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August 10, 2019

Comments

This from AIPAC:

We disagree with Reps. Omar and Tlaib’s support for the anti-Israel and anti-peace BDS movement, along with Rep. Tlaib’s calls for a one-state solution. We also believe every member of Congress should be able to visit and experience our democratic ally Israel firsthand.
When you've managed to get AIPAC to publicly criticize you, as an Israeli PM, you've really accomplished something.

True, wj. Netanyahu is (and has been for many years) a disaster for Israel. What a travesty.

"The sprawling Bureau of Prisons (BOP) is one of the most opaque, tight-lipped, and slow-moving agencies in the entire federal government, and yet it sprang into action following the apparent suicide of Jeffrey Epstein, a mysterious billionaire who was rearrested in July on accusations of sex trafficking.
...
The "serious irregularities" that the Justice Department suddenly uncovered are everyday occurrences within the BOP, and anyone who's bothered to pay attention to the federal prison system has known about them for years. The real irregularity is that the Justice Department is acknowledging the problems' existence."

Jeffrey Epstein Is Dead Because His Jailers Neglected Him. He's Not the Only One.: The most unusual thing about Jeffrey Epstein dying in a federal jail was how quickly the Justice Department sprang into action to investigate it.

"anyone got the numbers on how much damage right-wing jingoism has done to the world over the millennia ?"

The conversion from denari, wampum, shekels, dekadrachim, Giant Stone Wheels, etc. is built on rather shaky foundations, so "NO".

Unless by "over the millenia" you mean "since 1 Jan 2001", in which case "roughly $50T".

So, Orange Is The New Black is a documentary.

“This is true, but you seem to be assuming that Larison is a person of good will.”

Not at all. I have read him for several years and so my views are based on fact. His views on foreign policy as he has expressed them since 2015 are much closer to mine than any liberal and most leftists I have read. It’’s why I read him. I probably would not have bothered with him in 2006– it is quite possible he has changed some of his views since then. At the very least, in the years where I have read him he is consistently on the right side, IMO, something I would never say about most liberals.

Larison along with Micah Zenko were among the first to call out our support for the war in Yemen from its inception,years before others got around to it. This ought to be the norm. It isn’t. It was and is an act of barbarism, probably hundreds of thousands of children are dead from malnutrition and it was fracking whitewashed or ignored. I don’t know if it is still up, but I once watched a YouTube video in which a US state department official under Obama claimed that Saudi bombing of civilians was accidental, while Russian and Syrian bombing was deliberate. Now that was a lie with actual consequences. It let the Saudis know we were still on their side. But that mindset is the norm in our foreign policy and liberals and conservatives alike let it happen.

I hope Larison has changed his views on why Confederate soldiers fought for the South but even there, where he says slavery was a repugnant institution ,he seems no different from most liberals on other subjects who give the benefit of a doubt to the warmongers they have supported. If people want to talk about guilt by association, fine, but don’t start with obscure columnists with crackpot views they don’t write about anymore. Start with people in both parties who have actual blood on their hands and then work your way down to the reporters and pundits who play the game pretending we are civilized folk who would never do such terrible things. Trump has upended that game because for whatever set of reasons he is quite openly awful.

As for associations, if I judged everyone by their associations and mistakes I would end up reading no one at all and never voting for anyone. That’s not really much of an exaggeration. Why read the NYT or respect any of their opinion writers, given that the NYT published four opinion pieces defending the shooting of Palestinian demonstrators last year— Rosner, Tom Friedman, Matti Friedman and of course Bret Stephens. It didn’t even cross the minds of the NYT editors that there might be something wrong with publishing apologetics for a massacre. But I read them anyway, the stupid [email protected]@@. This is because they aren’t always morally clueless. But I probably don’t have to defend reading the NYT here. I saw people online cancelling subscriptions over their idiotic headline claiming Trump wanted unity against hate, but some folks on the left canceled them a long time ago

As for where you draw the line, it’s extremely difficult. Some people like Trump are so far past the line there is no difficulty. But I think Western liberals could benefit from being chewed out by people much further to their left. It has happened to me a few times. It first happened when I criticized Hamas rocket fire in 2014 as a war crime. I still think that. But my critic had a point in some ways. Many or most Westerners ( liberal or not) are either clueless about what is done in our names or ( like me) think we have done something by writing letters to the editor, but either way we act like we own the moral high ground. We don’t and we never did and certainly not with respect to Gazans.

Pro Bono— I had read much harsher things about the anarchists, but I am no expert on that, so I don’t know where the truth lies. My broader point is that the far left often has made heroes of people who were killers. So have liberals, though usually it is a different set.

One more made up headline today:

Asshole proposes buying Greenland, mining its resources while canceling its social welfare system, including all health care for "Natives".

OK, I give up, it's real.

https://talkingpointsmemo.com/news/trump-buy-greenland

Guess I'll have to make up another fake one:

Greenland Military Expeditionary Force Lands at Mouth Of Potomac River, Makes Way to White House and blows it up, butchering and slaughtering the residents as they flee.

The speed at which reality catches up with fake news is daunting so enjoy the fiction while you can.

https://www.mediamatters.org/sinclair-broadcast-group/stephanie-grisham-gave-her-first-tv-interview-white-house-press-secretary

It was tough to tell which performer swallowed the money shot by the end of the interview.

The Republican Party will be wiped off the face of the Earth by Patriots.

LGM uses same Godfather footage as I did to illustrate features of the Epstein catastrophe, but brilliant minds follow similar tracks:

http://www.lawyersgunsmoneyblog.com/2019/08/but-their-families-their-families-were-taken-care-of

The pretty young girl was Attorney General William Barr dressed as a schoolgirl staying after for detention. Halfway thru the in-prison tryst Miss Barr offered a new fantasy role-play: OK, I'll be the Warden and you be the prisoner scheduled for hanging.

Climate Science: From Hoax to The Bottom Line

https://www.esquire.com/news-politics/politics/a28713804/climate-services-industry/

Meanwhile, Navy Admiral decries the p Administration's suspicious disbanding of a Navy Task Force on Global Climate Change Preparation

Float the Boats.

The killings will take time.

The NYT on the Trump- Netanyahu-Tlaib-Omar issue.

https://www.nytimes.com/2019/08/15/opinion/israel-omar-tlaib.html?action=click&module=Opinion&pgtype=Homepage

They seem far more concerned about Israel’s image and what has been the bipartisan support for Israel and Trump bullying Israel than they are about what Palestinians might think about Israel refusing entry to the West Bank.. After all, they assure us, Israel is a strong enough democracy to stand up to a few critics. Well, sure, what with all that bipartisan support, they can ignore pretty much any criticism of their human rights record. I don’t think the NYT editors should lose much sleep about that.

Speaking of that, I just watched the PBS newshour. I learned several things. First, as with the NYT editors, Palestinian views on issues that concern them the most are of no importance whatsoever, so none were invited. This is a basic principle. The two sides that mattered were represented by a former Israeli ambassador who said it was right to keep them out and Democratic congressman Brad Sherman who said tiny little Israel was being bullied by its only friend in the world and this was just awful. Both agreed that the BDS movement was a horrific thing— Sherman said it was a plot to drive all Jews out of the Middle East and sort of tap danced around how his colleagues could support it. The interviewer accepted all these claims, as of course she should, since both invited sides agreed, but she was tough— she asked the Israeli why, if Israel allowed an antisemite like Orban to visit, it couldn’t allow the two congresswomen? Why wasn’t it the same? Yeah, she really got to the heart of the issue there.

.

As for where you draw the line, it’s extremely difficult.

Michelle Obama apparently commented at some point to Barack Obama that politics was not noble work. Or maybe honorable, I forget which. Whether the story is true or not, I find that an apt statement.

Politics is at some level always about power. Who can hold and wield it, what constraints are placed upon them. What can they legitimately do with it, what is out of bounds. Power is inherently dangerous, and people seem to be inherently flawed and limited in their understanding of the world. So, damage is inevitable.

I never expect unusual virtue from people who hold positions of power. Even less, perhaps, do I expect it from institutions. IMO the genius of the American project is its suspicion of power held too closely by any one actor, and its structural guards against that - the famous checks and balances.

My personal ideal, politically, is a scenario where the intent of the people is more or less transparently expressed in public policy. Of the people, by the people, for the people. A commonwealth.

Unfortunately, we don't have the kind of consensus that is needed to make that happen in anything like an efficient or fair manner.

Long story short, politics is a f***ed up business, prone to corruption. If the libertarian thing had a chance in hell of actually working, you could persuade me that that was the way to go. I don't think it does, so I'm obliged to make do with what actually is feasible.

The weird thing about living in a self-governing polity is that we all own the responsibility for whatever our political entities cough up. Town, county, state, nation. We all participate, or at least have the opportunity to do so. We all share in whatever good things are done, and we all share in whatever bad things are done.

The blood of the Yemenis is on our hands. Historically, the blood of the native Americans is on our hands, the blood of the Africans brought here against their will is on our hands. In general we live lives of remarkable ease, and we do so by consuming the resources of the planet in amounts far beyond what we can reasonably claim to be fair, and all of that is on our hands.

We're all culpable. All of us, each and every one.

So yeah, that is my starting point, when it comes to politics. It's a fucked up business, at its best it is an exercise in compromise of all kinds including moral and ethical, and because we all have the opportunity to participate in it, we all have a share in the responsibility for that.

And from that starting point, I try to figure out how to leverage my tiny - really and truly tiny - bit of leverage to see if I can, somehow, make it slightly less crappy. Maybe even ever so slightly good.

As a practical matter, you can always make a much bigger dent by just doing stuff in your own personal life, or in your family, or your immediate community. Like, leaps and bounds bigger.

But we have the opportunity, here where we live, to play in a slightly larger field. Our individual impact is miniscule to the point of being laughable. But, if we choose to engage, we can, so we do our best.

That's my take on it.

It is not, remotely, noble work. It's just work that needs to be done. Some folks do it for a living, and my hat is off to those who take that on with good intentions. The rest of us dip our toes in it and hope for the best.

FWIW I haven't read the NYT since the Keller days. Apropos of nothing in particular.

Donald,

If people want to talk about guilt by association, fine, but don’t start with obscure columnists with crackpot views they don’t write about anymore.

Taki may be obscure. Why obscurity is an excuse for promoting evil ideas I will leave for you to explain.

Buchanan is not obscure. He is/was prominent.

Three of my four grandparents died at Treblinka, or en route. Who knows. So did three men who would have been my uncles. So fuck Pat Buchanan, who doesn't think that happened, and thinks Nazi war criminals have been unfairly treated.

And fuck anyone, including Larison, who thinks it's just fine to associate with a Nazi apologist and Holocaust denialist. I don't care what he thinks about Yemen or anything else. If he had any decency he'd find another job.

My view of politics, for most of my life, has been that we stand in the breach, stolen directly from Jackson Browne.

No matter my politics, which at best expresses my view of how to accomplish the world I imagine, I stand in the way of those who who would use their power to deny us that world.

Together we stand for safety, security, harmony, respect, opportunity, beauty, and the right to dream. When we forget that we stand together for those things in the fight over how and who to trust to help us create that world, we move back from the breach. And it gets bigger.

When russell talks about getting in the way I am mostly ok with that, it is an expression of that responsibility we have to try to make this world a reflection of the world we imagine for ourselves, but for everyone.

I have little respect for the political machines nattering at our worst fears to move us away from our post, shoulder to shoulder, constantly defending the best of our dreams.

Not so randomly, one of the earliest songs I felt expressed my views was For Everyman, and across a lifetime Lives in the Balance took on that place, only to come full circle to Standing in the Breach. That change we need is in everyone.

I just want to express the respect I have for everyone here, I think we are better off than you fear, because of each of you.

They seem far more concerned about Israel’s image and what has been the bipartisan support for Israel and Trump bullying Israel than they are about what Palestinians might think about Israel refusing entry to the West Bank.

Which isn't actually unreasonable. Changing what Palestinians think of Israel, at this point, would be an enormous, multi-decade, undertaking. Whether a particular Congressman gets to visit will make no perceptible difference.

On the other hand, refusing entry to a couple of members of the US Congress bids fair to change some minds among their fellows. Which may be a serious problem for Israel going forward. Even if Netanyahu loses, those shifted perceptions will remain.

Bernard

First, I am not going to argue with you about whether you should read Larison. I don’t think he should have associated with Buchanan and if you think that is inexcusable I won’t argue that you should.

At the same time, over the past several years I have agreed with virtually everything he has written. It strikes me as unlikely in the extreme that he is a fascist apologist. If I were really interested in Larison the man as opposed to what he has been writing then it might be worth my time to see if his views noticeably changed from 2006 until now. But I am not. What he writes now about foreign policy is simply better in my view than 99 percent of the rationalizing murderous crap in the mainstream. And the mainstream is full of murderous hypocritical crap. Why don’t those writers do better?

“Why obscurity is an excuse for promoting evil ideas I will leave for you to explain.”

I don’t think obscurity is an excuse for promoting evil ideas. The point was that if people in general really want to go after hypocrisy on human rights they would go after the big fish, the actual war criminals in our own society and the people who rationalize what they do. But people don’t do that. They make rationalizations for the big fish in their own party, and so we usually end up choosing between evils.


Russell— Hard to disagree with any of that, so I won’t.

“Which isn't actually unreasonable. Changing what Palestinians think of Israel, at this point, would be an enormous, multi-decade, undertaking. Whether a particular Congressman gets to visit will make no perceptible difference.”

Not what I meant. Palestinians will always resent being expelled from their homeland. They might get over it given a reasonable peace deal, which seems impossible for the foreseeable future by any definition of reasonable.

What I meant was there is this unconscious bias in our press against the Palestinians. The Israelis banned the two from visiting the West Bank, which emphasizes how little control Palestinians have over anything and their feelings are ignored. Instead we have the NYT and PBS arguing about what is good for Israel. The NYT editors seem angry that Trump might be endangering the bipartisan support for Israel, but it has been that bipartisan support that has enabled the occupation to continue. Talking about how Israel’s democracy is strong enough to take a little criticism is inane. The point is that Israel has been democratically choosing to be oppressive, knowing up until Netanyahu and Trump that it could always count on bipartisan support from the US despite performative grumbling about how the next settlement block makes a 2ss harder.


Marty —Good post. I tried to think of something better to say, but I got nothing.

The remarkable thing about Israel's action is that it is a complete volte face on their original official reaction to the visit, and took place a scant hour after Trump’s tweet suggesting it.
For any self respecting nation, that should be utterly humiliating.


And well said, Marty.

as always, what Trump touches diminishes

Donald,

The issue is not Larison's writing but whether he is a person of good will. Because you agree with his foreign policy writing you conclude that he is.

I don't think that whitewashes his associations (or, for that matter his former(?) neo-Confederate views, of which I was previously unaware.)

"Guilt by association" covers a lot of ground. Buchanan's whole career is revolting, putting it politely. And Larison's asociation with him is not incidental or unavoidable. It was chosen.

Donald,

What do you think motivates the bipartisan support for Israel among American politicos? Is it the "Jewish vote"? Or the "Evangelical vote"?

Most Greek Americans, especially older ones, insist it's "Jewish money" -- a theory I find offensive and pathologically conspiratorial, though Sheldon Adelson does give me pause.

I doubt it's "Middle East oil", since the God of Abraham saw fit to stick the oil mostly under the lands He ceded to Allah. Uncritical bipartisan support for Israel seems (and occasionally has proved to be) unhelpful on the oil front.

So the question remains: what's the motivation, do you think?

--TP

As for where you draw the line, it’s extremely difficult.

Absolutely, but they get drawn nonetheless.

Paleocons and hard core socialist lefties (you know, real lefties :)) have strikingly similar takes on US hegemony. However, the underlying rationale is worlds apart.

That's my point, such as it is.

Take a look at this.

Thanks.

I'd say there has been a long term effort to equate Jews with Israel and a more recent one to equate Israel with its current RW government. Starting with mainly just good PR it is now to a significant degree a case of massive amounts of money from almost exclusively RW sources (Jewish and non-Jewish) plus raw intimidation.
There is a symbiosis made in hell between extremist 'Christians' (theocrats, milleniarists*) in the US and the de facto fascist Right in Israel with both sides seeing each other as the useful idiots.
That also explains the paradox of rabid antisemites unconditionally supporting the RW in Israel and the latter's lack of a problem with welcoming them.
What once was a mostly benign strategy to secure vital support for a state under constant threat has become the probably greatest single source of antisemitism in the world. And the RW government of Israel imo secretly appreciates it because it sells itself successfully as the lone protector in a hostile world.

*who believe that the Jews are the necessary fuse for Armageddon (and its first victims).

nationalists always want to the (correct) people and the country be one and the same. and the 'correct' always includes a race, a religion and a language.

I've considered making the argument to people who mindless chant "USA!!! USA!!!" that the very concept of nationalism is questionable without even getting into the virtues or lack thereof of the United States as a nation. I imagine blank stares would be the result.

Madness.

Erik the Red was an American time traveler. Greenland has always been ours.

Oh, and "mindlessly."

When we forget that we stand together for those things in the fight over how and who to trust to help us create that world, we move back from the breach. And it gets bigger.

Marty, that was a lovely post, and I agree with you (and by the way, I knew neither of those songs, so thank you for that). I know that it's possible, and increasingly tempting, to think that people with very different political views from one's own are either a) people of bad as opposed to good will (in byomtov's formulation), or if not that then b) aspiring to such general, feelgood kumbaya notions of what is desirable such that nobody could disagree, making such aspirations meaningless. And sometimes one of these diagnoses is true. But I know, from observing what you write for years, that this does not apply to you: I may disagree profoundly with a lot of your prescriptions about how and who to trust to help us create the kind of world we want (and I certainly disagree enormously with many of your ideas about public figures etc), but I don't think our ideas of what kind of world that should be are really so very different.

And I have a strong feeling that when we lose touch with the understanding that we can disagree very vehemently, without demonising or denigrating the other (always assuming that we assess the other to be a person of good will), then that is the first (or maybe the final) step toward a probably fatal polarisation which will inevitably perpetuate a world that none of us, and no people of good will, would want.

So the question remains: what's the motivation [for supporting Israel], do you think?

I think a major factor is inertia.

In Israel's first couple of decades it was a lone example of Western democracy surrounded by autocracies. When the 1967 War started, the US government said it was going to "be neutral in thought, word, and deed." Which nobody believed. Because, as one wag put it at the time**, "the Arab states are, to put it neutrally, Arab states."

Over time, Israel changed. Netanyahu being merely the worst example. But there wasn't a single major event to motivate US politicians' opinions to shift. And Israel has a top-notch lobbying operation to keep it from doing so.

Whether this particular incident, combined with the highly visible romance between Trump and Netanyahu, will turn the corner remains to be seen. It's entirely possible that even this may not be enough for Democrats to move. (The evangelicals end-days views mean the GOP wouldn't, even absent Trump.)

** "A Guide for Neutral Thinkers" by (as I recall, Art Buchwald.

So the question remains: what's the motivation, do you think?

The current American political classes largely believe they are the inheritors of the British Palestinian Mandate to run the Middle East, and that maintenance of the state of Israel is an obligation that arose in the aftermath of WWII. Whether that's historically accurate is immaterial; it's what they believe now.

** "A Guide for Neutral Thinkers" by (as I recall) Art Buchwald.

As I think further, I believe the author may have been Art Hoppe, who was a humor columnist for the San Francisco Chronicle.

Greenland has always been ours.

I have to wonder: Why? Why would we want it? Even with global warming melting its ice cap, it has nothing much to recommend it. ("Greenland" is an early piece of marketing to attract settlers. Just as "Iceland" was a piece of reverse marketing, to keep the riff raff away. Erik was ahead of his time.)

Of course, there doesn't have to be any sense to it to motivate Trump. But usually there's something you can spot that set him off. Could it really be Erik's marketing, still working after all these centuries?

maintenance of the state of Israel is an obligation that arose in the aftermath of WWII

this.

and from this has blossomed the evil and ridiculous notion that to question Israel is to be anti-Semitic. and everyone in the US knows that to be anti-Semetic is to be a Nazi.

generations of politicians have used the attack against each other and now we're stuck with unquestioning maximal support for Israel.

no doubt Israeli politicians know this and use it to their advantage. but we can't acknowledge that.

[and so pervasive and deeply-rooted is this notion that i'm sure some here are wondering if i secretly hate the Jews, just for typing this]

Just thought I'd toss this out there.

if the left has no power it's odd that so many of the policy proposals coming from the Dem candidates would have been unthinkably left (despite not being very left at all), 8 years ago.

good news, LGBTQ community: Trump met his commitments to LGBTQ Americans. He has our endorsement !

Somewhat related, a bumper sticker I saw on my way to work this morning:

Wake up America!!! Capitalism pays for socialism!!!

I mean, that would be nice, assuming that "socialism" really (and erroneously) means a robust safety net. Otherwise, I'm not quite sure what that could possibly mean. Either way, I will try to discontinue being asleep.

good news, LGBTQ community

One of the downsides of a memory that stretches way back is that your mind includes nasty terms from long ago. Which, I suppose, is why my instant response to that headline was to brand the authors "house niggers". Embarrassing.

But it's true that, no matter how nasty you are to any group, you can always find a couple of members of that group who will speak up on your behalf. I suppose it's a variation of the Stockholm Syndrome.

The interesting part when the great melt happens/ed is the Northern part of Greenland because of the territorial waters that come with it.

Those Icelanders canoodled far too much with their Celtic slave girls to still count as Aryan (iirc at least on the female side there is still a 3rd of Irish DNA).
And the native Greenlanders had so much fun between the seal skin sheets with foreign missionaries that German family names are ubiquitous (which word could almost pass a Greenlandish with an extra q).
If you get the chance, watch the first Greenlandish horror movie Qaqqat Alanngui (available on DVD and Bluray but with European region code).

This
https://www.usatoday.com/story/opinion/2019/08/15/2020-democrat-will-get-my-vote-never-trump-ex-republican-column/2013614001/
is fun.

I don’t care if Sen. Elizabeth Warren is a mendacious Massachusetts liberal. She could tell me that she’s going to make me wear waffles as underpants and I’ll vote for her. I don’t care if Sen. Kamala Harris is an opportunistic California prosecutor who wants to relitigate busing. She could tell me that I have to drive to work in a go-cart covered with Barbie decals and I’ll vote for her. I don’t care if Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders is a muddle-headed socialist from a rural class-warfare state (where I once lived as one of his constituents). He could tell me he’s going to tax used kitty litter and I’ll vote for him.
And this guy, like me, is a Republican! (And I know nothing else about him.) Also
I am willing to live with whoever wins the Democratic primary process. I will likely hate the nominee’s policies, but at least I will not be concerned that he or she is incapable of understanding “the nuclear” or “the cyber.” I will feel like I have a shot at trying to convince my elected representatives that they should listen to the policy preferences of normal human beings instead of two old men wearing shirts that say they’d “rather be a Russian than a Democrat,” or a woman in a shirt indicating that she is willing to have the president grab her genitalia.

The Democratic candidate will promise to nominate people into Cabinet posts who will make me tear my hair out. But at least I will be confident that they are in charge of their own inner circle, instead of surrounded by unprincipled cronies who keep their own boss in the dark while taking a hatchet to the Constitution. Is there anyone that Warren or former Vice President Joe Biden could bring to, say, the Justice Department, whom I would fear more than an odious and sinister courtier like William Barr?

I never thought I could miss Eric Holder, yet here we are.

Read the whole thing.

Headline on nbcnews dot com right now:

Trump's Green New Deal: President considering buying Greenland

They bitch a lot at BJ about the failures of the media, and although I am overly weary about having something ever more outlandish to bitch about every day, that headline epitomizes the way in which the media has collaborated with and enabled the lunacy we're living through.

It makes no sense to "consider buying" something that isn't fucking for sale. Couldn't they even say "considering making an offer to Denmark," or something that wouldn't make it seem quite so much like the lunatic in the White House is actually sane?

A better rendering would be:
Trump fantasizes about buying Greenland

you laugh, but we're not talking about gun control or white supremacism anymore, are we?

you laugh, but we're not talking about gun control or white supremacism anymore, are we?

1. I'm not laughing.

2. The fact that the topic has been changed only proves my point that the media is complicit.

3. Everything we have to say about gun control, white supremacism, taxes, gay rights, the economy, and every other issue imaginable has been said over and over and over and over and over again for the past X years (eleven in my case). We are not solving anything here. We have almost all admitted that we almost never change our minds in response to what people on "the other side" say about issues here. We are the equivalent of work pals talking around the water cooler, where "talking" is entertainment, comic relief, venting. What I do to try to mitigate the disasters and downsides of life and the world is not affected much if at all by what happens here (and this is not to "diss" ObWi or the other blogs I check in on). My volunteer work and $ donations have been pretty constant for many years, and insofar as they have changed, they have changed in response to what I see as major issues: immigration, gun control, electing Democrats, supporting children in need.

4. Still, point taken, and it's why I have pulled back my level of internet time and involvement....

Re. Israel: for European, Russian, and North American politicians, domestic anti-Semitism is in no way incompatible with Zionism.

Rulers want someone other than themselves to blame for troubles at home. Who better than Jewish intelligentsia in the Soviet Union, or Jewish bankers in Germany, and now the USA?

What they want for Palestine is something different. Stalin wanted a Jewish socialist state which would weaken British influence in the region. Hitler wanted somewhere to send rich Jews, stealing their money as they went. Truman wanted somewhere to send Jewish refugees. The white right today wants a powerful western-leaning state which will oppress muslims.

Whereas the modern left is sympathetic to the intelligentsia, and sympathetic to Palestinians. So it tends to be neither anti-Semitic nor Zionist. Except for elements in the British Labour Party, which would be a whole new discussion.

Bernard—

I looked up a couple of things. First, though I knew Buchanan had a predilection for defending Nazi war criminals, I didn’t know he denied what happened at Treblinka. So that was shocking.

Second, I looked up why TAC was founded. It was founded to oppose the Iraq War and, I think, turn the right towards an anti interventionist direction. I can understand why someone might associate with bad people to stop that. Buchanan would make me ill, however. I probably don’t want to know about Taki. Heard the name.

Third, I probably haven’t read every piece by Larison over the past several years, but I have probably read hundreds maybe. Not sure. You get a sense of where a person stands on race and I haven’t detected a trace of racism in the man, whatever compromise or rationalization he made with Buchanan. He hits Trump very hard on his racism and there is a gap between him and other TAC regulars. The Confederate thing was not a defense of slavery, which he condemns, but as best I can tell a romantic delusion or unwillingness to face up to the ugliness of the heritage he presumably grew up in. I think it is also tied to his anti interventionism. On the delusion,I knew people like that growing up down South. They weren’t necessarily racist, but they wanted to think their Confederate ancestors fought for something nobler than slavery.

But I can’t imagine what I would think or feel if I had several family members murdered in genocide, so what I am doing here is explaining why I will continue to read Larison and not trying to argue you into it.

I had something else to say to somebody. Forgot what it was.

I had something else to say to somebody. Forgot what it was.

I'm pretty sure you were going to express your great admiration for me.

Bobbyp—

You keep linking to Kirchik. I thought that second article was a mess. I don’t support or sympathize with Putin, but I don’t think the tensions we have are entirely Russia’s fault either. If Larison says that, then it is another example where his views overlap with some on the far left.

But I have to watch it, as I don’t want to get into too many arguments at once.

The white right today wants a powerful western-leaning state which will oppress muslims.

PB, at least in the US, the "white right" includes a substantial segment of white evangelicals. Whose religion tells them that the Second Coming is predicated on Jews controlling the land that is now Israel -- including the West Bank.

Their support for Israel, and the more far right Israelis, stems overwhelmingly, from that premise. It's utterly indifferent to the fate of Muslims, there or elsewhere.

Speaking of headlines AND gun control:

Trump Vows to 'Uphold the Second Amendment' During New Hampshire Rally: 'Not the Gun that Pulls the Trigger'

https://www.newsweek.com/trump-vows-uphold-second-amendment-during-new-hampshire-rally-not-gun-that-pulls-trigger-1454656

Leaving aside the idiocy of what he is quoted as saying within the article about mentally ill people, what the hell is "not the gun that pulls the trigger" supposed to mean? Are there lots people who think guns go around of their own volition shooting people? Is he concerned about hurting the feelings of all those poor, innocent guns?

If Larison says that, then it is another example where his views overlap with some on the far left.

Not saying they don't "overlap" (I'd use another term, but that's me)....I am asking whence they came from and why. Why would otherwise right wing conservatives suddenly do a 180 on US foreign policy and basically condemn an approach they had steadfastly supported for decades?

I get the impression that the culture wars play a much larger role here than you are apparently willing to concede.

My beef with Larison goes to his basic world view, you know, that conservative thing. So I would aver he has some ideological linkage of that basic viewpoint with his foreign policy writings. This does not make those opinions "bad", but it makes me very suspicious.

PS: I have great admiration for hsh as he consistently corrects my mistakes with grace and aplomb. Obviously, he has no place being on the internets.

Donald,

Thank you.

I don't think there's anything wrong with reading Larison, but given other evidence, there is something wrong with declaring him a person of good will because you like what he says about foreign policy.

I don't want to labor the point about Buchanan, but his opposition to the Iraq War was also not a little tinged with anti-Semitism.

All I have to say is that, as a metaphor for "damn it, I'm voting for whoever", the waffles-as-underpants thing beats my ham sandwich.

Hands down.

Also, Buchanan is and pretty much always has been a nasty piece of work.

Robin and Larison discuss conservatism.

criticism of Israel/zionism => reveals one's deep antisemitism.

criticism of US foreign policy and a willingness to "see" the Russian side of things => conclusively shows you are Putin's lapdog.

I find neither of these constructs very useful. Just sayin'.

Thanks.

“there is something wrong with declaring him a person of good will because you like what he says about foreign policy.”

It’s more than that, but I don’t want to beat this to death.

“What do you think motivates the bipartisan support for Israel among American politicos? “

Part of it is money— there are people like Adelson and Haim Saban. AIPAC has clout. But I think the deeper reason is culture.

On the right there are the Christian Zionists which people have talked about. On the left and more generally I think it is guilt and scapegoating and bias against Arabs. Spelling that out, liberals became much more aware of the history of Western antisemitism after WWII, though Peter Novick if I remember correctly says the real interest in the Holocaust and support for Israel started after 67. That war was seen as a glorious success when Vietnam was not.

Anyway, whenever it started, I think liberals supported Israel as a kind of expiation for what had been done to Jews and critics of Israel had to walk on eggshells so as not to be accused of antisemitism. Most Westerners didn’t know about the Nakba or various Israeli atrocities but Palestinian atrocities like Munich were front page news( of course thanks to the terrorists who thought that sort of publicity was good for the cause).. Plus there was popular culture. I never read or watched Exodus, but that romanticized Israel and what happened in 1948. I did read Michener’s novel The Source which does the same in its modern era chapter. And Arabs made convenient scapegoats. The West might not have done enough to save fleeing Jews from Nazis, but it could side with the Israelis against the backward Arabs, who were all either evil or misled. The Israelis were like us and the Arabs were the bad guys. I think the polls still show more Americans side with Israel over the Palestinians, though this is changing.

criticism of US foreign policy and a willingness to "see" the Russian side of things => conclusively shows you are Putin's lapdog.

if you say so.

i see a lot of criticism of US foreign policy / seeing Russia's side of things that more like both-siderism or keeping-my-own-beautiful-hands-clean pox-on-both-their-houses-ism. neither of which accomplish much, IMO.

after a while i start thinking "OK. the US sucks, all the time, everywhere. yeah, we get it. now can we get back to trying to evict the lunatic in the WH?"

“My beef with Larison goes to his basic world view, you know, that conservative thing. So I would aver he has some ideological linkage of that basic viewpoint with his foreign policy writings.”

His critique of US policy is based on two things—

1. Humanitarianism. Our support for unjust wars, terrorist groups, and harsh sanctions hurt or kill innocent people, sometimes on the theory that the suffering will put pressure on the government to change or even overthrow it. This is immoral and also, it usually doesn’t work.

I don’t care if the person making this type of argument calls himself a conservative or a liberal. The argument is correct. I am not always sure that the policy of induced suffering never works, but it is generally immoral.

2. He says that the support for allies like the Saudis in their war in Yemen, aside from being immoral ( his central point) does not serve American interests. I think this is right too, in the long run, but am not sure the country as a whole has some unique set of interests. Weapons manufacturers to take an obvious example might have an interest in more wars and more threats. But for most of us I think he is right.

p described: Emily Dickinson

"I’m Nobody! Who are you?

Are you – Nobody – too?

Then there’s a pair of us!

Don’t tell! they’d advertise – you know!

How dreary – to be – Somebody!

How public – like a Frog –

To tell one’s name – the livelong June –

To an admiring Bog!"


And H.L Mencken on p:

"Advertising is the rattling of a stick inside a swill bucket."

P. T. Barnum:

"This way to the egress."


Also Hitler randomly quoting from "My New Order"

p described: Emily Dickinson

"I’m Nobody! Who are you?

Are you – Nobody – too?

Then there’s a pair of us!

Don’t tell! they’d advertise – you know!

How dreary – to be – Somebody!

How public – like a Frog –

To tell one’s name – the livelong June –

To an admiring Bog!"


And H.L Mencken on p:

"Advertising is the rattling of a stick inside a swill bucket."

P. T. Barnum:

"This way to the egress."


Also Hitler randomly quoting from "My New Order"

Hey, once you start thinking along Larison's lines for overseas military involvement, next thing you know you're asking why the US needs 8,000 main battle tanks, 2,600 (planned) F-35s, 50 nuclear-powered fast attack subs, and 12 carrier battle groups.

Netanyahu ought to have those cufflinks p gave him appraised:

https://www.washingtonexaminer.com/weekly-standard/trump-has-given-fake-diamond-cufflinks-to-charlie-sheen-roy-cohn-and

p is pure reptilian EVIL.

He is an anti-Semite.

Yet, like the anti-Semitic Christian royalty of past epochs, he locates the one ruthless individual to serve as his Court Jew to do his bidding and his screwing over for him: the despicable Roy Cohn, who ruined Jewish lives, among many others, during the rancid McCarthy era.

The worldwide conservative orthodox movement, in every country, opens its inner circle to the most ruthless, murderous filth from all religions, races, genders, and nationalist persuasions, the only qualifications being unquestioned loyalty to the movement as it prosecutes, persecutes, and murders its enemies, and psychopathic reptilian ruthlessness in making its enemies ... everyone but them ... suffer.

Stalin, Mao, Hitler, Pol Pot were all Orthodox and stood athwart, like all ruthless conservatives.

Just because p gives you the worthless bling, either jewelry or tax cuts, as reward for your inferior ruthlessness, however, doesn't mean you are spared p's contempt, not does it mean you will be accorded empathy and spared in the coming worldwide, butchering termination of the conservative movement by decent human beings of all walks of life.

The main battle tanks do seem a bit problematic. It's hard to come up with a scenario for the future (as opposed to refighting WW II) which would require a tenth that number. Anybody who would require more tanks to beat has weapons big enough and bad enough to render tank battles irrelevant.

Conservative national Modi of India's government should be violently and savagely overthrown by the Indian masses.

https://digbysblog.blogspot.com/

Get the dominoes falling and let p and putin watch the preview of their fates as violence against the worldwide conservative nationalist orthodox rushes toward them and their governments like a California wildfire.

He says that the support for allies like the Saudis in their war in Yemen, aside from being immoral ( his central point) does not serve American interests.

I'd say American support for the Saudis has been extraordinarily in the interest of some Americans.

Aramco is the most profitable corporation on the planet.

All of which may, in fact, more or less align with Larison's point. But "American" interests include both the interests that Larison speaks for, and interests who think our pals the Saudis are the greatest thing since sliced bread.

Folks have different understandings of what "American interests" are.

Why is McConnell once again refusing all discussion, let alone legislation on reducing gun violence:

"Whitehouse is one of five senators (the others are Sens. Mazie Hirono (D-HI), Richard Blumenthal (D-CT), Dick Durbin (D-IL), and Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY)) who filed a brief earlier this week in a Second Amendment case the Supreme Court’s Republican majority could use to dismantle what remains of America’s gun regulations. Whitehouse is also the lead (and only) counsel on the brief.

The brief itself is less a legal document than a declaration of war. Though parts of it argue that the high court lacks jurisdiction over this case, New York State Rifle & Pistol Association v. City of New York, the thrust of the brief is that the Supreme Court is dominated by political hacks selected by the Federalist Society, and promoted by the National Rifle Association — and that if those hacks don’t watch out, the American people are going to rebel against them."

Via LGM

Well, because, Merrick Garland.

There will be no gun laws left in this country.

Which, to my mind, provides the tools for slaughtering the conservative movement, so there is always an upside.

Not one threatening person with a semi-automatic weapon.

EVERYONE!

They kill US if they could.

They weren’t necessarily racist, but they wanted to think their Confederate ancestors fought for something nobler than slavery.

Those ancestors, including the ones who had never and would never own slaves, were well aware of what had happened in Haiti. They lived in fear that, if the slaves revolted or were freed, they would shortly be dead in the most horrible ways imaginable. And it didn't help that the radical wing of the abolition movement was calling for the slaves to rise up and kill their masters.

Are there lots people who think guns go around of their own volition shooting people?

You would think so from reading some of the police reports on collateral damage in the aftermath of one of their raids gone wrong: "The gun Officer Smole was holding went off striking little Amy in the head."

I have to wonder: Why? Why would we want it?

The US offered to buy Greenland in 1946 to put an airbase there. But the Danes opted to keep it but allowed Thule Air Base to be built.

The main battle tanks do seem a bit problematic. It's hard to come up with a scenario for the future (as opposed to refighting WW II) which would require a tenth that number.

The Army does love the idea of free-flowing tank battles across open spaces. If not in real life, then in practice. Colorado spent years fighting off the Army's attempts (all post 2003) to take 6.9M acres, an area a bit bigger than the state of Massachusetts, by eminent domain and repurposing a national grasslands, to use as a tank playground maneuver area.

One would hope that the Army would, eventually, allow today's cavalry (tanks) to go the way of yesterday's cavalry (horses). A few, perhaps, kept for ceremonial purposes. But their utility in battle understood to be a thing of the past, not the present -- let alone the future.

The sooner "eventually" arrives, the better.

Thanks Nigel. Donald.

I'm glad to have shared the songs GftNC, thanks. Human beings only regularly agree on the most noble of aspirations. Being human makes us all fall short of those.

Jackson Browne also wrote: "dont confront me with my failures, I have not forgotten them".

Thank you for not reminding me of mine.

Thank you for not reminding me of mine.

Hold my beer!

A very concerned Dreher hates the despicable p like Ghislaine Maxwell despised Jeffrey Epstein so much that she recruited hundreds of women to take her place in his "affections":

https://www.theamericanconservative.com/dreher/an-anti-trump-landslide/

weird that someone so worried about the coarsening and perversion of our culture would be worried that Trump would lose.

These days I sit and think a lot

about the things that I forgot to do

And all the times I had the chance to


More Jackson Browne, with badly executed line breaks.

Don't confront me with my failures
I had not forgotten them

Another song I was unfamiliar with (it's surprising how little Jackson Browne I knew, given that his stuff is just my cup of tea).

But seriously, these two lines are (and have been lo these many years) my personal interior monologue to a startling extent, and believe me, not in a good way.

Great stuff russell. Jackson Browne has an incredible body of work, his first 4 or 5 albums reflected the loss of innocence of the Woodstock generation through the early 70's.

He was at once a voice of our dreams, and our failure to realize them.

Browne wrote that song when he was 16.

The Trump Diet Plan:

https://talkingpointsmemo.com/news/supporter-fat-shamed-by-trump-i-love-the-guy-and-i-dont-care-what-he-said

Eat sh*t, and watch the pounds melt away.

Jdt, I am always amazed at the songs he wrote at a young age.

He wrote this at 18 and put it on Standing in the Breach 48 years later

https://youtu.be/GuCLOvzvRjc

Hmmm, he was having an affair with Nico when he was 17, much to the frustration of Leonard Cohen, who was madly infatuated with her at the time ("I lit a thin green candle"), when she told him she was only interested in pretty boys, slapped him when he kissed her, and presumably only added to the insecurity about his looks expressed in the Cohen song "Chelsea Hotel" about Janis Joplin:

I remember you well in the Chelsea Hotel

You were famous, your heart was a legend
You told me again you preferred handsome men
But for me you would make an exception
And clenching your fist for the ones like us
Who are oppressed by the figures of beauty
You fixed yourself, you said, "Well never mind,
We are ugly but we have the music"

We are ugly but we have the music

It is really tragic how many people cannot see the enormous grey area between beautiful and ugly. Even though over 95% of us fall in there somewhere.

A lot of pain could be avoided if our culture could acknowledge that. (Admittedly a disaster for the beauty products industry. But worth it.)

Who is this “militantly progressive black woman” running for the Democratic nomination ?
I know there are an awful lot of candidates running, but I’m pretty sure I’m familiar with most of them.

And where the eff does Dreher get off calling anyone ‘preachy’ ?

I completely agree, wj. Personally, I thought Leonard Cohen rather beautiful, and clearly many thousands (if not hundreds of thousands) of other women did too, so to learn of his own assessment of his looks is very sad, particularly since he was extremely obsessed with beauty, and ascribed an almost moral dimension and value to it (a ridiculous and antique notion). I hope that such ideas are now rarer (it is certainly rarer to hear them articulated), but I have my doubts, and the reactionary swing in the public sphere would tend to support a return to such harmful concepts, particularly about women (which group this kind of thing usually most impacted in the past).

i'd always assumed everyone here was in the top 1%.

Who is this “militantly progressive black woman” running for the Democratic nomination ?
I know there are an awful lot of candidates running, but I’m pretty sure I’m familiar with most of them.

Well see, there's your problem: you are familiar with them. So naturally you can't match a description based on ignorance, stereotypes, and misinformation.

You may be aware that Harris** isn't especially progressive, let alone "militantly" progressive. But for those unimpeded by actual knowledge, a black woman politician simply must be a militant progressive. What her track record in office shows simply doesn't come into it.

Hope that helps.

** Pretty well has to be Harris, since Warren obviously isn't black. Well, Harris doesn't look particularly black either. But she's got the label.

“Who is this “militantly progressive black woman” running for the Democratic nomination ?”

He probably means Kamala Harris. Dreher and most conservatives see everyone to the left of Joe Biden as militantly progressive, plus she is black and a woman.

Harris doesn't always smile pretty and talk nice to the boys, so "militant"

WJ and I gave the same answer simultaneously. I could do the great minds thing, but in this case it’s because it is an obvious fact about how many conservatives see the left. Probably leftists have trouble categorizing differences amongst people on the right.

The funny thing is that Dreher wrote several years ago, based on a claim by Jonathan Haidt, that conservatives understand liberals better than the other way around. I seriously doubt this, based on Dreher’s own writing and what I see in some of his commenters.

Dreher understands his straw liberals better than they understand themselves.

Finally, 5th Avenue in New York City gentrifies in the right direction:

https://www.marketwatch.com/story/trumps-future-new-york-address-725-president-barack-h-obama-ave-almost-300000-people-are-pushing-for-it-2019-08-15?siteid=bigcharts&dist=bigcharts

The riffraff can move on.

Foreign company threatens to dock workers' pay if they don't attend rally at their foreign installation near my hometown.

https://digbysblog.blogspot.com/2019/08/we-respect-him-for-title.html

No resistance or constitutional free speech of any kind permitted, as the private sector is the breeding ground for fascist governance.

There haven't been any mass shootings aimed at plant management yet.

We are ugly but we have the music

Somewhere there is a recording of Cohen introducing a song on one of his last live shows, where he kind of walks through the stages of his life.

I'll try to paraphrase. Apologies if I've shared this, like, 7,423 times already.

When you're young, he says, you're kind of irresistable.

Then, you are resistable.

Then, you kind of repulsive.

Then, you are invisible.

Then, finally, if you stick around long enough, you are kind of cute again.

Cohen, like Kafka, is unfortunately grossly underappreciated for his sense of humor.

Yup, I saw two of his late shows, and I remember that. And he must have known he was irresistible in a way, because there is plenty of documentary evidence of women coming on to him. But nonetheless, he was obsessed with Nico, and she rejected him without hesitation for gorgeous young boys like Jackson Browne. It's also possible he suffered from a weird condition that afflicts some Jewish men: an obsession with nordic-type blondes (e.g. Marianne, Nico). Whatever the truth, and although I agree he had a considerable sense of humour ("I was born with the gift of a golden voice" - he thought this was a joke, although many of us loved his voice) I think there is little doubt he did not think he was good to look on.

Iceland lost over fifty of its glaciers in the last couple of decades:
https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-europe-49345912

This rings true:

https://www.theatlantic.com/politics/archive/2019/08/ben-howe-evangelical-christians-support-trump/596308/
In the minds of a lot of conservatives, the left exists to impugn their motives, and the Republican Party regularly lied to them and said they would defend them and then didn’t. And that was the establishment. Trump became their hero, because he hated the establishment, and he beat up on the media, and he was fighting back against all these forces. The more he fights, the more they feel justified, like, He’s our hero because we needed someone to do this for us.
Trump’s appeal is not judges. It’s not policies. It’s that he’s a shit-talker and a fighter and tells it like it is. That’s what they like. They love the meanest parts of him...

The whole interview comes from a place very, very far from where I am at, but it is interesting throughout.

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