With conventional wisdom solidifying behind Hagel, will Obama finally declare on ‘Meet the Press?’

It’s a good day to be Chuck Hagel. The conventional wisdom seems to be turning firmly in his favor. Of course I am biased, but here is a roundup, emphasizing the thermals that he is riding toward possible nomination as an antiwar Secretary of Defense.

At the Atlantic, Steve Clemons takes a call from 1600 Pennsylvania and says that Hagel is “very much on the list” for Obama’s Defense Secretary (Poor Obama, like a kid with well-thumbed baseball cards, can’t decide which is his favorite). Clemons reasons that Obama has the horses to defeat the neoconservatives:

I just got a phone call from a senior Executive Branch person in the know who said something along the lines that the media are hyperventilating this thing into the wrong direction and that the process of considering nominees is proceeding in a way completely different than the media are telling it.  This person said Hagel is very much on the list…

How much will Bill Kristol, the Republican Jewish Coalition and others put into the kitty to fight Hagel? How much is the president willing to invest — even before a potential nomination reaches the kicking the tires phase?… The bottom line is that for those, even myself, who have argued that Hagel’s nomination was still kicking, or withering, assumptions are being made about what would seem logical, what would a president faced with a neocon onslaught, lack of unanimity in the Senate, and the potential for yet another fight with the GOP (well, mostly the GOP) do when the Obama team may have thought this would be a smoother ride…. 

If the White House does not go with Hagel, the Obama team has a problem as they will be appearing to reject a two-time Purple Heart recipient who was nearly a candidate for president of the United States, who served as a sergeant in Vietnam, and who believes that the Pentagon must be reshaped and remodeled to deliver security to the American public on leaner budgets…. And they’d be conceding to a lot of folks whom the president just wiped the floor with in the last election…

So, if the source I spoke to is right and the media discussion has distorted what is fantasy and fact and is now quite distant from what the real process is with President Obama and Chuck Hagel, all the better. 

Abdeen Jabara, a past director of the American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee, reflecting the new mood, believes that the White House has made the calculus Clemons reports. He tells me, by phone:

This could be a defining moment of the Obama presidency– Will he or won’t he? I think he will. One reason is, If he doesn’t, he might as well pack his bags and go home. Because in that case, he’s not only suffering from invertebracy, he’s not really looking out for America’s best interes.

The other reason is, You’ll remember that Hagel was considered the last time (four years ago) and not nominated. They wouldn’t have floated his name again if they weren’t serious. They knew what baggage he was carrying– they knew it, and knew it would all come out– and they wanted all the parties to stake out their positions. Look, these are smart people. And I think it is very politic of Obama.

Speaking of staking out positions, on MSNBC, filling in last night for Rachel Maddow, who had dissed Hagel, Ezra Klein is cautiously supportive of Hagel. Klein describes the “master counter-offensive” against Hagel, including insinuations that Hagel is an anti-Semite, but he avoids the Israel lobby issue in discussion with Heather Hurlbut, executive director of the National Security Network, who seems behind Hagel all the way:

He clearly has a very strong personal relationship with the President… He is really well respected by folks in the military.

But wait, Klein says, Hagel’s views on Iran are the most substantive critique of him. Notice that even on a leftleaning cable network, Klein must throw coins in the neoconservative fountain. Tactically– so that Hurlbut can slap the criticism away, already imagining Hagel’s “tenure” as Defense Secretary:

It hasn’t been a year since the last time we had had a manufactured crisis about going to war with Iran so I would expect to have at least one other one during Hagel’s tenure. So his views, which is that we should exhaust negotiated options before we think of a military strike on Iran and… a military stirke on Iran will not actually stop Iran’s nuclear program…[This is] a skepticism which is shared by the current Defense Secretary and his predecessor and the chairman of the joint chiefs of staff [and Israelis Hurlbut names] and a majority of the American public… This notion that Hagel is outside of the mainstream– He’s definitely not out of the Pentagon mainstream, not outside of the American mainstream, he may be outside of the Congressional mainstream [but Congress is its own animal]

More support for Hagel from the center-left. In the New York Review of Books, Elizabeth Drew seems very supportive of Hagel, and astutely describes the battle as a test of Obama’s whole presidency, and of his stature, because it is a test of American policymakers’ docility in the face of the lobby:

Far more is at stake in Barack Obama’s decision on whether to nominate Chuck Hagel to be Secretary of Defense than whether Chuck Hagel is nominated. What the president decides will bear on: his effectiveness in his second term; any president’s ability to form a government; whether an independent voice can be raised on a highly sensitive issue in opposition to the views of a powerful lobby and still be named to a significant government position; whether there is actually a proper nominating system; whether McCarthyite tactics can still be effective more than half a century after they were rejected by a fed-up nation. And, by the way, what will be the direction of American policy in the Middle East? In particular, how adventurous will we be toward Iran? Have we learned anything from the calamitous foreign policy blunders of the past decade?

Iran more than any other single issue is at the core of the opposition to Hagel, and that issue is closely linked to the question of the extent to which the US should be allied with the aggressive policies of the Israeli government under Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu toward Iran, as well as other issues, such as the settlements and a Palestinian state….

Drew says, as Clemons does, that Obama can defeat the neocons on Hagel, and his failure to understand this is hurting him:

Meaningless statements by some politicians are accorded great significance and foreboding: thus a big deal was made in the press of the supposedly devastating comments made by two of McCain’s closest buddies—Joe Lieberman, who will be gone from the Senate shortly (“very tough confirmation process”), and Lindsey Graham (“it would be a challenging nomination”) on the Sunday talk shows just before Christmas…. Chuck Schumer of New York, with no persuasive reason to commit on a nomination that hadn’t been made, said that Hagel’s “record will be studied carefully”—and this was interpreted as a serious blow to Hagel’s confirmation.

But what had actually happened was that these senators, employing one of the talking points that had been circulated on the Hill and published in Kristol’s Weekly Standard, had simply indicated that the Senate Armed Services Committee’s consideration of a Hagel nomination would be rough. …

That such substantial Senate figures as Carl Levin, chairman of the Armed Services Committee, and Jack Reed, also a major figure on defense issues, have announced that they strongly support Hagel has gone almost without notice. To the press, they are the planes that landed.

This brings us to Barack Obama, and the question of whether reelection has strengthened his spine. Moreover, his Washington dealings were already marked by a certain sangfroid; if he dropped Hagel would he go to bat for anyone? (Or they for him?)…

The hesitancy to name Hagel or another candidate is already diminishing Obama’s stature, erasing more of his post-election glow.

More on the ideological stakes. Matt Duss writes at the American Prospect that the Hagel battle is about the refusal of the neoconservatives to understand that the world has changed, and the U.S. has a different role in it.

while these attacks represent an extremely distasteful side of Washington, it’s worth considering what they intended to achieve, and what they say about the current era of U.S. foreign policy.

As I see it, the goal of these attacks is twofold. The first, of course, is to enforce a rigid set of parameters for discussions over Israel-Palestine, in which any criticism of Israeli policy, even if it echoes (as Hagel’s does) common criticisms made by Israeli leaders themselves, is treated as tantamount to being “anti-Israel.” …

In a broader sense, however, the attacks on Hagel represent an attempt by the neoconservative wing of the Republican Party to avoid a conversation over America’s changing role in the world.

Another reflection of the positive mood, in a note to me from Harry Hjalmarson:

Pres. Obama will be on “Meet the Press” about the fiscal cliff. I think there is a chance that he will be asked about the Hagel nomination. I hope he simply says that he will be nominated instead of not responding. Such an answer will send a message.

Hjalmarson points to support for Hagel from Paul Pillar and Ray McGovern, writers with CIA/military backgrounds, which makes the issue one of realists versus neocons. First, Pillar says this possible appointment is the defining moment in a political/cultural battle with the “new McCarthyism” of the Israel lobby:

It is encouraging that many prominent figures have come to Hagel’s defense. But the President still has not acted.

Even if the Hagel matter comes out well, that is not enough. There is still the need for prominent people to name and shame, directly and explicitly, the new McCarthyism practiced by groups and people claiming to be lovers of Israel — and to name and shame it not just with respect to any one nominee or any one issue.

When Joseph Welch shamed McCarthy, the gallery in the [Senate] hearing room burst into applause. I believe many as-yet-passive observers will applaud if the same thing is done to the new McCarthyism.

Former CIA official Ray McGovern frames the Hagel question as Elizabeth Drew does, as a battle between Obama and Netanyahu, and says the Hagel opposition is using subterfuge:

Yes, it’s true that when the neocon editors of the Washington Post decried the prospect of Hagel’s appointment to run the Pentagon, they cited a bunch of other reasons without mentioning Hagel’s independent thinking regarding Israel. For instance, the Post’s editors fretted over a September 2011 interview with the Financial Times, in which Hagel said, “The Defense Department, I think in many ways, has been bloated. … So I think the Pentagon needs to be pared down.” What heresy!..

Yet, despite the Post’s avoidance of any mention about the controversy over Hagel and the Israel Lobby, you can bet that the editors were particularly worried that Hagel might become a strong voice within the Obama administration against simply following Israel’s lead on issues in the Middle East.

If Obama were to actually nominate Hagel– rather than just float his name as a trial balloon and recoil at all the efforts to prick holes in it – the message would be a strong one to Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and the Israel Lobby that the old rules for the game are changing, that they can no longer blackball American public servants from key jobs in Washington.

Says Hjalmarson: “AIPAC risks a disaster if they are seen as taking on the military. They have done it before (Petraeus and Dempsey), but it didn’t get much attention. They are doing it again indirectly… This means that it is now AIPAC versus realists. Given our failures with wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, this is a very bad alignment for AIPAC.”

Scott McConnell also sees a left-realist coalition forming in the pro-Hagel forces: “It seems to me that so much of the liberal intelligentsia, has now publicly backed Hagel, while using words like spine and backbone that President Obama must feel a real downside if he backs down. Pat Buchanan also backs him, citing Eisenhower, so the liberal-paleo alliance is in full flower.”

Here is Buchanan at the American Conservatives, saying that Hagel is the inevitable battle of Obama and the War Party, over Iran, and that Obama should nominate Hagel now to get the battle going:

In 1957, President Eisenhower told Prime Minister David Ben-Gurion to get his army out of Sinai. Would that disqualify Ike from being secretary of defense because, to quote Kristol, this would show Ike was not “serious about having Israel’s back”?

If a senator or defense secretary believes an Israeli action — like bisecting the West Bank with new settlements that will kill any chance for a Palestinian state and guarantee another intifada — what should he do?

Defend the U.S. position, or make sure there is “no daylight” between him and the Israeli prime minister?

As for talking to Hamas, Hezbollah, and Iran, what are we afraid of?

…If Hagel’s view that a war with Iran is not a “responsible option” is a disqualification for defense secretary, what are we to make of this statement from Robert Gates, defense secretary for Bush II and Obama:

“Any future defense secretary who advises the president to again send a big American land army into Asia or into the Middle East or Africa should ‘have his head examined,’ as Gen. (Douglas) MacArthur so delicately put it.”

…Neocon hostility to Hagel is rooted in a fear that in Obama’s inner councils his voice would be raised in favor of negotiating with Iran and against a preventive war or pre-emptive strike. But if Obama permits these assaults to persuade him not to nominate Hagel, he will only be postponing a defining battle of his presidency, not avoiding it.
For Bibi Netanyahu is going to be re-elected this January.

Oh and, coalition-building, here is Kelley Vlahos at antiwar.com, “Give us Chuck Hagel for Christmas:”

Many of us see Hagel’s impact in much broader terms than just the Israel question.  We’ve had too many armchair generals and dutiful yes men at the levers of power, cleaving to an unsustainable post-9/11 orthodoxy that has militarized our foreign policy and politicized our military. The neoconservatism of the Bush years has bled literally into the so-called humanitarian interventionism of the Obama era, and for the first time, there is an opportunity to check that with the presence of a known Realist

Thanks again to Annie for digging up the developments. Follow her @anniefofani

About Philip Weiss

Philip Weiss is Founder and Co-Editor of Mondoweiss.net.
Posted in Israel/Palestine

{ 294 comments... read them below or add one }

  1. Les says:

    For what it’s worth, an editorial in the US edition of the Financial Times on Friday December 28th called for Obama to name Hagel as Secretary of Defense.

    • Krauss says:

      Interesting! And important. FT isn’t widely read online due to paywalls, but it is an widely read élite newspaper especially among the Beltway establishment. It also enjoys a wider readership than just people in the political sphere. It’s a popular newspaper among intellectuals, economists and even artists who want to keep themselves up to date.

      Do you know if they spoke specifically of the neocons and/or Israel lobby or did they try to avoid the topic other than to gently talk about ‘past mistakes’ or other vague cop-outs?

      I expect them to do so. After all, the price of being an élite newspaper is that you are forced to bend to the prevailing bigotries and prejudices of said establishment. Nonetheless, significant!

      • Les says:

        Hagel for defence;
        Obama should back former Republican senator

        SECTION: LEADER; Pg. 6

        LENGTH: 399 words

        Following the appointment of John Kerry as the next US secretary of state, President Barack Obama is now considering his candidate for defence secretary.

        Whoever succeeds Leon Panetta will have to oversee the exit of US troops from Afghanistan and manage the potentially explosive relations with Iran. He will also have to preserve America’s strategic global dominance while implementing the steep cuts that are bound to hit the Pentagon. This is a very tough brief.

        Top of the White House’s shortlist is Chuck Hagel, a former Republican senator. The decorated Vietnam veteran would offer an injection of fresh thinking into the defence establishment. During his time on the Senate’s armed services committee, Mr Hagel demonstrated good judgment in opposing the Iraq war. His belief that the US must try hard to find a negotiated solution with Iran is right and realistic. The military option, while open, can never be the first choice, given the real risk that any conflict could result in a cure worse than the disease.

        Yet ever since Mr Hagel emerged as the clear frontrunner, he has come under a barrage of criticism. Sadly, his critics have mostly overlooked his sensible views on the future of the US military and focused on some remarks he made several years ago about the “Jewish lobby”. These comments may have been ill-judged but there is nothing in Mr Hagel’s record on Israel that suggests bias or hostility, still less anti-Semitism. He has shown support for a two-state solution – which Israel also favours – and the necessity for the US to play an even-handed role in fostering it. The whispering campaign against him is obnoxious.

        By choosing Mr Hagel, Mr Obama would not just make a welcome bipartisan appointment. He would also show some political muscle. While he has not yet nominated Mr Hagel, the White House has floated his name for weeks. Were the US president to prompt Mr Hagel to withdraw his name now, it would signal a big retreat. It would also come just weeks after Susan Rice, US ambassador to the UN, stepped aside in the race for secretary of state despite being the president’s preferred candidate. Two successive withdrawals would send a message at home and abroad that Mr Obama lacks resolve.

        Expediency and principle rarely go hand-in-hand in Washington, but in this case they do. For both reasons, Mr Obama should nominate Mr Hagel as his next secretary of defence.

        • Krauss says:

          Okay, as I thought. Vague references to “whispering campaigns” and subtle nudging of Obama to actually grow a backbone for once. The word “Israel lobby” or even the usually-approved ‘AIPAC’ disppears. Yet they rush to apologize for the use of the words ‘Jewish lobby’, a much more direct quote, without any arguments than it’s all a storm in a teapot.

          A very weak and meek editorial, and a mess. The FT don’t know how to morally denounce someone, like, say, the NYT does when they’re on form.

  2. American says:

    I am so paranoid about the Zios and Obama (is paranoia catching, did I get it from listening to Netanyahu?) that I’m not sure that saying Hagel is still in the running means is he really is still in the running.
    O could just be saying that so in the end he can announce ”that after careful review of all the candidates” blah,blah he selects someone else—– so as to appear that the the I-Firster screeching had nothing to do with his final decision.

    I really, really hope that is not the case this time and O doesn’t capitulate.

    • Krauss says:

      Obama will capitulate. I think he’ll do it when the Fiscal Cliff fever is at its peak, to avoid the fallout. Everything we know – everything, truly – about him points to the fact that he is spineless. This is especially the case when it comes to the Israel lobby. But even if he does capitulate, he has forced a discussion that was necessary. Even if AIPAC wins now, it will be a phyrric victory. They failed to kill it fast. And if they lose, it will also be a disaster for them, because they and their neocon/media allies used so much political capital to get his nomination sabotaged.

      I think Obama dithered out of weakness, but his dithering has been a weird elixir for the liberal base, who needed time to catch up with the more synced neocons, who always group up together before they go on the offensive. It took a few weeks, but now the defence of Hagel is quite strong and broad. This shows that the non-neocon/warmonger/likudnik forces in D.C. are stronger than many realized, only that they have been subdued, and, if we are honest, cowards for long stretches of time.
      However, that too is changing. Disgust with the neocons/AIPAC is so great right now.

      • Carowhat says:

        “Obama will capitulate. . . Everything we know . . . about him points to the fact that he is spineless. This is especially the case when it comes to the Israel lobby. ”

        Man, you are so right.

    • Oscar says:

      Could be Obama is just floating Hagel’s name to drive Netanyahu crazy, then he’ll pick a committed neo-con, then call netanyahu afterward, laughingly, and jibe, “I was just effing with you, bro.”

      But maybe not. There’s been a housecleaning of neocon generals in the wake of the Petraeus firing (the scandal was a cover story, folks). Talks of secret discussions with Iran through back channels. What’s Obama’s payback for Netanyahu trying to sabotage the American presidential election through Adelson in favor of Romney? Does he have the stones? I give it a one in four chance that Hagel won’t go the way of chas freeman.

  3. I’ve read all the articles Phil W. cites here. This is a defining moment for Obama’s second term. I give Hagel a one in three chance of being the SecDef nominee. It seems more likely that he will nominate Michele Flournoy, and proclaim how momentous it is for a woman to serve in this capacity.

  4. BTW, good to see Elizabeth Drew continuing to write such great analysis of DC affairs.

  5. Hagel would be an excellent choice, and let’s hope Obama gets on with it.

  6. seanmcbride says:

    Once again, thanks, Phil, for covering the Chuck Hagel story with such care and in such depth. You are the go-to guy to get this controversy into focus.

    I have no idea whether Hagel will receive the appointment, but if he does, one person more than any other may be responsible: Naftali Bennett. Do the political math.

    Obama has been looking for an opportunity to demonstrate that he is not spineless, and to shift the political dynamic vis-a-vis Benjamin Netanyahu, who has repeatedly humiliated him before the entire world. This is that opportunity.

    Obama will find that an overwhelming majority of Americans are behind him if he chooses to manifest some courage.

    • Krauss says:

      Obama will find that an overwhelming majority of Americans are behind him if he chooses to manifest some courage.

      It’s Obama. ‘Nuff said.

    • libra says:

      seanmcbride: Once again, thanks, Phil, for covering the Chuck Hagel story with such care and in such depth. You are the go-to guy to get this controversy into focus.

      Sean, if you mean by “focus” you mean “clarity” then I agree that Phil as a writer brings quite a lot of clarity to the issue. But, sadly, less so as editor as he’s allowed Alex Kane’s uncritical cut-and-paste of Max Ajl’s column on why Hagel is irrelevant to be posted on Mondoweiss and then doesn’t mention himself this “anti-imperialist” critique of Hagel.

  7. gingershot says:

    It will be a political disaster for the Israeli Lobby to have Chuck Schumer, Lindsay Graham, John Cornyn, and other Israeli Lobby-/neocon-/AIPAC-paid employees go up face to face against Chuck Hagel during Senate confirmation….

    If the Neocons were smart, which they’re not, they will not let the Israeli Lobby be drug thru the Senate like a old wet mop by putting up a full court press/’Susan Rice-style’ fight on Hagel. But they will…

    Don’t get me wrong –

    I’m hoping and dreaming and wishing and praying they DO – not just because it won’t matter and Hagel will still be confirmed, which he will, but because of the devastation to the Israel Lobby of being exposed like this, and of having the entire nation turn against Netanyahu and his minions.

    They’ll even start losing some of the FOX news demographic – and that would be curtains for the Lobby

    Saying that, let me close with a quote from Napoleon Bonaparte (no, not Bibi, silly rabbit)

    Napoleon: ‘one should never interrupt the enemy when he is making a mistake’

    Enough said ;) (stolen from Chas Freeman)

  8. hophmi says:

    Sure. My opposition is based on the fact that Hagel is not the best candidate. The best candidate is Michele Flournoy, particularly given the lack of women in this cabinet.

    • Krauss says:

      Nobody believes you nor the other Likudniks, hophmi.
      This is the equivalent of saying the main opposition to Hagel is because of his one-off comments on gays, said 15 years ago at a time when Clinton signed the Defensive of the Marriage Act and homophobia was much more prevalent in American society.

      The reason why you oppose Hagel is because you are a Likudnik who hate Hagel because he is a reasonable American, who in his own words would be a senator for America, not Israel. And he is also a true patriot, unlike Israel Firsters like you.

      • hophmi says:

        I’m not a Likudnik. Dissent is not unpatriotic. Hagel isn’t the best man for the job. Thanks for playing.

        • Citizen says:

          @ hophmi
          Please tell us who you recommend as best person for the job, and, specifically why, so that we here can compare Hegel’s record with your candidate. Thanks!

        • hophmi says:

          I think I said above that I favor Michele Flournoy. I favor her because she’s a decorated assistant SecDef, and because there is a dearth of women in this cabinet, and it would make a statement to appoint a female SecDef instead of yet another older white guy. I do not understand why Obama would fight for Hagel but not fight for Susan Rice. It makes no sense. Hagel isn’t worth fighting for if Rice wasn’t.

        • Mooser says:

          “I’m not a Likudnik.”

          To access a commenter’s entire comment archive, simply click on their name above a comment. Hophmi’s archive will show that he is not-a-Likudnik. And soon, mark my words, he’ll be not-a-Zionist.

        • chinese box says:

          “because there is a dearth of women in this cabinet”

          So the pick should be made based on quotas?

        • Donald says:

          “because there is a dearth of women in this cabinet, and it would make a statement to appoint a female SecDef instead of yet another older white guy.”

          Well, that’s the core issue here–what statement is made by the appointment of this person or that person?

          I’m one of those Chomskyites that Sean panned elsewhere, but support Hagel precisely because it would make a statement if he isn’t the next SecDef. If he doesn’t get the position it will tell us that the Lobby won–there is no room for even the smallest degree of dissent with respect to Israel.

          I don’t expect much from Hagel if he does get in. I think he’ll be opposed to a war in Iran, but his views won’t be the deciding factor. Whatever criticisms he may have of Israeli behavior won’t matter that much either.
          But if he doesn’t get the job in the first place everyone will suspect it’s because of what he’s said about Israel and Iran.

          “I do not understand why Obama would fight for Hagel but not fight for Susan Rice. It makes no sense. Hagel isn’t worth fighting for if Rice wasn’t.”

          I don’t know what Obama thinks about, so I can’t say why he might defend one and not the other. I wouldn’t defend Rice because she’s got a history of lying about Israeli war crimes. And I gather her record in Africa isn’t so great either. She’s just another apparatchik. Hagel at least has said a few things out of the Washington mainstream on Israel and Iran. But I doubt Obama cares. He might have originally thought of Hagel as a bipartisan choice. Obama seems to like doing that sort of thing, for all the good it does him or anyone else.

        • hophmi says:

          “I’m one of those Chomskyites that Sean panned elsewhere, but support Hagel precisely because it would make a statement if he isn’t the next SecDef. If he doesn’t get the position it will tell us that the Lobby won–there is no room for even the smallest degree of dissent with respect to Israel.”

          I disagree. The opposition to Hagel goes beyond Israel.

          ” I wouldn’t defend Rice because she’s got a history of lying about Israeli war crimes.”

          Whatever. Again, you show you’re the one obsessed with a single issue.

        • piotr says:

          There is someone named hophmi making liberal types of comments in other websites, so I guess he/she would be a “Kadimchick” but alas, Kadima is no more.

        • Cliff says:

          the opposition to Hagel is solely based on his with respect to Israel

          the hasbara brigade are filibustering the debate with an irrelevant comment he made about gays over a decade ago.

          hophmi – like the other trolls and supporters of Jewish terrorism – are copy-pasting Flournoy’s credentials as if to be awarded something by the government or a status quo NGO means something objective intrinsically

          @hophmi

          instead of alluding to this sea of knowledge you possess, spit it out, hasbarat.

          compare hagel and whatsherface and then explain why she is better

          oh wait you cant. you’ve only been regurgitating the shallow crap of other shallow dishonest pro-Israel fascists

        • sardelapasti says:

          “you’re the one obsessed with a single issue.”

          Wow. Smart remark, especially if you knew you were writing in the single-issue discussion board of a single-issue web site. Zionist propaganda personnel is not what it used to be.

        • hophmi says:

          It’s a fair observation. People here have basically admitted that they like Chuck Hagel solely because of his positions on Israel. Because there is no other reason people here would accept an anti-gay, anti-climate change, pro-Iraq War (before he was against it) Republican as SecDef. It’s similar to the kind of thinking Annie displays when she posts PressTV articles – there’s no other reason to post articles from an organization that, after the Newtown attacks, featured a guy (Mike Harris) who claimed Israel was behind all of the mass shootings in the United States. It’s a sort of political Ribbentrop Pact you people keep making, all the while denying that your movement has no antisemitism problem.

        • Citizen says:

          @ hophmi

          Decorated with what? And, yeah, quotas are always the logical way to fill a top slot, such as SecDef.

        • Donald says:

          “Whatever. Again, you show you’re the one obsessed with a single issue.”

          You seem to be responding to someone else who might have accused you of being obsessed with a single issue. Well, why not? Just shoot those insults out there at random and hope that some of them hit the mark. In this case the issue is “lying about human rights violations”. To me this sort of thing matters. To you it seems it’s just a talking point, something to be used against me for bringing it up. Don’t you think this matters? Rice lied about Israeli behavior in Gaza, and no doubt she’d do it in other cases. I’ve only casually read about her record in Africa, but apparently it’s more of the same.

          It should be a matter of principle here that the US government should not be committing war crimes itself or assisting its allies when they commit them, nor should we be covering up their crimes or ours. I know that diplomats lie about such things as a matter of course, but there’s no chance at all of it getting better if people just adopt the position that it doesn’t matter, and that people who think it does matter are being childish or monomaniacal.

          So as for Rice, she is apparently one of those people who is willing to lie about the most serious of issues. No doubt people like her are a dime a dozen. It’s why ultimately I didn’t really care whether she got the job or not.

          And I’m not sure Hagel would be all that honest either, if he actually got the SecDef job. But he might be a strong voice against going to war against Iran inside the Administration, and while he won’t be the deciding factor, every little bit helps.

        • hophmi, generally when i post RT articles it is when they carry a video, an interview with a relevant person i can’t find otherwise. perhaps you would care to link to the article w/the RT source you find objectionable and we can discuss it further.

          i do not recall anyone ever even discussing anti gay issues as it pertained to any sec defense before, so please spare us the diversion. link to mondoweiss.net

        • Donald says:

          “Because there is no other reason people here would accept an anti-gay, anti-climate change, pro-Iraq War (before he was against it) Republican as SecDef”

          I hadn’t heard about his position on climate change. If he were up for some position where that was relevant it would be a deal-breaker for me. He was bad about gay rights and claims to have changed his mind. Not so different from a huge number of Americans since the late 90′s. Obama himself changed his mind (supposedly) a year or two ago. But if there is evidence that shows Hagel has continued to be bigoted against gays and wouldn’t support their rights in the military then I’d turn against him. So far I haven’t heard of any, but if there is some no doubt it will be unearthed if he gets the nomination.

          On the Iraq War, weren’t you for it? I presume you’d vote for Hillary if she gets the nomination in 2016. I probably would. She was for the war. Hagel is critical of the sanctions on Iran and thinks the idea of a war with Iran would be a disaster, so that’s a decent reason for supporting him, along with his willingness to be open about the stupidity of Israel’s behavior and that of its lobby.

          Personally, I don’t care about Hagel being a Republican. He’s obviously not the usual sort of Republican on some issues, the ones that are relevant here.

        • hophmi says:

          I referenced Press TV, not RT.

        • sardelapasti says:

          “They like Chuck Hagel solely because of his positions on Israel”
          If they do that, they are bloody Zionists! Well, nothing new in that.
          No, the only real question is how much harm can be inflicted to the harpies of the Zionist lobby and indirectly to the Zionist entity thanks to this unnecessary non-nomination fight.

          “…who claimed Israel was behind all of the mass shootings in the United States”
          The Zionist aggression and 65-year war has been taken over by the US, remember? I don’t know what he said, but there is nothing that creates a culture of continuous violence, not just talk of it, like war and especially war of aggression –among other factors. There are enough studies of social psychology to document that; it isn’t just or even mainly the availability of guns. So the Zionist entity and its 65 years of continuous war and mayhem and its support here are one relatively important factor in the massacres. All this is obvious except to both morons and Zionists. Talking of “antisemitism” (why not just “racism”, eh? that would show you bandits up), by the way, is nothing but the last resort of murderers and invaders.

          “… sort of political Ribbentrop Pact”
          Well, enemies of my enemies are my friends. Just as the fundamentalist low-life like Hagee and Falwell and Bervik are yours.

        • Mooser says:

          “It’s a sort of political Ribbentrop Pact you people keep making, all the while denying that your movement has no antisemitism problem.”

          Isn’t it nice that Zionism has all those Jews to use as human shields.
          Hophmi, ever hear the old joke about the two kids who shot their parents and then pleaded for mercy based on the fact that they were Jewish? Yeah, it didn’t work for them either.

          So whatever the indictment is, if the charge was ever made, or ever could have been made, out of anti-Semitism, Zionisism must be granted complete immunity?

        • hophmi says:

          “On the Iraq War, weren’t you for it? ”

          Yes. But Obama wasn’t. And I think it’s generally a bad idea to put someone in charge of the Pentagon who didn’t support a recent war. It’s bound to engender some resentment. But that’s a political observation only.

          “Hagel is critical of the sanctions on Iran and thinks the idea of a war with Iran would be a disaster, so that’s a decent reason for supporting him, along with his willingness to be open about the stupidity of Israel’s behavior and that of its lobby. ”

          I think a war with Iran would be a disaster too. But I do not understand the case for no sanctions at all. I believe in the carrot, but not without the stick.

          “along with his willingness to be open about the stupidity of Israel’s behavior and that of its lobby.”

          He won’t have much of a say in that regard. It was a low-risk position for him as a Senator from Nebraska, where nobody cares very much about the Middle East.

          Frankly, I get the feeling that Hagel is kind of asshole.

          I am bothered by the “Jewish lobby” comments, which shows me two things: One, he’s gaffe-prone (see his anti-gay comment that a Clinton nominee was “a openly aggressive gay”) and two, he’s inaccurate and possibly a bigot; those who advocate a strong US-Israel relationship are mostly non-Jewish. His support inside the Beltway is from people who see him as a realist correction and people who are so pissed off at what went on during the election with the hard-right on the Middle East and with the neocons over the past decade that they see Hagel as revenge even as they doubtless understand that there are better choices out there. It doesn’t surprise me, for instance, that Dan Kurtzer, who is liberal and was bashed repeatedly by people like Kristol when he was Ambassador, would support a guy like Hagel (and it should be further proof that many people who count themselves as pro-Israel and Zionist hate the neocons with a passion).

          But you have to ask yourself what kind of guy calls a nominee an “openly aggressive gay” regardless of what his position on gay rights is. Because comments like these say more than, say, supporting DOMA. Supporting DOMA is a reasonable political position for a Nebraska Senator. Publicly slurring a Clinton nominee for being gay is not a reasonable position for anyone, even if it was 1998. That’s hate speech, as is his Jewish lobby comment. It’s intemperate. It shows the man has character issues, even if, in the cordial atmosphere that sometimes prevails in the Senate, he made some friends. It would be bad enough if a Republican administration appointed him. But a Democratic President like Obama? Come on.

          You know, when Joe Biden was in the Senate, he positioned himself quite clearly as a critic of settlement policy (Joe’s public record is awfully long and verbose) and as strong proponent of the two-state solution. Yet, there’s been very little real intense criticism of those positions in the last four or five years from the people who are bashing Hagel now for Israel and for other reasons. Why do you think that is? It’s because in the Jewish community, people understand that Biden actually cares about Israel, and would never make conspiratorial and disrespectful statements about a Jewish lobby (and neither would Obama, by the way). Biden finds a way to be friends with everyone, which is how compromises and negotiations get done. I read between the lines with guys like this. And that’s a major reason I don’t like Chuck Hagel. I find that there are many harsh critics of Israel who say the same things Hagel does without the vitriol and controversy Hagel’s comments engender. I think a guy like Hagel will cause needless headaches for the Administration, because that’s what happens with guys who have an asshole gene, as Rumsfeld did. I think Hagel is in that category, and as I said before, he’s just not the best person for this job, not even close.

        • hophmi says:

          “So as for Rice, she is apparently one of those people who is willing to lie about the most serious of issues. No doubt people like her are a dime a dozen. It’s why ultimately I didn’t really care whether she got the job or not. ”

          Like what, exactly?

          “You seem to be responding to someone else who might have accused you of being obsessed with a single issue. ”

          Not at all. I simply can’t understand why people here would support Hagel other than his perceived animosity toward Israel.

          “Rice lied about Israeli behavior in Gaza, and no doubt she’d do it in other cases. ”

          Oh please. First of all, you’ve not substantiated any “lying.” Second, she was the UN Ambassador. She followed US policy in the Security Council of not allowing the Council to be used to obsess over Israel, and American ally. Do you really think Hagel would have acted differently had it been him?

          ” But he might be a strong voice against going to war against Iran inside the Administration, and while he won’t be the deciding factor, every little bit helps.”

          Sure, he might. And so might Michele Flournoy. Except that Flournoy is more qualified.

        • hophmi says:

          I don’t think it’s even a quota issue at this point. Here’s the wikipedia entry on her. You can read it for yourself.

          link to en.wikipedia.org

        • hophmi says:

          Not at all. I’ve always articulated one main thought on the antisemitism that pervades the pro-Palestinian movement. And that is that it hurts the pro-Palestinian movement more that it hurts the Zionist movement. I want a pro-Palestinian movement without antisemites or apologists for antisemites. Otherwise, all it does is strengthen the extremists in my neck of the woods.

        • hophmi says:

          “Well, enemies of my enemies are my friends. Just as the fundamentalist low-life like Hagee and Falwell and Bervik are yours.”

          LOL. Most Zionists have no love for Hagee or Falwell, which is why, to this day, their support is controversial in my community, and not reflective of the feelings of most Zionists. And please. No Zionist supports Brevik. If you’re going to go there, then I’ll go Osama bin Laden on your ass. He supported the Palestinians. I guess he’s yours now.

          In the pro-Palestinian community, even people like Gilad Atzmon, who accuses the Jews of killing Jesus, aren’t controversial anymore. Everytime the movement is asked to denounce antisemitism in its ranks, it says the question is irrelevant or hedges in some way.

        • I referenced Press TV, not RT.

          oh, well why don’t you link to your specific objections. was i quoting an iranian government source? was it an official response? the drone story. i don’t even know what your referencing hops, you throw it out there as if it’s some regular occurrence when you know it isn’t. and who is this mike person? how are people supposed to understand your train of thought when you use these bizarre leaps in logic to create analogies?

          perhaps i am just not understanding whatever analogy you are attempting to make. or are you just pt scoring, merging my name in with a massacre to make a point about hagel. for heaven’s sake.

        • I believe in the carrot, but not without the stick.

          so what kind of carrot would you support for iran? because the US never even offered to lesson the sanctions if they complied with all sorts of compromises they said they’d consider. and that’s not even a carrot, it’s just a lessor stick.

        • hophmi says:

          Program of sanctions mixed with incentives to give up the weapons program. A deal can include nuclear material to be used for power, with international supervision, trade incentives, and ultimately, full diplomatic relations if we get that far.

          I don’t see war happening. I think it will become unnecessary, either because a combo of sanctions and sabotage will stifle the enrichment program or because the country will have a spring and become a full democracy. I still think the best argument against war is that the mullahs will not last much longer anyway. Mostly, the United States has already prevailed; it’s really just a matter of accepting the victory.

        • Donald says:

          ” First of all, you’ve not substantiated any “lying.” Second, she was the UN Ambassador. She followed US policy in the Security Council of not allowing the Council to be used to obsess over Israel, and American ally. Do you really think Hagel would have acted differently had it been him?”

          Here’s an article about Susan Rice and Gaza. She’s lying. No honest person could look at the Gaza War in 2008-2009 and say it was obvious that Hamas committed war crimes, but that there was no evidence Israel did.

          link

          Now, yes, anyone in that position following US policy is supposed to lie and deny Israeli war crimes while condemning those of Hamas. Would Hagel have done that in a similar situation? I don’t know. Anyone who wanted to stay in that position would have to be willing to lie. In the current climate and for the near term, I expect it will stay that way. It shouldn’t. You probably wish to believe this is all about Israel with me, but in reality, Israel is just one in a long line of examples of this kind of hypocrisy, only unusual in that the hypocrisy is bipartisan in nature. Back in the 80′s the Reagan Administration used to lie about mass murder in Central America, but many Democrats actually opposed him on this, and it made a difference. There is bipartisan unanimity in favor of cowtowing to Israel, and unfortunately that means Israel can do what it wants.

          Which brings me to your comments on Joe Biden. There are a lot of people who say they favor a 2SS, but they seem to oppose any serious effort to pressure Israel to accept it. That goes both for people like Biden and as best I can tell, people in those organizations you mention that claim to support it. It’s very common to find people who say something like this–

          “I oppose the settlements and support the 2SS, but…” and then they go into all the reasons why it really isn’t Israel’s fault, why we shouldn’t pressure Israel, why anyone who favors pressure on Israel is of questionable character, maybe an anti-semite, why the “apartheid” analogy is false, blah, blah, blah. This isn’t serious support for the 2SS. Incidentally, I’m not saying that someone who really does support the 2SS would have a huge fan club here at Mondoweiss. This is more of a 1SS place. But that doesn’t matter. If you really favor a 2SS, you should be disgusted by the vast majority of American politicians who say they favor it and yet give Netanyahu dozens of standing ovations.

          The Obama Administration came in initially sounding like they were somewhat serious about the 2SS. Sure, Obama was hypocritical as always when he condemned rocket fire at Sderot and never said one word about Palestinians killed by Israel, but he did call for a settlement freeze, which really should be a no-brainer for anyone who wants a 2SS. But that was too much for Israel’s supporters in the US who claim to favor a 2SS. Obama backed down. So no, I don’t think it says much for Biden that he is liked. If he were part of an Administration that was more effective, more willing to pressure Israel, he wouldn’t be liked so much.

          On the Iranian sanctions, I’m opposed to sanctions that hit the civilian population as hard as these are meant to do. It sounds like Iraq all over again. I wouldn’t support sanctions on Israel that were so severe they actually made it difficult or impossible for Israelis to obtain life-saving medicines. I bet you would too. So why would I support them against Iran?

        • Donald says:

          ” I think it will become unnecessary, either because a combo of sanctions and sabotage will stifle the enrichment program or because the country will have a spring and become a full democracy”

          I hope you’re right about Iran’s future (no war and a democratic government), but I wouldn’t assume that a democratic Iran would have a different position on their nuclear program (whatever exactly it is that they are trying to accomplish). From what I’ve read, it’s a matter of national pride and even the dissidents support it. But I could be wrong.

        • Donald says:

          Ritzl in another thread mentioned Hagel’s statements on the 2006 Lebanon War. What he said was just plain common sense, or should have been, but in the current American context (then or now) common sense isn’t that common.

          cnn report

        • seanmcbride says:

          Donald,

          The Obama Administration came in initially sounding like they were somewhat serious about the 2SS. Sure, Obama was hypocritical as always when he condemned rocket fire at Sderot and never said one word about Palestinians killed by Israel, but he did call for a settlement freeze, which really should be a no-brainer for anyone who wants a 2SS. But that was too much for Israel’s supporters in the US who claim to favor a 2SS. Obama backed down.

          Which organizations within the worldwide Jewish establishment, Jewish religious establishment and Jewish lobby supported Barack Obama’s and Joe Biden’s efforts to oppose Jewish-only settlements in the illegally occupied territories?

          Let’s see the full list. No doubt some pro-Israel activists here can provide it.

          The truth is, the two-state solution, along with “liberal Zionism,” has been a con game from day one, designed to provide a cover and distraction while both Labor and Likud proceeded with the grand project of building Greater Israel.

        • RoHa says:

          “Program of sanctions mixed with incentives to give up the weapons program. ”

          What weapons programme? Iran cannot give up a programme that does not exist.

          “A deal can include nuclear material to be used for power, with international supervision, trade incentives, and ultimately, full diplomatic relations if we get that far. ”

          Something like the Turkish-Brazilian deal that the US refused to accept? No deal will be possible while Israel wants the US to damage Iran as much as possible.

        • sardelapasti says:

          “Frankly, I get the feeling that Hagel is kind of asshole.”

          Just as Frankly, My Dear, Why Beholdest Thou the Mote that is in Thy Hagel’s Eye, but Considerest not the Beam that is in Thine Own Eye?

        • hophmi says:

          Trade incentives and upgraded diplomatic relations. But really, you’d have to ask the Iranians for a definitive answer.

    • piotr says:

      The best … given the lack of women in this cabinet.

      By all account, Michele is relatively harmless if kept away from heavy weaponry. Aparatchitsa* and think tankistka* (actually, what is “tank” is “think tank”: a self-propelled armored artillery piece, reservoir for fuel or a place to keep small fish?) Civil servant with knack for controversial ideas “improve human capital”. Author with bold ideas “U.S. strategy must be grounded in a common sense pragmatism rather than ideology. U.S. national security strategy must be based on a clear-eyed assessment of the challenges and opportunities of the new security environment as well as realistic objectives derived from our national interests.”

      ——-
      Feminine endings for “aparatchick” (member of Party elite and medium-level office holder with no distinguishing characteristic like “visionary”, “henchman”
      etc.) and tankist (a member of a tank crew).

    • “My opposition is based on the fact that Hagel is not the best candidate.” Hophmi
      And of course we believe you. We have no reason to think otherwise.

  9. seethelight says:

    Thanks, Phil and Annie, for this concise summary.

    If Obama nominates Hagel, and he wins confirmation, AIPAC and the rest of the Lobby could still come out winners, in a perverse sort of way. After Mearsheimer and Walt’s LRB article and book were published, one of the Lobby’s loudest arguments was “There’s no Lobby. And if there is, sort of, it’s really not that powerful. It doesn’t really control US policy in the Middle East.”

    Well, if Hagel becomes SecDef, the Lobby’s argument will be affirmed, in a perverse sort of way.

    • ToivoS says:

      Of course they will spin this defeat in those terms (if it happens) — i.e. the Lobby does not exist because they have suffered a defeat. But every power player in Washington will know the importance of such a defeat. The influence of the lobby will be significantly reduced if Hagel becomes SOD. This does not mean that the lobby will disappear if Hagel wins, but it will mean that the lobby is not as powerful as everyone seems to believe it is. It will be that moment MJ Rosenberg has been telling us about for years — the night flower will wither in the day light sun.

    • AM says:

      I think power can be measured in more ways than simply ‘successes’. Look at the noise that was raised and how it permeated much of the media; that, in itself, is an exemplary example of the power that can be mobilized when the right strings are pulled to set a system into motion.

      Even then, I don’t see how AIPAC comes out as a winner…they still get 95% of what they want, remember?

      If Hagel doesn’t get nominated, and it goes to someone that is more acceptable to AIPAC, it will be a pyrrhic victory because the visibility that AIPAC/Israel Lobby received plays against their desire to operate outside of the limelight.

  10. Krauss says:

    Something that alarmed me to the quickly changing media landscape on this issue is the little-noticed fact that the words ‘Israel lobby’ have begun to be used on TV for the first time with regular occurrence, without the use of overtly excessive caveats.

    Whether it is on middle-of-the-road shows like ‘Morning Joe’ or in group discussions with Chris Matthews, the once-banned words have become more and more used. This is very important, and it’s a sign of a larger cultural shift. The neocons are still very powerful in the media, but they are nonetheless islands now, disconnected from the liberal archipelago.

    Contrast this with the near-monolithical support the Iraq war got. I don’t remember which journalist it was, but it was one at the New Yorker who later, much later, remarked how stunned he was to discover that of all the staff members at the New Yorker, he was the only one not to have supported the war in Iraq.

    Whenever the neocons begun their campaigns to systematically destroy any opposition to the hardline Likudnik policies they were pushing, they more often than not either got backup from the ‘liberal’ establishment or at the very least the benefit of silence to conduct their destruction without punity.

    The Hagel affair has shown that such privilege is of past era. And it has also forced retrograde institutions, like the Washington Post editorial board, to unmask themselves together with the WSJ Op-Ed pages. Both areas are staunch neocon launching pads. I was frustrated at the total silence of the NYT, but a few recent Op-Eds have done some to stem that. I am still missing a strongly-worded editorial from them.

    One final note, going back to my earlier point about the changing climate in Washington. It was Mike Allen, the hyper conventional-wisdom editor of Politico. Allen is notoriously cautious, a trait necessary if you are required to offend just about nobody and gain access everywhere.

    And when asked about Hagel, he began to irk around about gays, women groups and so forth, even though he knows full well those are just distractions used against Hagel. What was remarkable was that at the end of his remarkably uninformed comment, he sort of caught himself, and you could see his face heighten in tenseness as he contemplated whether to cut the bullshit and get to the gist of the opposition: Israel and Likudniks. And, to my surprise, he did. True, his voice pitched and his words came out faster as he literally tried to squeeze it out of his body, but finally it came out: “And you know, these objections fit well with the fact that the Israel lobby is against him”. And there his comment ended, his body sinking as if the final comment had sapped him of all his energies.

    That Allen, being the man he is, giving this comment on a run of the mill show like ‘Morning Joe’ is indicative of an important cultural moment.
    I expected Glenn Greenwald to give a harsh indictment of the Israel Lobby on Chris Hayes’ show, but now that even people whose lifebread depends on not upsetting anyone are speaking openly about Israel Lobby, however tensly, means that the socal punishment to do so is going down dramatically.

    This, I believe, is an important reason for why you’ve seen the same liberal establishment, which used to be scared of disapproving of the neocons, going to bat with them. Ultimately, we will look back at Rachel Maddow’s weird reluctance to talk about the lobby as spineless and, increasingly, isolated and even odd, rather than being the norm as we used to. But this too is changing.

    • ToivoS says:

      Kraus writes: True, his voice pitched and his words came out faster as he literally tried to squeeze it out of his body, but finally it came out: “And you know, these objections fit well with the fact that the Israel lobby is against him”. And there his comment ended, his body sinking as if the final comment had sapped him of all his energies.

      What a great metaphor. Sounds like lancing a boil. Cutting into one big localized Staph aureus infection. The boil can be ugly and painful but draining the pus can bring almost instant relief. Usually the wound heals free of infection.

      • MRW says:

        ToivoS,

        OT. My body was wracked with a Staph infection and two boils on my legs that crippled me when I was 12. It was caused by water pollution from the oceans. My grandmother was a Trinity College (Ireland) RN who admired Indian medicine. Woo-Woo Indian (not Eastern Indian) as she said. She wouldn’t let the doctors lance me; she wanted to use the Indian medicine she observed. She heated coke bottles in boiling water for 30 minutes. She was one hell of a disinfector of everything. Then she dropped them into a bucket of ice with her nurse tongs to cool the neck and create pressure inside the bottle. She then applied the open neck of the bottle with her tongs ever-so-gently to the surface of my boils. Kabroing! Two large-size coke bottles of pus and blood exposed the ‘core’ of one boil on my inside left knee, over an inch long and 1/16″ thick. She was like a jeweler breaking off the ‘core’ at the base, swabbing the core hole afterward with alcohol that stung with relief. I could walk for the first time in a week. Still have scars.

        • Mooser says:

          MRW, in Yiddish, it’s Bankes giving rise to the expression “Es vet helfen vi a toiten bahnkes!

          Which, roughly translated, expresses the utility of trying to teach Zionists not to lie.

  11. HPH says:

    Andrew Sullivan cites the Duss article in a comment (Sullivan ) today.

    Here is the essence of what Sullivan says: “Hagel’s journey has been very similar to my own, in response to the same set of damning facts over the same period of time – and we have both been smeared as Jew-haters for our response to empirical reality. For those reasons, perhaps I am overly fond of Hagel – because he represents a future, reality-based, non-group-think conservatism that can rid itself of the neocon cancer. And that’s why Obama’s possible selection of him for secretary of defense would not just broaden the range of views within the cabinet on military intervention, but could begin to craft a post-neocon conservatism in foreign policy, where defense – and not hegemonic offense – is the core American value.”

  12. MRW says:

    Phil,

    I like these elbowings about the Kabuki (or Ronco infomercials, take your pick): Notice that even on a leftleaning cable network, Klein must throw coins in the neoconservative fountain. Tactically– so that Hurlbut can slap the criticism away.

    Krauss: agree. And I would add, one effect of the fiscal fear crisis out here in Fly-Over, (even though there is no crisis, the US cannot go broke, and our deficit needs to be much larger to blast the US economy out of the recession) is that should Congress dither with this and the Fly-Overs perceive themselves as being screwed by DC with higher taxes, the money going to Israel will grow real legs. Don’t forget Congress didn’t reply to the 15 Churches after October 5, 2012, not officially. People in the govt and media ignore it, or backhand it off the table, at their peril. As Betsy (here) can tell you, and did, it was a watershed event. It’s the stranger with the steel-capped boots whose large feet are barely visible beneath the curtain.

  13. Carowhat says:

    Too many Jews not only oppose Hagel but would fight to the death to keep him out of the office of Secretary of Defense. No American president can stand up to that kind of pressure, especially someone as spinally-challenged as Obama.

  14. RE: “If the White House does not go with Hagel, the Obama team has a problem as they will be appearing to reject a two-time Purple Heart recipient . . . And they’d be conceding to a lot of folks whom the president just wiped the floor with in the last election . . .” ~ Steve Clemons

    MY COMMENT: It’s time for Obama to show us who’s the boss, him or William (Bill) Kristol!
    If Obama folds (caves in) on Chuck Hagel as Secretary of Defense, he will pretty much spend the next four years as a lame-duck president (a U.S. President in name only).

    WHITE HOUSE PETITION: Urging the Obama administration to nominate Hagel and fight for his confirmation.
    TO SIGN - link to petitions.whitehouse.gov

    ROBERT NAIMAN’S PETITION: President Obama, we have your back. We support your choice of Chuck Hagel to serve as the next Secretary of Defense.
    TO SIGN - link to signon.org

    FACEBOOK PAGE: Chuck Hagel for Secretary of Defense
    TO “LIKE” link to facebook.com

  15. Citizen says:

    I think Obama will nominate whomever Axelrod recommends, and with a spin script created in Axelrod’s office. And he will do so as soon as Axelrod is comfortable with how the political stars have aligned.

  16. Theo says:

    The enemies of this country are not located in the ME, in Afghanistan or Pakistan, but within our own borders.
    The country is divided between two parties that really do not care for this nation, but further only their own and their clients´ interests. There is AIPAC and many similar jewish organisation working for the interests of a foreign country and there is the NRA, whose members collect private armouries to fight their own government under the disguise of the 2d Amendment.

    When finally a decent person is nominated for a high post in the government, he or she will be attacked from left and right, practically taken apart and everything is done to stop the nomination.
    How can a country as large as the USA, or as matter of fact any country, be governed, when the citizens do not trust their own government, refuse to pay taxes to cover the cost of running it and arm themselves to fight said government?
    To be honest, one must be out of his or her mind to covet any position in our government, there are more lucrativ and fullfilling positions to have.
    If I was Senator Hagel I would just say thank you, but no thank you!

    • Carowhat says:

      “There is AIPAC and many similar jewish organisation working for the interests of a foreign country and there is the NRA, whose members collect private armouries to fight their own government under the disguise of the 2d Amendment.”

      Many of the Founding Fathers, such as James Madision, who wrote the Second Amendment, believed that American citizens needed the right to bear arms in order to oppose oppressive government. This is what Madison once wrote on the matter:

      The right of the citizens to keep and bear arms . . . offers a strong moral check against the usurpation and arbitrary power of rulers; and will generally, even if these are successful in the first instance, enable the people to resist and triumph over them.

      Supporters of gun control often say they don’t oppose the use of guns for hunting, target shooting or home defense but to the founding fathers, those were secondary applications. The highest and best use off guns was to oppose tyrannical rulers.

  17. German Lefty says:

    Different topic:
    When I switched on the TV in the midmorning, I was pretty shocked to see that QVC Germany sells SodaStream. The presenter said that it’s for the very first time. The product is also today’s special offer. At noon, around 4,000 were already ordered.
    link to img811.imageshack.us
    link to qvc.de
    QVC Germany also aired a promotional video with German actor Hannes Jaenicke. He stated that SodaStream is ecofriendly, because you don’t need to buy soda that was imported from other countries and because you don’t have to drive to the supermarket to get or return the bottles. Jaenicke concluded: “It’s good for the conscience.” I couldn’t believe my ears.

    • German Lefty says:

      By the way, I just sent an e-mail to QVC Germany, in which I told them that the SodaStream products come from an illegal settlement and that I demand an immediate withdrawal of the offers. Looking forward to a reply.

      • Theo says:

        Great Lefty

        I hope you win the battle and in the long run the war.
        Long time no see. (Don´t worry, I am not becoming imbecil, it is just a jargon).

        • German Lefty says:

          I just sent an e-mail to QVC Germany, in which I told them that the SodaStream products come from an illegal settlement

          I finally received a reply. Here’s my English translation:

          “Thanks for your inquiry about the SodaStream products that we offer. We pursued your lead and asked SodaStream for a statement.
          The company SodaStream manufactures its products in facilities all over the world, for example in Germany, the USA, Australia, China and also in two plants in Israel. One of these two plants is situated in the West Bank. SodaStream points out that all employees of the enterprise are employed regardless of their race, nationality, religion, gender and ethnic background under the protection of an anti-discrimination company policy. According to SodaStream, in the Mishor Adumim production facility, Israeli Jews, refugees from Darfur, and Palestinian employees work together as colleagues and receive the same wages. Also, the social activities in the factory involve all employees equally. This plant as well as all SodaStream plants abide by the established law. Please understand that we see no reason to doubt the information provided by SodaStream.
          We hope that we could help you.”

          Of course, I can’t disprove SodaStream’s claim that there’s no race-based discrimination in the Mishor Adumim production facility. Or can anyone provide me with evidence?
          What struck me was that QVC Germany completely ignored the fact that the Mishor Adumim industrial park is located in an illegal settlement. It was simply called “one of two plants in Israel”.

        • Shmuel says:

          GL,

          Here’s a point-by-point reply to Sodastream’s standard excuses, from BDS Italy (in English):

          link to bdsitalia.org

  18. notatall says:

    I know I’m not alone here in not giving a hoot whom the president of the Empire appoints to manage its military affairs. Where are those who agree with me?

    • seanmcbride says:

      notatall,

      I know I’m not alone here in not giving a hoot whom the president of the Empire appoints to manage its military affairs. Where are those who agree with me?

      There are a few hard leftists here — Marxists, “Communists,” Chomskyites, etc. — who believe there are no significant differences between American foreign policy realists and Israel-centric neoconservatives. I find these people to be completely baffling — I don’t think they know what they are talking about.

      It is a matter a considerable consequence to oppose multi-trillion dollar wars that are being fought on behalf of Likud Zionism (Greater Israelism) and which are helping to bankrupt the United States.

      It is a matter of considerable consequence to oppose torture and warrantless wiretaps and to support due process, civil liberties and the US Constitution and Bill of Rights.

      But all these distinctions are lost on hard leftists whose algorithm for processing information about the world is as simplistic as that of any backwoods religious fundamentalist. They ride their little hobby horse and are completely incurious about the complex granularity of the real world.

      Chuck Hagel would be much more likely to keep Americans out of any more disastrous and bankrupting foreign wars instigated by Israel Firsters (neoconservatives) than other candidates for SecDef that come to mind. THAT MATTERS.

      • American says:

        But all these distinctions are lost on hard leftists whose algorithm for processing information about the world is as simplistic as that of any backwoods religious fundamentalist. They ride their little hobby horse and are completely incurious about the complex granularity of the real world”…sean

        Exactly.

      • Dan Crowther says:

        As Im sure Im one of these “hard leftists” Sean is referring to, I will say: I do see “significant” differences between the factions Sean cites. The “realists” are for the most part, multilateralists, whereas the neocons could give a shit what the world thinks.

        As for the rest of Sean’s screed, I agree with his opposition to torture and his support of due process etc – as Im sure most “hard leftists” do.

        Chuck Hagel has the POTENTIAL to be “much more likely to keep americans out of any more disastrous and bankrupting foreign wars” but it’s far from a given. And here, I think we find a important point. Hagel voted for the Iraq war, and before that the sanctions on Iraq that killed half a million children. Half a million kids. But this goes unmentioned because the sanctions were “multilateral”. So, this idea that Chuck Hagel represents a bulwark against this kind of monstrous behavior, is to me, bordering on the laughable. But then again, I’m just a backwoods hard leftist chomskyite cult member.

      • hophmi says:

        Don’t worry, Sean, nobody is fighting a war on behalf of “Likud Zionism,” regardless of what you may think. What the antisemites are doing, I can’t say.

        Chuck Hagel is from the same school of foreign policy as Bob Gates. They’re not that different. Gates didn’t stop the surge in Afghanistan from happening, and Hagel will not have a great influence on this President, who makes his own decisions. He’s a stupid pick for many reasons, most of all because he simply isn’t the best person for the job. Your support for him here shows, once again, that you guys could not care less about American foreign policy; all you care about is bashing Israel. If you did care, you’d suggest Michele Flournoy, who is more qualified.

        • Danaa says:

          Hophmi, I find it interesting that you keep bringing up Flournoy as somehow “more qualified”, without as much as bothering to give a single one of those “qualifications”. We are all well aware that Flournoy is the neocons’ favorite candidate and that generally, neocon shrills – including the pretend liberal “insiders” within the democratic party (for whom Joe Lieberman was once the poster boy, and Schumer is carrying water as best he can) have been pushing her name forward with increasing frequency. I also note – with a certain bemusement – that your comments on this thread are mirroring the talking points distributed to the field troops who are arrayed to oppose Hagel, including on blogs like this.

          Clearly, the talking points (taken straight from Krystol manifesto and echoed by a parade of neocon talking heads on Fox) suggest that people stick to the following key story board outline:

          1. Start with “Hagel not qualified” – no reasons required, just keep repeating to associate the name with “not qualified”
          2. Bring up the “unfriendly to gays” (using that single quote from 14 years ago)
          3. Repeat the mantra – need a woman in that eminent cabinet spot (especially now that Susan Rice is out).
          4. Follow up with “Flournoy is just the WOMAN for the job”.
          5. Throw in “highly qualified” or “clearly best qualified”, with emphasis on “clearly”. Repeat the point at least twice, again without detail (could be a minefield!)
          6. If needed issue blanket statement that the defense secretary is an “important” job – stay away from any mention of Iran. Israel, etc.
          7. If on a generally left-leaning/liberal blog be sure to add caveats to bolster your own “credentials” as “not a neocon”, “not a Likudnick”, “know nothing about some aipac-Shmaipac”, and if needed for extra effect, a ‘card carrying peacenick”.

          For those inclined to more “nuance” and/or the operatives within the democratic party, it is suggested that they continue to harp on the fact that Hagel is “far from liberal”, voted for the Iraq war, supported sanctions on Iran, and is generally well in line with US imperialist goals and power projection around the world. We had here on MW at least one commenter (name starts with elise… who was holding forth just along these lines. But I have seen and heard them elsewhere).

          There is a little hitch though in the wagon wheels now propelling Michelle Flounoy’s name forward: she may be an “intellectual”, a military analyst well embedded with think tanks, broadly published perhaps, but doesn’t have much base of support within either the military or defense circles. In fact, her credentials seem to be entirely theoretical, having never served in any elected or visible appointed capacity (someone please correct me if I’m wrong. It’s just that her name seems to have come out of the blue).

          That made me notice another thing – the forces now coalescing around Hagel’s appointment – at least the ones in the public eye, are all being very careful, including Heather Hurlbut who spoke on the Ezra Klein show, to cut Flounoy some serious slack. She is consistently mentioned as a “well respected intellectual”, which is obviously a disguised way of saying she has little, if any, background within the military and the defense establishment, as a “doer” who can execute.

        • Keith says:

          DANAA- “For those inclined to more “nuance” and/or the operatives within the democratic party, it is suggested that they continue to harp on the fact that Hagel is “far from liberal”, voted for the Iraq war, supported sanctions on Iran, and is generally well in line with US imperialist goals and power projection around the world.”

          I am one of those who agrees with what you describe as a “nuanced” critique. Not that I oppose Hagel anymore than anyone else Obama is likely to nominate, but that I am flabbergasted at the vigorous support for this nomination, as if confirmation represents some sort of victory over the forces of darkness. I more-or-less don’t care who becomes the next Secretary of Defense. Hagel will be more-or-less like his two recent predecessors. This is a victory? Dream on. Obama isn’t going to nominate an out front neocon, however, what seems to have gone unnoticed in all of the manufactured hoopla is that Obama is himself a closet neocon, or at least acts like one. Below is a quote from an article discussing this. Please note that all of the 7 countries targeted by the neocons have been attacked either overtly or covertly. Delusion has a cost.

          From an article titled “Imperial Lockstep: The Bipartisan Assault on the Middle East”: “What disturbs the distant observer is the memory of Wesley Clark’s revelatory aside in a speech last December when he distinctly recalled Donald Rumsfeld mapping out multiple regime changes across the Middle East-seven countries in five years. Nominated “regimes” included those of Iraq, Lebanon, Somalia, Sudan, Libya, Syria, and Iran. (Afghanistan was a side project.)”
          link to counterpunch.org

        • Ellen says:

          hopi, the depth of your discourse on this subject is like really over a reader’s comprehension:

          He’s a stupid pick for many reasons, most of all because he simply isn’t the best person for the job.

          So far according to hophmi he isn’t the best person just because he is not the best person because he is not a woman??

          who feeds you this crap?

        • Danaa says:

          Keith, here’s a little more nuance on my position (note: this is nuance-within-nuance):

          Just because I do agree with you and the many others who point out the US’s grand imperial designs (coupled with plutocrat agendas for the rest of us 7 Billion peons) doesn’t mean that this very true state of affairs cannot be used against someone who might be considered a semi-decent candidate, if only because he prefers to focus on a softer more American version of that imperialism (rather than eg, the far more ruthless model pushed by a certain middle eastern country not known for finess or squeamishness).

          II was just pointing out (not belaying claim to any originality here) that what neocons often try to do is to push a wedge within the so-called left (so-called because there’s little clarity on what “left” means in the US context) by using the “hey, it’s just old-fashioned imperialism and corporate agenda” so what’s a little old lobby in the face of such grand nefarious designs? the effect of this line of defense for their otherwise indefensible position(s) is to fragment a common cause into thousand shreds, thanks to those tendencies for food fights inside the tent.

          So while I more than agree with a general anti-imperialist, anti-corporatist agenda (and think Chris Hedges is right on top of it all), I also am realistic enough to know that this ruthless envelope of power projection cannot be taken on by mere citizenry espousing great ideals, no matter how insightful we are. Didn’t we just see Occupy try something like that – with the expected fizzle? Personally, I happen to believe that people who really care about seeing change in the imperial grand designs, need to have allies that can operate within the power structure to have any impact at all. Hence the code word “realist”. No one calls Hagel an idealist, but those who argue for his appointment recognize – if not quite a kin spirit – at least one who may be capable of affecting change in the margins of power. The thrust will not change anytime soon, but a few chinks in the armor can go a long ways.

          Also, I agree that among those who seem to push for Hagel, there’s a certain tendency to overemphasize his virtues, sometimes going as far as to cast him as some kind of a “man of peace” . That can happen in the heat of the battle – didn’t it kind of happen when we all supported Obama himself back in 2008, kind of pushing out of our collective minds what we knew about him that was not convenient? like that he is a bit of a wuss? that he WAS and IS a man of the established order? a dear friend of the capitalist/corporate structure that paid such dividends for him by catapaulting him into power?

          In any case, I suspect that signs of an overt clamoring for a Hagel is a sign not so much of misguidedness about what the man stands for, but of despair at ever getting more than a few meaningless crumbs thrown our way. A “realist” is code for “the most we can get” – the idea being that at least a competent and relatively objective servant of the empire will see that going hand-in-hand with israel over the cliff may not be the best thing to do – for either country, and certainly not for the world, which America still needs. Many military people can be like that too, say, Dempsey – a staunch protector of the empire and a centurion par excellance. who with a few well placed, carefully chosen words raised the ire of neocons and likudnick zombies far and wide. Of course, he will still carry out orders to bomb Afgans or pakistanis into smitherins. But maybe pause for a moment before doing the same to Iranians.

          BTW, this brings to mind the bitter arguments that raged here over Ron Paul. Many on the left saw virtue in his foreign policy positions, knowing full well that when it comes to economics, well, let’s just say he could have used some serious vetting.

          Finally, one more point: just because some of your positions may resemble argumentations used by necons doesn’t mean that their actual position holds any truer, or makes their agenda any more palatable. it just means they have become pretty good at using positions within the anti-imperialist left against the ones who fashioned them, thus turning them more passive. Kind of like Krystol using an anti-gay comment, or dubious feminist credentials. In this case neocons manipulate positions held by their opponents to torpedo a nomination they dread. For myself, I have enough appreciation of the neocons’ power to entertain the possibility that there must be a good reason for their dread – and whatever the neocons dread is worthy of at least a good look. None of which makes Hagel a modern day Ghandi or anything. Just perhaps not as bad as certain alternatives.

        • talknic says:

          Whatever bizarre fantasies you need to have hophmi, I’m sure one day you’ll even convince yourself

        • hophmi says:

          “So far according to hophmi he isn’t the best person just because he is not the best person because he is not a woman??”

          From Ellen, the doyenne of deep thinking. Did you LOOK HER UP? Clearly, you didn’t.

          She has been a senior advisor at CSIS. A distinguished professor at NDU. She was in the Defense Department under Clinton, where she oversaw three policy offices as, among other things Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for Strategy and Threat Reduction. She was awarded the Secretary of Defense Medal for Outstanding Public Service in 1996, the Department of Defense Medal for Distinguished Public Service in 1998, and the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff’s Joint Distinguished Civilian Service Award in 2000. During Obama’s first term, she was Under Secretary of Defense for Policy. Her thinking is summed up as follows: ” U.S. strategy must be grounded in a common sense pragmatism rather than ideology. U.S. national security strategy must be based on a clear-eyed assessment of the challenges and opportunities of the new security environment as well as realistic objectives derived from our national interests.” Which part of this do you take issue with?

          So basically, she’s had a long career in the Defense Department, a long career as a distinguished professor, and has won a slew of medals for everything she’s done.

          Chuck Hagel spent most of his career in business. He voted for the Iraq War. His experience is basically limited to his work in the Senate and a tour in Vietnam. He’s gaffe-prone. And he’s a Republican, and this is not a post I think should go to a Republican. I don’t think he’ll make much of a difference on Israel; it’s not a big part of his portfolio. He’s just not the best man for the job, not even close, not when you have a person like Michele Flournoy around who supports many of the same positions and has a long and distinguished career at the Pentagon and in academia.

        • Bumblebye says:

          When I looked up Flournoy I happened to see she is a member of the Council for Foreign Relations…so my thoughts became aha! Hophmi is aware she must have been groomed/turned (by Daniel Pipes et al) and knows the ‘acceptable boundaries’ on I/P.

        • Ellen says:

          hophmi, nope I did not look her up and knew nothing about her. Yup, I am not a deep thinker.

          But you were making the argument for her because simply you feel she is the best person for the job and because of gender.

          Now that you list all her accomplishments and positions, you’ve qualified your statement.

          So now I know a bit more. She seems to be policy wonk and intellectual. Very inside the beltway. the statement you quote above is generic. What any Pentagon wonk would say. It really tells us nothing about her thinking.

          I am not rooting for anyone, but from what you share here, this does not make her more or less qualified than many others in that DC bubble.

          Hop, the Pentagon is facing huge challenges over the next decade. It will be downsized. I suspect that Obama and others are considering someone outside of the Pentagon to get that ball rolling, as it may simply not be a possible task for an insider like Flournoy.

          As an aside, do you think insulting, demeaning to discredit someone strengthens your position?

          Once again, your cheerleading for Flourney (“has won a slew of medals for everything she had done…”) rings of lines you are repeating from elsewhere.

          Who is feeding this to you?

        • Donald says:

          “Her thinking is summed up as follows: ” U.S. strategy must be grounded in a common sense pragmatism rather than ideology. U.S. national security strategy must be based on a clear-eyed assessment of the challenges and opportunities of the new security environment as well as realistic objectives derived from our national interests.” Which part of this do you take issue with?’

          It’s technocratic gobbledygook. It’s how people in that position speak. It means nothing.

        • Citizen says:

          @ Donald

          “It’s technocratic gobbledygook. It’s how people in that position speak. It means nothing.”

          Here’s a whole bunch of what Flournoy said while in Israel last April: link to haaretz.com

          She’s a pro at saying nothing that will ever ruffle anyone’s feathers; yes she’s speaks the professional bureaucratic gibberish, in this case, on Obama’s ME policies. There’s not a drop of leadership in her. No wonder she’s being pushed by both sides as against Hagel. Everything she says is abstract and soft, all in code words acceptable by all. And–bonus points for being a female!

        • hophmi says:

          “Who is feeding this to you?’

          No one is “feeding this” to me. I have never had a great deal of regard for Chuck Hagel and I do not understand why you would, particularly when there are others who are much better. You tell me why a guy who has a record of anti-gay and anti-climate change statements, and is a Republican, deserves to be SecDef in a Democratic adminstration. And don’t give me cranky BS about how someone is “feeding me” the information.

          “As an aside, do you think insulting, demeaning to discredit someone strengthens your position?”

          This is very, very rich coming from you (and most people here). It always amuses me when I am reminded that political partisans tend to lack a sense of irony.

          “Once again, your cheerleading for Flourney (“has won a slew of medals for everything she had done…”) rings of lines you are repeating from elsewhere. ”

          You mean like wikipedia? Learn to argue on the merits rather than looking for some kind of conspiracy every time you oppose an argument. All of my info comes from Flournoy’s wikipedia entry. If you want to go more in-depth, I’d check out CNAS’s website. This is a summary of what CNAS is. It’s basically a moderate center-left foreign policy think-tank. link to en.wikipedia.org There are many others whom I could propose other than Flournoy, and also, many others who have promoted her candidacy besides the usual neocon suspects, including NOW. Kerry would be better. Dick Lugar would be better (since we’re talking about realists). Whether the neocons favor her as a cynical way to criticize Hagel has no bearing on whether she’s a good candidate for the job. I read a Politico article weeks ago reviewing the possible SecDef candidates, which included Hagel, Flournoy, Kerry, Lieberman, and a couple of others, and I would have said back then that Flournoy was the best choice. After Susan Rice went down, I would have thought she was not only the best choice, but the most obvious, given the fact that are few women in the cabinet.

          Hagel’s not an “outside the Beltway” figure. He was a Republican Senator, remember?

        • Ellen says:

          All of my info comes from Flournoy’s wikipedia entry. That explains it.

          Dick Lugar would be better. Dick Lugar is much too old and struggled terribly in his last term. His own aids would have to wind him up in the morning and cover for him.

          I never said Hagel was outside Beltway. I never said anything about him. I said Flournoy is inside the Beltway bubble. And she is!

          I said there are some considerations on a need to downsize the pentagon moving forward. As much of the anti Hagel editorials remind us, he was only a two term Senator, he is a “Midwesterner,” he was just a businessman,etc. Well, if we like that or not, it is beside the point as these are attributes Obama and others might be looking for over a career Pentagon insider.

          It always amuses me when I am reminded that political partisans lack a sense of irony. While debating, infering that I am dim in the brain (could be) and other posters here as well is irony??

        • chinese box says:

          “Who is feeding this to you?”

          I don’t know if anyone is feeding hophmi anything, he’s just seeking out information that reinforces his own point of view. He knows what his primary objective is and if that means he has to be a feminist on Monday, a Republican on Tuesday, and then a gay rights activist on Wednesday, he’s perfectly willing to do that.

        • piotr says:

          I think that neo-cons appreciate “complex granularity of the world” very selectively, and in the absence of Hagel they could well be attacking Flournoy whose pro-Israel credentials are thin etc. What happened to Susan Rice? Another “qualified insider”.

          Concerning “hard left”, I guess I am not one of them, but I was a “baby in red diapers”. It is not like Marxists were alien to nuance. A prerequisite to a revolution is split within the ruling class. Obama and Flournoy have this putty quality that can be slathered over differences. But without accentuating the differences, something that crusty Hagel seems to be good at — the needed split will not happen.

      • Mooser says:

        “But all these distinctions are lost on hard leftists whose algorithm for processing information about the world is as simplistic as that of any backwoods religious fundamentalist.”

        And when I think of their large representation in our national and state deliberative bodies, and their predominance on the courts, and their ability to inspire and lead college students, I could just give up hope.
        Won’t be long before the pure-water socialists and the cold-water Communist parties have ruling majority.
        And when I think about the fact that none of these leftist organisations or people have names, I could plotz.
        We’re sunk unless they are exposed!

        Over to you, Sean.

      • W.Jones says:

        Sean, you wrote:
        “But all these distinctions are lost on hard leftists whose algorithm for processing information about the world is as simplistic as that of any backwoods religious fundamentalist.”

        You did understand correctly my comment here:
        link to mondoweiss.net

        Namely, that someone could be a “hard leftist”, and understand the power of lobbies, like the Tobacco lobby or the Oil Lobby. Anti-capitalist publications frequently speak out against the excessive power of lobbies in a political system fueled by cash.

        So normally, an anti-capitalist should be able to call out Lobbies as playing a major role in influencing government policies. They may write in-depth exposes with statistics. Blankfort focuses on this as a key former of policy. But if someone keeps trying to change the subject when a key lobby is brought up (the Tobacco Lobby), either talking about other lobbies (retailers and smokers) or about general principles (smokers’ rights), then why are they doing this?

        So you could become confusedly stereotypical about Leftists, thinking they don’t get it, they just blame imperialism without understanding interest groups, so why should this person be any different. But in fact that’s a misunderstanding of leftists in general and the fact they probably have a better understanding of interest groups than if they didn’t understand the general principles in the first place – a misunderstanding based on a moment when a person didn’t follow the normal leftist ways of opposing lobbies.

        It’s like meeting a PEP and then concluding from it that progressives in general are so focused on anti-semitism, anti-racism, and whatever other excuses made by the PEPs that progressives are morons. And unfortunately there are alot of PEPs. :/

      • Keith says:

        SEAN MCBRIDE- “But all these distinctions are lost on hard leftists whose algorithm for processing information about the world is as simplistic as that of any backwoods religious fundamentalist.”

        Yet another pointless screed from you as you attempt to assume some sort of leadership position among the Mondoweiss “It’s all the Lobby’s fault” crowd. I’m not sure what your unprovoked name-calling has to do with the war of ideas in the Middle East, but I guess it is what can be expected from someone who continually intimates that he is Noam Chomsky’s intellectual superior. And anyone who disagrees with you is simplistic, not a sophisticated intellectual like you. Just how much sophisticated analysis does it take to always conclude that regardless of circumstances, The Lobby is the problem?

        • Mooser says:

          Keith, you are, fortunately, missing the most important aspect of Sean’s schema. According to Sean, the “Jewish Lobby” arises from, well, let Sean say it, (as he did on Dec. 5th) “Judaism’s core driver: messianic ethnocentrism and ethno-religious nationalism organized around a particular physical territory (Eretz Israel and Jerusalem).

          The key components:

          1. ethnocentrism
          2. territorialism
          3. nationalism
          4. messianism”

          We should really thank Sean for the warning! A people like that are dangerous!!

        • seanmcbride says:

          Mooser,

          Your comments have taken a peculiar turn in recent weeks — sometimes I find them to be indistinguishable in tone, attitude and methods from hophmi’s.

          My point, consistently, has been this: the Jewish establishment — including the Jewish religious establishment and the Jewish lobby (most notably, the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations) — has during recent decades embraced Zionism with increasing passion and stridency.

          Contemporary Zionism — especially religious Zionism — is based firmly on ancient and classical Judaism and myths and symbols grounded in messianic Jewish ethnic nationalism and territorialism. What do you think all the furor about “Eretz Yisrael” and “Judea and Samaria” and “Jerusalem” (the mythical symbol as well as the physical place) is all about?

          Every serious student and observer of contemporary Zionism and Judaism knows this is the case. You haven’t contributed a single fact, argument, thought or insight to persuade us to think otherwise. One senses a mounting irrational hysteria in your remarks on this topic.

          What gives? What exactly is your relationship to Judaism? What does it mean to you? And how do your views on Judaism differ from those of the contemporary Jewish religious establishment?

          Do you realize that you’ve never cited a single scholarly book or journal article you’ve ever read on any subject?

          Your comments can be amusing occasionally, but they are never edifying or informative. And it would not be unfair to describe them as obsessively ethnocentric. Most Americans — and most Mondoweiss contributors — rarely get bogged down in ethnocentric (and narcissistic) navel-gazing. It’s boring. But that’s your shtick — and you’re welcome to it.

        • Dan Crowther says:

          Mooser is pretty easy to explain: He’s a guy who happens to be jewish. Nothing to do with him. You on the other hand want to blame his jewishness on him. He can’t help that he was raised with catskills humor, and good for him he keeps it going, it’s part of him and it hurts no one. Far from being a “ethno centric tribalist blah blah blah,” his take seems to be: we’re all in it together, and rather than everyone extracting their pound of flesh from each other, lets move on – and leave “Identity” out of it. Also, Mooser is one of the few that openly say zionism must be fought, even violently – that alone shoud say enough for the likes of you. I guess the only thing he can do is renounce judaism and jewishness, head off to W.A.S.P re-education camp and become a good white christian american moron, as if we don’t have enough of those already.

        • Mooser says:

          “Do you realize that you’ve never cited a single scholarly book or journal article you’ve ever read on any subject?”

          I’ve often quoted, as accurately as I can remember, things my father and mother told me.

        • seanmcbride says:

          Mooser,

          I’ve often quoted, as accurately as I can remember, things my father and mother told me.

          You know, that’s nice, and I appreciate personal experience, and anecdotal stories and wisdom handed down from ancestors, but I also have a voracious appetite for facts, ideas, arguments, analysis, etc. — that’s just me. And I get impatient when someone challenges me without pursuing a substantive discussion to back up the challenge. I love challenges, but, please, put some teeth into them.

          With regard to the big issue at hand here: yes, many Jews, disagree with the Jewish establishment and the Jewish lobby. But their voices are rarely heard in American mainstream culture and one reasonably wonders why it is that they have been so easily rolled over by the Sheldon Adelsons, Haim Sabans, Malcolm Hoenleins and Daniel Gordis’s — it is so easy to reel ofF the names of hundreds of influential and highly conspicuous Jewish leaders who have been aggressively promoting the Zionism = Judaism = “the Jews” propaganda theme which most of the world now believes with the best of intentions.

        • seanmcbride says:

          Mooser,

          I’ve often quoted, as accurately as I can remember, things my father and mother told me.

          What things do you think fathers and mothers have told Jewish settlers in the illegally occupied territories — the vanguard of an aggressive and expansionist ethno-religious nationalist movement that has been backed by the worldwide Jewish establishment — including the worldwide Jewish religious establishment?

          Don’t we need to know a great deal about those stories to understand their behavior?

          In any case, we are in luck: many reputable scholars and journalists, many of them Israeli and Jewish, have looked into the character and structure of those ideological narratives. This phenomenon can be understood with a bit of intellectual effort if one takes the trouble to read an occasional scholarly book or journal article.

        • hophmi says:

          “vanguard of an aggressive and expansionist ethno-religious nationalist movement that has been backed by the worldwide Jewish establishment”

          You keep saying this, and it keeps not being true. The settlement movement, and certainly the religious part of it, has not been backed by “the worldwide Jewish establishment.” UJA hasn’t backed it. AJC hasn’t backed it. The Conference of Presidents hasn’t backed it. The ADL hasn’t backed it. So I am not sure who exactly from the worldwide Jewish conspiracy in your head (sorry, “Establishment”) has backed it.

        • seanmcbride says:

          Crowther,

          That spray didn’t manage to hit a single target.

          Mooser is generally an entertaining person whose comments have taken a bizarre turn in recent weeks: apparently he is quite emotional and upset about any discussion concerning two very important topics in the Great Mideast Debates: 1. the contemporary ideological fusion of Judaism with Zionism and 2. the role of the very powerful Jewish lobby inside the Israel lobby.

          These topics are vitally connected: it has been the Jewish establishment (and the Jewish lobby) that has worked tirelessly to erase any distinctions in the public mind between Judaism and Zionism.

          I was astonished to see exactly where it is that Mooser draws the line on his “anti-Zionism” — in some ways, it is quite reminiscent of the line drawn by many “liberal Zionists.”

          The basic tactic is, you can criticize Israeli policies and Zionism but don’t dig too deeply into the underlying ideological and institutional forces that are producing them. I find this stance to be ridiculous and self-contradictory.

          Regarding Mooser’s highly conspicuous ethnocentrism, it’s innocuous and sometimes good for laughs, but it’s there and I find that interesting. I have no idea of the ethnic background of most Mondoweiss contributors — they rarely bring it up themselves. Most of them are fully assimilated Americans.

          The ethnocentrism index: the number of times one mentions one’s ethnic identity, issues, problems, conflicts, enemies, etc. The Great Mideast Debates have made my ear acutely sensitive to this factor in the mess.

          I guess the only thing he can do is renounce judaism and jewishness, head off to W.A.S.P re-education camp and become a good white christian american moron, as if we don’t have enough of those already.

          I have said many times that Judaism, Jewishness and Jewish civilization merit a great deal of respect and should be protected and nurtured. You haven’t been paying attention.

          And with regard to your hate-filled and nasty comment about white Protestants, which you would never dare to utter about any other ethnic or religious group — would you be happier if WASPs were more involved in aggressively expressing their ethnicity? In playing ethnic nationalist politics instead of displaying a certain high-mindedness in releasing their grip on American power and sharing it with other ethnic and religious groups? Do you see much of that going on in contemporary Israel?

          Dan Crowther, direct quote: “good white christian american moron” — that’s a keeper and a valuable index into where you are coming from — crusty hard leftist, old school, down to every last detail. Comic book political analysis.

        • Cliff says:

          @hoppy

          Here is the ADL’s stance on the settlements:

          link to adl.org

          They say:

          The obstacle to peace is not Israel. The settlements are not the impediment. The issue is simple: the Arab and Palestinian rejection of Israel’s right to exist, including through violence and terrorism, for over 60 years. Israel’s right to exist is undeniable and is based on its right to self-determination in its historic homeland.

          Since you’re a member of the AJC and continually whitewash the racism, hypocrisy, support for colonialism among Zionist American Jews and Jewish organizations – tell us how each of the aforementioned Jewish groups view the Israel-Palestine conflict.

          Who or what is the obstacle to peace according to the AJC for example. What does the AJC say about the settlements.

          Israel continues to expand settlements. You and your fellow to-the-right-of Likud Zionists and Zionist Jewish organizations like the ADL downplay the impact of the settlements and simply repeat a common Zionist mantra that the settlement issue will be dealt with without preconditions and subject to final status blah blah.

          In other words, Israel continues to inflict facts on the ground and hypocritical/pro-colonialist Jewish groups like the ADL absolve Israel of any responsibility.

          Explicitly, the ADL says:

          Mr. President, it’s time to stop pressuring our vital friend and ally. It’s now time to direct your attention to the rejectionists who refuse to recognize Israel and negotiate an end to the conflict.

          LOL

          You’re so full of ****.

        • Mooser says:

          “Judaism’s core driver: messianic ethnocentrism and ethno-religious nationalism organized around a particular physical territory (Eretz Israel and Jerusalem).

          The key components:

          1. ethnocentrism
          2. territorialism
          3. nationalism
          4. messianism”

          Ho-kay! That was Sean on Dec. 5th of 2012! Now, I’m sure Sean has a peer-reviewed or accredited textbook he can site for that neat little summation, but you know how it is, do you need a citation form NASA to say the sky is blue?

          Then we get to Dec. 31st, and now look:

          “My point, consistently, has been this: the Jewish establishment — including the Jewish religious establishment and the Jewish lobby (most notably, the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations) — has during recent decades embraced Zionism with increasing passion and stridency.”

          Notice all the qualifiers. “Judaism and it’s “core drivers” has shrunk to “the Jewish religious establishment and the Jewish lobby (most notably, the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations)”
          And from a multi-thousand year submission to the “core drivers” we’ve shrunk to “recent decades” and “contemporary”.

          So look at that, we’re making progress. He’s backed off the sweeping condemnations of Judaism’s “core drivers”.
          And as anybody who’s known Ms. Blavatsky and the gang can tell you, you don’t shift Theosophists easily.

          And let me tell you something, Sean. if I gotta gaze at navels, I’d a damn site rather look at my own than look at somebody else’s navel through a glass, darkly. Ha!

        • Mooser says:

          “He can’t help that he was raised with catskills humor, and good for him he keeps it going, it’s part of him and it hurts no one.”

          Sean won’t tell us if he’s going to Minsk or Pinsk. And if Zionism tastes like poison, why does he eat such large portions of it?

        • libra says:

          seanmcbride …but I also have a voracious appetite for facts, ideas, arguments, analysis, etc. — that’s just me.

          Sean, facts are fine and who could argue with a cogent analysis? But these logical, thought-based approaches frankly have their limitations. No, sometimes you just have go with human intuition, the sort of intuition that tells you not to take someone like Dan Crowther too seriously.

          Not that this lack of intuition isn’t a common failing, particularly amongst intellectuals. Why, take Professor Chomsky himself. He’s been taking Dan’s political theories seriously for years.

        • seanmcbride says:

          Mooser,

          I haven’t backed off from anything. Zionism derives all its core myths, symbols, themes and imagery from ancient and classical Judaism. And the contemporary Jewish religious establishment — which is the lead authority on mainstream Judaism — has passionately embraced Zionism and merged Judaism with it — a project that will probably sink both Zionism and Judaism.

          I don’t know how much more simply and directly I can communicate this knowledge to you — no serious scholar of either Judaism or Zionism would disagree with the above statements. I offered you a long list of authoritative books on the subject to look into, but you don’t do books.

          For a time Reform Judaism, under the influence of the Enlightenment, made an effort to distance itself from Jewish ethno-religious nationalism and Zionist concepts. Those days are long gone. Zionism has swallowed Reform Judaism whole.

        • LeaNder says:

          And I get impatient when someone challenges me without pursuing a substantive discussion to back up the challenge. I love challenges, but, please, put some teeth into them.

          That’s your self-perception, Sean, it may be even partially correct, but a part is not a whole.

          A couple of years ago while watching one of your challenging discussions, I suddenly had this word on my mind a friend uses for little dogs and figuratively for people too: calf biter, they make a lot of noise, he says, and develop a tunnel vision always aiming for their target: the calf. And once they bite they let not go again easy.

          You bite heavily into your subjects and you don’t allow even a slight shift of perspective, you either ignore it or whisk if off swiftly. Ultimately you demand surrender to your perspective.

          You may consider yourself an analytic thinker but Mooser transcends you any time of the day. That’s just a fact.

          As you know, I didn’t arrive lightly at this judgment it took me years to see it more clearly.

        • seanmcbride says:

          Leander,

          Can you show me a few comments which best display Mooser’s analytical thinking? I’ll be happy to take a look.

          I am currently involved in a discussion with him about the connections between Judaism and Zionism in which he is not making a lick of sense.

          There are some strong analytical thinkers here: Phil, Hostage, Danaa, Sibiriak, Alex Kane, Adam Horowitz, German Lefty, Dickerson, Krauss, Shmuel and quite a few others (don’t be offended if I didn’t mention deserving others — I’ve greatly appreciated your comments — there are many impressive minds here).

          Mooser has always struck me as someone who is using Mideast politics as a platform to develop his comedy routine. And that’s fine — Mideast politics needs as much comedy as it can get. I like comedy.

          He’s a Jewish anti-Zionist — I get that. But that’s about as far as it goes. I enjoy the laughs, but he is not providing us with any insights about the historical and political dimensions of Israeli politics — which strike me as important once one enjoys a few jokes and settles down to business.

        • American says:

          “Just how much sophisticated analysis does it take to always conclude that regardless of circumstances, The Lobby is the problem?”..Keith

          Probably about as much as it takes to conclude that regardless of circumstances and in every event there is only one explanation for all US Policy and actions—*the Great US Universal Capitalist Conspiracy*.

          You people crack me up….it’s hysterical really how you can’t even see that what you’re saying makes you as loony as those who blame the Lobby for everything.

        • aiman says:

          Mooser, to be fair that quote on Judaism is ideologically consistent with the anti-monotheism screeds by a lot of people on this site. You may have missed Sean’s responses to the killing of Christopher Stevens at the hands of deranged “revolutionaries” in Libya. Sean, I think, subscribes to the progressive linear Enlightenment nature of time. Within this context Christianity is treated to the same apprehension. He believes that traditions must be facilitated to this scheme. The problem with that is that he can take up allies as morally shallow, overrated thinkers and advocates of murder like Christopher Hitchens and forgets that the ideology of “revolution” of which Zionism is a product comes out of Enlightenment Europe, not monotheism. These masters of rhetoric like Hitchens would not have earned a second glance from great sages like Socrates who already deconstructed rhetoric.

          This often blindsides blind Enlightenment-thumpers just like their fundamentalist religious opponents, other than the fact that their worldview is provincial and often excuses and even celebrates polytheism which is also riddled with fundamentalists and “revolutionaries”. There are two sides to the Enlightenment, it is not sacred as testified by Hitchens et al., it has influenced humanity for both good and ill. Judaism is just like any other religious tradition. I lean toward universalism, which I believe is the true message of Jewish thought as advocated by Elmer Berger. Zionism appeals to the early religious construction of tribalism which is particular to a tribal notion of God but theological contested by right-minded, universal-oriented Jews.

        • seanmcbride says:

          aiman,

          If you believe in the basic principles enshrined in the U.S. Constitution and Bill of Rights, including separation of church and state, free speech, freedom of assembly, due process, etc., and if you prefer reason and science over superstition and ignorance, you will take a generally favorable view of the Enlightenment.

          Regarding Elmer Berger: his views have been rejected by the worldwide Jewish religious establishment, which has merged Judaism with Zionism. Berger himself could be described in part as the product of the Enlightenment tradition, which was created by Europeans (Dan Crowther’s hated “white people” in fact).

          Regarding Christopher Hitchens: during the latter part of his career he became a frenetic neoconservative and Islamophobe — apparently the stress of 9/11 was a bit too much for him. He abandoned any meaningful commitment to Enlightenment values and the quality of his writing dropped precipitously — most of the time he sounded like Pamela Geller. Earlier in his career he was one of the most brilliant pundits and essayists on the planet. But his mind became untuned.

          What ethnic and religious background frames and conditions your attitudes towards the Enlightenment?

        • hophmi says:

          ” tell us how each of the aforementioned Jewish groups view the Israel-Palestine conflict.”

          I will, and then you tell me what mainstream pro-Palestinian organizations have done to condemn terrorism, incitement on state TV channels, and corruption within the PA.

          Both the AJC and ADL are strongly for a two-state solution. The AJC hosts a conference of activists every year that comprises the widest political spectrum I know of, and has featured sessions on Israeli human rights violations by leaders of B’Tselem like Uri Zaki and critics of Israel’s settlement project like Peace Now’s Yariv Oppenheimer. Please detail for me which meetings of pro-Palestinian activists featured even liberal Zionist speakers of any kind at any time.

          The ADL was probably the main American group supporting Disengagement. It has repeatedly condemned incitement in Israel and in the American Jewish community. Please recount for me which pro-Palestinian and Islamic organizations in the West have condemned anti-Jewish incitement in the pro-Palestinian community and in the Muslim world.

          You are generally full of crap, Cliff. You know zero about these organizations or the people who are members of them. You’re ignorant, and your viewpoint on them is not worth anything.

        • LeaNder says:

          Sean, I appreciate to deal with matters like this lightly. I always did.

          Concerning your special list of contributors, it’s rather complex and I wouldn’t like to put them all in the simple category of analytic.

          Let me start out with Phil, Adam and Alex and add Annie if you don’t mind.
          Phil obviously comes from his own journalistic perspective and one of his most interesting abilities is to discover talent out there. Adam seems to be much closer to Annie than to Phil with her own activist perspective although, the abilities merge and I have been stunned in spite of the occasional disagreement by Alex and Annie’s work. Strictly I wonder if Phil’s abilities to pick people is purely analytical or more intuitively based on his experience as a journalist.

          I don’t know to much about German Lefty to judge her analytic abilities or in fact anything about her beyond being drawn to the subject as many of us, since it is in the air post 911.

          I wouldn’t put Dickerson into the category analytic, my image of him is more that of a diligent collector, although I have not paid attention lately and he may have moved beyond collection by now.

          Concerning Krauss, he managed to trigger some of my core instinctual internal defense reactions, I am hyper sensitive against prejudice parading as information, that was after he managed to get into the center of my attention due to his name. I have never completely overcome this early impression. It may be partly projective no doubt, but my utter disgust at the handling of the matter is stored anyway. Limited time to give him a second chance. But strictly there was nothing analytical about that comment.

          Hostage is the person in your list that would come closest to my personal definition of analytic, since he obviously relies on a deep knowledge concerning his core topic legal issues of the conflict. I have to admit I am not up in any way to the challenge that this expertise confronts me with. Beyond that special topic he is close to Shmuel in may ways, which makes Shmuel someone else I would consider analytic and deeply serious and with much knowlege on the topic at hand.

          Danaa is a favorite of mine too, but I am never sure if it has much to do with her enormous stylistic ablity. She obviously is basically not very analytic but acting out her own obsessions with Isaeli experience in a rather different way than Shmuel does. Intuitive and emotional?

          Sibiriak, at least to the extend he caught my attention is a very interesting thinker no doubt, but he is not a simplifier either.

          I have no special admiration for analytic work on a very narrow knowlege base. Thus analytic, important as it is, is not a value in itself, if other factors are missing, especially the larger humanitarian aspects. (not sure if this expresses exactly what I mean, or gets close to convey what is in the back of my mind in this context.)

          Last but not least: Mooser

          Mooser has always struck me as someone who is using Mideast politics as a platform to develop his comedy routine. And that’s fine — Mideast politics needs as much comedy as it can get. I like comedy.

          I appreciated Mooser’s comments from the moment he appeared here, and I would advise you to not take him at face value, he in fact may have successfully created the character: Mooser. So there are diverse aspects to him, just as to everybody else above, as superficial as it may be.

          What I loved him for is that his wit always transcends ideology or whatever type of stereotypes. (OK not when it comes to Israelis, that’s his sore spot!)

          He does not misuse Mideast politics for a simplistic comedy routine, he in fact created the character of the average Jew out there, facing the fact that even the average Jew is studied as a member of the group. That’s why the “average Jew” may well have problems with both sides on the issue. They both try to define him. You too in this context try to tell him were he leaves the “correct path”, so to speak. Were he may tend to become deviant according to your norms.

          I am admittedly occasionally wondering if the antagonism between Shmuel and Mooser, beyond his anti-Zionist position has in fact something to do with the fact that Mooser is more the artist type that tries to transcend ready preconceptions or simple explanations and Shmuel is the earnest, serious scholar and activist.

          I am assuming in fact for a long time now that Mooser is far too literate to be simply what he tells us he is, he can in fact be pretty analytic if try to look closer. The best humor does in fact demand quite a bit of intelligence and intelligence is the basic for analytic work too.

          but he is not providing us with any insights about the historical and political dimensions of Israeli politics

          That’s quite a demand, isn’t it? Who on your list above would be up to the challenge? Surely Hostage from his legal perspective, Danaa and Shmuel from their respective experience background which is temporarily limited. To not list many others above that share the human right activist perspective with the above, which touches historical dimensions without ever completely grasping the respective complete make up of the larger mental/ideological/philosophical/psychiatric/criminologial*/sociological …

          * normal, however defined, versus abnormal, aberrant, deviant as defined in time and space, with quite a bit of professional analytical input that occasionally carries cherished stereotypes

          Let me pick a little nugget out of the ABC of Criminology, a series of lecture in Australia published with a grant in the US in 1941:

          It’s from the chapter of Sex-offenders, they supposedly have 6 clearly defined “profiles” one of which is the epileptic that would need some different type of yellow, green maybe, star to be recognized from the outside:

          (5) By an epileptic whose primary seizure is so slight that it escapes recognition, but whose period of confusion following the seizure is so serious that he may commit the most abnormal deeds which frequently take the form of sex offenses.

          From the chapter on epileptics, random pick, it sticks out in its outrageous tone and “analytic discussion”. The whole chapter is like that, the rest is pretty moderate really:

          Attitudes of unreasonableness and irritability are frequent. Epileptics are apt to be shallow, insincere and unreliable. They may be lazy and frequently are In the matter of unreliability, they often lie openly, and will express the ethical standards and moral tone they think the person they are with would like to have expressed, and yet they frequently show a complete opposite reaction later. This is partly hypocritical and partly due to shallowness and superficiality which cause the epileptic to demand appreciation and attention at all costs.

          Now here you have a different type of subject observed through the lens of an analytic (or analyst, B. Sc., M.D., PhD). This lady is a progressive on any other subject with her own limits of dealing with people with a low IQ beyond putting them away for their own and society’s safety.

          And here seems to be the basis for her analytic treatment, or “analytic assessment” of the epileptic: Cesare Lambroso. She must have known this and few epileptics she met seemed to fit the profile. Lambroso was an Italian secular Jew by the way, whose books the Nazis did not burn but decided to in fact rely upon. Epileptics were among the victims. Complex, hmm?

          But be careful to not get too excited about this fact. Mooser will tell you that this coincidence could mean a very simple thing: Israelis/Jews are just like anybody else influenced by the world of thought they are born into. Hard to understand? Never mind that Mooser is not really so sure that this may be true of “Israeli’s” too. ;)

          An interesting article about the history of profiling in the US, or the FBI’s abilities in this context between facts and fictions. Only on the surface analytical by the way, it seems.

          How far have we really moved beyond earlier ages?

          Mooser’s basic perspective is much closer to mine, since I am very aware of our limits to understand, “analytically” or “non-analytically”. And you may remember that at one point in my life as a juvenile and/or young adult, I would have perfectly fitted the above 5th profile of a sexual criminal. … ;)

          Now Mooser seems to fit your profile of somebody that may be at his core suspect, since he happened to be born Jewish. That simple fact at its core seems to make him suspicious to you, or hesitant about his real motives. And that is what Dan objected to, who drew me here.

          sorry, long response. I am always circling subjects since I am hesitant to judge, but this does not mean I cannot be analytic, it is simply due to a very realistic assessment of my capabilities to grasp every single aspect the way I would like to.

        • LeaNder says:

          I changed this and obviously did not pay much attention on the outcome, so this is what I wanted to convery:

          Sean, I appreciate you manage to deal with such matters like this lightly. I always did. It’s in fact a feature I appreciate about you. ;)

          Thanks for the response, no need to answer again. …

        • LeaNder says:

          another correction, and I won’t check the rest:

          Mooser. So there are diverse aspects to him, just as to everybody else discussed above, as superficial as it necessarily had to be it may be.

          In other words I don’t pretend to know them, it was a superficial discussion triggered by the simplistic “box”, from my perspective, you suggested: analytic.

        • Mooser says:

          “You may consider yourself an analytic thinker but Mooser transcends you any time of the day. That’s just a fact.”

          LeaNder, that’s only the half of it! Did you know that I have learned the technique which enables me to transcend dental medication? Nearly cuts the bill in half.

        • Mooser says:

          Elmer Berger was indeed a great man, but not as important for me as hisw cousin, Fudd.

        • Mooser says:

          Sean, do you ever worry about getting, well, gosh, I hate to put it like this, but I can’t think of another word, about getting a bit tiresome?
          You might want to consider the tiresomeness factor….just saying. I mean, if you want to be tiresome, don’t let me stop you.

        • Mooser says:

          “Can you show me a few comments which best display Mooser’s analytical thinking? I’ll be happy to take a look.”

          And who, Sean, I ask you, who, (…who stole my heart away, who makes me dream all day?) who coined the term “Ziocaine”?
          Who said “Jewish values start at %50 off retail”?

          Modesty forbids any further bragging, but you get the point, Sean. I’m the guy that takes the ‘anal’ out of analytical.

        • Keith says:

          MOOSER- “…I have learned the technique which enables me to transcend dental medication?”

          Next you will be claiming that your insights are the result of still possessing your wisdom teeth?

        • Keith says:

          MOOSER- “I’m the guy that takes the ‘anal’ out of analytical.”

          It’s a tough job, but somebody has got to do it!

        • seanmcbride says:

          Leander,

          Re: analytical thinking: as you know, I have a strong interest in Semantic Web technologies and I have developed the habit of quickly organizing any document I read into a graph of logically connected semantic assertions (usually in my mind, but also often explicitly in text these days).

          As a general rule, the greater the number of fact-based semantic assertions in an “argument” (book, article, total body of work, etc.), and the greater the number of valid logical links connecting those semantic assertions, the higher the quality of analysis.

          Phil’s writings, for instance, are loaded with fact-based semantic assertions and valid logical links connecting those facts. Building these graphs enables us to see patterns in data and to draw useful inferences and insights from those patterns.

          Mooser’s posts are completely devoid of facts of any kind and of any logical links to connect his non-existent facts. Apparently he has no interest in facts and never developed the mental muscle to engage in logical and analytical thinking.

          I appreciate Mooser’s sense of humor, but notice how quickly it disappeared as soon as two hot button topics came up: 1. the role of Judaism in Zionism and 2. the role of the Jewish lobby inside the Israel lobby. Then he turned on a dime and became irritable, peeved, mean-spirited, aggrieved, angry, nasty, etc. — the court jester turned into the grim reaper.

          I am beginning to wonder if Mooser is an “anti-Zionist” in the same way that Dennis Ross and Barney Frank are “liberal Zionists.” They really don’t add up once you take a close look at the self-contradictions in their total pattern of statements.

          An example of how substantive analytical thinking works: we recently learned that Michèle Flournoy was associated with the PNAC — Bingo! By establishing a logical link of a certain kind between Flournoy and the most infamous neoconservative outfit among dozens of such outfits, we can begin to understand why it is that pro-Israel militants like Hophmi and William Kristol have been pushing Flournoy for SecDef while attacking Chuck Hagel.

          Mooser *never* deals in this kind of factual data and analysis. Phil Weiss and Jim Lobe, on the other hand, excel in fact-based analysis — connecting the dots.

          Also, you are right: I should have included Annie on my list of first-rate analysts on Mondoweiss along with quite a few others. Mooser and Dan Crowther rank near the bottom of the list, in my opinion, although Crowther now and then takes a stab at assembling a few facts into some kind of coherent pattern (usually a comic book pattern).

        • aiman says:

          Sean, I agree with many aspects of the Enlightenment (such as those you mentioned, particularly freedom of opinion even though it was and is applied selectively by the elites) and disagree with others (“scientific racism”). I was in effect responding to your statement quoted by Mooser where you argued that Zionism was a corollary of Judaism, which I protested. Similar statements have been made by posters on monotheism, some Jewish. So your statement was not extraordinary. I didn’t think you were attacking Judaism in particular, but attribute it to your Enlightenment Whiggishness. You appeared to have overlooked one simple fact: Zionism, like all modern fundamentalist, ethnoreligious segregationist and violent movements is wedded to the ideology of revolution which is one of the bad products of the Enlightenment. That Jewish establishments have bought into Zionism, we agree. That is a task for Jewish ethicists to recognise and separate the two. This is true for all violent, revolutionary movements that have hijacked the moral voices of faith. On Hitchens, we disagree. I think he was always deluded and was at best a mediocrity. My attitudes are shaped by a rational, universal monotheism ontology of One God, one humanity with compassion toward all that exists, everyone has freedom but no one is a master of his destiny. Some of the thinkers other than the monotheist prophets I admire are Muhammad Abduh, Elmer Berger, Tolstoi, Lao Tse and Gandhi and the many women who history has not recognised such as my life mentor. I dislike all forms of tribalism and ethnic-binding. Life has taught me nothing is permanent, we are all travellers. And yes I like Newton on your list. I admire both his scientific and theological observations.

        • seanmcbride says:

          aiman,

          I was in effect responding to your statement quoted by Mooser where you argued that Zionism was a corollary of Judaism….

          That is not a cogent statement of my argument.

          My argument is that Zionism has grounded itself, and justified itself, on the basis of images, symbols, myths and themes from ancient and classical Judaism, and that the contemporary Jewish religious establishment has, overall, passionately embraced Zionism and merged it with Judaism into a single ideology. There is no now distinction in the public mind worldwide between Zionism and Judaism — and the worldwide Jewish establishment bears primary responsibility for creating this dangerous state of affairs through relentless propaganda.

          Are you sure you fully understand my argument, which is based on plain facts in the real world?

          I fully respect your version of monotheism — in fact, I share many of your beliefs. I think the best values of Western monotheism and the Enlightenment can find common ground — I think religion and science are compatible. (I happen to be a theosophist myself, with a Roman Catholic background by upbringing.)

        • seanmcbride says:

          Mooser,

          Sean, do you ever worry about getting, well, gosh, I hate to put it like this, but I can’t think of another word, about getting a bit tiresome?

          Is this yet another example of your analytical prowess?

          I think a full public discussion of the role of Judaism in Zionism and the role of the Jewish lobby in the Israel lobby would be enlightening, not tiresome, and might help effect a change in Israeli policies that currently, in the opinion of many people, are bad for Israelis, bad for Jews, bad for Americans and bad for the world.

          Clearly these are emotional and hot button topics for you. When you manage to get your emotions under control, perhaps we can pursue a civil and friendly discussion on them.

        • Clearly these are emotional and hot button topics for you. When you manage to get your emotions under control

          it never occurred to me mooser was emotionally uncontrolled. but if he was, do you think saying that would calm or reform him? it’s sounds patronizing to me, rather antagonistic actually. almost baiting.nothing that would inspire a civil and friendly discussion.

        • never developed the mental muscle to engage in logical and analytical thinking.

          y’know, you’re not displaying a lot of depth with these kinds of analysis.

        • seanmcbride says:

          Annie,

          I think I can read Mooser’s mental and emotional states in this forum quite well — I’ve read many hundreds of his comments and witnessed several of his encounters with people whom he has tagged in his mind as “enemies.”

          I have been quite surprised by his sharp and humorless responses to the perfectly reasonable assertion that Judaism and Zionism have become inextricably entangled with the help of tireless efforts by the Jewish establishment.

        • seanmcbride says:

          Annie,

          I have never seen Mooser engage in any *fact-based* logical analysis of Mideast political issues of the kind that Phil serves up on a regular basis. That is my honest impression. But I greatly appreciate his wit, humor and (usually) gentle and tolerant spirit.

          With regard to the discussion about Jewish religious Zionism — the contemporary fusion of Judaism with Zionism which has been enabled and encouraged by the worldwide Jewish establishment — he has said nothing that makes any sense to me. I think this may be the most important problem to deal with in trying to modify Israeli policies.

          I know that you follow the Israeli media, and you are no doubt aware that Jewish religious Zionism is gathering enormous force in Israeli society, culture and politics. I think we need to take this issue seriously — it is not a joke.

        • perfectly reasonable assertion that Judaism and Zionism have become inextricably entangled

          link to merriam-webster.com

          1
          : forming a maze or tangle from which it is impossible to get free
          2
          a : incapable of being disentangled or untied
          b : not capable of being solved

          if your assertion were correct there would be no religious jews who were not zionist sean, and there are. your logic is not perfectly reasonable, it’s dogmatic.

        • seanmcbride says:

          Annie,

          Please: let us use fact-based analytical logic to look at this issue.

          The Jewish religious establishment overall has passionately embraced Zionism and merged Zionism with Judaism into a single ideology and political movement.

          Anti-Zionist religious Jews comprise a very small minority in the contemporary worldwide Jewish community. They exert no influence whatever on Israeli policies.

          The entire Israeli settlements movement — Greater Israelism — is being spearheaded and driven by Jewish religious Zionists, and American Mideast policy is being dragged along with it in ways that are greatly destructive for Americans.

          This issue MUST be discussed, forcefully and in depth.

        • hophmi says:

          The whole discussion is extremely simplistic. Most Jews are Zionist in the sense that they believe there should be a Jewish state. That is a political point of view, sometimes with religious overtones, sometimes not. The vast majority of being Jewish is has nothing to do with Zionism. To say they are “inextricably linked” is conjecture.

        • also sean, keep in mind everyone perceives comments and commenters differently. obviously you and mooser just think differently.

          I greatly appreciate his wit, humor and (usually) gentle and tolerant spirit.

          i appreciate him too, although neither gentle or tolerant particularly come to mind. and i like that about him.

        • hophmi says:

          “I know that you follow the Israeli media, and you are no doubt aware that Jewish religious Zionism is gathering enormous force in Israeli society, culture and politics. I think we need to take this issue seriously — it is not a joke.”

          I agree that the haredi influence in Israel is a serious problem (that is nothing new and has been widely covered in books like Gershom Gorenberg’s “The Unmaking of Israel”), but it is not Jewish religious Zionism. Even today, most haredim are not Zionists, though they are not anti-Zionists either. They are simply religious fundamentalists, little difference from its Christian and Muslim equivalents, both of which have the potential to and have in fact wreaked far more havoc.

        • seanmcbride says:

          Annie,

          During the 1930s and early 1940s, one could find quite a few German Christians who strongly dissented from Nazism and the policies of the German government. But that in no way absolved the German Christian establishment from its complicity in enabling German crimes. A critical mass of German Christians went along with (and in some cases led) the entire horrific enterprise.

          I trust you will see the point of my analogy. I am not trying to compare Zionism to Nazism in terms of criminality (although who knows what the future holds given current trends). The point is, an ineffectual minority within a culture does not free the majority in that culture from responsibility for its actions.

        • seanmcbride says:

          Annie,

          You are right: Mooser has some very sharp edges, and that’s part of his charm.

        • Anti-Zionist religious Jews comprise a very small minority in the contemporary worldwide Jewish community. They exert no influence whatever on Israeli policies.

          sean, ‘religious’ is a slippery term. lots of people who do not think of themselves as particularly religious still are to a certain extent. even me, who hardly has a religious bone in my body..well, when i’m up shit creek i pray, just in case i’m wrong and there is someone listening.

          zionism is is a political movement that’s been around barely a century. judaism is a religion and like all religions it is practiced and interpreted in vastly different ways. i know you’re trying to put it on a grid and measure it but do you see the dogmatic way you talk about something mutable, like people’s faith? which really can’t be measured for everyone? why would you even say ‘inextricably’ if you were trying to solve something. it’s almost as if you’re bent on making the religion wrong instead of that actions people have taken in the name of religion. it’s just offensive.

          and lots of people separate their faith from their politics. it stands to reason many people just don’t want to go there. so how would you even know what or how they thought. and when you say They exert no influence whatever on Israeli policies. i would say ‘well why should they’? especially if israel doesn’t really mean much to them. but when you wed them together you basically imply every person with even the slightest affinity for their own religious culture (even phil went to synagogue in egypt) is somehow responsible for this thing called zionism. that’s too heavy a burden. it inspires people to defend, to justify. it’s just wrong. it’s offensive, even to me and i’m not jewish much less a follower of judaism. i wouldn’t say christianity, during the inquisition, were inextricably linked to it. because i would be wrong wouldn’t i? every christian today is not inextricably linked to the inquisition.

        • The point is, an ineffectual minority within a culture does not free the majority in that culture from responsibility for its actions.

          you’re really wrong here as far as i am concerned sean. just because a person is jewish doesn’t mean they have a responsibility to change the world anymore than anyone else. you might as well just throw a mantel around their neck when they are born. we have a responsibility as a culture, an american culture, to stop pandering to israel. but someone like hilary clinton is a LOT more responsible for the state of affairs than a jewish cab driver in brooklyn who could give a crap about israel. besides, your analogy doesn’t work because mooser is not israeli. an israeli has a lot more moral culpability because they are the ones reaping the benefit of the theft. all across america there are people who just do not stick their neck out. they are silent. they are frightened of being accused of anti semitism. this is being done in all of our names and i don’t like it when people try to pressure individuals just because they are jewish while most everyone else is off the hook. there are hundreds of millions of us sean. so if i were you i would bark up those trees.

        • seanmcbride says:

          Annie,

          You keep missing the key term in this discussion: ESTABLISHMENT. We are not talking about miscelleneous individual religious Jews who hold a wide variety of opinions on every conceivable subject.

          We know what the Jewish religious establishment is thinking, and what policies it is promoting, by reading the abundant public statements of Jewish religious leaders. And that establishment has indeed inextricably entangled –that is the perfect phrase — Judaism with Zionism — completely collapsed any important distinctions between the two ideologies.

          This is not to mention the huge problem of Christian Zionism, which is also energetically promoting the belief that Zionism = Judaism. And Christian Zionism in turn has received strong encouragement from the Jewish establishment — especially AIPAC, which is a component of the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations.

          There is a large literature out there on this subject — the best of it produced by Jewish and Israeli scholars. You should take the trouble to dig into it.

          This issue is absolutely central to the future of Israel — and to the future of America, inasmuch as American Mideast policy is being largely driven by religion-based Greater Israelism.

          The implications of this state of affairs are hugely important: religious Zionists can’t be reached by any appeals to reason or even rational self-interest. They essentially comprise a messianic cult.

          Until this problem is addressed, there is going to be no progress in modifying Israeli policies.

        • seanmcbride says:

          Annie,

          Again, we are talking past one another. I am talking about a powerful political establishment and you are talking about relatively powerless miscellaneous individuals. I really doubt that we disagree very much on these issues.

          The only reason Mooser came into the discussion was because he got his back up when the subject of the role of religious Zionism in the Jewish establishment came up.

          Leaders like Daniel Gordis and John Hagee (both influential religious Zionists) should be of much greater concern to us than Mooser.

          Those are the trees we should bark up on. (That’s an awkward sentence. :))

        • hophmi says:

          “Leaders like Daniel Gordis and John Hagee (both influential religious Zionists) should be of much greater concern to us than Mooser.”

          Both very different.

        • hophmi says:

          “religious Zionists can’t be reached by any appeals to reason or even rational self-interest. They essentially comprise a messianic cult.”

          And again, your argument collapses in generalizations. First you vastly overstate the category of religious Zionism. Then you say they are a messianic cult, a post after identifying Dan Gordis, who supports a two-state solution, as “someone to worry about.”

        • You keep missing the key term in this discussion: ESTABLISHMENT……And that establishment has indeed inextricably entangled –that is the perfect phrase — Judaism with Zionism — completely collapsed any important distinctions between the two ideologies.

          thanks for clarifying what you mean sean. yes, of course the establishment has gone to great efforts to merge the two, and within the establishment perhaps they have in the minds of believers (of judaism). it’s just..that isn’t what you said. it could very well be you do not hear yourself the way others hear you. here is what you wrote before:

          I have been quite surprised by his sharp and humorless responses to the perfectly reasonable assertion that Judaism and Zionism have become inextricably entangled with the help of tireless efforts by the Jewish establishment.

          just read it slowly. “perfectly reasonable assertion that Judaism and Zionism have become inextricably entangled”….and how did that happen? well, according to you..it happened with the help of tireless efforts by the Jewish establishment. iow, it very much sounds here as tho the two are…. inextricably entangled. not within the establishment, but by the establishment.

          so it’s not me that’s ‘missing’, it’s you playing fast and loose with a religion. maybe you didn’t mean to say that, but that’s what you said.

          and i just don’t get how you can make these blanket statements:

          There is no now distinction in the public mind worldwide between Zionism and Judaism

          well, who am i? not part of the public mind? the vast majority of the ‘public mind’ doesn’t even know what zionism is. they mean different things. and not only that judaism is interpreted differently by different jews. so by making these kinds of statements you are making implications about all jews who are not part of ‘the establishment’. and almost every jew i know (personally) is not part of ‘the establishment’. so you’re negating all of them. and lots of jews who are secular are part of ‘the establishment’. you know that right? and their zionism is not linked to judaism because they are secular.

          also, i think in your mind most jews are part of this ‘establishment’ and i don’t really know if that is so. even if you’re mostly right, there are way more than a tiny minority who would not identify themselves as part of a jewish ‘establishment’.

        • seanmcbride says:

          Annie,

          so by making these kinds of statements you are making implications about all jews who are not part of ‘the establishment’. and almost every jew i know (personally) is not part of ‘the establishment’. so you’re negating all of them. and lots of jews who are secular are part of ‘the establishment’. you know that right? and their zionism is not linked to judaism because they are secular.

          Again, we are not communicating. It is the Jewish establishment — not me — that has repeatedly made the claim before the entire world that Israel and Zionism are representatives of “the Jewish people” and Judaism — worldwide across all nations. You and I know that this is not true — but the voice of the Jewish establishment is much louder and more influential than ours and reaches many more people. That is now the dominant meme globally — one that has been propagated by the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations and its 50+ constituent organizations, including AIPAC, the AJC and JINSA. (And the AJC by itself brags about its international network on its website.)

          How many Jewish religious groups have strongly challenged the basic tenets of Zionism or made an effort to build a firewall between Judaism and Zionism? How many synagogues display the Israeli flag? How many Jewish religious leaders within the Israel lobby came to the defense and assistance of Barack Obama and Joe Biden when they tried to challenge Benjamin Netanyahu on Israeli settlements?

          Imagine if the Roman Catholic Church in America was organized around the interests of the Italian government and Italian ethnic nationalism, and had mixed together religious and secular symbols and beliefs into a single ethno-religious nationalist ideology. Imagine if Roman Catholics were conspicuously attacking a wide array of American political and public figures on behalf of “the Italian people” (a worldwide messianic collective) and from a passionate attachment to “the Land of Italy.”

          That would be a precarious situation for American Roman Catholics indeed. But Roman Catholicism is not an ethnic nationalist religion and this would never happen.

          The Jewish religious establishment has backed itself into quite a corner. Those Jewish religious groups that have bucked the establishment on Israeli and Zionist politics — like Neturei Karta — have been made pariahs — completely marginalized.

          In the coming months you will be receiving a torrent of news from the Israeli media about religious Zionism — pay special attention to the rise of the Jewish Homeland Party. But its views on “Eretz Yisrael” (a religious Zionist concept) are really not much more extreme than those of the current ruling Likud Party.

        • RoHa says:

          “Most Jews are Zionist in the sense that they believe there should be a Jewish state. ”

          If this is true, then they are to be censured for it.

        • RoHa says:

          Annie, I’m supporting SeanMcB on this.

          ‘On December 24, Richard Prasquier, president of the Representative Council of French Jewish Institutions, published a screed (translation) against Richard Falk, UN Special Rapporteur on human rights in the Palestinian territories. Prasquier accused Falk of antisemitism, self hatred, hatred of Israel, “indeed against all that is Jewish” and of being a madman (“Mais ce fou”).’
          (link to mondoweiss.net)

          We non-Jews see this sort of thing over and over again. Only those of us who pay very close attention see any signs of Jews dissenting from the Zionist line.

        • You and I know that this is not true — but the voice of the Jewish establishment is much louder and more influential than ours and reaches many more people. That is now the dominant meme globally — one that has been propagated by the Conference of Presidents……….

          yes, you and i know propagating myths is a good way to brainwash people. i know you’re trying your best to make a point sean, but words matter. that’s all i am saying. whether it is your intention or not, when you say judaism and zionism are inextricably entangled you actually empower the idea that it’s true. better to empower the ideas about spirituality that are universal and good. whereas, for the sake of clarity, better to empower the concept zionism is a political construct. the same way hasbara professionals try to cojoin the idea of non zionism w/anti semitism, whereas the more it can be understood strictly as a political construct, the easier it is to explain how rejecting ethnic nationalism is not akin to racism but the opposite.

          but the voice of the Jewish establishment is much louder and more influential than ours and reaches many more people.

          only because of how we respond to it. that is not something that’s set in stone.

          How many Jewish religious groups

          it might behoove you to stop exclusively (or primarily) relating to jews as ‘groups’. think individuals.

          Imagine if the Roman Catholic Church in America was organized around the interests of the Italian government and Italian ethnic nationalism, and had mixed together religious and secular symbols and beliefs into a single ethno-religious nationalist ideology. Imagine if Roman Catholics were conspicuously attacking a wide array of American political and public figures on behalf of “the Italian people” (a worldwide messianic collective) and from a passionate attachment to “the Land of Italy.”

          That would be a precarious situation for American Roman Catholics indeed. But Roman Catholicism is not an ethnic nationalist religion and this would never happen.

          i am sensing an inability here for you to take the jew out of the org. especially the youth. you have read the polls wrt the attachment of young jewish americans to israel have you not? the analogy you are painting here is that jews in America was organized around the interests of the israeli government and lots of them just are not. and roman catholics might not be all glued together ethnically but when john kennedy was running for president (i think he was the first roman catholic president) that was a very very big deal. it sounds like your talking about israel firsters w/your “the Italian people” analogy. i mean, as an example look at the park slope rabbis who wrote that email congratulating palestinians on their statehood bid. sure they kowtowed and walked it back, but doesn’t it tell you something about how they think inside just to write the letter to begin with? if they were israel firsters they probably wouldn’t have written the letter to begin with. i just get the sense you have something invested in the idea most american jews are part of the org. i don’t think that’s accurate, even if they do have flags at their synagogues. think individuals instead of group think. try it for a day.

          In the coming months you will be receiving a torrent of news from the Israeli media about religious Zionism — pay special attention to the rise of the Jewish Homeland Party.

          really? it may come as a surprise to you sean, but being on staff here requires me to read the news. i’ve actually already noticed the rise of the jewish home party. (shocking) i suppose you’ve heard they’ve just skimmed 5 or 6 extra seats from likud in the last month. i even know who Naftali Bennett is. but then you’d know that if you opened the links in my articles, or even read them. check the penultimate paragraph link to mondoweiss.net

        • i thought you were from australia RoHa. last i heard they have a very robust activist community there which includes lots of non/anti-zionist jews. i follow some of them on twitter. but go ahead and support sean. my glass is half full so i’m way into seeing what empowers my ptv.

          and with that i am going to bid this thread adieu. there’s just only so much dissecting the jewish community i can take for one day.

        • seanmcbride says:

          Annie,

          I just realized that we are approaching politics from two very different perspectives — almost two different universes. I will give you the last word in this exchange for the time being — that last comment of yours. I get the underlying motives that are forming your views and political activism on these issues — and they are good motives — perhaps the best approach in some ways.

          I wouldn’t modify a single sentence I’ve written on these issues. I composed them carefully and with precision. They are all well-grounded in what is really go on in Mideast and Israeli politics. I have a fairly good track record in making political predictions.

        • RoHa says:

          “last i heard they have a very robust activist community there which includes lots of non/anti-zionist jews.”

          The activists get very little publicity in the MSM, and the fact that they include Jews in their number gets almost no publicity at all. Antony Loewenstein is about the only one who has a public persona.

          (Twitter is a closed book to me, so maybe they get lots of mention there.)

          On the other hand, we see plenty of strong support for Israel from “official” Jewish organisations here.

        • aiman says:

          Sean, sorry if I misunderstood you. I think of Zionism as more of an illusion, like the golden calf and I do the same for Islamism and the Christian Right. But the bigger worry than these philosophical questions is what it does to Palestinians day in and day out. Legal action must be taken on that account alone, and the struggle for the Jewish soul should be left to serious-minded Jewish ethicists who I think will be born or active in this century. The use of Jewish iconography by Zionists – a feature of all false, morally vacant, ethnoreligious movements – only shows that a theological critique is indispensable. The latter should not dwarf the immediate, practical concern of freeing Palestinians from the yoke of abject injustice and continual 24/7 war crimes.

          We agree on the universality and importance of knowledge and freedom and on monotheism understood within the context of reason and inquiry, indeed it calls for it. As expressed by great people like Abduh, Elmer Berger, Tolstoi, Gandhi, and yes Newton.

        • seanmcbride says:

          aiman,

          We seem to be pretty much on the same page about everything. :) Nothing to debate, really.

          The views of theosophists and transhumanists are compatible with your own.

        • Mooser says:

          “And you may remember that at one point in my life as a juvenile and/or young adult, I would have perfectly fitted the above 5th profile of a sexual criminal. … ;)”

          And I married a non-Jew! Maybe I didn’t look hard enough for my affinity. Oh well, a q

        • Mooser says:

          “it never occurred to me mooser was emotionally uncontrolled.”

          Annie, if you were here, and could see, and feel, how hard I hit the keys when I’m typing, you would have no doubts about my lack of control.
          Pow! Whack! Biff! Take that, you Cossacks! Call a bagel a “zero”, will you? Cancel my Rumba lesson!

        • Mooser says:

          “My argument is that Zionism has grounded itself, and justified itself, on the basis of images, symbols, myths and themes from ancient and classical Judaism”

          Oh, so now it’s “Zionism has grounded itself” and “justified itself” on things from Judaism. Not the other way round? For cripes sake, Sean, I’m not very smart, but I can read. Would you like me to word-search your comment archive, for your comments on which came from what and who justifies what?
          So what’s happened to the “four core drivers”? You’ve completely reversed your argument, 180 degrees. And that pean to Israeli corporatism, oh that was touching, and oh, state corporatism in general. Oh well, when the invisible hand of the market employs itself in giving you hand-jobs, you can’t help but like it.

        • sardelapasti says:

          Annie
          “when you say judaism and zionism are inextricably entangled you actually empower the idea that it’s true…”

          Simple linear logic. In the world I live in, stating A necessarily (and sufficiently) “empower(s) the idea that” A is true (when you are not consciously lying, of course.) Your writing that making a statement produces the same statement is liable (in the universe I live in) to keep the reader guessing what it means.

          Now, are you trying to imply it’s a lie?
          Are you contending that there is no inextricable entanglement after 100+ years of Zionism, 65 years of official, all-out war of aggression by Zionist entity and, most important of all, statistically overwhelming support to this criminal enterprise by a wide majority of people who religiously, tribally, nationalistically or imagine-racially (or out of plain ol’ mental disease) identify themselves as Jews?

        • Mooser says:

          “For the holidays, we give commenter Mooser the third degree about his religious identity”

          I’ll never forgive you for that! You were supposed to publish my article on “What the well-Dressed Man is Wearing”. And I still think Phil is hidebound when it comes to soft shirts with evening wear! Loosen up, man.

        • sard, i did not accuse sean of lying because that implies he knew differently and intentionally thwarted the truth. i already posted the definition of ‘inextricably’. i would fully agree judaism has been entangled with zionism, who could argue with that. but ‘inextricably’ does not ‘imply’. it is not mutable, it is fixed. it says one does not and cannot exist separate from the other. which in the case of a religion, which is mutable and subject to interpretation is not an accurate description. it negates any interpretation of judaism that is not entangled with zionism. common sense dictates this is not so. sean amended (or i should say clarified) his statement explaining he was referencing the establishment which i would largely agree with his point (albeit for non religious zionists jews their zionism is not necessarily inextricably linked to judaism for obvious reasons). mostly, my point is (regarding the empowerment of words, especially on a comment thread where people do not follow every comment) is that one must be careful to be clear each and every time they make a point, especially when using definitive words like ‘inextricably’. the sins of zionism cannot all be laid at the feet of the religion. they are not inextricably wed together from here on out. zionism is a political construct which will likely disappear with the winds of time. whereas judaism probably won’t be disappearing until all religions die out and the concept of god is rejected by the majority of mankind (which some futurists predict in the next few hundred years, assuming that mankind and the planet survive that long).

        • seanmcbride says:

          sardelapasti,

          I have had some trouble in following Annie’s reasoning in this particular discussion (she is generally a lucid thinker and one of the most valuable contributors here).

          The assertion that Judaism has embraced and merged with Zionism is not an imagined and airy “idea” or speculation — it is clearly a true statement that is based on empirical reality — and reams of empirical data. No serious student of Judaism or Zionism would question this statement — it’s much too obviously a statement of fact.

        • Donald says:

          “Both the AJC and ADL are strongly for a two-state solution. The AJC hosts a conference of activists every year that comprises the widest political spectrum I know of, and has featured sessions on Israeli human rights violations by leaders of B’Tselem like Uri Zaki and critics of Israel’s settlement project like Peace Now’s Yariv Oppenheimer.”

          Here’s the peculiar thing about that. Those of us who don’t belong to the AJC or the ADL only know what we hear from their spokespeople like David Harris and Abe Foxman. Here’s Harris on Gaza–

          David Harris on Gaza

          Do you see any indication whatsoever that he either knows or cares that Israel shoots at Palestinian civilians like fishermen who go outside the Israeli-designated zone, or that they shoot at civilians who enter the Israeli-designated buffer zone which is on the Palestinian side of the fence? I don’t.

          I didn’t bother to look up Abe Foxman. I’m on the mailing list for both the AJC and the ADL (I’m guessing because I subscribe to Tikkun) and I can tell you one thing–they sure don’t appeal for money based on their peace advocacy or that Israel’s settlement policy will destroy any chance of a just and fair solution along the 67 borders and people need to give them money so they can lobby Congress to help stop the insanity. They appeal on the basis that there is massive anti-semitism and unfairness to Israel.

          It’s a mystery to me (I’m not being sarcastic) about how political influence on this issue works when it comes to the details, but I find it impossible to believe that so many Congresspeople would march in lockstep with the Israeli position if organizations like the AJC and the ADL were truly serious about a 2SS. They pay lip service to it, but it’s more important to them that Israel receive unified support no matter what policies they actually prefer, so even if someone like Harris favors a 2SS, it’s obviously more important to him that people see Israel as the Good Guys and Hamas as Pure Evil. Politicians are creatures of political pressure and when Obama tried to get tough on Israeli settlement policy (tough by US standards, that is), he caved. Politicians seem to be responding more to the sort of rhetoric I see in fundraising letters than they do to some conference that no one ever reads about where a B’Tselem representative spoke.

        • seanmcbride says:

          Annie,

          I think Judaism will long outlive Zionism, but I think Judaism could be severely damaged by its entanglement with Zionism for a considerable period of time.

          Everything, of course, is mutable.

          I admire many strains of the Jewish religious tradition — and they will powerfully resonate for as long as the human race survives.

        • I have had some trouble in following Annie’s reasoning……..The assertion that Judaism has embraced and merged with Zionism is not an imagined and airy “idea” or speculation

          just to be clear sean, that’s not an argument in which i have engaged. there are, i assume you would acknowledge, serious student of Judaism who would question the statement judaism is inextricably entangled (impossible to free itself) from zionism. and thank you for the compliment, even if you perhaps suggested i have not been lucid in our exchange over your usage of the term “inextricably entangled.”

        • Mooser says:

          “I agree that the haredi influence in Israel is a serious problem “

          OH, THAT’S IT, HOPHMI, SELL YOUR FELLOPW JEWS (and, by all appearances the most jewish of the Jews, the ones who might actually need a Jewish homeland) RIGHT DOWN THE TUBES!!!
          Yup. A whole lotta tribal unity you got, Hophmi. What’s the matter Hophmi, are the haredim TOO JEWISH FOR ISRAEL???
          Damn it Hophmi, Jewish disunity will be the death of Zionism!!! Mark my words!

        • seanmcbride says:

          Annie,

          I understand — you have a problem with the word “inextricably” in the sentence “Judaism and Zionism are now inextricably entangled.”

          But I think you would have to agree with me that for quite some time now Judaism and Zionism have been deeply and thoroughly entangled — there is really no difference between them — they have merged and fused.

          The question then becomes, when will they become disentangled? When and how do you see that happening?

          And is there any possibility that Zionism could inflict permanent and irrevocable damage on Judaism — to the point that it might lose many or most of its followers?

        • Mooser says:

          “I admire many strains of the Jewish religious tradition — and they will powerfully resonate for as long as the human race survives.”

          Oh, donj’t worry about that, Sean. You’ve made it

        • Annie,

          I understand — you have a problem

          i’m going to be chewing on your choice of words for awhile before i get back to you sean. crunch crunch.

        • you would have to agree with me that for quite some time now Judaism and Zionism have been deeply and thoroughly entangled — there is really no difference between them — they have merged and fused.

          no difference between judaism and zionism eh. hmmm. so, do you think it’s my problem if i disagree. are you also going to state no serious student of judaism or zionism would disagree? then we can debate the meaning of ‘serious’.

        • seanmcbride says:

          Annie,

          Which major Jewish religious leaders have challenged the basic tenets of Zionism or tried to draw significant distinctions between Judaism and Zionism?

          Name a few and perhaps we can pursue the discussion.

          One can point to many public statements by major Jewish religious leaders which are clearly merging Zionism and Judaism into a single belief system. Many of them are cheerleaders for Israel, and are using their interpretations of Judaism and Torah to defend and promote the policies of the Israeli government.

        • Which major Jewish religious leaders have challenged the basic tenets of Zionism or tried to draw significant distinctions between Judaism and Zionism? Name a few and perhaps we can pursue the discussion.

          sean, you just finished saying there is really no difference between judaism and zionism “there is really no difference between them” so why don’t you find some examples of rabbis saying that (they do not need to be major jewish leaders), then perhaps we can pursue the discussion.

        • seanmcbride says:

          Annie,

          sean, you just finished saying there is really no difference between judaism and zionism “there is really no difference between them” so why don’t you find some examples of rabbis saying that (they do not need to be major jewish leaders), then perhaps we can pursue the discussion.

          There is such a flood of religious Zionist rhetoric in the worldwide Jewish media (the Jerusalem Post, Israel National News, the Jewish Press, etc.) that one barely knows where to enter the stream — too many possibilities.

          Here is an article that was published in the Jerusalem Post just two days ago concerning high-level deliberations within the worldwide Jewish religious establishment.

          The author, Julie Schonfeld, a rabbi, is executive vice president of the Rabbinical Assembly.

          “Egalitarian Jewish worship”
          The Jerusalem Post
          January 2, 2013

          link to jpost.com

          A few passages follow:

          There is one worldwide Jewish people, that people has one eternal national homeland in the State of Israel, and there is one Kotel. We wish to stand before it and be counted.

          He and Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu are to be praised and thanked for the commencement of this process to preserve the peace and sanctity of the Kotel, which has inspired loyalty, commitment and connection in Jews around the world to the land of Israel for thousands of years.

          Herzl proposed that a Jewish settlement be established in Uganda as an interim measure to relieve the suffering of European pogroms. That idea was ultimately rejected. Even under such dire circumstances, fundamental to Zionism is an abiding recognition that the unbroken historical connection of the Jewish people to its sacred land and history cannot be addressed by substitutions.

          We trust that this enduring wisdom will also guide Natan Sharansky in his recommendations. No one will be 100 percent satisfied, but compromise is viewed by our tradition as more just and more reflective of our sacred relationships to God, Torah, Israel and one another. When an agreement is reached, a compromise it shall be.

          This kind of language, which seamlessly connects Judaism with Zionism, is all pervasive in the contemporary Jewish religious establishment.

          One can find thousands of other documents like this within minutes, using Google.

          Key religious Zionist phrases and concepts in the article:

          1. “there is one worldwide Jewish people”

          2. “that people has one eternal national homeland in the State of Israel”

          3. “loyalty, commitment and connection in Jews around the world to the land of Israel for thousands of years”

          4. “fundamental to Zionism is an abiding recognition that the unbroken historical connection of the Jewish people to its sacred land and history cannot be addressed by substitutions”

          5. “our sacred relationships to God, Torah, Israel and one another.”

          How do you imagine the fusion of Judaism and Zionism expressed in these beliefs and sentiments will be disentangled?

        • Sibiriak says:

          seanmcbride:

          One can point to many public statements by major Jewish religious leaders which are clearly merging Zionism and Judaism into a single belief system. Many of them are cheerleaders for Israel, and are using their interpretations of Judaism and Torah to defend and promote the policies of the Israeli government.

          It’s somewhat surprising that your description of the merging of Zionism and Judaism is meeting with such resistance here. It seems rather uncontroversial to me (with the necessary caveats, exceptions etc. of course.)

        • sardelapasti says:

          sean mcbride: “religious Zionists can’t be reached by any appeals to reason or even rational self-interest. They essentially comprise a messianic cult.”

          Which is where you stop keeping your eye on the ball. The real dangerous ones are the secular nationalist crazies. The real Zionists, whose doctrine had been founded as a way “to get rid of the religious, servile… diaspora Jew” (and who by the way did everything to block that diaspora Jew from emigrating out of Nazi Germany and Poland). They only recently gave up and allied themselves with the religious crazies, but the lay Zionists are the real messianic cult madmen, nationalist Dr Strangeloves waiting for the New Man to break the chains of the Ary… oooops, Jewish people. Said chains include, next to the “Arab animals”, the hated Orthodox Jews, “obscurantist cockroaches”.

        • seanmcbride says:

          Sibiriak,

          It’s somewhat surprising that your description of the merging of Zionism and Judaism is meeting with such resistance here. It seems rather uncontroversial to me (with the necessary caveats, exceptions etc. of course.)

          Tell me about it! This is one of the most sophisticated forums in the world for the discussion of Zionism, but there is a contingent here, apparently led by Mooser, that is determined to try to censor open discussion about the unholy marriage of Judaism with Zionism.

          Who in the world who follows Mideast politics doesn’t understand that the Jewish religious establishment is one of the most important components of the Israel lobby — probably the most important?

          The blow-up here over this issue has been a real eye-opener. We all understand what many “liberal Zionists” are all about — they are gatekeepers who are basically running interference for Likud Zionism. They express well-intentioned sentiments for peace while obstructing any pressure in American politics to stop the expansion of Israeli settlements.

          We now need to take account of a class of “anti-Zionists” who are basically playing the same game. They claim to oppose Zionism while at the same time building an iron wall around the Jewish establishment (including the Jewish religious establishment) to protect it from any challenges or demands that it accept responsibility for its pro-Israel policies and actions. They are effectively propping up Zionism while pretending to oppose it — a slick double game.

          Mooser, for instance, has repeatedly tried to define any disagreements with the Jewish lobby and contemporary mainstream Judaism regarding their role in promoting Zionism (mainly Likud Zionism for a decade now) as antisemitism. There we go again with the cut-throat Goldbergian approach to debating Mideast politics — right here at the heart of Mondoweiss.

          It was a revelation to see where Mooser is really coming from. The relentless ethnocentrism of his comments should have been a giveaway from the very beginning.

          I have criticized Christian Zionism many times here at length, without a peep of protest from Mooser. Jewish religious Zionism is an entirely different matter, apparently — don’t go there. Verboten. We’ll smear you six ways to Sunday. But the truth is that Jewish religious Zionists are much more influential in the Israel lobby than Christian Zionists.

        • aiman says:

          Interesting. The secular gets played down a lot.

        • Citizen says:

          RE: Rabbi Shonfeld: “Herzl proposed that a Jewish settlement be established in Uganda as an interim measure to relieve the suffering of European pogroms. That idea was ultimately rejected. Even under such dire circumstances, fundamental to Zionism is an abiding recognition that the unbroken historical connection of the Jewish people to its sacred land and history cannot be addressed by substitutions.”

          The British government could not aid the Zionist dream in Africa, its first pick for the Zionist project, because the British subjects there in their colonies protested vehemently against such an infusion of Jews.

        • aiman says:

          Sean, I don’t feel this is a controversial statement either. I have myself lamented on this site of how mid-20th century fundamentalist pioneers advocated the changing of the meaning of Islam itself and undid the great efforts of luminaries like Abduh. Those who ignore the fact or do not wish to consider that Zionism is changing the meaning of Judaism and how corrupt the establishment has become are actually unwittingly letting it happen. It is participants in a socio-historical context who give meaning to a text, even a sacred one (Khaled Abou El Fadl). I disagree with you on a few points in this diverse exchange, but good on you for firmly reinforcing this absolutely crucial fact. It is indeed a matter of fact.

        • seanmcbride says:

          sardelapasti,

          The real dangerous ones are the secular nationalist crazies.

          I’ve reached the point where I see no significant differences between religious and secular Zionists (just as there are no significant differences between Likud and liberal Zionists).

          The key traits unifying religious and secular Zionists in a single movement:

          1. obsessive-compulsive ethnocentrism

          2. messianic ethnic nationalism (secularists can be messianic)

          3. a high level of aggression and hostility towards cult outsiders (cults can be secular in nature)

          4. an emotional and psychic bonding with the core images, symbols, myths and themes of Torah (the Old Testament)

          What do you think? Ben Gurion was a secularist and a gangster but he also richly mined and exploited biblical imagery for all it was worth.

          These days we really just need to talk about Zionism, without qualifiers, just as we talk about Communism, Fascism and Nazism.

          But your points about the racist attitudes of secular Zionists are right on the mark. One can easily assemble a large collection of verbatim quotes from secular Zionists to support your argument.

        • seanmcbride says:

          aiman,

          Sean, I don’t feel this is a controversial statement either. I have myself lamented on this site of how mid-20th century fundamentalist pioneers advocated the changing of the meaning of Islam itself and undid the great efforts of luminaries like Abduh.

          I’m glad to see that the people whose minds I most respect here are lining up to support stating the obvious: contemporary Judaism and Zionism have damaged each other and are probably going to take each other down. Judaism may be able to recover and make a comeback — or maybe not. The jury is still out.

          You’ve opened up a new line of investigation for me to pursue: parallels between Judaism/Zionism and Islam/Muslim fundamentalism (Islamism?).

          Of course we all know about the incredible damage that Christian Zionism has already inflicted on Christianity. But notice this important distinction: many mainstream Christian leaders have spoken out against Christian Zionism. Very few mainstream Jewish religious leaders have spoken out against Zionism — either religious Zionism or secular Zionism.

        • American says:

          ”It’s somewhat surprising that your description of the merging of Zionism and Judaism is meeting with such resistance here.”….sibiriak

          It is surprising…since it has been acknowledged by enough Jews that zionism has indeed ‘invaded’ or been inserted into Judaism to a large extent…..nothing controversial about saying that.

        • American says:

          I think this whole argument over zionism in Judaism and religious and secular zionist is an arguement over nothing…..it is crystal clear that some religious zionist do ( take the Isr settlers for instance or the comments of many Jewish Pro Israels who use the ‘G-D gave the Jews’ claim thing) embrace zionism as part of Judaism. For the whacko christo zios it’s pure religion that drives them.
          For the secular zionist it’s different, they just use Judaism to convert more Jews to zionism.
          There are some of both out there–doesn’t really matter whether they are out there because of religion or not.

        • hophmi says:

          ” By establishing a logical link of a certain kind between Flournoy and the most infamous neoconservative outfit among dozens of such outfits, we can begin to understand why it is that pro-Israel militants like Hophmi and William Kristol have been pushing Flournoy for SecDef while attacking Chuck Hagel.”

          As usual, you assume, rather than analyze. I had no idea that Flournoy had a connection to PNAC until you mentioned it, so, therefore, it could not have played any role in my promotion of her candidacy.

          As usual, as well, you’re being misleading. Flournoy signed a PNAC letter in 2005 calling for an increase in US ground forces. The signatories are not all neoconservatives. Know who else signed it? Peter Beinart. There’s no evidence I’ve seen suggesting she had any other relationship to PNAC, and her views on foreign policy are not neocon views.

          See, Sean, you talk a good game, but scratch the surface, and you’re full of shit. You always make invalid, unsupported assumptions, and usually, they are completely wrong.

          I set out in detail why I thought Flournoy was a better candidate. That’s what analysis is. The thesis is that Flournoy is a better candidate. The reasons are that she has had a decorated career at the Pentagon and in academia, is a Democrat, and has moderate views on foreign policy. I also think it’s time we had a woman run the Pentagon. Hagel does not have those credentials. Israel has nothing to do with my analysis. I have no clue what Flournoy thinks on Israel; my guess is that her views are not very different from Chuck Hagel’s. I find Chuck Hagel’s history of anti-gay comments (especially when we just ended DADT), anti-climate change comments to be dispositive. And yes, I find his references to a “Jewish lobby” distasteful and offensive.

        • american, there is a huge leap between claiming zionism has ‘invaded’ or been inserted into Judaism and claiming, as sean did, that ” there is really no difference between them.” what that says to me is that a religion has become a political construct, in exclusivity. it either claims there are no sincere practitioners of judaism that are not zionist, or no believers in the faith who cannot divorce their faith from zionism.

          it’s like talking to a brick wall. i reject the concept they are inextricably linked (impossible to wrench free) and i get another lecture about how merged they’ve become. as if i don’t already know this stuff. but no, i will refuse to believe the religion ceases to exist sans zionism.

          so that’s not the same as poster after poster coming here to resist sean’s all-knowingness, it’s basically just me rejecting this idea (“such resistance”) for the mere reason that i happen to have friends who are jews, practicing jews, and reject (firmly) zionism. and you must realize that would be completely impossible if there were no difference between judaism and zionism, as sean claims. i also believe my friends are not alone and their numbers will grow.

        • sardelapasti says:

          American: “doesn’t really matter whether they are out there because of religion or not.”

          It does matter a lot wjhen it comes to the question here, of Judaism/Jewishness and Zionism being by now inectricably one item.

          It allows you to differentiate between the religious, who can be called Jewish legitimately (as many see it) and may well be totally divorced from the nationalists and from Zionism, and the others, essentially the crazies. For the latter, there is no coming back from Zionism anymore –except in utter catastrophe.

        • seanmcbride says:

          Annie,

          it’s basically just me rejecting this idea (“such resistance”) for the mere reason that i happen to have friends who are jews, practicing jews, and reject (firmly) zionism….

          Are your friends Jewish religious leaders who are defining theology for the Jewish religious establishment — including Orthodox, Conservative, Reform and Reconstructionist Judaism?

          Once again, we are not talking about miscellaneous individuals here — we are discussing the public policies and statements of the Jewish religious *establishment*. Until your friends overthrow that establishment and create a new establishment which rejects Zionism, or which creates clear boundaries between Judaism and Zionism, their opinions are not relevant.

          I have Roman Catholic friends who have opinions on Roman Catholicism that are in conflict with official Catholic views — they lack the power to define official Catholic policies. They are inconsequential players in the Catholic world.

          I haven’t seen your response yet to the statements made in the Jerusalem Post article from a few days ago which made perfectly explicit the seamless union of contemporary Judaism and Zionism:

          “Egalitarian Jewish worship”
          The Jerusalem Post
          January 2, 2013

          link to jpost.com

          1. “there is one worldwide Jewish people”

          2. “that people has one eternal national homeland in the State of Israel”

          3. “loyalty, commitment and connection in Jews around the world to the land of Israel for thousands of years”

          4. “fundamental to Zionism is an abiding recognition that the unbroken historical connection of the Jewish people to its sacred land and history cannot be addressed by substitutions”

          5. “our sacred relationships to God, Torah, Israel and one another.”

          These statements reflect the views of highly influential leaders in the Jewish religious establishment. Which highly influential leaders in that establishment disagree with them? Do you have any cites or quotes?

        • seanmcbride says:

          Annie

          so that’s not the same as poster after poster coming here to resist sean’s all-knowingness

          What posters are you referring to?

          Sibiriak and sardeplasti agree with me that Judaism and Zionism have become thoroughly entangled — I am sure others here agree. Who disagrees?

          And, my “all-knowingness”? I have cited authorities, sources and cites to support my assertions — generally that is how one pursues an argument in a serious way.

        • seanmcbride says:

          American,

          The worldwide Jewish religious *establishment* has indeed merged the ideologies of Judaism and Zionism, as readers here can verify for themselves by researching the issue in the Jewish press — the Jerusalem Post, Forward, JTA, Haaretz, etc.

          Annie claims that this is not the case but provides no concrete evidence to support her argument. She mentioned that a few Jewish friends of hers practice Judaism and oppose Zionism — but it is a safe bet that those friends are not leaders of the Jewish religious establishment.

          These exchanges on Judaism and Zionism have been somewhat baffling to me. Annie usually relies strongly on documented facts to make her arguments — not vague anecdotal stories.

        • Once again, we are not talking about miscellaneous individuals here

          no, we are not. we (i ) am talking about your claim there is no difference between judaism and zionism. “there is really no difference between them”

          after claiming the were “inextricably entangled” you claimed you were referencing the establishment, although i pointed out that wasn’t what you said originally. i asked you to find a rabbi who would say there was no difference between judaism and zionism. i already know there are countless examples of religious leaders whose judaism has merged seamlessly with zionism. so you can beat that horse repeatedly, i could care less. inferring something is not the same as saying “there is no difference between zionism and judaism.”

          my point is that judaism is a religion still practiced by people who are not zionists. i think someone like rabbi rosen or rabbi lynn gottlieb or marc ellis or Norton Mezvinsky or some scholar who knows a little more about judaism than i do could explain this to you a little better.

          it doesn’t work to state there’s really no difference between judaism and zionism and then claim i need to produce leaders in the community to refute that. the reason why is that leaders in the community do not define a religion, they interpret it.

          i am not going to respond to you further on this topic, but i will say i think you’re playing fast and lose with a religion and i find it offensive.

          you can end this right now by simply stating judaism and zionism are not the same thing or you can keep shoving more examples at me. i’m starting to understand LeaNder’s point upthread. i’m done, enjoy.

        • seanmcbride says:

          Annie,

          i already know there are countless examples of religious leaders whose judaism has merged seamlessly with zionism.

          What are we arguing about then?

          I never claimed that all Jewish religious leaders are religious Zionists. I said that MOST Jewish religious leaders are religious Zionists in the year 2013 — a large majority in fact.

          When a large majority of leaders of any particular religion hold a particular view, that view by definition is the dominating outlook of that religion at that particular stage of its evolution. All religions evolve through time — they are mutable social contracts — human inventions that are subject to endless revision.

          If you can find any rabbi who disagrees with the assertion that most contemporary Jewish religious leaders interpret Judaism within the framework of Zionism, then I will be happy to listen to the arguments of that rabbi.

          There is a reason why this issue is so extremely important and why it needs to be prominently highlighted: it is very difficult to modify Israeli policies when a significant sector of Zionists, both Jewish and Christian, support those policies on *religious* grounds. Until they change their beliefs, it is going to be difficult to make any headway in changing Israeli policies because fervent religionists tend not to be open to compromise.

      • Keith says:

        SEAN MCBRIDE- “It is a matter of considerable consequence to oppose torture and warrantless wiretaps and to support due process, civil liberties and the US Constitution and Bill of Rights.”

        I agree completely. So does Noam Chomsky. I provide a link to a video in which Glen Greenwald and Noam Chomsky critique our legal system. Greenwald refers to Chomsky as our “bravest, most accomplished public intellectual.”
        link to c-spanvideo.org

        “But all these distinctions are lost on hard leftists….”

        That is an intellectually dishonest inversion of reality. The shredding of the constitution and the Bill of Rights has been worse under Obama than ever before. Did Obama oppose or support the Patriot Act? Did Hagel support or oppose the Patriot Act? Are you aware of the odious provisions of the National Defence Authorization Act (NDAA) which Obama and, as far as I know, Hagel support? Obama is the most aggressive attacker of whistleblowers we have ever had. The notion of either Hagel or Obama as some sort of champion of civil liberties is ludicrous. Hey, don’t take my word for it, I provide a link to a 10 minute video by Chris Hedges saying the same thing. In case you are unaware, Chris Hedges, along with Noam Chomsky and Ralph Nader, sued to prevent implementation of certain aspects of the NDAA.
        link to dandelionsalad.wordpress.com

        “It is a matter a considerable consequence to oppose multi-trillion dollar wars that are being fought on behalf of Likud Zionism (Greater Israelism) and which are helping to bankrupt the United States.”

        Yet another one of your odious inversions. Those of us on the anti-imperial left oppose all of these wars and interventions, including Libya and Syria, and the undeclared special operations and sanctions against Iran. We would also slash the military budget and end aid to Israel. It is Obama and Hagel that support these things. To ignore Hagel’s consistent support for empire and militarism, while overemphasizing a comment here or a statement there, is to ignore empirical reality in favor of wishful thinking. The fact that certain right-wing Zionists irrationally oppose Hagel’s nomination is hardly a compelling reason to cheer him on.

        Don’t get me wrong, I kind of hope he gets it so that my fellow Mondoweissers can experience a psychological victory. Lord knows, you are not going to get anything of substance from Wall Street’s lawyer in the White House.

        • Dan Crowther says:

          Sean Says:

          “And with regard to your hate-filled and nasty comment about white Protestants, which you would never dare to utter about any other ethnic or religious group — would you be happier if WASPs were more involved in aggressively expressing their ethnicity? In playing ethnic nationalist politics instead of displaying a certain high-mindedness in releasing their grip on American power and sharing it with other ethnic and religious groups?”

          You’re right, I wouldn’t say similar about other ethnic or religious groups, because I don’t feel that way about other ethnic or religious groups. To me, there is something uniquely distasteful about “white american” culture, and being a white american, I choose to set my gaze on that, rather than on groups I know only from an outside observer perspective. I’ve never been “behind the curtain” as it were.

          As for if I would be “happier if WASPs were more involved in aggressively expressing their ethnicity?” Is this a joke? What country do you live in bro?
          I don’t even know where to begin, am I really to think that Sean believes American society and its prevailing “culture” are not shaped and dominated by whites, protestant whites in particular? You know you’ve got monopoly power when people can be convinced the monopoly doesn’t exist. Wow.

          Where Sean really kills me, and I have to say, I laughed HARD at this, is where he declares WASPS to be “displaying a certain high-mindedness in releasing their grip on American power and sharing it with other ethnic and religious groups?”

          Please someone denote time and date. Not much to be said here. I’ll leave aside the ridiculous notion of “whites releasing their grip on power” out of sheer benevolence aside, and focus on the crucial point to be made in any discussion of identity politics. And that point is: identity is interchangeable, ideology is not. In other words, these power sharing whites Sean refers to are simply covering their ass – putting lipstick on the pig. And before a new shade of lipstick goes on the pig, it must be vetted, tested and made sure to be ideologically compliant so that the powers that be can be comfortable knowing their interests will continue to be looked after. So, yes, we can have a black man as president, but we can’t have a black man as president who isn’t a neo-liberal. Very simple, probably could be expressed in a comic.

        • seanmcbride says:

          Dan Crowther,

          Thanks for announcing your agenda so nakedly — you hold the clearly racist view that white Protestants are more evil than Chinese, Russians, Turks, Jews, Arabs, Japanese, Muslims, Africans, Mexicans, Ukrainians and every other ethnic and religious group on the planet.

          Apparently the mass murder of tens of millions of innocent civilians by the Soviet Union and China during the last century is not even a blip on your radar. And one recalls that many hard leftists not long ago tried to excuse and justify those horrific crimes in the name of their “progressive” and anti-imperialist ideology.

          Have you noticed lately how many white Protestants are members of the Supreme Court? How many are billionaires? How many are mainstream media owners? The WASP establishment has been in steep decline since at least the 1960s. And they did indeed largely give up their power in a voluntary way by taking the U.S. Constitution and Bill of Rights seriously.

          Your political model of the world is quite a few decades behind the historical curve — you are not keeping up with socio-economic changes in American society. And your seething hatred for America is duly noted. One wonders why you choose to live here — why do you? Which nation around the world best embodies your ideals?

        • American says:

          “You’re right, I wouldn’t say similar about other ethnic or religious groups, because I don’t feel that way about other ethnic or religious groups. To me, there is something uniquely distasteful about “white american” culture, and being a white american, I choose to set my gaze on that, rather than on groups I know only from an outside observer perspective. I’ve never been “behind the curtain” as it were.”….Dan

          Do be more specific Dan…..what part of distasteful american culture do you think ‘whites’ or ‘white christians’ in particular are responsible for? When I tune in the cable news I see a lot of Jews as players. When I tune in Hollywood I see a big liberal sprinkling of gays. When I look at Obama I see a black man politician who is no different than any White man self serving politician.

          So exactly where are the ‘white Christians’–assuming you’er referring to their racism, materalism and narrowmindedness and elitism– exerting all this distasteful control and influence?
          Got any particular ethnic or religious groups you have in mind to replace them or wipe them out to reform America?

        • Mooser says:

          “And with regard to your hate-filled and nasty comment about white Protestants,”

          Yeah, Dan, what’s the deal, with hatin’ on “white Protestants”? Cut ‘em a break, Dan, if only for my sake. After all, I married one.

          ” which you would never dare to utter about any other ethnic or religious group”

          Well, gosh darn it Sean, those “white Protestants” won’t stand up for themselves! Even when you accuse them of slavery and colonialism, they just sit there and take it. Maybe they need to take some lessons from the Zionists?

        • Dan Crowther says:

          Look at what a little white people bashing gets you. Look at these posts from McBride, American and Libra.

          The point I was making was pretty clear: clean up your own backyard. Sean and others like to portray themselves as “pure” americans, who are being held captive by a foreign (read something other than anglo american) entity in their own homeland etc etc. Phil plays into this form of white supremacy by insisting the lobby is the root cause of the US’s monstrous foreign policy, and we as a country would be better off in the hands of the “serious white men” which is exactly what 99% of this “Realist” nonsense is all about.

          And just so we’re clear, so that I don’t ever have to read about I’ve slighted white people again – white americans are the ones who are most likely to vote republican, deny science, loathe public education and the social safety net, support foreign intervention along with the military and prison industrial complexes and extreme gun rights positions. White people are also the vast majority of mass murderers, serial killers and so on.

          So again, my message to mcbride american and the other white knights – open your eyes to the extreme violence and hatred in your own “people” before going all PhD on “the root core of judaism and zionism blah blah”. Mooser takes it up with Phil, Jerry Slater and other jewish guys here all the time, but the white knights are in a mutual admiration society, they can talk about everyone but white christian americans (who just happen to be the dominate political and social force in the country) which is exactly why they’re all lobby fetishists, it lets the “pure” americans off the hook.

          Once again, Mooser makes the key point:
          “And let me tell you something, Sean. if I gotta gaze at navels, I’d a damn site rather look at my own than look at somebody else’s navel through a glass, darkly. Ha!”

        • seanmcbride says:

          Dan Crowther,

          The point I was making was pretty clear: clean up your own backyard. Sean and others like to portray themselves as “pure” americans, who are being held captive by a foreign (read something other than anglo american) entity in their own homeland etc etc. Phil plays into this form of white supremacy by insisting the lobby is the root cause of the US’s monstrous foreign policy, and we as a country would be better off in the hands of the “serious white men” which is exactly what 99% of this “Realist” nonsense is all about.

          Your views are even more primitive and warped than I imagined. I have never described myself as a “pure” American, have strongly criticized the policies of my own government, have no interest in promoting an ethnic agenda of my own, and welcome and encourage ethnic and religious diversity in America.

          But you are seething with so much hatred towards white Protestants (and, what — now ALL “white” people indiscriminately?) that you need to address me as a dreaded member of the “white race” so that you can have an easy target on which to vent your spleen.

          I believe that American foreign policy should be designed to protect and promote the American interest — that is why I strongly opposed the Israel-centric neoconservative campaign to go to war against Iraq and now against Iran. Many of the foreign policy realists that have opposed these Israel-centric neoconservative policies have in fact been members of the declining WASP establishment — while others, like Zbigniew Brzezinski (a Polish Roman Catholic, as I recall) are members of other ethnic and religious groups.

          You come across like those low-IQ bigots who think that all Asians or all blacks are part of the same monolithic political/cultural/racial bloc/blob. Your racism is totally off the charts. You must hang out in weird circles if you have been able to get away with holding these unappetizing beliefs without being handed your head.

          Dan, my friend, you give the impression that you’ve read a few Marxist and hard left political pamphlets and never bothered to get a real education. You serve up the Cliff Notes rendition of Trotskyite ideologues who lost all credibility with the collapse of the Soviet Union and the commission of world class crimes in Maoist China.

          Compare your emotional, poorly informed and bigoted attacks on WASPs, whom you define as the chief demon on the planet, with Phil Weiss’s nuanced and fact-based analyses of ethnic politics in America. Probably Phil’s Harvard education contributed to the development of his mind — but as I recall you detest institutions of higher learning like Harvard — not sufficiently “working class” for your taste.

          Hell, even a Jewish neoconservative like David Brooks is capable of providing a more balanced and fair-minded analysis of the declining WASP establishment than you are.

          Hey, are we having a “war of ideas” here or what? :)

          Seriously — don’t take these exchanges too personally — I have a bit of the Irish bare-knuckled bar brawler in me. I am sure you would be a fine person to share a few beers with. But, guy — you are an extreme bigot who will remain forever outside any meaningful connection to real world American politics.

          Again: which nations around the world would you prefer to live in than the United States, and why? China? Egypt? Iran? North Korea? Russia? Saudi Arabia? Turkey? Japan? They are all non-”white” and that seems to be your only criterion for parsing and sorting out the world.

        • Mooser says:

          Dan, whatever you say, I agree. Far be it from me to contradict the man who tells Chomsky what to think.

          What is so hysterical about this whole thing with Sean? It’s that the truth could draw a much harsher picture of Zionism than Sean’s little indictment of “Judaism’s core drivers”. But in order for him to see that he would have to look at race, ethicity, colonialism and a bunch of other stuff in a way he doesn’t want to.
          But, I’d rather he told it himself: (Dec. 19th) “All ethnic groups have “intrinsic traits” — statistically significant characteristics, mannerisms, attitudes, behavioral styles, customs, etc. Contemporary Hollywood exploits this basic fact of life on a regular basis.”

        • American says:

          “Phil plays into this form of white supremacy by insisting the lobby is the root cause of the US’s monstrous foreign policy, and we as a country would be better off in the hands of the “serious white men” which is exactly what 99% of this “Realist” nonsense is all about.”…Dan

          Seriously? Er….who has ever said The Lobby was the root cause monstrous US foreign policy?

          WE have said it is the root of “US Israel policy” and a lot of ME policy.
          Notice the difference?
          Oh never mind, ……continue round yur hamester wheel.

        • aiman says:

          Sean: ‘All ethnic groups have “intrinsic traits” — statistically significant characteristics, mannerisms, attitudes, behavioral styles, customs, etc. Contemporary Hollywood exploits this basic fact of life on a regular basis.’

          Behaviour is formed not out of genealogical predestination but fully through conditioning and commerce, including through categorisation by dominant groups which affects subordinate groups to view themselves in the defiled image, which is in fact what Hollywood does. Contemporary Hollywood, like popular cinema anywhere, is fascistic.

          Remember Spielberg’s Temple of Doom? How close was that to reality? What’s the moral lesson in that? Simple: Hollywood is opportunistic and plays upon political moods. It is not art or sociology, it’s the establishment run by men who lack any moral depth or even shallows.

        • seanmcbride says:

          Mooser,

          Is this an example of your “analytical” thinking? :)

          I’ve thought a great deal about race, ethnicity, colonialism, imperialism and “a bunch of other stuff” from many perspectives — we can discuss that at any time.

          But I am still waiting for you to say something coherent, factual and insightful about the issue of Jewish religious Zionism — the contemporary merger of Judaism and Zionism which has been endorsed by the Jewish establishment and which is playing a key role in driving the project to build Eretz Yisrael. Most of the leaders of the Jewish-only settlements in the illegally occupied territories are religious Zionists and Torah-based ideologues and zealots.

          Your thoughts? That you don’t share their views? We already know that. How important do you think this issue is in the Great Mideast Debates? Be analytical.

          (I used the phrase “Jewish religious Zionism” above to clearly demarcate it from Christian Zionism. The term “religious Zionism” is a semantic superset of both Jewish religious Zionism and Christian Zionism.)

        • hophmi says:

          “The WASP establishment has been in steep decline since at least the 1960s. And they did indeed largely give up their power in a voluntary way by taking the U.S. Constitution and Bill of Rights seriously.”

          I give them a gold no-prize for doing the right thing. But listen, Pat Buchanan, it’s really not that bad. The biggest beneficiaries of the civil rights legislation of the 1960s are women, white women especially. And I would not call any of it voluntary. Most of time, the Establishment has been dragged, kicking and screaming, into the future, and they still aren’t there. As long as white people, including quite a few who are left-of-center, complain about affirmative action, but say little about legacy admissions, they aren’t there. As long as they complain about stuff like how there are too many Catholics and Jews on the Supreme Court (as if this made a damn difference in the jurisprudence), they aren’t there.

        • Mooser says:

          “When I tune in the cable news I see a lot of Jews as players. When I tune in Hollywood I see a big liberal sprinkling of gays. When I look at Obama I see a black man politician who is no different than any White man self serving politician.”

          I suggest burnt cork, and a lisp, and a false nose. You’ll fit right in! If they demand further proof, tell them you’re saving yourself for the man you marry. They have to respect that.

        • Mooser says:

          ” “All ethnic groups have “intrinsic traits” — statistically significant characteristics, mannerisms, attitudes, behavioral styles, customs, etc. Contemporary Hollywood exploits this basic fact of life on a regular basis.”

          Sorry, but I couldn’t think of the name for that kind reasoning until I flushed the toilet this morning, and saw the water swirling round and round and round…

        • seanmcbride says:

          Dan Crowther,

          Some “white people” for whom I feel a great deal of affection:

          1. Alexander Hamilton
          2. Alfred Hitchcock
          3. Antoni Gaudi
          4. Bach
          5. Beethoven
          6. Charles Dickens
          7. Dante
          8. Denis Diderot
          9. Edward Gibbon
          10. Emily Dickinson
          11. Frederick Law Olmsted
          12. George Eliot
          13. Goethe
          14. Henry David Thoreau
          15. Herman Melville
          16. Isaac Newton
          17. James Joyce
          18. James Madison
          19. Jane Austen
          20. John Keats
          21. Led Zeppelin
          22. Leonardo da Vinci
          23. Mozart
          24. Paul Klee
          25. Pink Floyd
          26. Puccini
          27. Ralph Waldo Emerson
          28. Richard Wagner
          29. Samuel Johnson
          30. Samuel Taylor Coleridge
          31. Shakespeare
          32. Thomas Edison
          33. Thomas Jefferson
          34. Thomas Paine
          35. T.S. Eliot
          36. Voltaire
          37. Walt Whitman
          38. William Butler Yeats

          And there are so many more.

          What are you going to about it, bub? :) Have none of these people ever touched your soul?

          If you want to get into an Irish bar brawl about it, go for it — I am always up for a brawl.

          Don’t lecture me about the crimes of Western imperialism — I know all about them. I know the Chomsky canon inside and out. I have strongly criticized those crimes many times myself and will continue to do so in the future.

          Some of my ancestors and descendants are white Protestants. When you attack all white Protestants indiscriminately, you are attacking my family and “my people.” You’ve got to be crazy to be posting raw hate speech on Mondoweiss — you sound like Pamela Geller.

          I once advised YoungMassJew not to take any shit from Jew-bashers. White ethnic groups of all varieties should take the same advice — don’t stand still for mindless abuse from hate-filled bigots. Push back hard.

          Real progressivism is about mutual respect, without qualifications, loopholes or exceptions.

        • notatall says:

          It is obvious that Sean and Dan are using the term “white” differently. It makes little sense to call most of the people on Sean’s list “white,” since they lived in places or times when “white” did not exist as a social category. It is not fair skin that makes people white, but fair skin in a society that attaches social meaning to skin color, hair texture, etc. That period began in North America around 1650 with the rise of racially-marked slavery. In that sense, and that sense only, “white” people do have a special connection with imperial conquest and domination. While I applaud Dan’s willingness to focus on his “own” group, I disagree with his narrowing down the group to so-called WASPs. The very term WASP is offensive, for it conceal the complicity of all those defined as “white” in this country with the subjugation of others. It is true that the rulers of seventeenth-century North America were mainly of Protestant English descent (as were most of the indentured servants who later came to think of themselves as “white”), but subsequently Irish Catholics, Germans, Eastern European Jews, Italians and others who were neither Anglo-Saxon nor Protestant were drawn into the favored group, given citizenship and defined as “white” in the American context (which they were not in Europe) and used to suppress slaves, Indians and others. There are a tremendous number of poor pitchpine and swamp Yankees and southern mountain and lowland folk of Anglo-Saxon Protestant ancestry, while Eastern European Jews, once barely tolerated by the Eastern Establishment, are probably for their numbers the wealthiest and most powerful group in the country—and even there it is dangerous to generalize (as a visit to the Coney Island section of New York will show). Sean, I see you listed Melville among your favorites. He is one of mine, too. Have you read what he wrote about white people in the South Seas? I think it is in Typee. Was he a “racist” for noting facts?

        • Dan Crowther says:

          I first used WASP to reference a personal style and affectation, and yes it was in objection to Sean’s continued suspicions about mooser’s true motives. Sean continually mocks mooser yiddishisms, so I asked what is Mooser to do, go to “WASP re-education camp?” And I continued my question: and become a good white christian american moron?…. Perhaps a bit inarticulate. But the point remains: McBride is basically Alex P. Keating with a Jewish Fetish. And yeah, I have some deeply critical opinions of American culture and society, and the people who largely shape it, namely white christians, a majority of which are protestant. It’s as simple as that. Just look at the way Sean springs to the defense of white american protestants (probably the worlds all time jackpot for easy living in terms of race, religion etc). A white guy attacking white people is probably the single biggest victimless crime in the history of the world, but to Seans it’s blasphemy – and the Faith Must Be Defended.

          McBride is convinced his views are not those of an unwittingly bigoted and entitled country clubbish white guy from suburbia – but they are, and it’s obvious to everyone.

        • Donald says:

          Notatall wins the sub-thread. I’ll award the prize as soon as I get the book I’m supposed to get for the 60 dollar donation I made. (As it happens, the prize is nonexistent, but I don’t want to hand it out prematurely.)

        • seanmcbride says:

          Dan Crowther,

          You haven’t managed to compose a single sentence that accurately describes my views as I have stated them repeatedly here. I think you have weak reading comprehension skills, and I mean that literally, not as an insult. Your mind doesn’t grasp nuance of any kind.

          I love Yiddish culture and humor and know quite a bit about it. I am about as far away from being a WASP chauvinist as you can imagine. (Some of “my own people” were Irish Catholics who were persecuted by WASPs.)

          You don’t understand the problem with Mooser: his theatrical facade of avuncular jocularity evaporated as soon as two key issues came up: 1. the role of Judaism in Zionism and 2. the role of the Jewish lobby in the Israel lobby — then we begin to see an entirely different side of Mooser — grim, paranoid, defensive, mean-spirited, and, above all, ignorant.

          These are exceedingly important topics that require a full and frank discussion if any progress is going to made in modifying the behavior of the Israeli government and the malign influence of the Israel lobby in American politics. Mooser, the “anti-Zionist,” is trying to obstruct and censor that discussion. Why? There is a bit of a Kahanist lurking behind that comic front.

          Did you know, by the way, that the Yiddish-oriented comedian Jackie Mason is a forthright Kahanist? Yes — Yiddish humor and Kahanism are not necessarily mutually exclusive.

          With regard to WASPs — how many of them were responsible for the murder of as many of 100 million innocent civilians by the Soviet Union, China and other Marxist and “progressive” political players in the 20th century? Very few. But the mass murderers of the hard left shared many of your callow and half-baked political views.

          The declining WASP establishment has been the main political group in contemporary American politics that has tried to apply brakes on the insane warmongering of Israel-centric neoconservatives like William Kristol, Richard Perle, Eric Cantor and Dan Senor. You don’t seem to know anything about this subject or any other subject — you and Mooser were made for one another — all swaggering attitude, no substantive or detailed knowledge.

        • seanmcbride says:

          Dan Crowther,

          To help you understand my views a bit better.

          I think we are entering a brave new world in which elites of talent and genius, cutting across all traditional boundaries of all kinds — national, ethnic, religious, gender, etc. — will be defining, leading and controlling world civilization. It’s already happening at companies like Google, Apple, Microsoft, Amazon.com and Facebook.

          Most conventional left-wing and right-wing ideologues don’t have a clue about what is going on — they are far behind the historical curve.

          In the past you have expressed contempt for elite universities. Sorry to break the news to you, pal, but this revolution is being hatched at elite universities like MIT, Stanford, Harvard, Caltech, etc. and their satellite research centers. Deal with it.

          There are several things I like about Israel, most prominently among those things being that it is a global high tech leader and a major incubator of important startup companies that could revolutionize the world.

          Do Chomskyites have anything interesting to say about these developments? Not much that I’ve noticed. Old School these days means Irrelevant School.

          To connect these issues to core Mondoweiss themes: Jews worldwide can easily thrive in this Brave New World with no dependency on Zionism at all. In fact, Zionism is rather a drag on moving ahead in a frictionless way in this world. Too much ethnic nationalism — perhaps any ethnic nationalism at all — is incompatible with the vision of a hard-driving global meritocracy that is built on intimate and cooperative interactions among members of all ethnic, religious and cultural groups. Zionism is self-ghettoizing.

        • hophmi says:

          Well, this is an honest enough POV. I do not understand how the same person can write such aberrant vitriol.

          But the elite meritocracy is not new. And it does not insulate us from the baggage of history and the realities of modern politics. Technology is not a substitute for the flaws of humanity.

          How ethnic nationalism (to the extent that Zionism is in any way a special ethnic nationalistic movement, it being a movement of distressed refugees grasping for a way out) drags down this vision is unclear. India is a country that is certain in part an ethnic nationalistic state. It is a tech incubator. The idea that ethnic nationalism has dragged Israel down is belied by your own argument; it outpaces virtually every country on earth in tech start-ups per capita.

          The European states, all of which are more ethnically homogeneous than Israel is, lag far behind it in this regard.

          It is a nice conjecture to assert that Jews could easily thrive in this world without Zionism, but there is no historical evidence to suggest that this is any more true today than when the same sorts of arguments were made in the 19th and early 20th centuries. Nor has globalization of the late 20th century sort erased war, as business leaders suggested it might in the 1990s. That is not to say that it cannot happen; I would love to live in a world where nationalism and borders were less important than they are now. That is not the world we live in, and in terms of where we should experiment with open borders and reduced nationalism, Israel is hardly the best place to start. The closest example we have is Europe, where nationalism seem to take a back seat until the homogeneous status quo is threatened. Then Europeans start electing nationalist politicians and persecuting their minorities.

          Financial or intellectual success has hardly made Jews more secure over time. Assimilation hardly saved Jews from the gas chambers during the Nazi Holocaust. Global interaction, particularly on the internet, does not always bring people together; in fact, it often polarizes them further. So your take on the world is far from proven, and I see no reason why Jews should volunteer to try and prove it for you.

        • Citizen says:

          @ seanmcbride

          Is one aspect of your vision of an international elite defining, leading, and controlling world civilization forcing all workers of the world to work for as little as possible? An early local indicator would be the loss of jobs shipped overseas from America? Or don’t you include CEOs of big corporations in your elite for our Brave New World in the making?

        • seanmcbride says:

          Citizen,

          You are touching on a huge problem that needs to be dealt with with as much regard for the public interest as possible — but the problem is much worse than you imagine — robotics and artificial intelligence are going to wipe out many existing jobs without creating many new jobs to replace them.

          But is is impossible to escape the reality that a hard-edged global meritocracy that cuts across all traditional identity boundaries is going to create a very powerful international elite. The truth is, we are already there.

        • The idea that ethnic nationalism has dragged Israel down is belied by your own argument; it outpaces virtually every country on earth in tech start-ups per capita.

          think morally hophmi, it’s not an argument about technology.

          It is a nice conjecture to assert that Jews could easily thrive in this world without Zionism, but there is no historical evidence to suggest that this is any more true today than when the same sorts of arguments were made in the 19th and early 20th centuries.

          colonialism is so last century. the historical evidence is yesterday and today in the US. we’re making history. you can’t keep gripping onto the holocaust, hitler is dead.

        • notatall says:

          Sean McBride’s vision of the brave new world, in which “elites of talent and genius, cutting across all traditional boundaries of all kinds — national, ethnic, religious, gender, etc. — will be defining, leading and controlling world civilization” while the rest of the human race (also cutting across traditional boundaries) toils on in factories, mines, oilfields, sexshops and jungles until an early death releases them from their misery, makes me glad I am what he calls a “hard leftist.”

        • libra says:

          DC: …go to “WASP re-education camp?”

          Dan, here’s a very short video filmed at an actual WASP re-education camp. It’s really a far cry from the fancy-pants Ivy League elitism you imagine it to be.

        • libra says:

          seanmcbride: …robotics and artificial intelligence are going to wipe out many existing jobs without creating many new jobs to replace them.

          Sean, you think robotics and artificial intelligence going to be game changers? Wait till the life sciences revolution really kicks in. We won’t be able to build Ivy League campuses quick enough to cope with the demand.

        • hophmi says:

          I don’t see Sean’s argument as “moralistic.” Obviously, as I’ve intimated before, I think asking Israel to be the guinea pig for a utopian post-national experiment like the one-state solution has its own moral problems.

          “The historical evidence is yesterday and today in the US.”

          It is ironic when you express what amounts to an imperialistic idea by saying that the US is proof of anything when it comes to nationalism. Most of the world is NOT like the US. The US is the EXCEPTION, not the rule.

          “you can’t keep gripping onto the holocaust, hitler is dead.”

          I’m not “gripping onto the Holocaust.” G-d. You know, the Holocaust DID happen Annie. And it was a couple of generations ago, not 1000 years ago. And it happened in a modern society on a modern continent, and was the extreme product of a strain of thought that is not absent from Europe yet, let alone the rest of the world. You can’t fit Israel into your simple left-wing colonialist toolbox. It’s a tiny country of refugees, not a mercantilist expedition. It’s not the same thing.

        • lysias says:

          I’m an Irish-American Catholic, and I think there are too many Catholics on the Supreme Court.

        • hophmi says:

          “I’m an Irish-American Catholic, and I think there are too many Catholics on the Supreme Court.”

          Why, exactly?

        • Dan Crowther says:

          Notatall has it exactly right.

          The entirety of McBride’s comments make me incredibly happy I went to a high school that did not offer Western Civ. I called him Alex P. Keating, I probably should have said, Walter Lippman.

        • Keith says:

          SEAN MCBRIDE- “But is impossible to escape the reality that a hard-edged global meritocracy that cuts across all traditional identity boundaries is going to create a very powerful international elite. The truth is, we are already there.”

          Yes, we already have a very powerful international elite which guide the actions of empire. The most powerful are the global financial elite, the driving force behind neoliberal globalization which I, and other “Chomskyites” have been talking about for years. Funny, I don’t recall you integrating this ‘big picture’ reality into your “analysis” of overwhelming Lobby influence. The process which you are now making reference to is sufficiently advanced that I now consider the US empire to have transmogrified into the Wall Street/corporate empire. Why you would refer to this elite control of the global economy as “meritocracy” is beyond me. This sounds a lot like Thomas Friedman combined with Hophmi. The arbiters of what constitutes “meritocracy” are inevitably those with the power to impose their definition on the rest of society, and the wherewithal to acquire the required credentials.

          “Do Chomskyites have anything interesting to say about these developments? Not much that I’ve noticed. Old School these days means Irrelevant School.”

          Yet another self-serving, irrelevant comment from you. You are hardly the person I would go to for an assessment of Chomsky’s views on this issue, or on your own expertise in this area, which you continue to infer is extensive, although I have my doubts. Your primary focus of late has devolved into endless self-promotion as you continually expound upon what an analytical powerhouse you are, fluent in the cutting edge of technology, unlike the implied “old school,“ “irrelevant” Chomsky.

          Finally, you should be aware of the extensive government involvement both in the internet (originally developed to facilitate scientific interaction), and subsequent systems development. There is a reason that Julian Assange said that “Facebook is the most appalling spy machine that has ever been invented.” The trashing of the Bill of Rights and government intrusion into citizen privacy is an indication of a rapidly developing totalitarian state, not some meritocratic golden age.
          link to dandelionsalad.wordpress.com

        • libra says:

          Dan Crowther: I called him Alex P. Keating, I probably should have said, Walter Lippman.

          To be honest Dan, Walter Lippman sounds a lot more like Phil than Sean. Though, unlike Phil, he might not have kept up the old Boxing Day tradition.

        • seanmcbride says:

          Keith,

          Why you would refer to this elite control of the global economy as “meritocracy” is beyond me.

          Because geniuses like Sergey Brin, Larry Page or Steve Jobs can come out of nowhere and turn entire industries upside down. Even entire *societies* upside down.

          Google is probably the most revolutionary company in world history. I take a certain pride in its success because I predicted that it would become a world-dominating influence from the day it was released — I understood what search engines were all about and where they were going — and Google was incredibly brilliant from the very start.

          What’s your favorite programming language, Keith?

          Raging against “the empire” gets one absolutely nowhere — it’s just hard leftist hot air. It has zero impact on the real world. You are flailing away at a grand abstraction, spinning your wheels.

        • seanmcbride says:

          Keith,

          If one of your points is that there is a parasitic crony capitalist/financier class that exploits great geniuses like Brin and Page, that is true. But you will notice that Brin and Page are much wealthier than those people, and they earned every penny of their wealth by creating great products that we all use.

        • libra says:

          hophmi: Obviously, as I’ve intimated before, I think asking Israel to be the guinea pig for a utopian post-national experiment like the one-state solution has its own moral problems.

          Asking? It stormed over the fence into the research lab and volunteered. Well, more than volunteered to be honest. It strapped itself in, pointed a gun and insisted it take part. If this all goes horribly wrong, you’re going to have a hell of job proving negligence against Dr. Frankenstein.

        • seanmcbride says:

          libra,

          Of course you are right about the life sciences revolution — huge. But I think the AI and life sciences revolutions will essentially fuse in many ways — merge into a single technology. So many research fronts are coming together in creative ways as we speak.

          But the overall impact on the job market and traditional employment? Hmm… Maybe good for the 160+ IQ crowd — which isn’t that large.

        • aiman says:

          Hophmi: “India is a country that is certain in part an ethnic nationalistic state. It is a tech incubator. The idea that ethnic nationalism has dragged Israel down is belied by your own argument; it outpaces virtually every country on earth in tech start-ups per capita.”

          Chris Hedges: “We’ve bought into the idea that education is about training and “success”, defined monetarily, rather than learning to think critically and to challenge. We should not forget that the true purpose of education is to make minds, not careers. A culture that does not grasp the vital interplay between morality and power, which mistakes management techniques for wisdom, which fails to understand that the measure of a civilization is its compassion, not its speed or ability to consume, condemns itself to death.”

        • Keith says:

          SEAN MCBRIDE- “Because geniuses like Sergey Brin, Larry Page or Steve Jobs can come out of nowhere and turn entire industries upside down. Even entire *societies* upside down.”

          Both the computer and the internet are the consequence of DOD funding, research and development. Without this, all of the guys you mention would not have been in a position to innovate. And, had it not been for them, someone else would have exploited the technology. It may have taken slightly longer, but not much. The notion of “great men” turning society on its head is pure illusion. It’s the system.

          “Raging against “the empire” gets one absolutely nowhere — it’s just hard leftist hot air. It has zero impact on the real world. You are flailing away at a grand abstraction, spinning your wheels.”

          The empire is hot air? Neoliberal globalization is hot air? The financialization of the economy is a “grand abstraction?” Is it possible for you to be this blind? What the hell do you think the occupy movements are protesting anyway? The US is being put through the wringer of structural adjustment en route to neo-feudalism, the defining conflict of our times, and you ignore this while singing the praises of internet billionaires leading us to a golden age, even as the 99% are getting smashed down, their livelihoods and liberties stomped under the neoliberal boot? Did you watch the Chris Hedges video I linked? Sean, right now, things are so bad that the survival of the species is in question. Under these circumstances, talk of a golden age of meritocratic bliss is Pollyannaish in the extreme.

          “But you will notice that Brin and Page are much wealthier than those people, and they earned every penny of their wealth by creating great products that we all use.”

          Bullshit! Without denying their contributions, much of what they produced is a social product, the consequence of education they received, the infrastructure they didn’t create, and the computer and internet technology they didn’t create. Sit their asses on a desert island and see what miracles transpire! Additionally, the concentration of wealth and power in few hands is both the end of democracy and a drag on the economy. While you decry Sheldon Adelson’s Zionist money power, you seem remarkably unperturbed by these other billionaires control over the economy and society.

          “What’s your favorite programming language, Keith?”

          Is this a joke? This has zero relevance to the discussion, but is in keeping with your persona as poseur extraordinaire.

        • seanmcbride says:

          Keith,

          Hard leftists had an opportunity to test their Marxist theories about reforming “the system” in the Soviet Union, China and elsewhere around the world during the last century. The result? They murdered 100 million innocent civilians and utterly destroyed every economy they got their hands on. They have been thoroughly discredited by their deeds.

          Hard leftists tend to be quite dull and have absolutely no understanding of the role of individualism, creativity, talent, genius, vision, initiative, etc. in creating human civilization. They think they can manage societies on the basis of simple formulas grounded on a reductionist economic ideology.

          Do you really think it is easy to create a revolutionary search engine like Google or an innovative email program like Gmail? Then do it. Let’s see what you come up with. DARPA funding can help create opportunities for creating brilliant technologies, but it can’t create those brilliant technologies. *Individuals* for the most part create civilization, not committees or government agencies.

          I agree that radical wealth inequality is a huge problem in contemporary society. If it becomes too extreme we will probably be facing violent social chaos that will be met with a crushing response by draconian feudalism. We need to find a way to reduce radical wealth inequality that doesn’t snuff out human creativity, as it did in the Soviet Union. Neoliberals and neoconservatives are played a leading role in producing this radical wealth inequality — on that we agree.

          Your response to my question about your favorite programming language was telling, by the way. That’s what I figured. Nothing could be more relevant to the discussion.

        • Dan Crowther says:

          So Sean predicted the rise of Google. Did he predict Google giving out software for free for years to only then turnaround and starting gouging people as they are now with their mapping infrastructure and google apps in general? – Did he predict Google, along with the other tech giants, getting in bed with the MIC, handing over to the NSA, CIA and others, the personal account information and data from it’s users? Did Sean also predict the heads of Google being Chiefs of Corporate Education, along with Bill Gates?

          I talk to cats all the time that think Google is somehow getting over on the Man, when in fact, Google is The Man. Does anyone really think the US government – any government- isn’t absolutely thrilled with more and more of the public internet, it’s interfaces and infrastructure being dominated by a for profit company – one that can be shaken down quite easily to hand over it’s user base, with the faintest of threats of an anti-trust suit? Puh-Leeze.

          In Seans world, the likes of Google and it’s Chiefs are free to do what they want- to Sean they have “earned” it. Sort of like Daniel Plainview in There Will Be Blood – this is the tradition Seans comes from. And so Sean doesnt care that the Empire is “Drinking his Milkshake;” in his mind, the Imperial Court deserves to, he’s just worried about those he feels haven’t “earned it” namely “Leftists”, Zionists and the vast majority of the worlds people who understand full well the US Empire needs no help from a smattering of militant Jews to carry on in a brutal and exploitive fashion. All these people are just parasites, living off the blood sweat and tears of the “specialized class” Sean so admires.

        • sean, how many innocent civilians will neoliberalism kill this century? any idea?

        • seanmcbride says:

          Annie,

          sean, how many innocent civilians will neoliberalism kill this century? any idea?

          Neoconservatism and neoliberalism are two components of the same political machine and both of them are largely arms of the Israel lobby. In important respects they are heirs of hard leftist political movements from the 20th century that murdered 100 million innocent civilians.

          They may well succeed in murdering tens of millions of innocent civilians over the next few decades if their grand plan to ignite a Clash of Civilizations between “the West” and Islam succeeds.

          One leading Zionist recently expressed the hope that Europe would murder 60 million Muslims in the coming years. See the full details here:

          “Europe Preparing Holocaust for Muslims”

          link to friendfeed.com

          Incredibly ugly stuff.

        • Mooser says:

          Led Zeppilin was WHITE? I did not know that. What a surprise!
          I always get them and those “White Ladysmith Mombasa” singers mixed up.

        • Mooser says:

          “McBride is convinced his views are not those of an unwittingly bigoted and entitled country clubbish white guy from suburbia – but they are, and it’s obvious to everyone.”

          Bingo.

        • seanmcbride says:

          Keith,

          Can you name many hard leftists who have made major contributions to human civilization in terms of creating valuable products and services? The equivalents of Thomas Edison, Henry Ford, Bill Gates, Steve Jobs, Sergey Brin, Larry Page, etc.?

          But many hard leftists are eager to appoint themselves as supreme priesthoods of entire national economies — or even of the entire global economy.

          Such jokers! Big talk, no product.

        • Mooser says:

          “But is is impossible to escape the reality that a hard-edged global meritocracy that cuts across all traditional identity boundaries is going to create a very powerful international elite. The truth is, we are already there

          “WE”, meaning you Sean? You are one of the powerful global elite? Gosh, and I though being a Jew was maybe a little something special. But a member of the global elite, who knows science and religion can be reconciled, and is a Catholic Theosophists? In I go way over my head again!
          Mommy! Help! The global technological elite is gonna reconcile my science and religion!
          Maybe Yonah is right, and there is time travel. Sean seems to come right out of the 19th Century.

          Moderators, take note: If Sean gets anything about Aleister Crowley into Mondo, I want my contribution back.

        • seanmcbride says:

          Mooser,

          You and Dan Crowther are working with a model of the world that reached its apex in the 1950s and started to collapse in the 1960s. It is now 2013 — you are five decades behind the curve of history and seem to have no conception of what is currently going on in the real world. No wonder your routine is so reminiscent of Henny Youngman — you’re stuck in the fifties.

          I’m an urban guy, by the way — I love Manhattan, Seattle, San Francisco, Los Angeles and Boston/Cambridge. I have never felt a desire to join a country club. And my friends and associates come from more than a dozen different ethnic backgrounds — many of them not “white.”

          Obviously neither of you has read or understood Phil Weiss’s thoughtful essays on ethnic politics in America. You should go back and take a look.

        • hophmi says:

          “Neoconservatism and neoliberalism are two components of the same political machine and both of them are largely arms of the Israel lobby. In important respects they are heirs of hard leftist political movements from the 20th century that murdered 100 million innocent civilians.”

          Listening to this, folks? Read: The Jews run the international economy. The Jews are responsible for bad foreign policy. They are our misfortune. This is who Sean is. Read his comments on his friendfeed site:

          “Zisser intends to use Europeans to commit genocide against Muslims on behalf of Israel (Zionism) on a much grander scale than the Holocaust. ”

          “Moti Zisser spills the beans on what neoconservatives and Likud Zionists are really planning[; the annihilation of 60 million Muslims].”

          “They may well succeed in murdering tens of millions of innocent civilians over the next few decades if their grand plan to ignite a Clash of Civilizations between “the West” and Islam succeeds.”

          The Jews incite people against one another to serve their schemes.

          “One leading Zionist recently expressed the hope that Europe would murder 60 million Muslims in the coming years. See the full details here:”

          Moti Zisser is not a “leading Zionist.” I know of no mainstream Zionist who hopes Europe “murders 60 million Muslims.”

          People like Sean are your misfortune, pro-Palestinian movement. You need to root them out.

        • Mooser says:

          Dan, we might as well give it up, now, before we’re too badly beaten. I mean, c’mon, do you have any idea what the trans-human sciences will do for fore-skin replacement? And you’ll have to go to a “specialist” to get it, I bet. Finally, the first cut won’t be the deepest!

          What’s always so funny about guys like Sean (and oh, their numbers are legion
          is how they try to present 19th century thinking as something new, or even ooooh! radical and rebellious! Absurd.

        • Keith says:

          SEAN MCBRIDE- “Hard leftists had an opportunity to test their Marxist theories about reforming “the system” in the Soviet Union, China and elsewhere around the world during the last century.”

          What a perfect example of your trademark proof by labeling analysis. Label someone a “hard leftist” then equate them with events in the former Soviet Union and China. I’m not even sure who you would label a “hard leftist,” is that the same as a dreaded Chomskyite? For the record, not only am I not a Marxist, I tend to be somewhat anti-Marxist. Marxism and capitalism are two sides of the same coin. With Marxism you create commissars, with capitalism you create oligarchs. Capitalism is a more effective means of social control in that it relies on markets and money power to gain compliance. As for comparative body counts, the Third World has born the brunt of capitalist violence and deprivation, however, neoliberal globalization is bringing that misery home to the First World, as Europe and the US have the 99% slide into debt servitude. And you blame the “hard left?” Are Chomskyites to blame for the death count in the Congo? Your “analysis” bears no relationship to reality and is you, yet again, resorting to name calling.
          link to zcommunications.org

        • Keith says:

          SEAN MCBRIDE- “Neoconservatism and neoliberalism are two components of the same political machine and both of them are largely arms of the Israel lobby.”

          Neoliberal globalization is being implemented from Tel Aviv? “Hard leftists” are responsible for NAFTA, GATT, the Council on Foreign Relations, the Business Round Table, the off shoring of industry, the Trilateral Commission, Wall Street and the financialization of the global economy, the attack on Social Security and privatizations? It isn’t Wall Street and the corporations that are pushing this, it is a bunch of lefties? What planet do you live on?

        • Mooser says:

          Dan, you are arguing with a man who says that Hollywood’s depiction of racial stereotypes is proof they exist, and are valid for making judgements about people. I wouldn’t bother if I was you. Besides, for member of the global technocracy elite, Sean seems to have an awful lot of time on his hands….
          The funny part is, McBride is repeating all the promises first made for the steam engine and the adding machine and the age of mercantilism.
          And he talks waaaay tooo much like something out of…cough Ayn Rand cough…

        • ayn rand? i didn’t think you read books mooser. shh, don’t let that get out.

        • Mooser says:

          “I’m not “gripping onto the Holocaust.” G-d. You know, the Holocaust…”

          Uh, Hophmi, using the Lord’s name as an expletive, or ejaculation, as you just did, is exactly what is meant by “taking the Lord’s name in vain”. Maybe Shmuel can expand on this, but I don’t think it matters if you write “G-d” instead of “God”, it’s still taking the Lord’s name in vain. Funny, how two letters and a hyphen can expose so much about a person.

        • Mooser says:

          You know, Anne, “The Fountainhead” is one of those books I used to see a lot, but never read. Given the name, and the thickness of the volume I just assumed it was some kind of a porn saga, so I never checked to see what was actually between its covers.

        • seanmcbride says:

          Keith,

          1. Irving Kristol, one of the key founders of neoconservatism, argued that neoconservatism and neoliberalism were basically the same thing — he should know what he was talking about since he was both a leading neocon and neolib. He was also a passionate pro-Israel activist — one might even say pro-Israel militant — who laid some of the key groundwork for forging a Jewish alliance with Christian fundamentalists.

          2. The Jewish World Review commented on this matter:

          Renowned as a founder of neoconservativism, Irving Kristol was “neo” in other respects as well. “Is there such a thing as a ‘neo’ gene?” he once asked, because, if there was, he certainly had it. By his own account, before he became a neoconservative, he was a neo-Marxist, a neo-Trotskyite, a neo-socialist, and a neoliberal.

          link to jewishreviewofbooks.com

          The main thing to keep in mind is that Kristol was an ardent Zionist — a Jewish nationalist. All of these “neo” ideologies were a front for that agenda.

          His son, William Kristol, has followed in his footsteps — although he doesn’t seem to be quite as sane as his father. His smear campaign against Chuck Hagel makes Joe McCarthy look like a man of decency and probity.

          3. The headquarters of the Israel lobby is located as much in the United States (Manhattan, Los Angeles, etc.) as in Tel Aviv, especially when you take into account raw financial power.

          4. The few hard leftists in this forum are woefully underinformed about every topic they try to address. But that is how hard leftists roll — they are not into complexity, detail and nuance on any subject.. They’ve got a few mind-numbingly simplistic theories into which they try to shoehorn everything.

          Oh, with regard to the last sentence in your comment — I live on the planet where people read books and journal articles — lots of them – and make sense of them by connecting dots. You should try it some time.

        • Mooser says:

          “McBride is convinced his views are not those of an unwittingly bigoted and entitled country clubbish white guy from suburbia – but they are, and it’s obvious to everyone.”

          Dan I bet he is even convinced that his views are not those of an out-of-work programmer in Seattle who’s still bitter about the dotcom bust, and his lost chance at billionaire-hood..

        • Mooser says:

          “The equivalents of Thomas Edison, Henry Ford, Bill Gates, Steve Jobs, Sergey Brin, Larry Page, etc.?”

          Well, well, look who left out Tesla! And Einstein!

        • seanmcbride says:

          Mooser,

          What was the last book you read on Mideast politics and what were your thoughts on it?

        • Mooser says:

          Oh, Brave New World, that has such screechers in it! Uh, Sean, you are aware, as you must be, since you are my intellectual superior, that “Brave New World” is used as an dystopian descriptor? Inviting people into a “Brave New World” is usually not considered a good thing. This has not escaped your notice, has it? “Brave New World” = dystopian. So you might want to consider reconsidering your considerable use of the term.

        • American says:

          “Listening to this, folks? Read: The Jews run the international economy. The Jews are responsible for bad foreign policy. They are our misfortune. This is who Sean is. Read his comments on his friendfeed site:”…..hoppie

          O.K. hold it right there…..I don’t like these gangs bangs especially when someone is mispresented.
          Everyone should go read that Friendfeed article post and the comments —they will see it is not as hoppie says at all.
          You’re lying hoppie…not nice…didn’t we just have something on here about slandering people?

        • seanmcbride says:

          American,

          Hophmi has proven himself to be such a congenital liar — and everyone here has witnessed those lies, repeatedly, over many months — that I don’t even bother replying to him. People know where he’s coming from.

          Regarding the article that appeared in Israel National News — everyone should indeed read it. The Israel lobby is suffused and permeated with extreme Islamophobia — pro-Israel militants like Daniel Pipes and Pamela Geller have been the prime movers behind the well-organized drive to demonize Muslims and to ignite a global Clash of Civilizations. Nearly all of these haters are Greater Israelists. And now one of those haters is anticipating and relishing the prospect of seeing 60 million Muslims murderd.

          See the article here:

          link to friendfeed.com

          Well-known religious businessman Moti Zisser predicted Saturday evening that Europe will unleash a second Holocaust – but this time, the victims will be Muslims, not Jews. “I think another Holocaust is brewing in Europe,” he told congregants at Bnei Brak’s Heichal Shlomo synagogue, according to Maariv-NRG. “I said it five years ago and everyone laughed at me. Today nobody is laughing; today they only argue with me over when it will happen.” The entrepreneur, who has businesses in Israel as well as Poland and other European countries, explained that Muslims are increasingly gaining control of the European economy, and that the Europeans are bound to lash out at them. He said that he meets businessmen in Europe who ask him how he thinks the “Muslim problem can be solved.”

          and

          “I would give you numbers regarding what is happening with Muslims in Europe,” he said. “They control things that are in people’s pockets. It is much more painful than with the Jews, and for this they killed six million Jews, so for the other things they will kill 60 million too.”

          More religious Zionism on the march.

          If Moti Zisser is so insignificant, then why did Israel National News so prominently feature his views? This is not just some drunken hothead off the street.

        • American says:

          “And, had it not been for them, someone else would have exploited the technology. It may have taken slightly longer, but not much. The notion of “great men” turning society on its head is pure illusion. It’s the system.”….Keith

          Wrong. Do you know what a ‘system’ actually is..the definition of a system? It’s methods, procedures and routines created to carry out a specific activity or a regularly interdependent group of items forming a unit for some purpose. The ‘system’ is not creative, it follows set procedures. A ”system’ does not ‘in unison’ produce a new idea…some ‘individual’ or individuals within the system has an idea.
          Without arguing over who invented the internet and ‘great men’ the fact is it is usually ‘visionaries”, some individual who ‘has an idea’ who do turn the world. Carnegie and his vision of revolutionizing commercial transport and flow of materials and opening up the west by building coast to coast railroads is a good example…it did open up the west, it did take the coal to cities in the north for, it tripled that industry, it created other industry that built more coal stoves for people because more people had more coal access.
          It may be that IBM would have ‘eventually have gotten around to thinking’ about building and selling computers and software programs for the general market and individual users and not just for corporation business use, maybe as some meeting some ‘individual’ would have suggested it….but Gates and Jobs “thought of it first” and did it and it did changed how society and the world communicates and receives information.
          Business, commerce, all of it, starts with ‘an idea’ even ‘accidential ideas’ by someone and a system is created to ‘support” that enterprise or idea…..NOT visa versa.
          This is so elementary, so well documented in history and the evolution of business and commerce, all advancements that have been made, I cannot believe you do not understand this.
          Social Security, that system, was not invented by itself, it was a idea put forth by ‘someone’. The Salk vaccine was created by aindividual, not a system. The telephone was created by a individual, a ‘system’ was built to support it’s use.
          While Sean maybe too cosmic and futuristic and wide ranging, you are too narrow, too fixated on only what is wrong with capitalism, a one note johnny on it’s evils.
          You can argue that capitalism goes too far in the hands of some capitalist, that someone on WS who ‘thought up’ swaps’ and ‘short sales” is too rich while laborers are too poor and you would be right.
          But you have no understanding at all of the balance necessary between capitalism and labor, they are interdependent. You see it out of whack, which it is, so you rant on as if, if you could ‘remove’ the capitalist/capitalsm system that would solve ALL the worlds problems.
          Well it won’t. So instead of this endless stream of pontificating on the unfairness and evilness of the capitalist system you should turn your attention to actually learning how it works and what SPECIFIC reforms and regulation are needed—-then you could fax it to your politicians..instead of just ranting on and on about the evilness of it all oppressing the world’s little people…or you could get up a revolution or something.

        • seanmcbride says:

          Mooser,

          Who in the 19th century imagined Google, iPads, smartphones, cloud computing, supercomputing networks, the World Wide Web, Big Data mining, etc? Do you have any names?

          How big a deal do you think it was for Page and Brin to come up with Google?

        • RoHa says:

          Miranda was certainly pleased with the idea of a world that included men other than her father. However, the men she was observing were a bunch of drunken sailors.

        • Keith says:

          SEAN MCBRIDE- “Can you name many hard leftists who have made major contributions to human civilization in terms of creating valuable products and services? The equivalents of Thomas Edison, Henry Ford, Bill Gates, Steve Jobs, Sergey Brin, Larry Page, etc.?”

          Everything these guys did would have been done by someone, or more likely some team, even had they not existed. All of these innovations took place when the necessary infrastructure was in place to permit this to occur, that is, when the time was right. This is the 21st century, Sean, not the 19th. The era of the inventor/entrepreneur inventing stuff in his garage and building a company died long ago. Nowadays, most innovations are the result of the collaborative efforts of project teams, frequently located on university campuses and receiving government funding. If the innovation looks like it is profitable, it is turned over to some businessman who markets it and may make a lot of money. Take computers. The original ones were big and bulky and didn’t do much. They were a money loser which no business could afford to invest in. The government stepped in via the Defense Department which bought these things on contract thereby funding the original R&D efforts. At a certain point computers became marketable, business was given this publicly funded innovation, and the rest is history. This is known as the Pentagon system, but one aspect of military Keynesianism. Your misplaced infatuation with business “titans” smacks of Ayn Rand, who we can now add to your list of ideological influences along with Thomas Friedman (globalization good) and Hophmi (infallible meritocracy).

          I’m a little surprised that you have been so up-front in advocating elite rule (oligarchy), and with equating wealth with talent and social worth. And with your emphasis on high IQ scores as a measure of worth, environmental and other factors deemed irrelevant. But rather than continue to imply that you are a cutting edge high achiever, the rest of us unread and unthinking, why not just post a verifiable CV on your commenter profile? It might be interesting to know more about the heavy hitter I have for so long underrated.

        • Keith says:

          AMERICAN- “Do you know what a ‘system’ actually is..the definition of a system? It’s methods, procedures and routines created to carry out a specific activity or a regularly interdependent group of items forming a unit for some purpose.”

          You mean to tell me we have no political system, economic system, financial system, judicial system, etc? Why wasn’t I informed? I’ll have to reflect on this and get back to you.

        • seanmcbride says:

          Keith,

          You dodged the question: I asked you if you could name any hard leftists who have made creative contributions to the world on the level of Sergey Brin, Larry Page, Steve Jobs, Bill Gates, Larry Ellison, Tim Berners-Lee, Marc Andreessen, Jeff Bezos, Peter Thiel, Paul Buchheit, Biz Stone, Evan Williams, etc.

          You can’t come up with a single name? No one? Why do you think that is?

          And I am not advocating elite rule or oligarchy — in fact I think we need to find ways to protect ourselves from the potential abuses of such a regime — but that’s the way the world is shaking out these days and how power is organizing itself. Brilliant innovators and entrepreneurs are arising from odd corners of the world, often with little institutional support of any kind at first, and quickly accumulating billions of dollars from people who are eager to use their products and services.

          I haven’t seen any proposals from you or Dan on how to deal with these social developments in realistic and effective ways — other than Dan essentially suggesting we kill all WASPs or even all white people. But most of these billionaire innovators are not WASPs.

          A side note: most of these newly minted billionaires are not preoccupied with attacking Iraq, or Iran, or Muslims — the whole neocon package. Most of them are progressives or libertarians — noninterventionists.

        • American says:

          @ Keith

          So if you can’t admit the truth that some great men have turned the world with ideas and that systems don’t produce ideas on their own but simply serivce ideas—then you make a bullshit reply about all the systems we have that were in fact ‘created by a idea or plan by someone’ or some individuals?
          O.K…then, carry on….LOL

        • Who in the 19th century

          why the 200 yr gap? i lost you there. we’re all products of our time. no one here imagines if edison had not come around we’d still be using candles eh?

          edit: argh..it wasn’t really (completely) edison, he just got the credit.

        • sean, i’m not sure what you mean by ‘hard leftists’ but as far as shaping the world we live in, of social consciousness ..what about people like martin king, richard alpert, georgia o’keefe, edward said, chomsky, bucky fuller, abbey hoffman, angela davis ..they shaped our minds. where does this fit into your theories. mankind doesn’t evolve by technology alone. it allows us to access great minds but if those minds were not already there what would we link to?

        • seanmcbride says:

          Keith,

          Your misplaced infatuation with business “titans” smacks of Ayn Rand, who we can now add to your list of ideological influences along with Thomas Friedman (globalization good) and Hophmi (infallible meritocracy).

          I have often strongly criticized Ayn Rand and Thomas Friedman — Rand and her robotic disciples are especially ridiculous. I am a fan of Matt Taibbi’s takedowns of Friedman. You really are unable to get a handle on any ideas that are situated outside of your hard leftist mental box.

          You, Dan and Mooser — I now think of you as the trio that can’t shoot straight — you never manage to hit the target. You should get along well together in your campaign against the WASP “ruling class” — “the Man,” as Dan charmingly puts it. :) Meanwhile you will fail to notice that non-WASPs (including China and South Korea) are eating your lunch.

          I am not turned on by “business titans” — I am turned on by the kinds of innovative tools that are permitting us to conduct this conversation. I like innovation. I like tools that improve our lives. I also recognize the dangers connected with many innovations and the hazards of too much wealth collecting in too few hands.

          What I definitely don’t believe, however, is that a majority of Fortune 500 CEOs share the neoconservative obsession with pursuing endless warfare in the Mideast on behalf of Greater Israelism or on the basis of any rationale at all — the neocon agenda is damaging American interests and the American economy.

        • which brings me to the question…wrt this neocon shit…of course the web is absolutely crucial wrt truth and exposure. i have said time and again the trajectory of israel’s demise (myth undoing) is directly in proportion to the growth of the internet. but it’s the social consciousness that will bring it down. it is not accomplished by technology alone. and that consciousness is very much impacted by people who are far to the left of those who invented the tech access. the tech access is but a part of the puzzle, but it’s worthless without the spreading of ideas, the minds the have developed thru a social consciousness very much impacted by the concept of global oneness, equality, shared values and compassion. there’s no compassion in these systems. i am not sure you can have one without the other. compassion is not ‘hard leftist’ and there is an inherent discord with that term in itself, one that implies pain and hurt. but technology alone doesn’t advance man. there is a human element that’s required. a courage to include that advances mankind. i’m not really getting the impulse to place left in a ‘hard ‘ context. do member of the left define themselves as ‘hard’? where does this come from? with whom are you referencing? stalin?

        • Dan Crowther says:

          I’ve never laughed so hard in my life:

          “I haven’t seen any proposals from you or Dan on how to deal with these social developments in realistic and effective ways — other than Dan essentially suggesting we kill all WASPs or even all white people. But most of these billionaire innovators are not WASPs.” — McBride

          HAHA!! Awesome, I’ve wanted all my life to be accused of incitement against “the white man” and now my dreams have come true. I’m taking Self Hatred to a new level!

        • sean, i was just reading the other day about angela davis, an idea i had never heard before about prisons being obsolete. it hit me like a brick..of course. these ideas are very powerful, probably not accomplished in her lifetime. but huge portions of our communities are imprisoned where many (the most)powerful criminals go free. we’re so accustomed to the idea of imprisonment.this is an idea. but it’s as brilliant as a technological idea. where do you place these theories in your scheme of what advances mankind?

        • seanmcbride says:

          Annie,

          I don’t regard the people you mentioned as being hard leftists — they are all very creative people, most of whom detested rigid and narrow ideologies of every kind. They were free thinkers and iconoclasts. I consider myself to be progressive and left-leaning in many important respects but I am not a hard left ideologue.

          Chomsky is interesting — his followers not at all, who really aren’t much different in their “following” and herd instincts than Ayn Rand disciples.

          By hard leftists I am referring to simple-minded ideologues who have a one-size-fits-all grand economic theory to explain world events. They tend to be very abstract and non-empirical. During the 20th century true believers with this disposition wrought enormous havoc in the world, especially in the Soviet Union and China. 100 million deaths and the utter ruination of large national economies rather grabs one’s attention.

          Some of the disdain for creative individualism I have noticed recently here from one or two contributors reminds one of the crude collectivist thinking of classical Marxist-Leninists and Stalinists — there is something about the general attitude, tone and language. (I am not accusing Keith and Dan of being that far left — clearly they are not).

          Creative individuals are the driving force behind most of what is great in the world. Committees do not create works of genius.

          Mondoweiss’s strength is primarily the product of a single creative individual — Phil Weiss. He has important help — sure — but he’s the spark plug. That’s the way it goes with the really interesting stuff. Saul Bellow’s and Philip Roth’s novels weren’t written by committee. Larry Page’s and Sergey Brin’s original paper which established the conceptual framework for Google wasn’t the product of a committee.

        • American says:

          ”sean, i was just reading the other day about angela davis, an idea i had never heard before about prisons being obsolete.”..annie

          I haven’t heard of that. What does she suggest to replace prisons or what to do with the criminally insane, pedophiles, etc and so forth? What would be done with people convicted of some crime?
          I think she’d have better luck working on not having people sentenced to prision for minor drug possessions…..if that was stopped we wouldn’t need half the prisons we have.

        • seanmcbride says:

          Annie,

          I think ideas like Davis’s are critical factors in opening up the human mind and pushing humanity forward.

          Progress involves much more than technology — and in fact I am much more interested in literature, art and music than technology. But information technology during the last few decades has made some great leaps forward that really are amazing — and that are affecting society in many ways that we don’t yet understand — for both good and ill.

          The Internet could be an incredibly powerful force for liberating and empowering humanity or enslaving it. Which way will it go? I don’t know. We do know how the neocons intend to use it — to construct the world’s most malignant police state.

        • seanmcbride says:

          Dan Crowther,

          I’m taking Self Hatred to a new level!

          What is your ethnic and religious background exactly? Please — much more specific than “white,” which means very little.

          The question naturally arises since you have declared yourself to be a proud and full-throated hater in the ethnic/religious domain. That’s your thing.

        • Citizen says:

          RE: ” Sean and others like to portray themselves as “pure” americans, who are being held captive by a foreign (read something other than anglo american) entity in their own homeland etc etc.”

          Who are the others? And why so narrowly read “foreign” in this context as “something other than anglo american”? The issue involves distinctions between America’s best interest and Israel’s best interest, doesn’t it?

        • Citizen says:

          @ Annie Robbins
          Of course those supporting “the system” and those raging against it each have ideological premises. My father use to reduce politics as the current “Haves versus the Have-Nots.”

        • Keith says:

          SEAN MCBRIDE- “You can’t come up with a single name? No one? Why do you think that is?”

          Let me begin by noting that this will be my last post on this thread. Unlike you, Sean, I don’t live my whole life on the internet hurling insults while pretending to have analytical expertise, something which I have seen no evidence of from you. Your forte seems to be denigrating those you disagree with while suggesting you have credentials which I doubt you posses. Since you have wisely ignored my suggestion for a CV to back up your braggadocio by innuendo, perhaps you can provide the titles of your most recent scholarship? Your “scholarly” analysis to date consists of proof by labeling followed by endless lists of those you have labeled, then drawing conclusions from the labels which you have applied. Marxist, Chomskyite, Hard Left, etc.

          Sean says: “By hard leftists I am referring to simple-minded ideologues who have a one-size-fits-all grand economic theory to explain world events.”

          My, what an interesting definition! You have defined “hard left” as being essentially stupid, therefore, anyone you label “hard left” must be stupid by definition. This is your idea of analysis?

          I notice that your definition of creative “genius” seems to revolve around product development and business success, the John Galts of the world, particularly those involved with computers. You can’t seem to understand that things such as computers were developed through teamwork, usually involving government funding, particularly at the more basic scientific level, where many truly creative people don’t get rich. The internet itself was developed by the government to facilitate scientific cooperation. This was prior to when those you label “geniuses” were able to exploit the technology. And a project team isn’t the same as a committee, and multidisciplinary cooperation is not communism, its how things get done. Speaking of which, the increased use of business funding for University research has negatively impacted scientific cooperation as new advances become the trade secrets of big business. And let us not make too big a deal about one particular search engine.

          As long as we are talking about computers, I would be remiss not to mention what I personally consider an immensely significant byproduct. Computers and satellite communications have made possible the current system of global financial control. This ability to shift capital across borders instantaneously, to create bubbles and crash economies, to enable or deny funding, has created a situation where financial power is an order of magnitude above anything which has previously existed, or could even be contemplated a short time ago. It is a system of control extraordinarily difficult to break free of, particularly for weak Third World countries.

          Sean, your continued listing of corporate billionaires as creative geniuses proves nothing other than that you equate genius with money. Since most billionaires tend to support the system which made them rich, it is obvious that no fat-cat would fit your definition of “hard left.” And while you claim to have criticized Ayn Rand, your few Mondo comments primarily criticized her cultish followers who you compared to “Chomskyites,” a label you apply to many of those you disagree with, even though Chomsky is not a cult leader and your inference is intellectually dishonest. As for Rand herself, her lionization of the businessman as the essential creative force of contemporary civilization, as exemplified by John Galt, seems to me to be not too different from your comments on this thread.

          Finally, since you brought up creativity on the left, I will provide just one example from many (I’m not a list fetishist). Noam Chomsky. Yup, the same guy you criticized because, among other things, “Chomsky’s linguistic theories suffer from the same problem — no semantics.” Gosh, you are well informed on a broads range of topics, aren’t you! An expert in linguistics, no less! I close with a quote from Wikipedia which you will no doubt dispute. Since Chomsky is neither a billionaire nor a business innovator (creative “genius”), the question needs to be asked: if he is so smart, why isn’t he rich? Go figure!

          “Chomsky created the theory of generative grammar. This is one of the most important contributions to the field of linguistics made in the 20th century. He also helped start the cognitive revolution in psychology through his review of B. F. Skinner’s Verbal Behavior. He challenged the behaviorist way of looking at behavior and language. This was the main approach used in the 1950s. His natural approach to the study of language also changed the philosophy of language and mind. He also invented the Chomsky hierarchy, a way of looking at formal languages in terms of their power to explain language.”
          link to simple.wikipedia.org

        • Mooser says:

          “Who in the 19th century imagined Google, iPads, smartphones, cloud computing, supercomputing networks, the World Wide Web, Big Data mining, etc? Do you have any names?”

          ROTFLMSJAO!!! Oh, I don’t know, how’s about the Theosophists, for one? And about a gazillion science fiction writers and scammers, from then on. Tesla foresaw it all!

          Sure, maybe computers can deliver what the steam engine couldn’t. Where’s my flying car?

        • Mooser says:

          “HAHA!! Awesome, I’ve wanted all my life to be accused of incitement against “the white man” and now my dreams have come true. I’m taking Self Hatred to a new level!”

          Now, I have a slight advantage over you in that department, Dan, I really think I do. See, I can hate myself because I’m perceived as white, which lets me out of hating myself because I’m Jewish. And then the Jewish part of me hates the perceived white part of me, which is way too guilt-ridden to fight back, except with innuendos and slights. I’m sure you can see how nicely that all balances out. I just stand off to one side and watch the squalid bickering and name-calling.

        • libra says:

          annie: and that consciousness is very much impacted by people who are far to the left of those who invented the tech access. the tech access is but a part of the puzzle, but it’s worthless without the spreading of ideas, the minds the have developed thru a social consciousness very much impacted by the concept of global oneness, equality, shared values and compassion. there’s no compassion in these systems.

          annie, I think you’ll find a lot of the people who did the actual development of many of the key technologies (compared to some of the later commercial exploiters) were very much motivated by these sorts of values. That’s why so much of the software behind the internet is open source in one form or another. I’d be very dubious about people “far to the left” (or, indeed, “far to the right”) of them – by definition they would be extremists and dogmatists.

        • lysias says:

          Why, exactly?

          It goes to the legitimacy of this court’s decisions. Imagine the reaction if this court, because of its Catholic majority, decides to overrule Roe v. Wade.

        • Sibiriak says:

          lysias,

          Imagine the reaction if this court, because of its Catholic majority, decides to overrule Roe v. Wade.

          If this court overruled Roe, it could because the majority is conservative, not because it is Catholic.

        • seanmcbride says:

          Keith,

          Your posts on the subject of innovation have been the most uninspiring and dispiriting take on the subject I’ve ever read. Many of the people I know are intensely excited about making new innovations happen and they don’t rely on committees to achieve their dreams. They are creating the future as we speak — by dint of pure imagination.

          Which authors and thinkers have most influenced your views on the world — and especially on politics and economics? Who do you think I should read to understand how the world really works?

          Which great creative works in any domain get your juices flowing and enliven your spirit? Which particular innovators and creators do you admire and respect?

        • Dan Crowther says:

          Citizen says:
          January 5, 2013 at 10:24 am
          RE: ” Sean and others like to portray themselves as “pure” americans, who are being held captive by a foreign (read something other than anglo american) entity in their own homeland etc etc.”

          Who are the others?
          ——————————-

          Most likely the person who knows to ask….

        • seanmcbride says:

          Dan Crowther,

          Which nations around the world would you prefer to live in than the United States?

        • Donald says:

          “I notice that your definition of creative “genius” seems to revolve around product development and business success, the John Galts of the world, particularly those involved with computers. You can’t seem to understand that things such as computers were developed through teamwork, usually involving government funding, particularly at the more basic scientific level, where many truly creative people don’t get rich.”

          Bingo. I don’t have any particular desire to bash the internet billionaires, but there’s no obvious reason why they deserve their riches and people like Einstein, Bohr, Schrodinger, and Heisenberg (the founders of quantum mechanics, which is the theory underlying the transistor which in turn made the modern computer revolution possible) didn’t become gazillionaires. But then Einstein wasn’t in it for the money.

          And as Keith pointed out, Chomsky’s contributions to computer science aren’t exactly trivial, though I don’t know if they have any direct connection to the ideas that led to the level of money-making that Sean seems to see as the hallmark of true genius.

        • notatall says:

          “Which nations around the world would you prefer to live in than the United States?

          Sean McBride’s question is the hallmark of those without imagination.

        • Citizen says:

          @ Dan Crowther

          I’m not anglo-american in part or whole. “Others” is plural. You didn’t answer my other question in my comment.

        • Dan Crowther says:

          McBride asks me what other countries I would like to live in, implying the US ain’t for me. I am a former US Marine, you don’t get to ask me that question, civilian. I’ll say whatever the hell I want, I don’t need a compatible ideology to live in the land I was born in. You wanna “out American” someone, take it up with with a former Sailor or something…..

        • seanmcbride says:

          Donald,

          You are misrepresenting my views.

          What I admire is not a genius for making money but a genius for creating innovations that revolutionize the world.

          Tim Berners-Lee, the creator of the World Wide Web, hasn’t become fabulously wealthy from the Internet but he is one of the most important creative innovators in world history.

          The World Wide Web wasn’t created by a committee — it was hatched in the mind of a single visionary individual.

          Regarding Chomsky: I know his writings on linguistics well, as well as his political writings. Certainly he is a great mind. But Chomsky’s disciples are as dull as Ayn Rand’s disciples. All disciples from all movements and cults tend to be dullards — they can’t think for themselves. Visionary minds create cults, they are not followers of cult leaders.

          Chomsky’s work in linguistics hasn’t had much impact in the fields of artificial intelligence and natural language processing. Chomsky never did pay much attention to semantics and semantics is the key to making progress in these fields. I don’t think that Chomsky gets semantics at all.

          As for the wealth that Google, Microsoft, Apple, Amazon.com and other great innovating companies have accumulated — they earned it.

          The founders of Google, Sergey Brin and Larry Page, are certainly visionary geniuses by any reasonable definition. Google is arguably the most revolutionary company in world history.

          The creator of Gmail is almost a billionaire, as I recall. He earned every penny. Gmail is a great program that many people all around the world want to use.

    • Theo says:

      notatall

      If you don´t care who is running our country or a section of it, then democracy is just lost on you. Why vote or even follow the political events, if you don´t care about the future of this country and with it goes your future.
      That is the greatest problem we have, a great percentage of the citizens just let those politicians in Washington do whatever they wish, without asking them why and reminding them of their promises and obligations to this nation, and only to this nation.
      If you don´t care, you may just end up with a system similar what the russians enjoyed for about 70 years long. It is coming, incarceration without charges or trial, detention camps are fully operational, the president can order the murder of a US citizen, etc. It sure sounds familiar if you have an idea how the communists and the nazis took power.

      • Antidote says:

        “It is coming, incarceration without charges or trial, detention camps are fully operational, the president can order the murder of a US citizen, etc. It sure sounds familiar if you have an idea how the communists and the nazis took power.”

        Neither the Communists nor the Nazis invented it. This is nothing new in the US but a century old practice launched by the Nativists, fueled by the powerful ASL (Anti-Saloon League) Lobby, and culminating during WW I when Americans had to be brought in line to serve the original “special relationship”, the Anglo-American alliance. It hit German Americans particularly hard, but also the Irish and anyone else who did not feel obliged to go to war to presumably serve the interests of a foreign country: Britain (and her allies/former enemies in WW I and against the Central Powers Germany and Austria-Hungary).

        Have a look at the prologue of Feldman’s book.

        link to amazon.com

        And how about a little Chomsky to set you straight on who invented those evil methods with which the Communists and the Nazis seized and maintained their power?

        http://www.chomsky.info/interviews/200307–.htm

        • lysias says:

          Oppression certainly existed before the Nazis and the Communists, but they systematized it, and left very little space in their societies free from it. There has never been a completely totalitarian society, but they came an awful lot closer to it than previous societies had.

          And we appear to be headed in just that direction.

        • Antidote says:

          “Oppression certainly existed before the Nazis and the Communists, but they systematized it, and left very little space in their societies free from it”

          Let’s remember that one of the historical models Hitler liked to cite for his version of Gleichschaltung and societal control was the Roman Catholic Church

      • notatall says:

        Sean McBride wrote: “It is a matter a considerable consequence to oppose multi-trillion dollar wars that are being fought on behalf of Likud Zionism (Greater Israelism) and which are helping to bankrupt the United States. It is a matter of considerable consequence to oppose torture and warrantless wiretaps and to support due process, civil liberties and the US Constitution and Bill of Rights.”

        My reply: Didn’t you learn anything from the election of Obama, who a lot of people hoped would put an end to wars, torture, etc.?

        Theo wrote: “If you don´t care who is running our country or a section of it, then democracy is just lost on you. Why vote or even follow the political events, if you don´t care about the future of this country and with it goes your future.”

        My reply: I don’t think that voting, or what you call “democracy,” has much effect on who runs the country. Why does it follow that I don’t care about its future?

  19. chinese box says:

    Well, he didn’t declare, and no mention of the I-Lobby by Gregory.

  20. piotr says:

    Between Hagel and Flournoy, I would pick Hagel simply one the account of his good looks. On most of her photos in google images, she looks scary. She makes Madeleigne Albright a looker.

    Simply on experience they are perhaps equal, Flournoy is a bureaucratic insider, Hagel has experience in respective committees, and combat experience should not be dismissed either.

    On the record, the plus for Fournoy is that she is for cutting the defense budget, but so is Hagel. On Iran we need a sane vocal advocate to finish the crisis in a reasonable way — it is a separate discussion why, but there are distinct risks in escalating sanctions, while the military option is just a disaster. And a bureaucratic insider will not provide such voice. And of course we need someone with a spine to advocate sanity on ME issues. The next government in Israel will be the most crazy ever, and USA is in the process of loosing face as a rational world power.

  21. crone says:

    Top Jewish Leader Says Chuck Hagel Nomination on Monday is “Most Likely”

    link to algemeiner.com

    Note 3rd paragraph:

    “… While some outlets reported that the White House contacted Jewish leaders about the appointment, Hoenlein told The Algemeiner in an email that “the White House did not call anyone that I know of.”

    I wonder… did the White House contact Democratic leaders? American leaders? AA leaders? Latino leaders?