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I’d guess it was the most explicit call for ethnic cleansing by a prominent American since Sherman’s designation of the only good Indian being a dead one, or California’s second governor, John McDougal’s declaration in his first message to the California legislature in 1851 to the effect that "A war of extermination will continue to be waged between the races till the Indian race becomes extinct." Mind you, Dick Armey wasn’t calling for every Palestinian in the territories to be murdered, merely evicted to anywhere, so long as it’s somewhere else.
Here’s what happened. On May 1, on MSNBC’s "Hardball", House Republican Majority Leader Dick Armey, puissant legislator from Fort Worth, called for the ethnic cleansing of Palestinians from the occupied territories. Though Armey magnanimously stated he "is content to have a Palestinian state" he emphasized that he is "not content to give up any part of Israel for the purpose of a Palestinian state."
Armey said flatly that the Palestinian territories occupied by Israel–in East Jerusalem, the West Bank
and Gaza Strip–are Israel. Palestinians living in those areas should be removed.
CHRIS MATTHEWS, host: Congressman Dick Armey of Texas leads the Republicans in the US House of Representatives. Congressman Armey, Mr. Majority Leader, why is the Congress about to pass a resolution supporting Israel at a time that the president is trying to walk a line between Israel and its Arab neighbors?
Representative RICHARD ARMEY: Well, we’ve had–we feel very strongly in the House of Representatives that we have a moral obligation to protect the safety, security and freedom of Israel..
MATTHEWS: What good is this going to do anybody?
ARMEY: We can no longer appease aggressors in the Middle East. we must make it very clear that if you want to talk about peace and talk the talk, you must walk the walk, and that must be respect for Israel’s right to live freely, safely and securely.
MATTHEWS Do you support the idea that there be a Palestine state alongside Israel
ARMEY: I’m content to have Israel grab the entire West Bank.
MATTHEWS: Well, where do you put the Palestinian state, in Norway? Once the Israelis take back the West Bank permanently and annex it, there’s no place else for the Palestinians to have a state.
ARMEY: No, no, that’s not — that’s not at all true. There are many Arab nations that have many hundreds of thousands of acres of land and — and soil and property and opportunity to create a Palestinian state.
MATTHEWS: So you would transport — you would transport the
Palestinians from Palestine to somewhere else and call it their state?
ARMEY: I would be perfectly content to have a homeland, just as — most of…
MATTHEWS: But not in Palestine?
ARMEY: Most of the people who now populate Israel were transported from all over the world to that land and they made it their home. The Palestinians can do the same, and we’re per — perfectly content to work with the Palestinians in doing that…
MATTHEWS: Right, no. No, that’s not the question and that’s not your answer. The question here is: What is the future of the Palestinians who are fighting Israel right now? You say their future is somewhere besides Palestine. That runs in the way of U.S. policy going back to 1948. It runs — it runs completely against the president’s policy and every policy I’ve heard a president take, which is that Israel has to give up its settlements on the West Bank and give it back to the Arabs in exchange for peace. You say the deal should be the Palestinians leave?
ARMEY: That’s right…I happened to believe that the Palestinians should leave.
MATTHEWS: Have you ever told George Bush, the president from
your home state of Texas, that you think the Palestinians should get up and go and leave Palestine and that’s the solution?
ARMEY: I’m probably telling him that right now.
MATTHEWS: Well, just to repeat, you believe that the Palestinians who are now living on the West Bank should get out of there?
Of course there was some predictable whining from outfits such as the Arab-American Anti-Discrimination Committee that Armey’s endorsement of ethnic cleansing is reprehensible. It certainly is. But as a matter of realism, let us acknowledge Armey’s far-sighted, two-pronged strategy. One prong is the current Republican effort to get some sort of purchase on the Jewish vote, in compensation for the Republicans’ slowly dawning realization that despite all their efforts the Democrats have got most of the Hispanic vote locked up for years to come.
The other prong is most likely a far-sighted Texan strategy to grab a slice of the billions in US aid that go each year to Israel. Figure it out: if Palestinians are kicked out of their homeland, where are they going to end up?
The Cockburn Plan has been to have them relocated to Nevada, with the same status as an Indian nation, able to run casinos or continue their ancient ways, running sheep on the high plains and mountainsides of northern and central Nevada. Recall the famous "McCarran window" of yesteryear, whereby Basques were let into Nevada to herd sheep without too much trouble from the INS. Hence all those glorious Basque restaurants across the west, my favorite being the Woolgatherers’ in Los Banos, just east of Interstate 5 in California, where you get a plate of lamb stew gratis as an appetizer as you gaze at all the brawny ranchers chowing down at long trestle tables. The Chalet Basque down the road is pretty good too.
Eventually the Basques went home to fight for Free Basqueland, blowing up Spanish policemen and sometimes even generals in this glorious cause. Bolivians were brought in to talk to the sheep in Spanish. They too have headed home after the bottom fell out of the American sheep industry after environmentalists made it illegal to gas coyotes to death with M-80s. But these days the Great Pyrenees dog fends off coyotes, and thus there’s an opening for Palestinian pastoralists.
Sapient critics like Patrick Brennan of Virginia Beach have noted the Cockburn plan fails to take "into consideration what the dominant religion in much of the empty-quarter southwest would think about this. Mormons don’t seem to make the big deal of this that they once did, but they claim to be descendants of the lost Lamanite tribe of Israel. Many Mormon values correspond nicely with positive values of the Israelis although Mormon attitudes toward women are much more aligned with those of the Islamic persuasion."
Give this thought, plus the fact that Palestinian casinoes would be perceived as rivals by Las Vegas, an industry founded by Bugsy Siegel and one in which Jewish influence is still marked. So we’d back to square one, though as Brennan helpfully notes, the Palestinians could support themselves as custodians of the 96,000 truckloads of nuclear waste destined for Yucca Mountain, Nevada.
The Armey plan is, I can now reveal, to have the new Palestinian statelet located in a magnificent new terminal at Dallas Fort Worth airport, which will bring billions in federal funding to his district. Having endorsed the eviction of Palestinians, Armey will then shift position, announce that with the Palestinians kicked out, Israel is now secure within its borders and the $3 billion or so in acknowledged direct US aid can now be diverted to the new Palestinian entity at Dallas-Fort Worth.
In the aftermath of Armey’s robust performance with Matthews the US Congress gave Sharon the green light to do what it wants to the Palestinians, with resolutions of unqualified support for Israel put forward by Senator Joe Lieberman and by Armey’s fellow Texan, majority whip Tom DeLay, the former rodent exterminator. And who voted against ful-throated endorsement of the war criminal Sharon? Precisely two members of the Senate declined to endorse every actionh of a nation that most recently had rampaged its way through Janin refugee camp: Robert Byrd of West Virginia (as meister of the pork barrel he was maybe irked at the DeLay/Armey drive for Palestinian subsidies) and Ernest Hollings of South Carolina. In the House there were only 21 No votes, including outgoing California rep Gary Condit who probably now feels free to express his true feelings about the
Levy family, and also my favorites, Ron Paul of Texas and Dana Rohrbacher of California.
There were 29 reps who oped for the cowardly, sit-on-your-hands "present" vote, including such Nation magazine stars as Bernie Sanders of Vermont, Marcy Kaptur of Ohio and Dennis Kucinich, also of Ohio and a man whose "prayer" made the rqadical circuits a month or so ago. I guess there’s no place in Dennis’s prayers for Palestinians.
The Social Structure of Cows
Talking of Interstate 5, one of the more horrible sights on that road, which heads north west up California’s Central Valley is the Harris feedlot, one of the nation’s largest, not far south of Los Banos and its duck hunters and Basque restaurants. Acre upon acre of cows stand in the savage heat, amid a fearful stench that you can detect miles in either direction.
It turns out that these doomed beasts are in appalling emotional turmoil for more reasons than the fact of their immediate physical travails.
University of Saskatchewan researcher Jon Watts, a member of the animal behavior research group at the Western College of Veterinary Medicine has a post-doc fellowship to study the process of social cognition and welfare in cattle.
Elizabeth Frogley of Saskatchewan’s Spark (not to be confused with the noted Leninist publication of the same name) reports Watts as saying, "Certainly there is individual recognition between cows, there’s no doubt about that. But we don’t know how far that extends in large groups," It seems that cattle form "complex social hierarchies" in which the strongest cows dominate others. Watts thinks that cows in groups of more than 200 in feedlots get stressed, lose any sense of social coherence, and constantly fight for dominance. There are too many cows around. "My feeling about recognition is that once you exceed a certain number they never really sort out the social dynamic of who’s the boss," Watts says.
Watts is figuring out ways to get on the cows’ emotional and mental wave length. He plans to train the animals to push buttons or levers to demonstrate a choice, and thus figure out how cows recognize each other. Give them the vote, I say.
There’ll Always Be An England
Authentic entries in the books set forth for mourners of the Queen Mother to inscribe their grief:
"How refreshing to be able to mourn the death of a member of the Royal family without being accused of being homosexual".
J. Fletcher, High Wycombe.
"She was a trooper and she never gave up. I remember one time she was visiting a school and I asked her if she would like to make a visit to the
bathroom before she left. ‘No’ she replied, ‘I didn’t give in to the Nazis and I won’t give in to the bladder’. That’s how she was, a fighter, who refused to be beaten by anything. She píssed herself later though, it was sickening".
B. Forrester, North Yorkshire.
"On behalf of all blacks, I send the sincerest condolences".
"Perhaps if we automated her old golf buggy it could still drive round The Mall on its own and bring pleasure to the tourists".
Y. Howell, Slough.
"It is such a loss, God has shat on our heads".
K. O’Neil, Inverness.