Welcome to The New Chainik Hocker. I am your host, the eponymous Chainik Hocker, here to share news, reviews, pretty pictures, and silly opinions with you. Contact me at chainik DOT hocker AT gmail DOT com

Thursday, January 26, 2006

Trabajo, senior?

You drive by them quickly, trying not to make eye contact. You don’t slow down and you don’t stop for anything but red lights and you definitely don’t park and get out. If you have to park- especially if you drive a pickup truck, as I do- you walk away from your vehicle as quick as possible.

You know they are desperate men, and you don’t dare look them in the eye.

They are the day laborers, standing around all day in all kinds of weather, ready to do any kind of work for almost any pay. And you can’t look them in the eye because you have no work for them. You can’t look them in the eye because they work twice as hard as you do for a quarter the pay. You can’t look them in the eye because you know they are the targets of racism, ignorance, stupidity, and hatred, and you can’t help but wonder, if the shoe was on the other foot- how would you act?

You imagine what they must think of you and your people. You see the kind of abuse and ridicule they face every day, and you just can’t deal with the thought of what they must think of you and yours.

And now we want to take away their jobs.

In a surprise twist, the Township Committee has dropped the idea of creating a downtown muster zone and instead may designate the downtown a "no-stopping zone" to make it illegal for contractors to pick up per-diem workers. The township attorney will now draft an ordinance that makes the downtown area — Cunliffe wasn't specific, but that usually refers to the box of Route 9 to Lexington Avenue and First to Fourth streets — a "no-stopping zone." The ordinance also would likely ban standing, cruising, double-parking or picking people up, Cunliffe said, adding that he wants a legal ruling on whether his idea can be implemented.

From the Asbury Park Press.


Thursday, January 19, 2006

A Little Break From All the Politics

I've been listening to a new CD by Hasidic recording artist Lipa Schmeltzer, and it is really good.

I'm a big fan of Lipa's. Here's a video of him singing his song "Abi Mileibt" (at least we live). This music video was part of a fundraiser for HASC, a charity which you should be donating to.

Everyone who knows me is aware off my odd obsession with covers, remixes, and even rip-offs. I like to see people doing new things with old songs, and this certainly qualifies.


Wednesday, January 18, 2006

Fun Facts about Chainik Hocker!

Ten Top Trivia Tips about Chainik Hocker!

  1. It's bad luck for a flag to touch Chainik Hocker.
  2. Chainik Hockerology is the study of Chainik Hocker.
  3. Chainik Hocker can be seen from space.
  4. Chainik Hocker can grow up to three feet in a 24 hour period.
  5. The blood of mammals is red, the blood of insects is yellow, and the blood of Chainik Hocker is blue!
  6. If you toss Chainik Hocker 10000 times, he will not land heads 5000 times, but more like 4950, because his head weighs more and thus ends up on the bottom!
  7. In the 1600s, tobacco was frequently prescribed to treat headaches, bad breath and Chainik Hocker.
  8. Chainik Hocker can last longer without water than a camel can.
  9. The pupil of an octopus's eye is shaped like Chainik Hocker.
  10. Ancient Chinese artists would never paint pictures of Chainik Hocker.
I am interested in - do tell me about

Via Petitdov.


Tuesday, January 17, 2006

Saddam and Islamic Fascism

Stephen F. Hayes from The Weekly Standard has heroically chronicled the connections between the former tyrant and militant Islamic groups, an axis which everyone knows never existed

The official continued: "[Saddam] used these groups because he was interested in extending his influence and extending the influence of Iraq. There are definite and absolute ties to terrorism. The evidence is there, especially at the network level. How high up in the government was it sanctioned? I can't tell you. I don't know whether it was run by Qusay [Hussein] or [Izzat Ibrahim] al-Duri or someone else. I'm just not sure. But to say Iraq wasn't involved in terrorism is flat wrong."

Read it here

In fact, Hayes has even written a book on this


Yehudi lo megaresh yehudi!

Viz. this post:

Hevron has been declared a closed military zone, upon order of IDF Central District Commander Maj.-Gen. Yair Naveh. Non-residents of the Jewish section of the city will not be allowed in by the IDF.

"Hebron, the first Jewish city in Eretz Yisrael, the roots of the Jewish people, site of the Cave of the Patriarchs and Matriarchs, was closed to the Jewish people for 19 years, between 1948 and 1967, when under Jordanian occupation following the War of Independence," a statement from Hevron's Jewish community said following the announcement. "Entrance to Ma'arat HaMachpela was off-limits to Jews for 700 years, from 1267, following the Mameluk victory over the Crusaders, until the Six-Day War in 1967.

"Now, the State of Israel, impersonating the Mameluks and the Jordanians, is again closing Cave of the Patriarchs to Jews. What could be more dastardly than placing the 2nd holiest site to the Jewish people in all the world, again, off-limits?"

From Arutz Sheva, the only news outlet on the Internet who cares about this story, appearently.

Yeshiva World links to some pics.

Warning: the following link contains disturbing images.

Chevron blog- pics.


Sunday, January 15, 2006

Nullification Makes a Comeback

In the seventy years between the ratification of the Constitution of these United States and the Civil War, one of the darkest shadows hanging over the Republic was that of nullification.

The theory of nullification is that any state has a right to nullify–or cancel–any federal law within its own borders.

The South used nullification to restrain the federal government, first during the fallout from the Alien and Sedition Acts. The agrarian Jeffersonians saw these laws, which were passed during the administration of John Adams, as tyrannical encroachments into the lives of citizens, and Jefferson and Madison quickly moved to destroy them. Together they passed the Virginia and Kentucky Resolutions, which nullified the hated law within those two states.

Over thirty years later, Vice President John C. Calhoun dug up their argument and attempted to nullify yet another federal law. In 1828, Calhoun secretly authored the South Carolina Exposition and Protest, which encouraged Southern states to nullify the tariff of 1828, a protective tariff that was universally deplored by the South.

Four years later, after the tariff of 1832 was passed, South Carolina’s state legislature passed the Nullification Ordinance, which nullified both the tariffs of 1828 and 1832. President Andrew Jackson threatened to hang Calhoun as a traitor and signed the Force Bill, which authorized federal troops to be deployed in order to collect the tariff.

Twenty nine years later, South Carolina borrowed heavily from the Virginia and Kentucky Resolutions as well as the Nullification Ordinance when it seceded from the Union in response to the election of Abraham Lincoln. Four years and 620,000 dead later, the issue of whether states have the right to nullify federal laws had been settled forever. Or had it?

On November 8th, 2005, the City of San Francisco included on its ballot a measure called Proposition I. In its entirety, it states “Shall it be City policy to oppose military recruiting in public schools and consider funding scholarships for education and training that could provide an alternative to military service?”

Residents of San Francisco approved the proposition by an overwhelming margin of 20%. However, the measure itself will not change anything. The 2001 No Child Left Behind Act (NCLBA) revokes federal funding for all schools who ban military recruiters on campus.

For over a decade prior to NCLBA, San Francisco had military recruiters from public schools. The city only changed its policy after NCLBA was passed, not wanting to have federal funding cut. Because of the funding clause, the Bay City’s Proposition I lacks any real punch, but its lasting impact is significant.

If any city across the nation can vote to ban military recruiters and in fact, actively hand out scholarships as an alternative to military service, the nation is in serious peril. Our military defends and serves us all, and no state, city, or town has a right to deny recruiters access to schools. If such denial becomes a trend, the military would be crippled by low recruitment levels. As we are currently in a state of war, low recruitment puts additional strain upon the courageous troops serving not only in Iraq, but in Afghanistan, South Korea, and across the globe. Inadequate troop levels mean higher casualties not only for ourselves but for Iraqis and would cataclysmically destabilize our Armed Forces at a time when the creation of a free and democratic Iraq is closer than ever before.

The only thing keeping San Francisco from actually banning military recruiters is the clause in NCLBA that ties funding to recruitment access, and even that clause is under assault. A group of college law schools, intellectuals, and “free speech” activists are challenging the Solomon Amendment, a piece of legislation which mandates that all colleges who accept federal funding also allow military recruiters on campus. If the Solomon Amendment is overturned, cities like San Francisco could potentially sue for the recruitment access clause in NCLBA to be overturned as well.

On December 6th, the case of Rumsfeld v. Forum for Academic and Institutional Rights (FAIR) was argued before the Supreme Court. At issue was FAIR’s contention that the Solomon Amendment violated the college’s first amendment rights.

FAIR’s case was built upon the fact that the military currently maintains a policy of “don’t ask, don’t tell” towards gay soldiers. This supposedly conflicts with the tolerant progressivism of these universities, and any federal law which mandates that an institution abide by a policy with which it does not agree is unconstitutional.

A closer look reveals that FAIR’s position is anything but tolerant. Justice Steven Breyer questioned FAIR attorney Joshua Rosenkranz during the oral arguments. He asked if colleges that held a similar aversion to the federal racial integration policy should be entitled to the same protection that FAIR was seeking. Rosenkranz’s answer was “absolutely.” Consequently, FAIR is then endorsing a policy which could be used to deny blacks or any other minority entrance into a college because the college had an academic right to disagree with federal non-discrimination laws.

Things become more absurd from there. Rosenkranz went on to cite the 1995 case Invisible Empire of the Knights of the Ku Klux Klan v. Mayor of Thurmon, where the KKK argued that the federal government cannot compel the organization to admit minorities. These progressives who claim to be representing tolerance are citing the KKK in their defense.

Fortunately, the Supreme Court does not look like it will overturn the Solomon Amendment. Of course, nothing forces the colleges to accept federal aid in the first place. If they feel morally compelled to ban military recruiters, they can do so, but at the cost of grant money. Thus they are really trying to have it both ways: keep their pockets lined yet be able to nullify any federal law with which they disagree.

With the Solomon Amendment secure, military recruiters will still be able to recruit on college campuses. It also means that the clause in the NCLBA preventing schools from banning recruiters will be upheld. But the San Francisco and FAIR cases provide a disturbing trend in which educational institutions are systematically threatening our military’s strength and actively assaulting recruitment.

Not only is this a reckless endangerment of our Armed Forces, it also runs against the principle of federalism which the Civil War attempted to settle. San Francisco’s and FAIR’s defenses are nothing more than politically correct versions of nullification. It is the same reasoning advanced by John C. Calhoun and it runs contrary to the fundamental tenets of republican federalism upon which our political system was based.

There is a reason why some laws are passed at a federal instead of state level, and just as South Carolina had no right to nullify the tariffs of 1828 and 1832, San Francisco has no right to nullify No Child Left Behind nor does FAIR possess the ability to wipe the Solomon Amendment from the books. If, however, they do succeed in nullifying these federal laws, I’m sure the ghost of Andy Jackson can come up with a suitable federal response.


Thursday, January 12, 2006


Hennessy collapsed on the street shortly after responding to a call of a man with a gun at Farragut Road and Flatbush Avenue around 9:30 Monday night. The call turned out to be unfounded.

Fidelis Ad Mortem.


US army in Iraq institutionally racist, claims British officer.

From the Al-Guardian:

A senior British officer has criticised the US army for its conduct in Iraq, accusing it of institutional racism, moral righteousness, misplaced optimism, and of being ill-suited to engage in counter-insurgency operations.


Moral righteousness is a sin? Misplaced optimism is a mistake?
Brigadier Nigel Aylwin-Foster was second in command at the Coalition Military Assistance Training Team (CMATT), the military training arm of the Office of Security Cooperation (OSC), a division of the Coalition Provisional Authority (CPA). Google anything that has to do with military persons above the rank of major and you find yourself wading into a cesspool of information, looking for a diamond of fact. Sure, you find a mountain of facts and figures, but you have to dig through it all, decrypting acronyms as you go, fighting to stay awake as you imagine a flowchart written by a man standing on a trampoline in an earthquake.

In the dark. Drunk. In a foreign language.

Anyway, Aylwin-Foster’s job was training Iraqi soldiers and cops. Seems he wasn’t happy at having to work with a bunch of yahoo white trash hick colonials. From the Al-Guardian article:
American soldiers, says Brig Aylwin-Foster, were "almost unfailingly courteous and considerate". But he says "at times their cultural insensitivity, almost certainly inadvertent, arguably amounted to institutional racism".
Inadvertent cultural insensitivity = racism. I’m sorry, institutional racism. Okay. What kind of “inadvertent cultural insensitivity”? Did some Guardsmen from North Carolina walk into a mosque and light a candle in front of a picture of Dale Earnhardt? Did some female soldier fail to wear a desert camo burqa? Did someone call a “morale officer” Reverend? Because, as we all know, not knowing everything about another culture and not acting in accordance with another culture’s mores is proof positive, admissible in a court of law, that you are racist.
Tomorrow I’m going to my lawyer and drawing papers suing Ted Kennedy for depriving me of my civil rights. I’m going to demand that he appear in public wearing a yarmulka at all times, and that he say the proper blessing on Scotch when he takes a swig from his hip flask- although he usually does this when the CSPAN cameras are on Senatrix Boxter, so that might not fly.

After all, his failing to follow the rules of my culture is, by definition, racist.
General Aylwin-Foster goes on to say that the US army is imbued with an unparalleled sense of patriotism, duty, passion and talent. "Yet it seemed weighed down by bureaucracy, a stiflingly hierarchical outlook, a predisposition to offensive operations and a sense that duty required all issues to be confronted head-on."

Okay, Nigel. I’ll give you the bureaucracy and the stiflingly hierarchical outlook, although it seems to me that a military kinda sorta needs a hierarchy. But the predisposition to offensive operations? The sense that all issues need to be confronted head on? Wha? You kiddin, right? We invaded Iraq, man. You don’t win an invasion with defensive operations. We proved that in Vietnam, and the Israelis proved it again in Lebanon.
The story goes on:
While US officers in Iraq criticised their allies for being too reluctant to use force, their strategy was "to kill or capture all terrorists and insurgents: they saw military destruction of the enemy as a strategic goal in its own right". In short, the brigadier says, "the US army has developed over time a singular focus on conventional warfare, of a particularly swift and violent kind". Such an unsophisticated approach, ingrained in American military doctrine, is counter-productive, exacerbating the task the US faced by alienating significant sections of the population, argues Brig Aylwin-Foster.

Well, I suppose that romping and stomping through Iraq, killing everything that moves and setting fire to everything that doesn’t, is rather unsubtle. While it would be a good way to accomplish our goals of making the bad people dead, it doesn’t acknowledge the fact that not everyone in Iraq is bad people. But that isn’t what they’ve been doing there. Our soldiers in Iraq are bending over backward to be solicitous to civilians who live in the middle of a combat zone. The US military has, arguably, put its own soldiers’ lives in danger by not allowing them to fire on mosques even when they were taking fire from those mosques.
But, says General Aylwin-Foster, US military commanders are too darn focused on doing the thing the US military pays them for, i.e. shooting bad guys and making sure stuff gets blowed up good. Those guys should, like, learn to see the big picture, maaaan.
What he calls a sense of "moral righteousness" contributed to the US response to the killing of four American contractors in Falluja in the spring of 2004. As a "come-on" tactic by insurgents, designed to provoke a disproportionate response, it succeeded, says the brigadier, as US commanders were "set on the total destruction of the enemy".

What? Outrageous! Who ever heard of such a thing, soldiers set on the total destruction of the enemy! Why, its exactly this kind of violent tendencies that cause Girl Scouts not to invite Marine Corps gunnery sergeants to their tea parties. They’re all so totally set on the total destruction of the enemy that they can hardly focus on the drama between Mister Bunny and Barbie.

Those soldiers sure are a bunch of meanies. You’d almost think they’re over there to fight a war or something, the way they go around being heavily armed and all wearing the same thing and having a rigid hierarchy and being totally set on the destruction of the enemy all the time like that. Plus, they also go around being racist in an institutional manner. Not to mention the insensitivity to the local culture.


Okay, devil’s advocate time. The soldiery is aces at seeing that things get blowed up real good, of course, but notso hotso at rebuilding the sewage system and getting school back in session and finding and staffing the new fire truck at Hook and Ladder Company 42 (“The Thieves of Baghdad”). To be fair, they aren’t trained for things like that. It simply isn’t realistic to expect soldiers to be good civil engineers and governmental administrators. They are having to rely on common sense for things like how to put a country back together again once you’ve blown it apart (not to mention the fact that it really wasn’t working all that great beforehand). Credit where credit is due, the common sense approach has worked a lot better than we had any right to expect. But it isn’t really enough. In this, the smelly hippies have a small inkling of a point.

So, President Bush, before we invade Iran, can we take like six months to put together a corps of, oh, colonial administrators? The British didn’t just move into a country and kill everyone, back in the day. They wanted to make a buck off the place, after all. So they had civil servants ready and waiting right behind the army in order to get things running as soon as possible. Not a bad idea.

I hear Nigel Aylwin-Foster has some good ideas on the subject, maybe you can ask him.


Monday, January 09, 2006

That Lileks fella sure does have a way with words.

God, I hate spammers. I hate them like I hate spray-paint vandals. Somewhere in the afterlife they will be repeatedly pounded in the nuts with Thor’s hammer, if there’s any justice.

Mwahahaha. RTHT.


That's Just Wrong.

I have been using the Internet since 1995. I have been in housing projects, crack houses, and a Wall Street brokerage. I have worked in East New York and the South Bronx and Atlantic City, New Jersey.

But this is honestly the creepiest thing I've ever seen.

You know the websites that sell small patches of thier space to advertisers? Well... this is kind of like that.

NSFW (not safe for work).


Sunday, January 08, 2006

I'm an Equal Opportunity Offender.

In case anyone thinks I'm unnecessarily harsh on Arab terrorists, rest assured that there is no racial component to it all. I hate all terrorists equally. To prove it, allow me to link to this little story about the interaction between Irish terrorists and Arab terrorists, whom I hate with an equal amount of passion.

Convicted Al Quada terrorist Abbas Boutrab (a fake name according to officials, so I'll just reffer to him as Retard A) had a dispute with some of the IRA dingbats (remember, this is a family blog- no cussin) in at Maghaberry Prison. So Retard A hands Retard B (Irish terrorist)
a 'vacaum flask' (Britishism for 'thermos') with some batteries tapes to it, and tells him its a bomb.

He tells Retard B that there was a pressure switch in the bomb and that it would explode if he let go of it.


Army bomb disposal experts called to the scene initially taped the suspect device to the frightened man's hand while they examined it. The Algerian, who used the fake identity Abbas Boutrab to enter the UK and settle in Newtownabbey, has a reputation as a skilled bomb-maker. A prison officer told Sunday Life: "They [the Army bomb experts] weren't taking any chances because of what the FBI said in court about Abbas's expertise to make bombs from everyday ingredients.

Oh, I feel like someone's getting a beating tonight, on Oz: The Terrorists.

More details here.


Poor Man's Biological Warfare

From The Sunday Mirror:

AL-QAEDA is recruiting suicide bombers who are infected with the AIDS virus, according to documents revealed to the Sunday Mirror.Terror chiefs are also targeting fanatics who suffer other lethal blood diseases such as hepatitis and dengue fever in order to increase their "kill rate" from an explosion.
Excuse me while I wet myself and go hide under my bed, whimpering and sucking a bottle of scotch. The very idea of some guy with AIDS, let alone "dengue fever" (which, if I recall, was the bad guy in Outbreak starring Dustin Hoffman) blowing himself up, showering blast survivors and first responders with germs, gives me the heebie jeebies.



US Army v. the First Amendment.

I just got this in an email from a friend. I can neither confirm nor deny its authenticity. Can anyone help?

In any case, it is entertaining.

To: All Commands
Subject: Inappropriate T-Shirts

1. All commanders promulgate upon receipt.

2. The following T-shirts are no longer to be worn on or off base by any military or civilian personnel serving in the Middle

"Eat Pork or Die" [both English and Arabic versions]

"Shrine Busters" [Various. Show burning minarets or bomb/artillery shells impacting Islamic shrines. Some with unit logos.]

"Napalm, Sticks Like Crazy" [Both English and Arabic versions]

"Goat - it isn't just for breakfast any more." [Both English and
Arabic versions]

"The road to Paradise begins with me." [Mostly Arabic versions but some in English. Some show sniper scope cross-hairs]

"Guns don't kill people. I kill people." [Both Arabic and English

"Pork. The other white meat." [Arabic version]

"Infidel" [English, Arabic and other coalition force languages.]

3. The above T-shirts are to be removed from Post Exchanges upon receipt of this directive.

4. The following signs are to be removed upon receipt of this message:

"Islamic Religious Services Will Be Held at the Firing Range At
0800 Daily."

"Do we really need 'smart bombs' to drop on these dumb

5. All commands are instructed to implement sensitivity training upon receipt.

Well, now I want all these t-shirts. The allure of the forbidden, I suppose. Although I’m not in the military, so I can do as I please. Hurray!


Privatise the Sidewalks, Too!

Adam Smith must be doing the “wave”. The New York Times (motto: “Fake, but Accurate”) has an article on a program the Parks Department is running, in which you can sponsor a park bench, a tree, and so on.

The arrangement, long common in institutions as disparate as hospitals, museums and places of worship, provides money for the Parks Department while allowing parkgoers to pay tribute to relatives and friends by "buying" benches for up to $7,500 each for the life of the bench and playgrounds for $15,000 annually.

Wow! A department of the City of New York has embraced the free market! Can a libertarian mayor and the abolition of income taxes be far behind? Not only that, but the Times speaks of this program in approving tones. Of course, the Times stylebook demands that stories point out that money is bad and having money hurts poor people:

But some parks advocates say the Adopt-a-Park program only aggravates what they consider a significant disparity in maintenance between the city's best and worst parks because sponsorships are more likely to be made to parks that are already well maintained. As a result, they say, neglected parks will receive even less attention. Geoffrey Croft, president of the New York City Park Advocates, a private nonprofit group, said, "My question is, when is the government going to begin to adopt its own parks, and start to adequately fund this vital city service?"

So, privatize the parks and I bet the parks would get a lot nicer- although (and here’s where reality bumps right into theory) I have to admit most parks are real nice already. For a free government run service, they’re excellent, where they aren't drug-infested and dangerous.

In other news, the Post Office is raising the price of a first class stamp to 39 cents.

Excuse me while I email my local postmaster to complain.


Thursday, January 05, 2006

Iraq: It's Looking Better Than You Think

On November 30th, the President gave a major policy speech where he outlined his plan for victory in Iraq. The speech was an overview of an extensive 35 page report issued by the administration which articulates its vision on what will be needed to ensure the success of a new Iraqi state.

The report correctly identifies the three critical areas of Iraq which will need to be built up to create the foundations of a modern state: the political, security, and economic infrastructures. These points are mutually reinforcing, as success in one will lead to success in the others. Progress in the security track will stabilize the political situation by helping to create a safe environment where Iraqis are free to express dissenting opinions without fear of retribution or isolation. Success on the economic track will improve the quality of life for Iraqis, which will in turn make them friendlier to the Iraqi government, serving to make the country safer.

The insurgency right now consists of three groups, the first being the rejectionists, a largely Sunni group which comprises the bulk of the insurgency. Iraq is divided into three ethnic groups, with the Sunnis comprising only about 20% of the population. Despite their minority status, they ruled Iraq under Saddam, and they rule most nations in the Middle East. They view their Shiite cousins in the south as heretics, and the conflict between the two groups is a major source of tension not only in Iraq, but throughout the Middle East. Since they rule the rest of the region, and once did as well in Iraq, they do not want to give up the power that they see as rightfully theirs to the Shiites, who comprise about 60% of Iraq’s population. The rejectionists, however, are softening, and when one year ago they were providing arms and manpower in Fallujah, this year they are organizing politically and two Sunni parties did very well in the elections on December 15th. In fact, Sunni clerics have recently issued a fatwa, or a religious order, which encourages Sunnis to serve in the Iraqi Army. When you think about the fact that only one year ago, the fatwas instead demanded jihad, you can appreciate the tremendous progress that both we and the Iraqis themselves have made in the past year.

The second group of the insurgency is the Baathists. These individuals were members of Saddam’s ruling cadre, and unlike the rejectionists, they will not be brought into the political arena. They want to restore a Baath dictatorship, and no amount of appeasement will win them over. They are collaborating extensively with the jihadists, and are based mostly in Syria, Iraq’s neighbor which is also run by the Baath Party. They represent skilled leaders in the insurgency and are very dangerous.

The third and most terrifying group is the jihadists. They come from Syria, Saudi Arabia, Iran, and Egypt, and their nihilistic goal is to kill anything and anyone who moves. They are led by bin Laden deputy Abu Musab al-Zarqawi and represent the smallest percentage of the insurrection. Small as their numbers are, they are the ones who are blowing themselves up at checkpoints, and their utter fanaticism makes them hard to stop. The only way to fully destroy them is to isolate them from their largest ally, the rejectionists, who provide the shelter, arms, and support needed to carry out their murderous acts.

The key to Iraq is to bring the rejectionists into the political arena. Under Saddam, the Sunni clerics were tolerated, but were not able to wield much political influence. When Saddam’s government fell, they were for the first time able to exercise their substantial power and called for Sunnis to resist the Americans. They wanted Iraq to be run by Sunnis once again and could not stand the thought of being dominated by the populous Shiites, hence their boycott of the January 2005 elections. But as time wore on, they have come to realize that ignoring the political transformation of Iraq will not restore their rule. Instead, they should seek as large a representation in parliament as possible, and fight their battles in the political arena and not in the middle of Baghdad.

The transformation of the clerics is the key part to bringing the rejectionists into the political fold. The few rejectionists who are holding out are fighting a losing battle against the tide of realism hitting the Sunni community. The thought that they will no longer rule Iraq is an enormous psychological blow to them. We took over one century to fully get over the consequences of slavery, and slavery existed on the North American continent for only 250 years. The rift between Shiites and Sunnis goes back to the 8th century, and their differences are far more substantial than ours ever were: each side views the other as heretical perverters of the faith. They are making enormous progress, but we have to give them time to continue down the path of liberalization.

Unfortunately, there is a danger with the Shiites as well. While most Shiites in Iraq, such as the top Shiite religious leader, Grand Ayatollah Sistani, are fiercely loyal to the Iraqi state, others are a little too close to their Shiite big-brothers in Iran, the world’s largest Shiite nation. The Shiites come under Iran’s influence when they are scared that they will be destroyed by the Sunnis. Despite the overwhelming Shiite majority, centuries of Sunni domination have led the Shiites to believe that if a civil war should ever break out in Iraq, the Sunnis would utterly demolish them. Unable to protect themselves and terrified of what the deranged Sunni/jihadist alliance will do, they retreat to the protection of the mullahs in Iran. This dilemma is only exasperated when they think that we will pull out and leave them to fend for themselves. If we were to pull out, they would have no choice but to throw themselves to the stalking vultures in Teheran. This is something, however, that they have repeatedly refused to do, and barring a dramatic reduction in American troops, is highly unlikely.

While we will not know anything for certain until the results from the December 15th elections are in, the political situation in Iraq is looking quite optimistic. The Sunnis are gradually putting down their guns and are becoming active political figures. The Shiites are exercising their own demons – and are rejecting Iranian influence – while embracing the democratic process. Still, the greatest fear remains an American pullout. Iraqis are uncertain if we will stick to our commitment or bow out of a fight when get our nails a bit dirty. Judging from our recent history, they have good reason to be afraid.

The President deserves praise for sticking to the war when even members of his own party are irresponsibly becoming hostile to the war for their own political gain. The President has repeatedly stated that Iraq will not be abandoned under his watch. For not just the 26 million people in Iraq, but for our own sakes as well, Republican or Democrat, we need to stand with the President.


The Following Post Does Not Constitute Gloating.

I pray for Sharon's recovery. If you could spare a moment to say Tehillim, his Hebrew name is Ariel ben Devorah.

That said, I suppose this little story proves that when the cat's away, the mice will tenaciously hold on to every bit of holy land they can:

Dozens of Yassam policemen and soldiers arrived in the Jewish Quarter in Hevron, but failed in their mission of distributing expulsion orders to 11 Jewish families. Hevron Jewish Community Spokesman David Wilder said, "They sent in the storm-troopers today. Dozens of police and soldiers came, and their goal was to hand out expulsion orders - and they failed. People refused to open the doors, and the forces were not even able to tape them to the doors... People are very upset at the government's intention, and it appears that this was just a little taste of what the reaction will be if the government continues to try to throw them out.

Trust Arutz Sheva to sum things up nicely in a nonpartisan totally uninflamatory manner:

The area in question was emptied of its Jews during the Hevron massacre of 1929, when Arab mobs slaughtered 67 Jews in their homes and synagogues.

Which is totally and completely true. However, I'm so conditioned by years of reading the MSM that I was waiting for the author to point out that the Jews in Hevron had been somewhat rude to thier Arab neighbors, which completely justifies murdering babies.

Meantime: a new militancy?

Spokesman Noam Arnon said, "This government, unsurprisingly, is clearly capable of carrying out the desires of those who murdered the dozens of Jews in Hevron in 1929, and throwing out Jews from Jewish land. It was exactly in this area, among others, that the Jews were killed... We merited to see Jews return to their land, but now the government wants to throw them out once again."


Steven Spielberg Has a Plan to Save The World.

I can't tell if this is biting sarcasm or brilliant farce.

Abbagav needs to get an agent and start working on that screenplay.


Wednesday, January 04, 2006


On patrol last night, and something pissed me off.

It was raining last night- not too hard, but enough to make driving a bit tricky. Temperature juuuust above freezing. You have to enter the weather conditions into your logbook heading when you begin your tour. I quote from my logbook:

DATE: 1/3/06
TIME: 1930

The radio is quite and we are bored. All BS jobs- family dispute, alarm, alarm, collision to a parked car no injuries, alarm, alarm, ringing siren, dispute, alarm, car alarm, etc. The most exiting job was a complaint about two guys selling sweaters out of the truck of their car without a license.

Bored to tears, we head to Prospect Park. We are looking for trouble and Prospect Park is a good place to find it. We get there and its deserted. Driving around, we finally see something- a homeless guy sleeping under a bridge.

We try and wake him up but he is out cold. We try lighting up the car- no reaction. We tap on the PA- no reaction. We whoop the siren, terrifying the squirrels and sending the rabbits fleeing in all directions, but we get no response from the urban outdoorsman.

We are arguing if we should get leave or get out of the car and check if the guy was dead or drunk or what when we hear the magic word over the radio:

CENTRAL: …gun at that 53 dispute on Avenue P.

Some idiots had been fighting in the street for some time- I remember hearing the 53 being called in about half an hour previously.

And now someone had called and reported that a gun was involved.

Did that mean someone mentioned they had a gun? Did that mean someone was waving a gun around? Did that mean someone was shooting everyone and everything in sight? No one knows.

So we tear ass out of the park and haul ass across Coney Island Avenue and we go to warp speed down Avenue O, and so does every other unit on the radio.

Remember, it’s raining, the streets are slippery and beginning to ice up, and it’s about 10:00 PM, so traffic is still pretty lively. Units are racing to the scene from all directions, except for a single unit en route to a report of a drug sale and/or a drug related dispute aaaaaall the way on Church Avenue and Ocean Avenue.

We are within spitting distance of the job when the responding unit tells Central “no gun, absolutely no gun, slow all the units down”.

Shortly thereafter, Central reports a gun at the dispute on Church and Ocean.

Later we learn that the problem on Avenue P had been an intoxicated female and a male (boyfriend or husband or whatever) attempting to get her home in one piece. She had been resisting, wanting to go back to the party, and he, seeing that she was three sheets to the wind and getting worse, wanted to her to go home. She had been yelling and screaming and carrying on and apparently the good people of Avenue P (a quite, solidly middle class residential section) wanted some peace and quite. Frustrated at having to wait for the police, some freaking retard upstanding citizen decided to tell the police that someone had a gun, figuring- correctly- that it would get the police there quicker.

And now most available units are in the vicinity of Avenue P, a good six or seven minutes or so from Church and Ocean in clear weather with no traffic. If the gun run at that location turns bad, the responding unit will pretty much be on his/her own till backup can respond.

I wonder what the moron taxpayer would say if a cop would have got into an accident responding to the job. I wonder what the taxpayer would say if someone had died.

The gun run at Church Avenue turned out bogus too.

Please note some details have been changed both for clarity and because I’m really not sure how legal it is for me to be posting details of this kind in a public place.

UPDATE: Speaking of bogus gun runs...

RIP Officer Francis Hennessy. Fidelis Ad Mortem.


Tuesday, January 03, 2006

Emulate Roman Marian Reforms

In 108 BC Gaius Marius, uncle of Julius Caesar changed the course of world history. The Roman Republic was already a great empire, but it was often limited because there was a property requirement to serve in the Roman army. You had to have a certain amount of personal wealth, or you would not be allowed to join the army. While this preserved the army as a status symbol, it did little to aid Roman martial skills. In 108 BC, in preparation for a campaign in Numidia, Marius ignored the property requirement, and openly encouraged the lower classes to join his army. Adding to this, he said that every veteran who served him 25 years in the legions would be given a retirement pension of land in the province in which he served. In addition, after the battle of Vercellae in 101 BC, Marius granted all Italians who had allied with him against the Germanic invaders full Roman citizenship.

These actions gave raise to what would later be known as the Marian Reforms, which transformed Rome from an aggressive power to the greatest empire the world had ever seen. By getting rid of the property requirement, and in fact granting pensions in the form of land to veterans, Rome was able to offer life in the legion as a very attractive career choice. It was far better than what many lower classes faced on a daily basis, and understandably, enlistment soared in the new legionary system.

Today we face two very crucial issues. First of all, enlistment in the army is declining, and has been doing so for quite some time now. With potential nuclear threats such as Iran and North Korea looming, we need more volunteers than ever to serve. Despite offering great deals on college and financing, the army still faces a recruiting shortage.

South of the boarder, surveys show that 70% of Mexico wants to live in America. Immigration is a great feature of our society. But a tremendous problem lies in the fact that our porous boarders let across countless illegal immigrants a day. The current quota system isn’t working, and our border states are being flooded by these aliens.

Most of them are good, hardworking people, but they aren’t coming into the country legally. This presents a problem not only because our boarder states are inundated by them, but with all this unregulated traffic along the boarder, it is impossible to know if terrorists are sneaking across our very boarders with weapons that could do immense damage to our nation.

In a seemingly unrelated issue, Kansas, Nevada, North Dakota, and many other mid-western states face the opposite crisis of sorts. People are leaving, and their towns are drying up. Many towns are so desperate to restore life to their communities that they are giving away land for people to build houses on. You can actually sign up with several mid-western towns today, and they will give you a few acres of land, for absolutely nothing.

The solution to all these problems is simply to emulate Rome’s Marian Reforms. We offer immigrants full citizenship, teach them English, and give them land in Kansas and other communities that are drying up, in return for perhaps four years service in the army.

For Mexicans making as little as four pesos a day, army pay is ludicrously high, and these people are willing to cross large uninhabited deserts escorted by drug dealers just to get here – so they clearly have a sufficient amount of courage. Combined with the full benefits of citizenship, they get in fact their own piece of land.

We need to extend this offer as well to all illegal aliens currently living in the US as well. They sign up, and their being in the country illegally is forgiven.

What this will do is give Mexicans a great opportunity to safely come to America, and make some impressive benefits while doing so, give the army some much needed fresh manpower, help save countless ghost towns, thereby contributing to the overall economic health of the nation, and also help us better secure the nation by giving us a better idea of just who is in the nation.

While we do need to better secure our boarders, it’s becoming increasingly clear that every viable solution needs to include some sort of amnesty program. Well what better way is there to pave the way to amnesty than to have these immigrants become soldiers and defend us all?

The Army already has a program that grants citizenship to immigrants who join up, but more needs to be done. Better advertisement of the program, coupled with the substantial land benefits of joining, along with boarder enforcement to make illegal immigration harder will create a very attractive option for all involved.

Recent statistics show that illegal aliens are costing the US taxpayers $2,700 per illegal family. While much can be done to curb this, the obvious answer, and the smart one, is to start paying them to do something from which we will all benefit from.


Those Darn Kids with Their Graffiti!

Abbagav notes the difference between sloganeering and propaganda.

Nice tag, dude.


The End is Neigh, Part XVII

The end is neigh, ladies and gentlemen. Break out the sackcloth and ashes, start repenting your sins, cash in any long-term investments. We got hurricanes in Ohio, earthquakes in Illinois, and both the Red Sox and the White Sox have won the World these past 2 years. No Microsoft OS is safe from pimply faced Ukrainian adolescents with too much time on their hands, Pakistan is looking to buy Chinese nuclear reactors, and I have a toothache.

What to do, what to do?

There’s always Dilbert. That Dogbert always makes me laugh.


The Chainik Hocker visits Israel.

I went to Israel for the first time a few weeks ago. I went for two weeks, staying with my grandparents in Pisgat Ze’ev, a Jerusalem suburb. Here is part of what I wrote for a forum I belong to.

1) Palestinians live worse than Mexicans in Mexico. It's one thing to hear about the plight of the Palestinians, it's another to actually see- and smell- the crushing hopeless poverty these people actually live in.

2) Israeli cops and soldiers act towards the Palestinians like the LAPD treats blacks in Spike Lee movies. They get stopped randomly and are made to show their ID. They get followed around in malls by machine gun toting teenagers in uniform. When they get on a bus, all the soldiers and cops turn around, stop talking into their cell phones, and simply watch them till they get off.

3) When the sandal was on the other foot, the Palestinians did not act better. I went to my family's plot in the cemetery on the Mount of Olives (Har Hazeitim). My mother's family has been buried there since my great great etc. grandfather in the 1720's.

Only some of those graves are intact. Between 1948 and 1967, the Old City of Jerusalem was under Arab (specifically Jordanian) control. During that period the Palestinians, among other outrages, destroyed much of the cemetery on Har Hazeitim, uprooting headstones, digging up bodies, and scattering bones.

After the Six Day War, which liberated the Old City, they had to rebury the remains in a mass grave- they couldn't be identified. They also built a monument using the fragments of headstones. So about half of the graves of my ancestors are missing.

What kind of sick barbaric animal desecrates a grave?

4) I'm sorry, but I just cannot see how anything at all can excuse the kind of indiscriminate murder that the Palestinians have decided on as their chosen form of political protest. When I went to pray at the holy sites in the north of the country, I saw cops and soldiers, but when I went to holy sites in the center, the security was simply insane. The army built a fortress (there is no other word for it) around and over Rachel's Tomb. You have to take an armored, bulletproof bus to a checkpoint, and a soldier (armed to the teeth) gets on the bus for the rest of the ride. Armored jeeps ride ahead and behind, with the gun ports open. The road has 20-foot high cement walls on both sides. When you arrive, the soldiers hustle you through the bombproof door, which leads to a brightly lit underground hallway. You have to walk for about ten minutes till you reemerge in the center of the complex. When you leave, the soldiers hustle you back onto the bus and escort you back to the checkpoint. When people enter and exit the bus, the soldiers spread out in a 360-degree defensive position, covering us with M16s and Galils, and watchtowers with heavier equipment, like we're getting on the last chopper out of Saigon.

All this so we could pray at Rachel's Tomb. After that Hebron didn't seem too bad, even though more people have died there.

Four years into the Al Aqsa Intefada, people in Israel have passed through terror, passed through fear, and have now arrived at pissed. Moshe Feiglin, formerly of the outlawed Zo Artzeinu party, is a serious candidate for Prime Minister. In case you don't know who he is, he is the most moderate of the "let's expel/shoot all the Arabs" faction, favoring economic incentives for leaving over expulsion. I personally find his positions distasteful, but I, like many Israelis, am finding it difficult to imagine another alternative, as peace with people who think that blowing up a shopping mall or a pizza shop or a nightclub is a good idea is the next thing to impossible.

5) The locally produced Coca Cola is a lot sweeter than the stuff we get in the US, even though we invented it. The vegetables taste a lot better. The meat, however, is seriously funky. I ordered a schwarma, and I don't know what part of the turkey was inside but I can tell you it tasted something like liver. Luckily I only got a little sick.

6) Surprisingly for a country composed entirely of sand, rocks, dust, and sheep, Israel is the most beautiful country I've ever seen.

7) I want to move to Israel, possibly within the next few years.


Some pics from Israel.

The Mearat Hamachpela (Tomb of the Patriarchs) at night.

This is me somewhere in Ben Yehuda.

Me praying in the airport in Milan during our layover.


The Kotel.