Commenter Profile

Total number of comments: 1126 (since 2009-07-31 16:25:09)


I grew up with the conventional wisdom believing that the Israelis were the "white hats" and that the Palestinians/Arabs/Muslims were the "black hats." After 9/11, I wanted to know more about the conflict in the ME. I came to the realization that the narrative was totally one-sided. I largely credit many outstanding Jewish voices (my close friend Bernie the Attorney for one) for opening my eyes. I see on a daily basis the efforts by Zionists and their stooges to dismiss truth-tellers in the most reprehensible manner, up to and including threats of violence. Truth needs no army of thugs to establish it; only lies need enforcers.


Showing comments 200 - 101

  • Leave no stone unclaimed
  • Trainwreck in Boston: Dershowitz calls a Palestinian novelist a bigot and a Holocaust-denier
    • I was going to point that out but one of the Mondoweiss Comment Policy recommendations is to avoid the temptation of singling out Mr. Witty whenever possible (though his comments make for a "target-rich" environment).

      Otherwise, I would have written that since Dersh got his clock so thoroughly cleaned, Witty had no option (other than admitting defeat) but to resort to the claim that, "Yeah, Dershowitz's 'arguments' sucked, but Abulhawa was *equally* sucky" as if Witty's assessment of the strength of competing arguments had any bearing on reality.

    • Though his position has always been a losing one, he is not able lately to spew his usual rhetoric with the confident demeanor as he once was. I woul attribute it to the fact that more people have noticed that the emperor has no clothes and his same tired old speil does not have the power to intimidate it once had.

      When the facts are on your side, argue the facts. When the law is on your side, argue the law. And when you don’t have either the law or the facts on your side, pound the table! ~ old lawyers’ adage

      Yes, Dersh has long been a table-poundin' son-of-a-gun, but it's getting so you can tell that even he can't work up the chutzpah anymore to pretend that he believes it either.

      All sound and fury on his part.

    • Dershowitz's histrionics reveals a desperation previously absent from his blather.

      It's a good thing.

  • Neocon threatens withdrawal of 'Dem Donor$' if Obama pressures Netanyahu
    • So it's OK to let the elephant *into* the room, let it trample whatever and whomever it may in the room...just don't be so gauche to point out it's there. In fact, vociferously attack and dismiss anyone doing so or objecting to or even expressing concern over the elephant's presence. Do whatever it takes to perpetuate continued disfunction (been going strong for half a dozen decades at least).

      Lather. Rinse. Repeat.

      Sounds like a sure prescription for insanity (and disaster).

  • Annie's awakenings
    • I kind of came in through the back door. I grew up loving WWII documentaries and you can't do WWII without the Holocaust. I had the impression that Jews were "Western" and that Arabs/Muslims/Palestinians were the incomprehensible "other", prone to fanaticism, terrorism, and violence. Without investigating it much, I assumed that the Israelis were the "white hats" and the Arabs/Muslims/Palestinians were the "black hats" and all the memes in circulation reinforced that notion. I thought Israel was merely defending itself from aggressors.

      Around 1998, I became the campus advisor to the student atheist group. I wanted to bone up on other faith views (I was raised moderately Catholic, attending a Catholic grammar school) and visited religious internet forums and chat rooms.

      I was fairly well received across the board, though a common reaction to my questions and willingness to debate was that I was either there to "disrupt" or was "investigating" (considering converting). Despite a small handful of radical individuals present within any of the communities, the most pronounced (and often irrational) push back was from the Jewish forums. They were singularly the most intractable and would readily resort to underhanded tactics to try to gain any advantage (smears, threats, outing, harassment at work, etc.). Trying to discuss the Israel/Palestine conflict in any sort of balanced manner made you the equivalent of a "bomb thrower" and a target. People who had previously discussed issues rationally would become silent at the bullying as they agreed with the views, if not the tactics, of the bullies.

      This ultra-defensiveness only furthered my own resolve to dig deeper. The ultimate result was that I saw how one-sided the narrative was, how outright lies were presented (and largely accepted) as truth, and that intimidation, banning, and other means of suppressing contrasting viewpoints were in full force and became apparent at almost every level of discourse, including of course, the political debate whether in the media or on Capitol Hill.

      I have many fine individuals, authors, and progressive sites to thank for expanding my understanding, a good many of them Jewish ones (and boy does it help provide much needed support when being attacked as an anti-Semite for criticizing Israel, Zionism, or Jews - a hat tip to all you "self-haters" ;-). I also am wary of those many PEP sites and voices that will pretend to promote humanist principles but turn a blind eye towards injustices towards Palestinians due to Israeli/Zionist/Jewish exceptionalism. I have been banned from most of them for speaking more plainly and independently than their controlled narrative would allow. Uncovering those lies helped shine a light on all the other ways we are programmed to accept the prevailing narrative.

      Bottom line for me was that the Hasbara hard-sell did just the opposite. I was secure enough in my work and online presence to stand firm in the face of their hectoring (what another poster here described as puppies nipping at your socks), even when a former IDF fanatic from Van Nuys, CA threatened (and called for) violence against me at work (I gave his name to DHS though I imagine their sympathies probably lie more with his views - considering who their leadership has been).

      Thanks to all of you for sharing your own stories and histories. They are quite fascinating.

  • At NYU, Israel is held up as the model for US counter-terrorism effort
    • I attended this presentation by Michael Chertoff last year.

      link to

      He spouted a lot of boiler plate about how meticulously DHS walks the fine line between national security and Constitutional rights. I asked about the numerous instances of people erroneously placed on the DHS no-fly list and how could he pretend to be confident of DHS's ability to avoid trampling on the civil rights of US citizens in light of this reality.

      He flippantly brushed off the question by saying it's not as many names as people think, and that in these perilous times, it is far more prudent to err on the side of caution, even if some people are "inconvenienced."

      I found him a reprehensible and prevaricating individual. I was particularly incensed by this fatuous meme in the lecture announcement -

      His greatest successes have earned few headlines - because the important news is what didn't happen.

      Nonsense such as this could be used to excuse away virtually any government action. I got a taste of the US he was trying to bring about by the insane level of security that surrounded him and the fear memes that was meant to project.

      The attitude of most people present I spoke with was "Please don't create a police state on my account." He was treated with far too much courtesy and deference than I felt he deserved.

      Chertoff and Mukasey are prime examples of high level operatives with hidden agendas.

  • Uncle Sam = Jim Crow
    • I have been fortunate to have made the acquaintance of a USS Liberty officer (and author on the incident). He said the Israeli's were trying their utmost to ensure there were no survivor's but failed in that attempt because of the incredible heroism of the Liberty crew. No help ever arrived as the carrier fighters scrambled by the 6th Fleet were subsequently recalled. The Liberty could have easily gone under with no survivors to call BS on the Israeli claims of mistaken identity.

      Read how Israeli pilot Evan Toni admitted that Israel knew the identity of the ship (link to )
      Read the VFW article on the ordeal of the Liberty crew and their remarkable heroism ( link to ) and details of the betrayel by their own government ( link to ).

      Ask yourself who benefits to totally ignore and discount the heroics of these sailors, regardless of who was ultimately at fault. The Medal of Honor Capt. William McGonagle was awarded does not even list who the attackers were (every other MOH citation provides this information).

    • There is a whole "gotcha" industry built around bringing down the likes of a Helen Thomas and anyone else who might make Zionists cry, but the operatives and representatives of an entire country can utter the most loathesome and bigoted statements on a daily basis, and it doesn't even register.

      And yet there is claimed to be no lobby in action.


  • Blogging for the enemy
    • This is a perfect example of what makes this blog so valuable and interesting. The comment section routinely has observations every bit as profound and insightful as any of the featured pieces here. It is not only gratifying to read replies by like-minded people, but to have people provide experiences and perspectives that helps me broaden my own understanding in ways previously unimagined. My thanks to you all.

      I would also add my support for the moderators allowing passionate and even angry responses as they reflect a genuine expression that should not be unduly restricted.

  • Cold Turkey
    • And still, the memes put forth are meant to further diminish the reality perceived. Anytime I read something with a reference along these lines from a pro-Zionist or pro-Israeli site, it will say "the controversial" Walt & Mearsheimer paper, or "the controversial" Goldstone report, or "the controversial" Jimmy Carter book, in order to maintain the facade that their truthfulness and accuracy are in question.

      Expect to be hearing about "questionable" and "controversial" actions by the Turkish leadership or other Turkish organizations.

  • IDF soldiers convicted of using 11-year-old as human shield in Gaza
    • I would have added this part to the above but it seemed to be cause for a comment elsewhere to not get posted so I left it off to be safe.

      What I wanted to point out is the bravado and racism expressed in the popular IDF sniper t-shirt (not necessarily approved by the IDF themselves but with a similar sentiment to others that are sold at "official" sites) with the target on the pregant Arab woman's belly and the slogan, "One shot, two kills"

    • Two soldiers forced Palestinian child to open bags, feared to have been booby trapped, during Operation Cast Lead ... The conviction is the first such conviction for what is termed in the Israel Defense Forces 'neighbor procedure' -- the use of human shields during searches and pursuits, which has been outlawed.

      There's been documented cases of this already happening prior (even the semi-famous picture of a Palestinian boy being lashed to the hood of an Israeli jeep) and this is the _1st_ conviction of this?!?

      Wow! And yet the false meme will still persist that it is the Palestinians hiding behind their children. Anyone remember that creepy graphic with a "terrorist" hiding behind a baby carriage with the valiant IDF soldier with his rifle ready kneeling in front of the baby carriage on his side? It even gives the impression that the IDF soldier is holding off returning fire till he can get a clean shot.

  • Meeting Alan Dershowitz
    • Dershowitz tends to get "slapped around" by the general public as well as his "arguments" are shown to be largely without merit by anyone applying logic and consistency. Around the time of Dr. Finkelstein's tenure decision by De Paul, Dershowitz authored a couple of hit pieces on Huffington Post. The reader response was around ten to one against Alan's diatribes, and were well reasoned and not unduly caustic. The first essay had the comments shut down at 19, the second one at 23.

      This is the sort of filtering that the occupant of the Felix Frankfurter Chair at Harvard Law School requires to maintain the illusion of competence (that and the whitewashing of charges of plagiarism against him - see: link to ) .

      This is how a site that is thought of as a champion of progressive new media distorts the discussion. They are often referenced in other media as a source for their original pieces by contributors, yet are clearly guilty of not allowing their own readership to weigh in when it does not suit their agenda.

      Most of what Dershowitz writes can be deciphered by "the 180 rule." By simply inverting his claims, one can have a far greater grasp of reality than by taking him at face value.

      Dershowitz does for Israel what he does for his guilty defendants. He plants a seed of doubt in whatever argument he is up against, however implausible his line of reasoning. People looking for something, anything, to rationalize their owns views, can look to Dershowitz, and appeal to the authority of whatever twaddle the esteemed holder of the Felix Frankfurter Chair is peddling.

      It is as simple as that. It is not whose argument is stronger, but who gets to make the ruling on which side is declared as having the "strongest argument." That other arguments are too commonly shut out goes a long way towards perpetuating this ruse. It is not enough that some are aware that the emperor has no clothes, just as long as the majority are blissfully ignorant.

  • No wonder Americans are ignorant. . .
    • Yeah.

      Kind of takes all the sting out of the reality of the action. It's like saying "Injuries suffered from white phosphorus are widely regarded as an irritant to the skin, if the recipients of Israeli justice are to be believed."

  • Rosengarten, sole American on boat: It is Jew against Jew
    • I know it's sometimes hard to follow replies to past comments but I do hope you provide updates on your fact finding. It sounds quite fascinating. I know that the term "censorship" is used quite often when the gatekeeping only disallows certain views from a particular site, but the effect might as well be censorship as in most cases you are effectly silenced in a forum that might be responsive to a compelling rebuttal. The intra-Jewish discussion is also an interesting aspect as I've heard and seen (from online forum) that the exchange within Israel allows for a more open discussion of Zionism and the IP conflict whereas to take some of those same positions here automatically gets you labeled.

      If you can't include some of your material here, you could always provided a link or just write me at my Facebook page.

    • Oh, and here's one of the other bits of serious commentary.

      Why We Need Islamophobia
      link to
      This is an admirable attempt at tolerance and pluralism, the key values that make America America. But it overlooks some overwhelming realities. And those oversights may someday threaten America’s very existence.
      The Jewish threat was never real. There are roughly thirteen million Jews on the planet today, far less than the population of just one of Islam’s roughly 200 major cities–Cairo. But there are more Moslems on the planet than all of the world’s Americans and Europeans combined. In fact, there are nearly three times as many Moslems as Europeans and Americans. Think of that. Nearly three times as many.

      Not to mention the fact that there are 123 Moslems for every Jew.

      So apparently it's just a numbers games. They could just use the German propaganda footage of being overrun by rats for the video blog of this peice.

      And the incredulousness at their own leverage. "We're just a tiny little fraction of the whole. We couldn't even hurt a fly if we wanted to."

      This just seems like sophistry pure and simple.

    • This was directed to me, correct?

      What Horowitz's site regularly does is spout some really contentious nonsense from the get-go (the headline), and then proceeds to pretty much fly off the handle from there. I've noticed that they do less Israel stories themselves than before, but link to Frontpage mag and Jihad Watch instead. They make ludicrous and unsupported claims, and the peanut gallery chimes in. I got banned from there a while back by David Swindle claiming I was being rude. He just got tired of easily debunked twaddle being called out. Also look at the caliber of the commenters. A rogues gallery of yes men.

      Hell, Frontpage apparently can't even keep The Great War vs WWII straight.

      Britain’s Holocaust Secrets Revealed
      link to
      Following the end of WWI, the Jewish survivors of Hitler’s Holocaust were desperate to leave the European killing grounds for a new life in Jewish Palestine.

    • Btw, could you add David Horowitz's NewsReal blog (link to as one to keep an eye on as his stuff practically parodies itself?


    • Well, blog site Jewlicious is staying true to form. They block rational rebuttals (at least they're not altering my comments like they have done multiple times in the past). They did allow, to my surprise, a poster who says the captain of the ship is his father. That pretense of acting as if they provide an open forum is just part of their tapestry of lies. I'm curious if anyone else would be able to add comments.

      link to'

      As"ck" reminds us, "We're better than that."

  • Sailing into the storm
  • Jewish passengers to Gaza said to be detained in Ashdod, shaken but OK
  • Two conversations with Europeans in Jordan touch on Jewish fears re anti-Semitism
    • There are many things that seem troubling with or without the "context" said needed to interpret passages correctly. It certainly highlights the difficulties involved when quoting someone else's "sacred text." Groups quote Koranuic passages freely claiming that is all the proiof needed to condemn them by their own words. Yet if the same is done for Jewish or Xian verses, it is either dismissed or claimed to be proof of hatred and bigotry by those trying to cite the verses.

      The Yom Kippur prayer Kol Nidre is said to release one from promises and contracts, and is referenced by many anti-Jewish sites as proof of their perfidy. Apologetic sites claim a misinterpretation, yet some Jews have advocated for it to be removed, and some reform groups have done so.

      It seems about as rational as debating how many angels can dance on the head of a pin. Some rabbis have written that there are no "innocents" when it comes to protecting Jews, as well as any non-Jew can be killed if to not do so would put a Jewish life in danger.

      That starts a debate on whether those making such rulings are mainstream or not, as if doctrinal text submits itself to populist approval.

      Bottom line for me is one of the reasons I went with atheism. It is an opportunity to find my own path without claims that the roadmap insisted on by others comes from a Divine source.

  • A history lesson in Jerusalem
  • What is Israel's goal in the peace talks - three states for two peoples?
  • American public opinion and the special relationship with Israel
  • How Israel views its public relations problem
    • True.

      “Be the change you want to see in the world.” ~ Mahatma Gandhi

    • I wrote a longer post that failed to go up but I'll just say I'm not surprised, if serious, that DKos would use such heavy handed tactics. Before getting banned from PuffHo if I felt someone was exhibiting the usual traits (hit & run, belligerent, no substance, continuing with refuted talking points, etc...), I'd just respond, "Megaphone much?"

    • I know that the Israelis consider white phosphorus to go with flesh, but what does red, violet, and black phosphorus go with? Concrete?

    • From an article in the Forward - Einstein and Complex Analyses of Zionism - link to

      Einstein supported a “homeland” for Jews in Palestine, but he opposed a Jewish state “with borders, an army, and a measure of temporal power.” Since two-thirds of the population of Palestine consisted of Arabs, he preferred bi-national status with “continuously functioning, mixed, administrative, economic, and social organizations.” Only cooperation with Arabs, led by “educated, spiritually alert” Jewish workers, he wrote, “can create a dignified and safe life….

      What saddens me is less the fact that the Jews are not smart enough to understand this, but rather, that they are not just smart enough to want it.”

    • I'm surprised that neither the ad nor the site had any reference whatsoever to the GIYUS Megaphone project. I thought that was one of their premiere approaches for sharing the truth about Israel in the world and the blogosphere.

      I've often shown up at sites because a topic/person was on my Google alert (Norman Finkelstein, USS Liberty, etc.) and have mentioned such in my comments before. Yet I have never once seen anyone admit they were directed to a particular site from Megaphone or are a Megaphone participant. I guess they feel they'll get more PR benefit out of it if they're seen as "just plain folks."

      This is rarely mentioned in ongoing discussions at any site, though it clearly distorts the exchanges.

      Interesting write-up on it here:

      Ten Tips For Dealing With GIYUS -- link to

  • Jewish groups denounce ‘Museum of Tolerance’ builder Simon Wiesenthal Center for support of Islamophobia
    • from: link to

      The Simon Wiesenthal Center’s stated purpose is “confronting anti-Semitism, hate and terrorism, promoting human rights and dignity, standing with Israel, defending the safety of Jews worldwide, and teaching the lessons of the Holocaust.” Rabbi Marvin Hier established the Center as a tax-exempt foundation in 1977 with a major grant from Canadian financier Samuel Belzberg and arranged with Simon Wiesenthal to have the famous Austrian Nazi-hunter’s name put on the project.

      Hier’s foundation flourished, and by 1993 enough new money was raised to build an imposing Museum of Tolerance, dedicated to fighting “bigotry and racism.” The museum became the Wiesenthal Center’s public face and educational arm. Los Angeles had proven to be an excellent spot to solicit public and private contributions, and it afforded Hier many opportunities to work with the movie industry.

      When the Wiesenthal Center comes to Israel’s defense, any pretense of “promoting human rights” and “tolerance” or fighting “bigotry and racism” is immediately put aside. The organization’s mission statement is partially suspended. Hier uses the Holocaust and charges of anti-Semitism to attempt to silence any criticism of Israel, thus making the Center a collaborator with Israeli invasions, occupations, and human rights abuses. Nazi genocide is transformed into a very effective political weapon and powerful fund-raising tool. As Samuel Belzberg noted, “Jewish education and all the other familiar buzzwords no longer serve to rally Jews behind the community. The Holocaust, though, works every time.”

  • Israeli intel firm behind Pennsylvania's 'terror' bulletins on peace, environment, LGBT groups
    • It can be arguably said that J. Edgar Hoover was the most powerful man of the 20th century because he had the dirt on everybody and knew how to use that leverage.

      These cases of eavesdropping and the like are also directed at anyone who can be blackmailed. What sort of deal could we make with Israel to spill the dirt on all of our elite - political and otherwise? It might help use clean out the stables.

      It's okay. You're very lucky -- my brother FREDO operates this place, he was called before anyone. If this had happened someplace else, we couldn't've helped you..


      I -- when I woke up, I was on the floor -- and I don't know how it happened.


      You can't remember?


      I passed out.

      [He stands up and moves over the bed where we see a bloody dead girl.]

      I -- I'll fix it.

      [He unties the girl's hand from the bed post.]

      Just a game.

      [He takes a towel and begins to wipe up the blood that is all over her. He looks at the towel and wipes off his hands.]

      Jesus, Jesus.

      [He begins to cry. As he does, TOM looks over at NERI who is wiping his hands in the bathroom.]

      Jesus, God -- Oh, God. I don't know -- and I can't understand -- why I can't remember.


      You don't have to remember -- just do as I say. We're putting a call into your office -- explain that you'll be there tomorrow afternoon -- you decided to spend the night at Michael Corleone's house in Tahoe -- as his guest.


      I do remember that she was laughing...we'd done it before -- and I know that I couldn't've hurt -- that girl


      This girl has no family -- nobody knows that she worked here. It'll be as if she never existed. All that's left is our friendship.

  • The pharaoh of Jerusalem
  • Brooklyn-Jenin: Reports from Udi Aloni
  • Crossing into Israel: 'two highly-charged narratives'
    • Canadian journalist and author, Gwynne Dyer, in his PBS series "War" noted (paraphrasing) "that everyone was againt war as long as time was frozen at that point they had already gotten what they want."

      That's the same reason that Israel decries terrorism now, but rationalized it prior.

    • I like Phil's wife's observations as they somewhat mirror my own pre-9/11.

      I grew up on WWII documentaries. Seeing the horror of the camps was enough to assure most that anything done to help survivors gain some security in the world was both necessary and just. From there the story pretty much fast forwards (with a quick stop at "Exodus" to plant the meme that the first attempt was to share the land and that turning away refugee ships essentially forced the hand of incoming Jews) to Jews returning to their "roots" and the inhospitable Arabs/Muslims bent on their further oppression and subjugation if not outright destruction. They "selfishly" did not want European Jews to be the new overlords of the region as they feared what might happen from a loss of autonomy.

      Seems their fears were justified. I didn't really get what I thought was a clear view until after 9/11. I felt as this region was going to be a major part of our focus from here on in, I needed to learn more about it. It didn't take very much scratching the surface to see just how terribly one-sided the narrative was. I also learned how even trying to ask the right questions at various sites brought about immediate responses from gatekeepers and 5th columnists. The amount of gatekeeping done in an attempt to keep the "official narrative" intact is truly mind blowing.

      I am grateful to a large number of insightful, thoughtful voices, particularly Jewish ones, to cut through the layers of distortions and untruths. They are valued as genuine teachers as they are able to make one confident about one's grasp of the issues at hand, resulting in a multiplier effect. People online have mentioned to me before that normally they would lurk but would feel bold enough to come forward seeing someone else wade through the sh!tstorm and stand firm for justice.

      It feels good to take off the blinders and be more aware of what is actually going on, though obviously frustrating especially considering the resentment and resistance from those happily ignorant or knowing the truth but ignoring it to further their own agenda.

      ”Washing one's hands of the conflict between the powerful and the powerless means to side with the powerful, not to be neutral.” ~ Paulo Freire

      I also find these two essays fascinating. The one by King Abdullah would barely be possible today as no such rational counterpoint would make it past the MSM gatekeepers.

      "As the Arabs see the Jews"
      His Majesty King Abdullah,
      The American Magazine
      November, 1947

      link to


      I have the impression that many Americans believe the trouble in Palestine is very remote from them, that America had little to do with it, and that your only interest now is that of a humane bystander.
      I believe that you do not realise how directly you are, as a nation, responsible in general for the whole Zionist move and specifically for the present terrorism. I call this to your attention because I am certain that if you realise your responsibility you will act fairly to admit it and assume it.


      Anti-Semitism and the Beirut Pogrom - Fredy Perlman

      See: link to


      The trick of declaring war against the armed resistance and then attacking the resisters' unarmed kin as well as the sur¬rounding population with the most gruesome products of Death-Science ó this trick is not new. American Pioneers were pioneers in this too; they made it standard practice to declare war on indigenous warriors and then to murder and burn villages with only women and children in them. This is already modern war, what we know as war against civilian populations; it has also been called, more candidly, mass murder or genocide.

      Maybe I shouldn't be surprised that the perpetrators of a Pogrom portray themselves as the victims, in the present case as victims of the Holocaust.

      Herman Melville noticed over a century ago, in his analysis of the metaphysics of Indian-hating, that those who made a full-time profession of hunting and murdering indigenous people of this continent always made themselves appear, even in their own eyes, as the victims of manhunts.

      The use the Nazis made of the International Jewish Conspiracy is better known: during all the years of atrocities defying belief, the Nazis considered themselves the victimized.

      It's as if the experience of being a victim gave exemption from human solidarity, as if it gave special powers, as if it gave a license to kill.

    • A poetry of precision you have. And no empty calories be they.

  • Hillel prepares from another year of BDS on campus
    • I can sum what I consider Hillel's intellectual sophistication by the experience I had as advisor to the student atheist group. I spoke with their campus sponsor about trying to bring Dr. Norman Finkelstein as part of a panel discussion on the I/P conflict with Hillel as one of the co-sponsors with a panelist of their choice.

      The entirety of his response in declining the proposal was, "Alan Dershowitz doesn't like him."

      A further bit of insight on this matter was that several years later, the group "Students for Justice in Palestine" was able to bring Dr. Finkelstein to campus to speak (twice so far), and that the complaint from Hillel and others was that the events would be terribly one-sided as they were not invited to provide a counter-argument.

      I pointed out how those were surely crocodile tears as they had previously been given every opportunity to participate and declined in no uncertain terms.

  • Peretz issues 50 percent apology for latest anti-Muslim racism
    • Good point. If she had only uttered, "The Palestinians need to go back to Jordan. That's what they are anyway."

      Time and again I hear Z-team apologists state that Palestinians do not exist, but rather they are merely low-grade Jordanians and as such, need to go back to from whence they came (Jordan). This "from whence they came" is used in the same manner as "I am from Africa" via the mitochondrial Eve.

    • Maybe it’s more in his lower intestines (though it comes out his mouth)?

    • I think they consider it still PC to make fun of fat people...but that's about it.

  • Remembering Gaza
    • I'll use the terminology from Huffington Post (which I was permanently banned from on 9/11) for your wonderfully insightful comment:

      "Fanned & Faved!"

    • It was probably former US Marine Ken O'Keefe.

      "All I saw in Israel was cowards with guns."

      see: link to

      You are right about KO. Does much more than most (how unbelievably low *that* bar is set?), but could be doing much more.

    • And, I should have known better than to venture into yet another Pavlovian invocation.

      And yet you do with annoying frequency. Just don't respond to the bells you are hearing.

      I will NOT invest in your anger. I will NOT invest in retributionary sentiment in any form.

      Yeah. No reason to be angry about wanton slaughter. And to seek to hold persons and their government leadership accountable for such acts is just misplaced sentiment, no matter the form of retribution (that's why Israel declares even sternly worded admonishments the same as driving them into the sea).

    • I often deal with what I call "compassion fatigue." It is so easy to get paralyzed by the anger and sadness over tragic deaths, even when not personally connected to them. As you pointed out, in order to try to handle them emotionally, you try to keep your focus on the long term aims. But as you also observed, these emotions will come to the surface by any number of triggers. For me, I often find the tears flow when I watch a program about truth-tellers who stand their ground despite the personal costs (The Insider, Flash of Genius, Bright and Shining Lie) because of the deeply felt rage contained just below the surface over just how much we are lied to about things vital to trivial.

      And when it's a program with graphic footage of people being hurt and killed, I have to hold my hand out to block the screen for a time as seeing so much misery would otherwise cause me to shut down from an emotional overload.

      Sadly, too many people I know block it out entirely in order not to deal with it at all. They'll insulate and isolate themselves from any information that might cause them discomfort.

      It's as former First Lady Barbara Bush said of the war in Iraq: "Why should we hear about body bags and deaths? It's not relevant. So why should I waste my beautiful mind on something like that?"

  • 91 year old, and his grandson, among three farm workers killed by Israeli shells in Gaza
    • For additional insight as to how the very sanctity of the buffer zone trumps all else, remember this story.

      Not Guilty: Israeli Soldier Shot Palestinian Girl 17 Times

      From: link to


      An Israeli army officer, who killed a 13-year-old Palestinian girl by shooting her 17 times, has been acquitted on all charges by an Israeli military court.
      Last year, Iman al-Hams walked into a security zone at an Israeli army post along the Gaza Strip border, an area forbidden for all non-military personnel. She was also carrying a backpack, which is a common carrying-case for explosives for suicide bombers.

      A soldier in a watchtower saw the girl, and radioed troops on the ground. In a recording obtained by an Israeli television station, the soldier describes Iman as "a little girl" who was "scared to death." Troops opened fire. She dropped the bag and started running. They then fired at the bag, establishing that it did not contain explosives. The recording reveals she was running away from the army post when she was shot.

      An officer identified only as "Captain R" moved in for "confirmation of the kill," which is apparently standard procedure. But Palestinian witnesses say while she was lying on the ground, Capt. R opened fire at the girl, emptying his weapon.

      On the tape, Captain R "clarifies" to the soldiers under his command why he killed Iman: "This is commander. Anything that's mobile, that moves in the (security) zone, even if it's a three-year-old, needs to be killed."

      Captain R was not charged with her killing, rather he was charged with illegal use of his weapon, conduct unbecoming an officer and perverting the course of justice by asking soldiers under his command to alter their accounts of the incident.

      Captain R claimed he did not fire the shots at the girl, only near her. But Dr. Mohammed al-Hams, who inspected the child's body, counted numerous wounds.

      "She has at least 17 bullets in several parts of the body, all along the chest, hands, arms, legs," he told the British newspaper the Guardian shortly afterwards. "The bullets were large and shot from a close distance. The most serious injuries were to her head. She had three bullets in the head. One bullet was shot from the right side of the face beside the ear. It had a big impact on the whole face."

      Following the verdict, Captain R burst into tears, turned to the public benches and said: "I told you I was innocent."

      Israel often points to the terrorist actions of Hamas or Palestinian leadership such as Arafat to drive home the point about the unrepentantly violent and aggressive nature of those they face. Yet Israel's terrorism has always been an official arm of the state and they reserve sole power and discretion to reprimand or not as they see fit. Looking the other way over even the most egregious incidents send the message that cover will always be more important than justice. Captain R retaining his anonymity is yet but another way in which he can blend back into the woodwork of "respectable" society.

      Not very hard to do as he did not “murder”, but rather only faced charges for illegal use of his weapon - and having the nerve to try to get others to lie about it. Considering typical IDF behavior regularly approved, you'd think this would earn him the Israeli equivalent of the Medal of Freedom.

      Heckuva job, Capt. R!

    • Israel's buffer zones always seem to expand so that even the buffer zone has its own buffer zone. And anyone in it gets an automatic death tank rounds no less!?!

      If they were settlers this would be all over the news. I'm guessing this won't be (cuz it was like, you know, justified and stuff).

  • TIME on the Corrie trial: 'it has already validated anew Richard Nixon's timeless observation that it is the cover-up that does you in'
    • I think the beginnings of "the great purge" are going on right now at The Huffington Post. I just got an immediate ban after commenting to former Amb. Marc Ginsberg that he was just tacking on a new enemies list to get more mileage out of 9/11 blood spilt and invested.

      see: 9/11/10 -- Unfinished Business Take #9 -- link to

  • Meeting 3 U.S. officers who are angered by the special relationship
    • There is an axiom that says, "Going to war is how Americans learn geography."

      I just got defriended on Facebook by a long time acquaintance of former school mates. She's always had gopper blinders on, drank the rethuglican kool-aid, and sadly seems to be more often than not, generous portions of hatred and ignorance. Her Facebook postings are fairly insipid though relatively innocuous. She doesn't read any commentary or op-eds, but considers herself a "news junkie." So after seeing a cable channel program on the reconstruction delays at Ground Zero, she went full on Pam Atlas wishing all them bastards to rot in hell and suggested "we" turn the entire Middle East into a "mud pie(?)". I'm assuming her wrath was only directed at the Arabs/Muslims/Persians and not the other band of Semites.

      She considers herself xian and "moderate" rethuglican and I posted on her page that I felt her call to genocide under the banner of xian love a little harsh even for her. That only a severely emotionally crippled person would feel that because of her outrage regarding the deaths of thousands of innocent people over a political beef, the proper response was to kill thousands and thousands of innocent people over a political beef. Seems like the height of moral bankruptcy.

      She immediately pulled the plug and wrote (without my ability to respond) that it's in her profile she doesn't debate issues (Gee, no wonder), and that she will not allow me to make 9/11 "political" (as if wholesale slaughter - overheated rhetoric or not - is not an insanely political act).

      Sadly, I know far too many people like her full of righteous indignation over the b-listers of the planet making life difficult for the a-listers. Her attitude is basically, "Kill them all and let God sort it out." Anyone who would try to make her feel guilty over her murderous cruelty just isn't a "real" American.

      I say good riddance as I am more than willing to walk away from those defiantly proud of their failure as human beings.

    • Kurt Vonnegut once remarked that his best short story was one he never wrote. It was titled "Concentration Camp Psychiatrist" -- When the guards of the camp would come to the doctor and tell him they were being driven crazy by how awful they felt over their responsibility for the all the death and misery surrrounding them, the doctor would reassure them that they were doing a great service for the fatherland, and though it was normal to have these feelings, to try not to dwell on them by remembering how much everyone appreciated their efforts.

  • Eyewitness to the Nakba
    • They lived there for thousands of years without any changes, and the only thing that happened to them was the disaster of the Nakba in “Tashah” [1948]. Because we didn’t come to collect taxes, we came to inherit the land from foreigners.

      Now that's a definition of "foreigners" that I was previously unfamiliar with.

  • Are the settlers civilians?
    • What comes to mind for me in the "Are the settlers civilians?" question is to compare the rationale used when Palestinian deaths in Gaza are of civilians/non-combatants.

      It is a world of Alice in Wonderland/Through the Looking Glass. Words and rules can mean anything they want them to mean; no more, no less.

      The argument is made that since the people of Gaza voted for Hamas, that they are fair game and deserve what they get as Hamas is a terrorist group, and by extension, their support of a terrorist group and terrorist tactics make them terrorists to. Additionally, they are shielding the legitimate targets of the IDF which makes their deaths their own fault. Children are viewed as taking part in the violence with rock throwing, making them terrorists who will grow up to use more lethal means in their attacks.

      Palestinian civilians who would sneak through barriers, sneak around checkpoints, be out past curfew, be on roads closed to them, talk back to an IDF soldier, try to defend themselves somehow against an onslaught of Israeli abuses from civilian, to bureaucrat, to politician, to religious leader, to soldier, even if by only mouthing off, Palestinians who would try to engage in their livelihood of fishing, or farming, or harvesting their olive groves, or going to their construction jobs, Palestinians engaged in peaceful protest, or seeking redress of grievances through the legal system, or smuggling goods, or digging tunnels, or painting revolutionary any moment, in the blink of an eye...any of these individuals could be considered subject to the death penalty (particularly when deemed accidental or unintended) by an Israeli of just about any status from lowly private to regular citizen.

      Should that execution somehow be seen as unwarranted, it is likely that the repercussions will be negligible. It will be excused as the type of things that happen in a (perpetual) war zone, or when tensions are so great...and the tensions will always be great because Israelis always have a valid reason to be fearful. In the legal world, being in reasonable fear for your life allows for defense using lethal force. Israel has taken this one step further. Fear from existential threats, seen as reasonable, allows for lethal force, collective punishment, and perpetration of war crimes. These actions can be taken even when just to send a message that Israel is tough, regardless if the actions are directed at the actual perceived threat.

      Any attempts to use these rationales in an across the board manner are rejected. After multiple terror attacks by Jews seeking the formation of a Jewish state (often attempting to have Arabs blamed for the bombings and murderous attacks), Israelis took possession by force and by theft, but possession is 9/10ths the law, and besides, the UN said it was OK. Living in Israel, on stolen land, and supporting the theft by vote, by taxes, by taking an active part in the conquest by occupying the stolen land, by military training and serving in the IDF actively or in the reserves, by acquiescing to the brutality, the abuses, the segregation, the apartheid system, reaping all the rewards of the prior thefts and currents injustices, still allows for clean hands and clean consciences, as you are not actually pulling the trigger yourself, even if you cheer on (and even watch the carnage from ringside seats) those who are actually are pulling the triggers, dropping the bombs, firing the artillery and mortars, launching the missiles, firing the torpedoes, the incendiaries, the white phosphorus, the DIME weapons, the tear gas canisters, the rubber bullets, the breaking down doors, the arrests, the beatings, the imprisonment, the harassment, the search and destroy missions, the house takeovers as command posts, forward operating bases, the trashing of homes, the fouling of cisterns, the thefts of property, the debasement, the throwing of garbage, the intimidation an attacks on Palestinian school children, the racist writings and pronouncements of politicians, and religious leaders, the routing of sewage and toxic sludge…those whose very presence and claims about the inalienable right of the Jewish state to do whatever is necessary to remain an exclusively Jewish state, are also at the same time granted full protections as civilians, not involved in actual combat but whose actions are essential in achieving the goals the military force seeks to finalize and permanently maintain.

      I think the big question will be how to classify those Israelis seeking peaceful coexistence and justice and equality in the midst of this chaos of the full spectrum (mild to severe) of violence and oppression.

      Rejecting the Israeli claims, or worse, mounting any sort of defense - makes you a terrorist. Wanting to come back to reclaim your property - makes you irrational. Having anger towards those who took your property or kill your family, friends, and neighbors - makes you a bigot. Wanting to use force to eject the thieves from your property - makes you an angry irrational bigot. And actually using force, or attempting to do so - makes you a bigoted, irrational, hateful bloodthirsty terrorist whose violent death should be given no more concern than one would have for shooting a rabid dog in the street. Insisting that you will never give up on achieving justice and returning to your land - makes you a kook against peaceful resolution of the conflict due to your irrational hatred of Jews and the desire to destroy Israel.
      And not listening to Israel’s defenders telling you to “lie back and think of England” - makes you and enemy of the planet, subjecting you to the very earnest discussion of what is to be done with you (while purposely excluding you from the discussion).

      Did I leave anything out? Did I misrepresent anything? I don’t know. I guess I got distracted thinking about how much handwringing must be done over four people who lost their lives in a region that is known for senseless violence and death on an insanely regular basis. Deaths are frequently categorized as justified or not. Those that are not can be further excused as collateral damage, mistakes, the cost or survival, etc. Those that on rare occasions rise to the level of murder, slaughter, mass killings, attempts at genocide…even have their apologists. Rare exceptions, lone wolves, not representative of policy, fog of war, misidentification, temporarily blinded by rage, religious fanatic, victim bent on revenge, to send a message, understandable in light of the conflict, hero lashing out at the enemies of Israel…all have been used to downplay some outrage or atrocity or another.

      But instead, if it is determined that settlers are civilians, then their killers did an unconscionable thing. Furthermore, their act diminishes the legitimacy of Palestinians in general and weakens their position as partners for peace, particularly at a time of the latest attempts to negotiate a peace.

      As the meme goes, "The Palestinians never miss a chance to miss a chance." Even when it can be said, ”mistakes were made,” you can be sure it will be the Palestinians whose “mistakes” will be judged as indicative of their unsuitability as peace partners. Israeli mistakes are only those forced upon them by Palestinian aggression.

      “Heads we win, tails you lose.”

  • Ken Loach and Arundhati Roy are latest narrators of Goldstone Report
    • I'm lucky to have read the WittyWordsmithing (when "blah, blah, blah" gets alternate spellings) so that instead of thinking that the report was meant to highlight the sheer raw brutality Operation Cast Lead unleashed on innocent people and non-combatants, I can see it for the fraudulent emotional appeal from a dyed-in-the-wool Israel hater like Goldstone. Check his birth certificate because he might be some sort of Manchurian Candidate type mole that was meant to be sprung at the right time.

  • Trying to enter Gaza-- and my embassy gives me an appointment in 10 days
    • For some related travel reading, "Last Chance to See" by Douglas Adams recounts his experience with intractable border and customs officials (some insanely funny while at the same time scary and frustrating).

  • The settler killings-- morality and effectiveness
  • I.F. Stone supported state force to kill a racist movement before it poisoned society
    • from: link to

      Russell even mentions Stone.

      Bertrand Russell
      On Israel and Bombing

      The latest phase of the undeclared war in the Middle East is based upon a profound miscalculation. The bombing raids deep into Egyptian territory will not persuade the civilian population to surrender, but will stiffen their resolve to resist. This is the lesson of all aerial bombardment. The Vietnamese who have endured years of American heavy bombing have responded not by capitulation but by shooting down more enemy aircraft. In 1940 my own fellowcountrymen resisted Hitler's bombing raids with unprecedented unity and determination. For this reason, the present Israeli attacks will fail in their essential purpose, but at the same time they must be condemned vigorously throughout the world.

      The development of the crisis in the Middle East is both dangerous and instructive. For over 20 years Israel has expanded by force of arms. After every stage in this expansion Israel has appealed to "reason" and has suggested "negotiations". This is the traditional role of the imperial power, because it wishes to consolidate with the least difficulty what it has already taken by violence. Every new conquest becomes the new basis of the proposed negotiation from strength, which ignores the injustice of the previous aggression. The aggression committed by Israel must be condemned, not only because no state has the right to annexe foreign territory, but because every expansion is an experiment to discover how much more aggression the world will tolerate.

      The refugees who surround Palestine in their hundreds of thousands were described recently by the Washington journalist I.F. Stone as "the moral millstone around the neck of world Jewry." Many of the refugees are now well into the third decade of their precarious existence in temporary settlements. The tragedy of the people of Palestine is that their country was "given" by a foreign Power to another people for the creation of a new State. The result was that many hundreds of thousands of innocent people were made permanently homeless. With every new conflict their number have increased. How much longer is the world willing to endure this spectacle of wanton cruelty? It is abundantly clear that the refugees have every right to the homeland from which they were driven, and the denial of this right is at the heart of the continuing conflict. No people anywhere in the world would accept being expelled en masse from their own country; how can anyone require the people of Palestine to accept a punishment which nobody else would tolerate? A permanent just settlement of the refugees in their homeland is an essential ingredient of any genuine settlement in the Middle East.

      We are frequently told that we must sympathize with Israel because of the suffering of the Jews in Europe at the hands of the Nazis. I see in this suggestion no reason to perpetuate any suffering. What Israel is doing today cannot be condoned, and to invoke the horrors of the past to justify those of the present if gross hypocrisy. Not only does Israel condemn a vast number of refugees to misery; not only are many Arabs under occupation condemned to military rule; but also Israel condemns the Arab nations only recently emerging from colonial status, to continued impoverishment as military demands take precedence over national development.

      All who want to see an end to bloodshed in the Middle East must ensure that any settlement does not contain the seeds of future conflict. Justice requires that the first step towards a settlement must be an Israeli withdrawal from all the territories occupied in June, 1967. A new world campaign is needed to help bring justice to the long-suffering people of the Middle East.

  • Palestinian guns - redux
    • I think it would be accurate to say that the settlers themselves "hide behind civilians" (the family members they use as placeholders in their land theft) or with regard to their clearly paramilitary wing, "hide behind the pretense of being civilians."

  • 'Do you know how hard I work to control the rage inside of me?'
    • I couldn't really make out the young man's question. Finkelstein intitially responds, "You know I didn't attend". My hearing and the sound quality both have problems. It appears there might have been a bit of showbaoting on Finkelstein's part there, but just as any mention of Hezbollah or Hamas is meant to be damning enough all by itself, they want the Iran Holocaust conference to be in the same catagory. I am not a denier or a revisionist, but I don't like that allowable historical research (and particularly findings) are legislated and that the wrong views can get you jailed. Thought crimes are not the mark of a free and open society.

      Whatever you think about the official 9/11 narrative, imagine that falling under the same statutes.

    • Dr. Norman Finkelstein, one of the most soft spoken lecturers I've ever seen, occassionally has his rage unleashed. At his several of his recent talks on Operation Cast Lead and the assault on gaza ("This Time We Went Too Far"), students in opposition to the facts he was presenting would stand up during the Q&A and explain that they had family members killed in the Holocaust and how dare he try to excuse the actions of murderers and thugs and take the side of terrorists. They further accused him of working with terror groups for the destruction of Israel by his dissemination of accounts unfavorable to Israel (basically Alan Dershowitz talking points).

      You could see the fuse being lit as this quiet and gentle man was roused to an animated passion as he recounted the circumstances in the camps that his parents escaped when most all the rest of his relatives did not, and that he would not sit idly by as their memories were tarnished by those who would use their deaths and tragedy as an excuse to brutalize some other group without the power needed to fully prevent what was being done to them.

      Yes, I saw his rage; at the lies, the injustice, the hypocrisy...but it was not an irrational rage. It was the outrage we all should be experiencing in the face of such wanton oppression. He continued with his very calm responses to the questions that weren't loaded, and the opposition group left en masse, to give the appearance of being disgusted with his viewpoints, but in truth because they could not counter his assertions, because he had truth and the facts on his side.

      It is an unphill battle countering so many false memes, and I myself drift between abject pessimism to cautious optimism. More people are speaking out and coming out of the woodwork to express their support (unthinkable just a short time ago). I hope this will be enough to shift the dynamic.

      YouTube vids available showing examples of the above - Search "Dr. F and the crying girl" or see his full lecture from USC (with Q&A) on above topic available online.

  • Hamas attack was wrong
    • I thought the same thing but read later they took credit for the killings (though as we know, this is also not always definitive -- spokes-terrorist calls - "Hi, I'm from Hamas. Do you have Prince Albert in a can?") .

    • Yeah, the "moral" kill from great distances using high explosives and incendiaries (white phosphorus) lobbed into densely populated civilian areas. That way, when there is a horrific and stomach churning picture of a dead toddler with her head poking through the rubble, we can all shrug and opine, "It can't be helped."

    • I tend to agree. I remember many years ago (before coming to a revised understanding of the conflict) reading a piece about an attack on a settler home where everyone in the house was shot and killed, even a baby in its crib. I thought how reprehensible, and violent, and brutal the act was and that it was clearly enough to determine that one side was nothing more than vicious, cold, merciless killers.

      I didn't even know what a "settler" was. That the settlers, using force of arms and the power of the state drove someone else off (men, women, children, babies), deprived them of their homes, livelihood, and dignity, or killed them, or jailed them for protesting (or killed them), or condemned them for fighting back (or killed them), or for fighting back the wrong way (or killed them), or for not agreeing to the peace of the oppressor (who continued to kill them), or for electing those who the oppressor objected to (by killing them), or for complaining that the power structure that they had decimated could not control the more radical elements among them (so it killed more of them).

      Israel will not say definitively what part of the country is theirs (the default being pretty much all of it). Until they do, it is not unreasonable for the Palestinians to feel justified in attempting to repel the invader. It is even more clear cut in the case of the settlers. This is not some far flung outpost on the edge of the barbarian zone. This is a push to put down roots, and build homes and family in a not-so-slow-motion encroachment of land that is not theirs; Zionist lebensraum. The policy has for decades been, "steal first, apologize later" (with the "apology" portion being most often disregarded).

      Anybody's life needlessly cut short is tragic, but though it is the Arabs about whom it is said, "the only thing they understand is violence", it seems "pain compliance" (a police tactic used to get combative suspects to cease) has been more effective in forcing Israel to shed its delusions (that they can commit their theft bloodlessly), then playing into the rigged game of not wanting "peace" when it means surrendering to Israel everything it wants. The calls for peace and non-violence have provided cover to continue the theft. Attempts at non-violent activism are countered with violently dispensed death and maiming.

      If every single action is interpreted as proof of the desire to wipe Israel off the map, does it even matter what the action ultimately is?

  • Don't jump to conclusions about who staged yesterday's attack
  • The Israel lobby will be televised
    • This is the type of thing that gets filtered from almost all sites but I often ask others to consider it.

      Imagine all Arab/Palestinian/Muslim panels discussions on dominant Arab/Palestinian/Muslim news outlets of the Israeli/Jewish mind and the Israeli/Jewish problem, and the Israeli/Jewish propensity towards violence and terrorism, and the Israeli/Jewish ability to garner the most media sympathy, and that the time has come for the A/P/Ms to deal conclusively with the I/Js as the I/Js are the cause of terrorism in the world. The A/P/M representatives are notmoderates by far, but rather connected to and supportive of some of the most extreme elements of A/P/M colonialism. The A/P/Ms would not deal with the I/Js, and would kill I/J representatives they didn't like, and would take the lead on any accepted resolution as the I/Js have clearly become the A/P/M man's burden.

      Most people, given this scenario, could come to the conclusion on their own that it was a tad one-sided and that justice was not served in depriving the other side self-determination by not allowing them to represent their own views and needs.

  • Israel vs Israel
    • Everytime I have to deal with someone claiming I have an intense and blanket hatred of Jews, I think of how much love and appreciation I have for these ethically motivated Jewish activists that choose to do the right thing, despite the censure and condemnation of their peers. They are sisters and brothers of another mother. I often respond that their problem is that I value and respect the "wrong" Jews from their perspective.

  • Americans, what do you think of this choice?
  • Signed sealed delivered I'm yours
    • Well, because words have meaning. You should try it sometime.

    • Unless the $25,000 seats at table were with the governor of Pennsylvania, or some other current governer of another state, it is not proper protocol to refer to her as Governor Palin. Proper address is "The Honorable Sarah Palin" or "Former Governor Palin" or "Ms. Sarah Palin, former Governer of Alaska", NOT Governer Palin. Only the titles for President and Senator of a state (not senators of the state legislature) are retained after office.

      These people paid 25k to sit at the "former governer's" table. Don't matter if she quit, was impeached, thrown in jail, finished her term, or passed on while in office -- she ain't guv'nor of nuttin' no more.

  • 'How to kill goyim and influence people'
    • What you've suggested is asking the *impossible* and would most likely cause more bloodshed and violence than ever before in history.

      You want faith groups (each within their own "kind" apparantly) to determine what the proper interpretations of the sacred texts are. Will you lump Catholics and Protestants together? If not, how many variations on Protestantism? Where to LDS fit? How many variations on Mormonism?

      You gone from merely annoying to something far more out of touch.

      What will you do with new revelations?

      It's all just ludicrous.

    • But it also means they leave the dirty work of baby killing up to others; they just cheer them on and provide the approval from sacred texts.

    • Can we then agree that sectarians should have no say in how the secular world addresses issues as their approach would always insert their invisible buddy with the attendant dogma?

      Seems fair.

    • It's one of the reasons I find it hypocritical to highlight Koranic passages, and not do the same for Jewish law, and bible verses.

      While it's true that the degree varies as to how radical these interpetations of sacred text get, and how widespread these fundamentalist interpretations are - their is no denying that anyone's "holy book" put under the microscope reveals unpleasant instructions.

      Clearly, it is the actions and rhetoric of adherents that is to be judged, and the extent that the religious and civic power structure accept and condone, or condemn and reject such actions and rhetoric. There is plenty of blame to go around in that regard, as well as a lot to commend - from each belief group.

      Not surprisingly, I had heard nothing myself (that I remember) about the actions of Jack Teitel or the attempted murder of historian Sternhell (and that's as someone who tries to stay current on I/P issues).

  • Advocates for 3 U.S. hikers captured by Iran spotlight their leftwing activism
    • Its a dilemma as to how to advocate for real social justice in a place like that, without endangering many.

      And a coup will create great suffering and strife for decades after because of unintended consequences. Maybe a good reason to stay out of it and let the people of a given nation determine their course themselves. Bombing Iran into a Western friendly political structure is just more of the previous insanity. Might just further radicalize the region.

    • Imagine how the death toll could have been avoided or reduced had the Shah not been installed by coup. It is also telling your mention of the deaths and injustices post-Shah, but not a word of the Shah's history of torture and murder, nor the undemocratic nature of his rise to power.

      Do you feel you need to be so dishonestly selective of your facts to try to support your positions?

      Could that be an indication that your positions are somewhat weak to begin with?

      Why not a "warts and all" examination? Do you at least concede that prior abuses, missteps, and outrages are what brought about the regime you find so reprehensible to power in the first place?

    • I knew someone that hypothesized that the act was meant to set-up Iran when he first heard of it. To "erroneously" venture across the border in order to garner a response would generate more bad press for Iran. That the students had leftwing activist credentials certainly puts that in a different light, though doesn't necessarily refute his conjecture entirely as false flag actions often involve plants and moles meant to lend credibility. It does not seem the case here but is always worth remembering.

      In the anti-war movement, there were documented examples of undercover law enforcement who infiltrated groups and then sought to incite violence. The same goes for demonstrations where the initiation of violence was done by people not with the activist groups but positioning themselves amongst them to paint them as the source for the violence.

  • Rocket Redux, the Israeli fiction
    • I am reminded in this back and forth of the fact that allegations against Israel are routinely followed by, "You have no proof" whereas virtually any accusations against Palestinians are pretty much stated as fact; "Hamas launched this, Hamas targeted that...", especially when used as a pretext for some other significant act (breaking off peace talks, suspending a cease fire, launching an assault, declaring the leadership as terrorists, etc.,).

      This seems to ignore the instances where it would be in Israel's interests to commit false flag operations so that the other side would be perceived as the aggressors and Israel could then justify their subsequent actions. I know this can not always be the case, but if it ever occurs in this manner, it needs to be factored in.

      Weren't some of the rocket attacks during the cease fire done by non-Hamas lone wolves? And if they were not Hamas, couldn't they pretty much be anybody?

  • NYT Op-Ed offers tiresome dichotomy of good Zionists vs bad religious settlers
    • As further example of the fractured and stilted nature of overly moderated discussions at HuffPo, one poster replied to my call to more closely examine the words of the founders of Zionism, that what was said by the founders is not relevant to what Zionism is today. Aside from being total bollocks, I would have asked why then the fixation on an outdated Hamas charter .

      This is what is missing because of agenda-driven gatekeeping; the chance to put a lie to rest.

  • Back on TV due to popular demand.... 'The Peace Industry'
  • More on the 'Firedoglake' controversy
    • Some sites with further details on my "almost all" contentions [made from memory - seems essentially accurate] -

      "The military is not subject to most laws that protect communities and workers, either because it is completely exempt or because the Environmental Protection Agency has no enforcement authority, says Steve Taylor, national coordinator for the Maine based Military Toxics Project. " -- see: link to

      "The world’s largest polluter, the U.S. military, generates 750,000 tons of toxic waste material annually, more than the five largest chemical companies in the U.S. combined. This pollution occurs globally as the U.S. maintains bases in dozens countries. In the U.S. there are 27,000 toxic hot spots on 8,500 military properties inside Washington’s Fairchild Air Force Base is the number one producer of hazardous waste, generating over 13 million pounds of waste in 1997. Not only is the military emitting toxic material directly into the air and water, it’s poisoning the land of nearby communities resulting in increased rates of cancer, kidney disease, increasing birth defects, low birth weight, and miscarriage." -- see: link to

      -- with updates on push for further exemptions.

      Exempting the Military from Environmental Regulations -- see: link to

      -- and --

      Exemptions from Environmental Law
      for the Department of Defense:
      Background and Issues for Congress -- see: link to

    • 2) Simply put, the subject matter of Mondoweiss ranks as less important than many other topics that are also long overdue for more honest evaluation. To me, the most important issue facing mankind is how to find a fairly inexpensive way to reduce carbon dioxide levels in the oceans and atmosphere, before we kill those rather important parts of our surrounding past the point of recovery, thereby reducing the viability of our own and most other species. It is happening far more rapidly than most realize.

      I’m not about to pound on you for not bringing that up here, though.

      Well, this should show you that the issue Phil & Mondoweiss makes paramount is not only directly responsible for killing people, but will speed along the indirect killing of people as it further degrades the quality of life on the planet (the issue you see as having the greatest urgency).

      Once we learn to live together peacefully, we won't need to divert so much energy and resources to waging violence over turf wars. And that's in addition to all the other deadly toxic compounds that contaminate a combat zone. And do not forget that the US military exempts itself from almost all pollution regulations.

      The US military oil consumption - link to
      by Sohbet Karbuz

      The US Department of Defense (DoD) is the largest oil consuming government body in the US and in the world

      “Military fuel consumption makes the Department of Defense the single largest consumer of petroleum in the U.S” [1]

      “Military fuel consumption for aircraft, ships, ground vehicles and facilities makes the DoD the single largest consumer of petroleum in the U.S” [2]
      According to the US Defense Energy Support Center Fact Book 2004, in Fiscal Year 2004, the US military fuel consumption increased to 144 million barrels. This is about 40 million barrels more than the average peacetime military usage.
      By the way, 144 million barrels makes 395 000 barrels per day, almost as much as daily energy consumption of Greece.

      The US military is the biggest purchaser of oil in the world.

      In 1999 Almanac edition of the Defense Logistic Agency’s news magazine Dimensions it was stated that the DESC “purchases more light refined petroleum product than any other single organization or country in the world. With a $3.5 billion annual budget, DESC procures nearly 100 million barrels of petroleum products each year. That's enough fuel for 1,000 cars to drive around the world 4,620 times.”

      That budget increased a lot over the years. The US DoD spent $8.2 billion on energy in fiscal year 2004.

      “In fiscal 2005, DESC will buy about 128 million barrels of fuel at a cost of $8.5 billion, and Jet fuel constitutes nearly 70 percent of DoD's petroleum product purchases.” says American Forces Information Service News Article by G. J. Gilmore. [3]

      For some, this is not enough though. Here is what a report from Office of Under Secretary of Defense says “Because DOD’s consumption of oil represents the highest priority of all uses, there will be no fundamental limits to DOD’s fuel supply for many, many decades.” [4]

      American GI is the most energy-consuming soldier ever seen on the field of war
      “The Army calculated that it would burn 40 million gallons of fuel in three weeks of combat in Iraq, an amount equivalent to the gasoline consumed by all Allied armies combined during the four years of World War I.” [1]

      In May 2005 issue of The Atlantic Monthly, Robert Bryce gives another example; “The Third Army (of General Patton) had about 400,000 men and used about 400,000 gallons of gasoline a day. Today the Pentagon has about a third that number of troops in Iraq yet they use more than four times as much fuel.”

      The US military oil consumption overseas and the world oil demand
      According to the Defence Logistic Agency’s Web Site, as of November 2005 more than 2.1 billion gallons of fuel have been used in support of Operation Enduring Freedom (since October 2001; war on terrorism in Afghanistan).
      In the May 2005 issue of the Atlantic Monthly article Robert Bryce says that “The U.S. military now uses about 1.7 million gallons of fuel a day in Iraq. … each of the 150,000 soldiers on the ground consumes roughly nine gallons of fuel a day. And that figure has been rising.” This mean in Iraq each day 40 000 b/d of oil is consumed by the US military.

      Yes, something is wrong with that figure. Compare it with the one given by the Defense Logistics Agency spokeswoman Lana Hampton. Accroding to an American Forces Information Service News Article she said the U.S. military is using between 10 million and 11 million barrels of fuel each month to sustain operations in Afghanistan, Iraq and elsewhere. This makes 330 000 - 360 000 barrel per day.

      This is more than double the amount of oil used in the Gulf war!

      According to a Rand Corporation report “1.88 billion gallons of fuel were consumed within the U.S. Central Command’s area of responsibility during Operations Desert Shild and Desert Storm (ODS/S), between August 10, 1990 and May 31, 1991.” [5]. This makes 44.8 million barrels, or 150 000 barrels a day. Note that ODS/S lasted 295 days.

      Moreover, “during ODS/S Saudi Arabia and the UAE supplied fuels without charge (1.5 billion gallons), whereas Bahrain, Egypt, Oman and Qatar charged for the fuels,” adds the Rand report.

      Did Saudi Arabia and the UAE report that fuel as export? Did the US report it as import? Was it counted as Saudi or UAE domestic consumption? Or Was it counted as the US consumption?

      I am afraid the answers to those three questions are No, No, No and No!

      But that amount was surely counted in production.

      My experience with international oil statistics tell me that the US military oil consumption overseas disappears in world oil demand. Hence, demand is understated at least that much.

      Is about 350 000 barrel per day missing oil demand important?

    • One of the pitfalls of my run-on sentences -

      This should have the "NOT" included in the prior version.

      ...think of how much stronger the very ideal of justice and equality would have been established had Douglass insisted that those who had worked with such dedication for their struggle (abolition and right to vote for “blacks”) would NOT now be abandoned in their own (suffrage).


    • Very satisfying and valuable clarification. I compare the situation somewhat to "stealth" candidates. They want to be perceived in a certain manner which requires that aspects of their agenda remain hidden or at least downplayed. To deal with a critical situation in less than a high priority fashion means that it merely provides cover when challenged that it is left to whither on the vine ("See? We address that issue.").

      Furthermore, opting not to make justice for the Palestinians a priority based on the same calls for justice and human rights issues championed in other contexts reminds me of the what Frederick Douglass told the suffragists - "voting rights for blacks must be won immediately, while women could afford to wait." While the tactical wisdom of that viewpoint could be argued, think of how much stronger the very ideal of justice and equality would have been established had Douglass insisted that those who had worked with such dedication for their struggle (abolition and right to vote for "blacks") would now be abandoned in their own (suffrage).

      As Martin Luther King observed (building upon William Gladstone's quote), "Justice denied anywhere diminishes justice everywhere.”

    • Jeez. I hope you're churning out all your nuggets of wisdom on your own blog. I'd loathe to think that Phil's little hate-fest here is the only exposure your erudite critiques and analysis get.

      I don't know how many times I can see, "here's what you're not doing" and "here's what you should do" by someone with equal opportunity to do themselves and not just criticize...but doesn't - and not be thrilled at your pedestrian and predictable contribution.

      I imagine if I head over to your blog, it's just chock full of fair and accurate analysis, and practical, workable, and just solutions.

      Maybe instead of bothering to spell it all out here, your could just provide the link where it's all down in black and white electrons -

      "Read where I solve it all here at"

  • Siun and Philip Munger say FDL has offered a platform for criticism of Israel
    • I’m left with the impression that posters on Mondoweiss spring into action when they hear the sound of Phil’s little bell and they do it without analyzing if Phil call to do so is right or wrong.

      Actually, I find it comparable to the Dan Rather / Bush National Guard controversy. Dan Rather broadcast information which turned out to be questionable, which conveniently distracted everyone from the reality of Bush's special treatment, and failure to serve out his enlistment regardless of the veracity of the letter.

      What those comments showed me was how common the practice was and having the opportunity to say so clearly hit a nerve. There's times a technical difficulty or an excessive delay makes me jump the gun and assume something more nefarious is taking place, but that doesn't change the reality of the amount that filtering that goes on, distorting the discussion altogether. If a blog has substantial traffic but is perceived as avoiding key issues or being to heavy-handed with commenters, it does build resentment.

      I have often gotten lengthy rebuttals with all citations from legitimate sources blocked, but a short post noting that and complaining of not getting posted inevitably has someone respond, "that came through so obviously you're mistaken about the gatekeeping."

      Someone can say some stereotypically offensive nonsense about Palestinians/Arabs/Muslims but a statement highlighting the offensiveness and asking them to try replacing the names with chosenites to see if that wouldn't be a clear example of bigotry does not go up. I think some of the worst gatekeepers (with only small variations in egregiousness) are Daily Kos and Huffington Post. Crooks & Liars does not allow any 9/11 conspiracy discussion (don't know if that's still accurate) but seems pretty good otherwise. Balloon Juice will give posters their say on issues even when I/P conflict disagreements get heated. I'm drawing a blank on others I've seen agenda driven moderation (other than the right wing sites which pretty much let none of it past), but probably because if it feels that way, they're not worth going back to and driving up their traffic numbers.

      This particular exchange in regards to Mondoweiss publishing critiques of FDL from participants in the FDL community is quite informative. Instead of two sides talking past each other, enough information has been brought forth so that some have decided that revising their initial perception is called for.

      I would love to see a follow up article in FDL (and/or here) about progressive sites that have a rep for rigidly controlling or avoiding discussion of the I/P conflict. I learned from one poster at HuffPo in a difference of views on Hugo Chavez about something called an international corruption perception index (based on a number of survey questionnaires on selected quality of life issues). I would love to see something similar created to determine the perception of hidden agendas of various blogs with regards to the I/P issue. I feel it's not without significance that "Pam Atlas" (Oshrey/Geller[sp?]) of Atlas Shrugs cites Huffington Post as a hotbed of anti-Semitism because whether intentional or not, serves to provide cover for the fact that heavy filtering in the other direction regularly takes place.

      This happens with so-called mainstream publications such as when a reference says, "Even the ultra-liberal New York Times feels Israel is right to [insert latest outrage here]" I'm sure there are other examples along those lines as well in the rest of the MSM.

      The closest thing I've seen to that is orgs such as Media Matters and FAIR. Many times I've seen Israel apologists quote some site prefacing a statement with, "Israel-hating Media Matters says..." Noam Chomsky in "Manufacturing Consent" documents the absence of legitimate competing views on ABCs "Nightline" among others. I remember a weekend early morning public affairs program on KNBC-TV 4 several decades ago with a panel discussion of the I/P conflict, and to them "balance" meant moderate Zionist, "regular" Zionist, hard right Zionist, and extreme hard right Zionist. It never occurred to me at the time that a truly fair forum might have representation of the Palestinian side, or Israelis that felt full equality should be the goal.

      If FDL is more open than depicted, I'm thankful for that, but without embarking on a witch hunt, it would still be worthwhile to gauge sites for their transparency and fairness in regards to issues sealing with Israel and Palestine. Where that might lead to difficulty would be in honestly assessing the impact that has caused in other areas such as politics and media and if that is discussed. It's no accident that so many others avoided what Walt and Mearsheimer had the courage to tackle.

    • For the record, my comment in the prior FDL thread is not addressed to FDL specifically as I am not personally that familiar with their structure. I've gone there as bloggers I like migrated to FDL, but ultimately gravitated to other sites on a more regular basis. Should they actually allow and foster open discussion of the I/P conflict, regardles sof their own position, I'd certainly want to participate (I think my account is still valid).

  • 'Firedoglake' is progressive-- just don't talk about Palestine
    • Thank you for your comments. You are welcome to use them in any fashion you find helpful, and it never hurts to link to the original or the Mondoweiss site in general, particularly as an example of where real discussion is fostered and actually taking place. I often invite the most obnoxious Hasbarats I encounter to try peddling their wares in this "bigger pond", with informed people unwilling to be cowed by bullying and nonsense. I don't think I've ever seen anyone take me up on it, but it does take a little wind out of their bluff and bluster.

      As to the "what to do" part of the question, I'll have to give it more thought. I think what concerns me most is that any sort of fringe politics has the chance of success on a scale far larger than they rightly deserve if they're saying the right things at the right time about Israel. Look at how the media often treats Palin as some sort of wise sage in touch with the views of "real Americans" and all that entails.

      In Tom Hayden's "I was Israel's Dupe" essay (see: link to ), he mentions how as long as you had the right stance on Israel, the rest of your views were secondary if not virtually inconsequential. You had a green light to move up the ranks and the flow of money via donations would not be unduly restricted. Imagine how much more the new laws regarding corporate campaign cash can further magnify this catalytic component.

      The very last part of your reply is important too. My confidence came from being as well-informed as I could, in not being so rigid that I couldn't revise my own views when confronted with new information, and taking up opportunities to do a little "sparring" as it were. I've written what I've often referred to as my "champions" and told them that their greatest contribution is as educators. As they bring new perspective and understanding to others, they help them gain the confidence to stand firm in the face of a relentless flow of propaganda -- they become a "force multiplier," as do the people who now have information and the contributions to be made from their own experiences having entered the arena of competing ideas.

      I've written elsewhere that I entered this arena initially because I liked debating theology (I am an atheist). In many places online are FAQs on "Constructing a Logical Argument" which includes "Logical Fallacies." These are certainly timesavers and confidence builders as you can pinpoint exactly why a particular argument sounds so bogus.

      After 9/11, I felt compelled to learn more about the conflict in the Middle East as it was clear that it would be the basis for our ongoing military action in the world for sometime to come. It didn't take a whole lot of scratching the surface to discover that the "official narrative" was horribly one-sided. Being lied to so thoroughly, in so many blatant and also inconsequential ways, has at least one positive effect. I tend to try to verify information on my own much more, as those sources once relied on for news and information have pretty much lost all credibility.

      They had every opportunity to mention the "elephant in the room." That they didn't could be the result of any number of factors, but anytime a hidden agenda comes into play, one must then dig beneath the surface. Though people can blanch when confronted with the dots actually being connected - dismissed out of hand as conspiracy theory - there are clear and established connections to be made, and no one should retreat where facts are concerned merely because it increases someone else's discomfort level.

      Having given it a bit more thought, I'll close with a little preview of how I'll approach the "what to do" part. One of my best sources for insight on, and deconstruction of the issue has been my secular "Jewish" attorney friend (in quotes because as a dyed-in-the-wool secular humanist, his Jewish mother is his only link to the designation - not culture, not upbringing, nor religious or worldview) who cheerfully goes by the moniker "Bernie the Attorney." To help understand a little the pervasive nature of the problem, I'll tell you up front that he has said time and again, "There's nothing you can do."

      How's that for away to start a pep talk? Next time I'll post a little outline of the things he's covered, an overview of sorts, and you can choose which items might be of use to you so that I can expand on them.

      To those familiar with the original Star Trek, it's kind of like the Kobayashi Maru simulation at Starfleet Academy - a no-win situation. Kirk is actually able to win because he "cheats" and reprograms the simulator.

      (from: link to )

      Business theory commentators have used the Kobayashi Maru as an example of the need to redefine the foundation upon which a business competes—changing the rules rather than playing within a rigged game—as an example of successful business strategy

    • As with the concept, "All politics is local", you cannot meaningfully examine the state of the nation and of our various American communities without looking at how not dealing effectively with the I/P conflict affects us all.

      The lack of this discussion distorts the process further because it serves to keep other unsavory aspects of the Lobby out of the spotlight. The expected default support of Zionism across the political spectrum coupled with the refusal to critically address the influence of the Lobby on a whole host of crucial issues in the US, let alone the I/P conflict makes the process progressively more dysfunctional. It's like trying to steer our political course while in an inebriated or altered state.

      I think the reason the subject is avoided is rather obvious. The expressed concern is that discussions will deteriorate into heated and nasty exchanges and bring forth smoldering or rampant anti-Semitism ending in bitterness and resentment among people who otherwise share a good deal of the same political views. And discussions can be rather volatile when they are actually allowed to take place. DKos and posters there have used that excuse and said since their purpose is to promote Democrats, discussion of contentious issues factionalizes the community. Members complain that debates become shout fests or always cover the same old ground and devolve into rearguing history, but site owners deny that it would then be in anyone’s interest to actively sabotage emerging discussions to prevent further ones. But make no mistake, the goal is to preserve the status quo, the often unspoken orthodoxy being that the whole situation will just sort itself out if we just stay out of it.

      And the meaning of “stay out of it” has been distorted to mean continue to give Israel every political and financial support, follow Israel’s lead as to what circumstances require public declarations versus behind the scenes actions, discuss situation only when it serves to promote and maintain current orthodoxy, employ standard where Israel “gaining ground” (literally and figuratively) and never losing ground is considered “keeping things as they are”, allowing for inaction when it suits Israel’s needs and quick action when Israel feels threatened, control discussion as needed with pro-Zionism as default position (or at the very least not anti-Zionist), the easiest way being to avoid discussion altogether.

      When discussion does take place, hobble views contrary to the prevailing memes and official narrative by any means available. Gatekeeping and heavy-handed moderation being the most effective where top down control exists, but otherwise maintain an environment hostile to criticism of Israel in anything other than mild quibbles meant to pretend an air of fairness and objectivity (such as - mistakes were made in the flotilla raid but Israel is right to take action to maintain its blockade to prevent terrorism, blah, blah, blah…). Pounce on anything that could be portrayed as being over the line in its depiction of Israel and/or Jews, recognizing the confusion and conflation works to the advantage of those seeking to stifle/direct discussion.

      Strong statements and criticisms can be painted as being virtually indistinguishable from hate-speech, bigotry and anti-Semitism. Should a person actually make an awkward statement when trying to express views on difficult and contentious issues, affix negative label permanently both as a means to dismiss other valid points (linking said valid points with bigotry using “guilt by association”), and to send a message to others who might agree with or want to express similar views.

      Create an atmosphere where being too persistent is equated with Holocaust denial (irrational, hateful, stubborn in the face of facts), all the better if the Holocaust is actually brought up as in noting the extent Israel/Jews use the Holocaust exempt themselves from criticism or justify any given action. This is particularly effective since those well informed on the conflict can be accused of being too fixated on the Jews and Israel due to a underlying deep hatred, and debates can then be diverted into psychoanalyzing the critic of Israel and questioning their awareness of their own hatred.

      Continue to hammer the point home that criticism of Israel, fair or otherwise, is an indication of hatred of Jews, acknowledged or not, and any denial of bigotry, prejudice, or bias is just more evidence of guilt. Citing Jews in support of an argument is dealt with by labeling them as self-hating, Israel hating, loons of whatever political stripe - making note of the hate groups that also reference them - and therefore further evidence of guilt. Citing Palestinian/Arab/Muslim sources is dismissed out of hand as being non-objective. Portray non-Jews that offer Jewish viewpoints unfavorable to Israel or Zionism as still being Jew-haters and citing them is only a pretense used to cover said hatred (and further evidence of guilt).

      Any mention of control or stifling of debate can be mocked and linked to conspiracy theory, which can be linked to Holocaust denial (and further evidence of guilt). Actually supplying examples of such gatekeeping can be dismissed as an indication of a fixation on Jews and conspiracy theory (and further evidence of guilt). Declining to redirect discussion to some other human rights abuse deemed more egregious is seen an indication of a fixation on Jews (and further evidence of guilt).

      Remember that the “logic” used against critics of Israel is not applicable in the other direction. Claim what appears comparable is nothing of the sort. Special pleading allows for a multitude of contradictions. An atmosphere properly maintained can stigmatize critics of Israel to the point where conditions resemble de facto “Holocaust denial laws” as in parts of Europe, so that critics tread lightly for fear of retaliation via banning, hacking, loss of privileges, outing, defamations of character, threats of financial consequences, complaints to employer, and all around harassment.

      Silence equals assent. That which retards discussion helps preserve the status quo. Maintaining current conditions is paramount except when more favorable conditions are achievable. Ignore the parallels between hoping the Palestinian “problem” just goes away with other historical instances of attempted genocide. Claims of threats of being “driven into the sea” is permanent defense when driving others out of their communities - same for killing in large numbers; prior tragedy becomes license to kill.

      And this is just one element of the unwritten rules of public discussion. Whether delving deeper or pulling back for a macro view, the framework in place resembles fractal patterns in that they are duplicated regardless of level of magnification. The control of the discussion doesn’t need to be complete either. Like Vegas house odds or the evolutionary artificial selection of the shell pattern on the backs of Samurai crabs noted in Carl Sagan’s “Cosmos”; these ensure a predictable outcome.

      Changing the outcome will require overriding these controls and the inertia of the status quo, which to this point have been exceedingly effective by almost any definition or measure in maintaining the default equilibrium.

  • I wish Jewish journalists would emulate Aslan and Zakaria in being transparent about their religious identity
    • I find it odd that on one and, there is the aggressively pursued desire to blend in (hence the common practice of name changing to downplay or disguise identity) and on the other hand the proud, almost fixated self-identification and status bean counting, particularly within the group (X% of the Congress, X% of Nobel prizes, X% of Fortune 500 CEOs, X% of tenured professor positions, X% of media ownership, X% of campaign contributions, etc.).

      If the situation was reversed with any number of groups, it might both raise suspicion of something to hide (generic names or an agenda) , and expose the hypocrisy of dismissing views entirely based on ethnicity.

      Often in these debates/discussions, if you cite an Arab/Palestinian, or heaven forbid, a *Muslim* source, they're disregarded from the outset with, "Of course, *they'd* say that" even though they already have next to no representation on public affairs programs. This is never more evident in that when discussing the future of Palestine and Palestinians, they are mysteriously absent, maybe to reinforce the meme that they are unworthy and unqualified to even take part in their contributing to mapping out their own destiny.

      The prevailing narrative is that Palestinians/Arabs/Muslims are essentially "the Semitic Man's Burden" and treated accordingly

  • The 'memoricide' of Palestine
  • Yale conference on anti-Semitism targets Palestinian identity, 'self-hating' Jews, and anyone who criticizes Israel
    • Now it's largely to be a nag over how much gatekeeping they do. It is clear there are many others who also try to express their views rationally on these issues, but get screened. Even when entire posts aren't screened (I go back and submit paragraphs individually) attempts at discussion are ulcer inducing because large chunks of it are missing and it looks as if something was not addressed. People make idiotic, bigoted, and/or strawman posts, but replies taking every element of their statements to task with valid citations disappear. I can't even get generic snark up (i.e. "Why do you post something that makes no sense and then claim it proves you're right?")

      I was actually shocked they let my dig at DKos go up in a piece by Subcommander Markos.

      I'm not fond of how the delay of mod approval bogs down exchanges here. I would quibble with almost every decision not to post something I submitted pretty much because I wouldn't have submitted it in the first place if I thought it did not meet the guidelines.

    • And yet at HuffPo statements such as this are a regular occurrance, but to try to post saying most people could see how offensive it is if it was reversed gets blocked. Who benefits?

      "Their [the Palestinians] case of JUDEOPHOBIA is every bit as strong as Hitler's."

      see: link to

  • Internet Killed Israeli PR: An interview with Minor Demographic Threat
  • Israeli officer sells computers seized from flotilla members
  • Friday in Bil'in
    • One of the sad realizations I came to after the IDF assault of Emily Henochowicz that resulted in her losing an eye (but not her decency and determined spirit), is that if protesters tried to make overt use of any sort of protective clothing (helmets, goggles, shields [good heavens!]), the IDF would interpret that alone as an aggressive act to [further] justify their brutalizing, maiming, and even killing of PEACEFUL protesters.

      The answer to Israel's repeated mock puzzlement over "where are the non-violent Palestinians?" is that they and their peaceful supporters of all stripes and nationalities are being put into hospitals and graves by those crying crocodile tears over the violence they pretend they are forced to commit.

      And Israel's new poster girl (Eden "the Psycho" Abergil) even skips the crocodile tears and goes directly to happily wanting to slaughter Arabs.

  • Bigot or colorful activist? Washington Post is neutral on Islamophobes
    • I got the exact same BS at Daily Kos who clealy has Hasbarats as mods (the one who dropped the bomb on me was ironically a gay Z-teamer). They left up accusations that I was a Holocaust denier when my statements undeniably supported no such thing.

      The main aspect of this "open" discussion gatekeeping system is that the filtration prevents or dilutes strong arguments while at the same time distilling a brew devoid of any sort of factual content able to counteract the reality on its own that the membrane is put in place to keep out.

      Nothing reveals the deficiencies of an argument faster than if it fears entering the arena of ideas in a fair fight.

      Considering just how stacked the deck is in these venues, we'd be lucky to enter the fray with only *one* hand tied behind our backs. As I told my lawyer friend, "it's not who puts forth the strongest argument, but who determines which argument is declared winner."

      To which he added, "and what argument they'll even allow you to make."

    • I noticed a lot of that too and posted this at HuffPo in April in regards to the Hasbarats -

      "The common thread seems to be:

      a) recently created account (usually with little or no net presence elsewhere),
      b) large "fan" base though posts are mediocre at best,
      c) short, abrasive, belligerent posts to the point of essentially being spam,
      d) an arrogance unsupported by any ability whatsoever,
      e) attempts at intimidation of other posters, threats of outing, calls for banning,
      f) gang-tackling by other agenda-driven posters,
      g) the inability to acknowledge any error or retracting of false information,
      h) rapid-fire questions as if inquisitor while ignoring any questions put to them,
      i) reliance on talking points rather than actually putting forth a personal viewpoint,
      j) laying low or seeking out greener pastures when bloodied in a debate,
      k) the repetition of discredited talking points at every opportunity,
      l) overall blockheadedness out to inflame rather than enlighten
      m) seeking out the weakest arguments only (if not outright strawman) to address,

      ...and so on. Whether or not an active participant in Project Megaph0ne, the tactics are routine. Quite often those countering such propaganda most effectively are curiously banned.”

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