, Hezbollah or some combination thereof.

Iran’s support of terrorism since its 1979 Islamic Revolution and the express
desire by some of its political and religious leaders to exterminate Israel and fund terrorism against Israel has greatly intensified the conflict. Iran’s funding and support of Hezbollah has already caused one war and will probably lead to future wars. Prior to the 1979 Islamic Revolution, the Shah of Iran had good relations with Israel and kept Iran out of the confict.

Given Iran’s increasing involvement in the conflict and the likelihood that it will play a major role in the future of the conflict, it may be more accurate in the future to describe the conflict as the Islamic-Israeli conflict.

Such a designation would more accurately describe the participation in the conflict by Muslims throughout the World who are not Arabs, as well as help identify the root cause of the conflict.

Up until now, there really has been no legitimate reason for the conflict. There was plenty of room for the area to comfortably accommodate Twentieth Century population levels. But water resources available to the region are becoming increasingly taxed and there may well be very legitimate disputes in the future over limited water supplies that could raise the stakes of the conflict even further. Israel and Syria have already squared off in the past over disputed water supplies. Israel is obtaining water from Turkey which will make it vulnerable to an interdiction of some of its water supply. The globalization of water resources will also allow an unnatural population increase in the Middle East that will eventually add to regional instability.

My best prediction for the future of the Middle East is not optimistic, although I hope and pray that I am wrong. I believe that Iran will obtain nuclear weapons. Western culture has become too unsure of its own moral right to exist to take the hard steps and to maintain the long-term resolve needed to stop Iranian nuclear development. How can those who do not respect their culture ever decide to sacrifice themselves or even their comfort to preserve that culture? Increasing oil prices will raise the amount of money the Mullahs of Iran can spend preparing for war and decrease the relative power of Western economies. Increasing European political and economic power, as well as shifting domestic politics within the United States, will lessen military aid to Israel from the United States. Israel will become increasingly isolated and may well find itself facing the Islamic World alone.

Iran and several other Islamic states will eventually attack Israel after a decline in Israel’s relative regional military supremacy. The conflict will eventually result in the exchange of nuclear weapons or some other type of weapons of mass destruction.


1. Quoted from Lightning Out of Israel an old and out of print book written by the
Associated Press about the Six-Day War.

2. Quoted from Middle East Conflict by Mitchell G. Bard.

3. See chapter 2, verses 61, 65; chapter 3, verse 71; chapter 4, verse 46; chapter 5, verses 60-65, 78-82; and chapter 7, verse 166.

I haven’t really followed the matter, but there are two stories in the Times-Standard today. One is an interview with Cotton’s father. The other is about the EPD chief’s calling for the release of the prison video to settle the controversy.

Just read Bob Doran’s NCJ article about the Slow Food movement and its local incarnation. A good read and an interesting concept!

Obviously I’m becoming an expert on them. And a connoisseur. My favorite author is and has always been Dr. Seuss, who introduced the concept of children’s literature as opposed to the “see Tom run” prose which dominated prior. Plus, Dr. Seuss introduced politics into children’s literature – everything from environmentalism (The Loraxx) to anti-fascism (Yertle the Turtle).

My favorites are the Horton sequels. But my question is: in the Horton universe, which story took place first? Obviously the elephant bird pup wasn’t around when the Whoville dust speck blew into Horton’s life. Did he return to the no-good Mayzie bird? Horton sat on that egg for a full year, without protecting the Whoville speck, but then all the animals were chipping in by the end of the Who story.

Also, was the dust speck Whoville the same as in the Grinch story? If so, during the Horton/Wickersham Brothers crisis, did the Grinch chip in with his own yip or yop? He lived on a mountain top. Certainly his contribution would have been crucial.


Is anybody besides me creeped out by The Giving Tree? The tree, for some reason depicted in the story as female, gives everything of herself. The brat gives nothing back. And somehow, we’re supposed to be touched by an ending where the boy can make use of what little she has left?

Was this like some children’s metaphor for a leather scene relationship?


Now I like the Bearingstein Bears stories. But do they move a lot, or does the landscape around them constantly change as in that movie Dark City? In one story they’re surrounded by farms. In another they’re in a neighborhood with other kids. The treehouse itself seems to alter shape from story to story – but then the father is a woodworker and maybe he just can’t sit still.


Does Curious George ever get anyone killed?


And where does Clifford, well, you know, go?


Dr. Seuss stamp image is from here.


August 2007