Monday, July 31, 2006

"War--all war, requires bloodshed. And it is true that when we are engaged against people who want to kill us, we have to be willing to return the favor."

Who do you suppose she's talking about?

I tested my comments with an old friend whose family includes advisors to every Democratic President since Carter and who also has family in Shin Bet. He wasn't even sure he could say he was at war with Al Qaeda. He was right of course.
Tasini's Challenge
"The whole thing is painful to watch. At least to me. I still can't help liking the guy."

One way that power corrupts is that those who fought for it for moral reasons begin to see themselves as moral because they have it. Policemen like to say they are the law. I've said this a dozen times.
I'm in no position to say whether Lieberman was ever not a hypocrite, but he is one now, and he's been for a long time.

Juan Cole
What is Hezbollah?
"Individualism is not a Fact, it is an Ideology"

Stupid fucking idiots. Scumbags. Worthless piece of shit, incurious, anti-intellectual, pseudo-prepubescent sandbox-dwelling technocrats.

As any novelist will tell you, and most economists will attempt to deny, life for an adult is the daily struggle not to be determined by one's history. Simply saying that you're free of the past doesn't make it so.

I have to add this since the idiots are talking about Frank Herbert[!?]: Literature is the empiricism of the self; it is the record of perception, not speculation. Science fiction, conceptual and speculative fiction, like the works of Ayn Rand, are predicated on the same error of individualism:
"I'm alone! These ideas are mine... All mine!"
Then why are hippies, klub kids, and libertarians all so much alike? And why are they all so stupid? Why are they are all self-conscious, but so un-self-aware?

This is Freshman Comp. stuff. Everything I fucking write is Freshman Comp. stuff.

Sunday, July 30, 2006

Qana strike: civilians in the line of fire
By Mark Perry, Conflicts Forum, July 30, 2006
The claim that Israel is somehow indifferent to the deaths of innocents in Lebanon -- and Israel's own claim that Hezbollah uses human shields to mask its operations -- are both superficial explanations of a much more complex political problem. According to both Israeli and American defense experts, the Qana tragedy is the direct result of the failure of the U.S. and Israel to provide a political resolution to the current crisis.

There is little question that, eighteen days after Israel's ferocious military response to the abduction of two of its soldiers and the killing of eight others, the IDF has yet to show that it is capable of decisively defeating Hezbollah in open battle or significantly degrading Hezbollah's military capacity. As a result, IDF senior officers have stridently argued that Hezbollah infrastructure strong points and marshalling stations not yet included in IAF strike packages because of their proximity to civilian concentrations be "put on the table."

Over the last 48 hours, and in the run-up to Condoleezza Rice's return to the region, pressures have mounted inside Ehud Olmert's cabinet to expand the IAF's target list to include these marginal sites, despite their proximity to high concentrations of Lebanese civilians. The calculation of the IDF's senior command, and the argument they used with Olmert, was that while expanding the target list might lead to increased civilian deaths in Lebanon the prospective military gains from successfully degrading these high value but high-cost targets was too good to ignore.

Olmert and his defense minister hesitantly gave permission to expand the target list on Friday afternoon, I have been told. Included on the target list were Hezbollah command and control centers in Tyre and in the string of towns south and east of that city. Striking these sites, it was thought, would have a decisive political -- and not just military -- impact, by degrading Hezbollah's missile capacity. Significantly bringing down the actual numbers of rockets launched against Israel would allow the U.S. and Israel to declare that the current operation was a success, thereby establishing the ground from which the U.S. could argue that the "terrorist threat" from Lebanon had been defeated. Bringing down the number of rocket strikes on Israel would also allow the IDF to claim a victory in its campaign -- an absolute necessity given the current Israeli political environment.

Reports from the ground in Lebanon confirm that the IAF has expanded its target envelope, hitting sites that were considered off limits just 48 hours previously. Unfortunately, as nearly every military expert knows, precision weapons are not that precise -- and a miscue of even ten meters can make a huge difference. This is what happened at Qana. Nor, it seems, do IDF officers take seriously the more graphic defense of IAF targeting, as justified because Hezbollah uses human shields. Israel also co-locates many of its basing operations in cities and amongst the civilian population -- simply because of the ease of logistics operations that such co-locations necessitate. "The human shield argument just doesn't wash and we know it," an IDF commander says. "We don't expect Hezbollah to deploy in the open with a sign that says 'here we are.'"
Israel has almost succeeded in doing what the Germans and the rest of Europe failed to do: destroy Jewish culture.

Josh Marshall's comments defend a crime, a Dixiecrat definition of culture, and a Republican parody of affirmative action.
"Isn't there a party left out here? There's the opinion of the Arab states and the opinion of America, which you mention. What about the Israelis, whose state your discussing otherthrowing or dismantling? Do they figure into the picture?

As for the issue of a binational state, a central premise of Zionism has always been that after millenia of oppresion and degradation in Europe and the Muslim Middle East, Jews would never be safe and secure unless they had a state of their own and an ability to defend themselves. That, I would say, is the Israelis core opposition to a binational state. And I think history gives them a lot of backing for that argument.

I would also add this. The Palestinians have a very genuine and just beef with the Israelis. Europe? I think Europe has very little standard to criticize Israel about anything. Same applies to the Muslim world generally on the other side of the equation.

For my part, I believe in that central premise of Zionism articulated above. The problem is it led to a disaster for the Palestinians. They've suffered grievously. That needs to be made right both for the Palestinians and the Israelis, who will never really be able to do more than survive until there's a viable Palestinian state in the West Bank and Gaza. And not just in tiny chunks of it.

As for the Europeans and the Muslim world generally, I think the statute of limitations on their historic guilt is far from run out."
By Marshall's logic, Europe should be paying reparations to most of the planet, and women everywhere should be able to retire immediately.
Also: in the annals of man's inhumanity to man, Muslim mistreatment of Jews is roughly equivalent to the crimes of Christianity against itself. Europe is still the exception, and European exceptionalism is still the rule.
The petty, wounded nationalism of an American liberal. I wouldn't give a shit, except for that fact that Americans are so fond of condescending to absolutely everyone else.

Saturday, July 29, 2006

This is good. Not for the neocons but for the middle east and the world.
My god, Michael Rubin is an idiot!

Friday, July 28, 2006

"Lebanon: A Jewish Moderate's [sic] Lament"
The comments are interesting. I'm in the mix.
I'd like Mr Rosenberg to tell me why I have a right to return to a place I've never been, and why the Palestinians do not. I am not denying the fact that the people of Israel are there and are not going to leave; I am asking him to defend the sense of moral -and intellectual- superiority that justifies the locking out of people from their homes. I would like to hear someone who is not a supporter of Kach or Kahane Chai tell me, not why a bi-national state is impossible (it isn't) but why it is undesirable.

Give me the liberal moral defense of a modern state built upon racial lines.
Josh Marshall is making the Dixiecrat argument, and he's being called on it.
Times are changing.
Sat. update: "Times are changing..."
DeLong is wrong. As usual.
Quoting from comments on comments [none of mine]:
"This post, like a number of others recently, is too hard on the journalist. Unlike, say, the UK, we don't have an adversarial or partisan tradition of press coverage in the U.S. The journalist has to report what both sides say."
He doesn't have to. He just does. It is, as you say, a tradition and traditions cease to apply when they are not observed. But it's not the fact that he reports what both sides say that is the problem. It's that having done so he (and most of his American journalistic colleagues) refuses to then take what both sides say, compare them with other evidence and come to a conclusion. It's not about being adversarial, it's about being brave enough to make explicit judgments.
But you can't make judgments and be 'objective.' Language itself is a slippery slope. Where is the line after all between idea and ideology? And who chooses?
No: you can not assume that the press will not suck up to power. DeLong's economic realism -he's not idealistic enough to be even a social democrat- somehow becomes idealism when he's dealing with the press. The press should for some reason be incorruptible. By that logic prosecutors should double as defense attorneys, and people- some people, but who?- should be able to be counted on to act without self-interest. DeLong thinks self-interest is noble when the products that come out of it are "cool" but he sets himself as an example of classical virtue. Greed is a value except when it's not.

In fact: The world exists but an objective view of it does not. The British press is better than ours because it is both higher and lower, and The Simpsons are on Fox.
Self-interest is inevitable but is not a moral value.
Case closed.

Anyone who's witnessed DeLong going apeshit over Chomsky, social anthropology or Jared Diamond understands DeLong better than he understands himself. Confidence, arrogance, and a lack of self-awareness...

update #2
Down the memory hole:
Israeli contribution to conflict is forgotten by leading papers.

Where's DeLong? He feigns objectivity. He lies to himself and to the rest of us. Be engaged and history will be the judge. All awareness is partial, all justice imperfect. As with this crap. "Utilitarian Materialism vs Deontological Idealism."
How about Economic Liberalism and Individualism vs. the Anarcho-Conservativism of working class Catholic communities?

Which side are you on?

Thursday, July 27, 2006

Things are heating up for the liberal punditocracy

Of course, as a Jew (or demi-jew) I know that anti-semitism has never gone away.

Ten years ago how many blacks clenched their teeth listening to white lectures about Farrakhan? How many did so for good reason?
A: Most of them.

Wednesday, July 26, 2006

I'm done.
Teatro Colon

Tuesday, July 25, 2006

Life During Wartime

"They have to be seen to be doing law rather than doing politics."
They're doing both, though the quote makes Posner sound like less of a vulgarian than he is.

Q: What's the difference between an architect and an engineer?

Utilitarian Materialism or Deontological Idealism?

Monday, July 24, 2006

Zionism is Racism.
In this country the the best we're gonna get from the pundits on any side is that Israel's actions are a brutal PR disaster.

Conservatives, being not only hypocritical but dim, will disagree.

more simple logic here if you want.
(thanks Brian)
"Little Masters of the 16 Century"
I was introduced to Jim Goodfriend by an old teacher of mine. I've bought a few things from them in the year since my mother died, including this.
Nice people.
Snappy Answers to Stupid Questions

Stupid Question Number One: "What should Israel do? Just sit on its hands while Hezbollah rains missles on it?"
Answer: Exactly!
Hearts and Minds etc.
"I get a huge kick out of the Israeli radio interception. Halfway through a news broadcast on the Lebanese Communist Party radio station, a monotonous, droning voice interrupts to address Hassan Nasrallah and the Hezbollah fighters (in Arabic): "Come on, oh Hassan, you coward. Pack your bags and go to Masnaa [the remaining border crossing to Syria, last time I checked].. come on, you brave men hiding in your tunnels and caves..."

Couldn't they do that to the TV stations, too? It might diversify the content a bit, if we weren't just seeing bombs and dead babies. Also, I'd love it if they dressed up like "real Arabs" to interrupt the broadcasts. That would be ultra-effective; a guy in a turban interrupts a cooking show or, say, Fashion TV, which is also still broadcasting, to say, "Surrender now, Jesus... I mean, Allah loves you".
Intercept every media outlet and tell the Lebanese what to think and do; then you will be welcomed with flowers and baklava. Do they have figures on how successful the conversion rates are from their propaganda? More successful than penis-enlargement spamming? Surely not. People aren't grateful for being bombed. That's a tough lesson.

The UN is re-routing aid packages to Lebanon, marked "To Baghdad". Well, it is all the hellish "Middle East". And everyone loves peanut butter in their care package, from Kabul to Cairo. Just leave out the Danish dairy products."
read on
EDB 2002

Sunday, July 23, 2006


Saturday, July 22, 2006

Even the British Foreign Office has now broken
with the Washington consensus on the Israeli assault on Lebanon, which is basically that the Israelis should be able to destroy the whole country if they want to, over their two kidnapped soldiers. AFP reports:
' Britain's junior foreign minister Kim Howells, visiting Beirut, Saturday questioned Israel's military tactics and slammed its killing of "so many children and so many people".

"These are not surgical strikes," he said of the air and artillery bombardments since July 12 that have killed more than 300 civilians in Lebanon.

"If they are chasing Hezbollah, then go for Hezbollah. You don't go for the entire Lebanese nation," he told a media conference after meeting Lebanese Prime Minister Fuad Siniora.

Howells's boss, Foreign Secretary Margaret Beckett, echoed those concerns in an interview with the Financial Times and said a ground invasion that Israel appeared to be preparing would create "a very dangerous situation". '
Howell gets "the Understatement of the Year" award. Not surgical strikes, indeed.
Over at Starbucks the liberals debate.

Go read Juan Cole and make up your own mind.
Fucking genius:

No. This is genius:
Soon Lebanon will resemble the weather report after the climate apocalypse: And here, the conveyor belt has broken down, the Gulf stream has ceased to flow sending northwestern Europe into the iceage, the east coast of the western hemisphere has been flooded in a gigantic tsunami wave and the glacier icecaps have all melted. Mother Nature released a statement saying that she had not intentionally targeted the glaciers, but that weather reporters were hiding there and using it to launch long-range attacks against the moon. A spokesperson for God said that Mother Nature has a right to defend herself and her allies, the moon and the sun, and described the end of the world as "unfortunate".
From TPM Cafe
Fun on a saturday morning
I understood Zionism from childhood as the argument that my father, Robert I Edenbaum, born in the Bronx and the grandson of immigrants from Eastern Europe, had more rights to land in Israel than someone whose family had lived there for 20 generations. No one I have met has ever countered that definition, and the logic then as now could only be defined as racist.
The same people who defend my father's right of return to a place he never left also make demographic arguments for denying the approximately three million Palestinian refugees the right to return to their Israeli land: arguments predicated on the need to maintain the racial integrity of the Jewish State and reminiscent of the rantings of various reactionary movements around the globe, with the difference that this example is defended as moral even by liberals who fight against the implementation of such policies on their own soil.

The simplicity and clarity of the above points and my impatience with those who see them as anything other than clear place me to my chagrin in the company of Noam Chomsky. Chomsky does not understand psychology -though he might say that he simply has no interest in it- while consciousness is, of course, defined by neurosis. For that reason alone I suppose I should be more willing to accept the arguments of those to whom zionism was fed with mothers' milk: not to accept them as abstract logic- as truth- but as the result of the logic of their lives. Perhaps I should be more forgiving, but I'm not. Maybe I'm just a Jewish exceptionalist.

Still, I'm not surprised by arguments over the meaning of excessive or comparable force, even though comparable force would mean the destruction of entire sections of Tel Aviv, hundreds of thousands of refugees forced from their homes over a matter of days, billions of dollars in losses and threats to bomb Israel back to the stone age made by those actually able to do it.

On another more abstract note, it's a peculiarly American desire to turn everything into a question of "community,' as if somehow the opposite of a daily group hug is anarchy. I'm not particularly interested in most of the posters here, though the ramblings of the rank and file are consistently more interesting than those of the Poobahs. I'm not out to offend anyone but I'm not out to make friends either. As long as no one gets kicked in the teeth I prefer to let community take care of itself, and the concern for policing social niceties seems little more than another oddity of Americana.

Joe Lieberman in an act of rhetorical slight-of-hand and self-delusion has turned the American respect for courtesy into one for authority and from that into the defense of his own unctious self-importance. Chomsky and the rest of the liberal intellectual elite may all have no interest in psychology (though Chomsky is the only pundit who gives the defense of intellectual objectivity any weight) but that does nothing to deny what psychology brings to politics and daily life.
The people say Lieberman is a creep, and sometimes the people are right.

Thursday, July 20, 2006

Scroll down to Scott Martens' comment.

For all the dreams of logic in the anglo-american academy, it will fall flat -if you have an imagination- when you come to understand how much time is spent in the left explaining niggers' anger to white people. But only niggers understand the implications, as only women -even rich ones- understand sexism, and the poor, the facts of economic life. But we can't rely on any of them because their minds are fogged with anger (unlike ours). Of course some men are proud of their 'sincere' radicalism. But my memories of meeting Catharine MacKinnon are pretty basic: she struck me as a woman utterly terrified by a desire to be tied up and fucked deep in the ass. (See Foucault, below). Some people are fogged by their anger. Life's complex in other countries.
[America: The debate between Puritans and Drunks. Vol. XII]

Here's Glenn Greenwald on how it's OK to like Juan Cole; here's The Nation on why the Israel was is "Too High a Price" For whom? Not for the niggers.

Bullshit and Racism.

I had a a nice little exchange with Josh Marshall after being warned that I risked being thrown off TPM Starbucks for responding bitterly to one of his intellectual big guns, a racist idiot named, M.J. Rosenberg (see yesterday)

"Now I understand you Jew-haters out there prefer the term anti-Zionist. Yeah, yeah." And then there's Kenneth Baer.

A few four letter words and my response to this crap is called unreasonable. How is it that the politics of Haidar and Le Pen are acceptable in the liberal American punditocracy when it comes to the question of 3 million Russians and 3 million Palestinians? Where is the logic? The objectivity?

If Intellectualis Amercanus understood perceptual bias as a function of animal life -rather than a function of the lives of unnamed others- discussions of any sort would be much more interesting. But instead even in discussions of abstract principle we get such mindless stupidity as this.

[The Continuing Haussmannization of the World- Part 255 1/3
the Haussmannization of intellectual life]

so fucking obvious. so fucking simple. so fucking easy to understand.
somebody give me a job. I deserve to get paid for this shit.
An old acquaintance, now in Lebanon

Wednesday, July 19, 2006

Cheap fun with academics,
and racist hacks. "Anti Semitisim" [sic]

"Now I understand you Jew-haters out there prefer the term anti-Zionist. Yeah, yeah."

I'm amazed that the racialist politics of Jorg Haidar and Jean Marie Le Pen when deployed in the defense of a Jewish State, are considered acceptable in the liberal or even the "left-wing" American press. I wouldn't be surprised to find Cynthia Ozick on the pages of TPM Cafe or Tapped, if her views on economics were considered passable.
Electronic Lebanon
Go read Max

Back to the top, with a better image. I'm still figuring out how to use my digital camera.

Tuesday, July 18, 2006

Dennis Perrin

"On the other hand, the Irish Times report above says that Israeli officials reject a UN deployment and insist instead that the Lebanese army must be stationed along the border.
It is probably the Olmert government's hope that this posting will set the Lebanese army against Hizbullah, producing intra-Lebanese fighting that serves Israeli interests."

That seemed obvious from the beginning. And the Lebanese Army is not going to go against Hezbollah, thus giving Israel the right to defend itself by means of all out war.

"mistakes were made"[?]
Candyass spreads his cheeks and blows.

Interesting how the commenters at TPMCafe are outflanking the 'official' writers.

Monday, July 17, 2006

Abu Aardvark:
Arabs watching helplessly
So, the whole blow-up is Syria's fault, for putting Hizbullah up to making mischief. No reference to Israeli actions in Gaza. No reference to, like, the wholesale destruction of Lebanon by the Israeli air force. And no blame for the Lebanese government of Fouad Siniora. And Bush thinks that Nasrullah of Hizbullah takes direct orders from Damascus. And he thinks that if Bashar al-Asad orders Hizbullah to stop firing its little katyushas and give back the two Israeli soldiers, everything will suddenly settle down.

It is an astonishingly simple-minded view of the situation, painted in black and white and making assumptions about who is who's puppet and what the Israeli motivations are. Israel doesn't appear as a protagonist. It is purely reactive. Stop provoking it, and it suddenly stops its war.

Since Israel is just being provoked and has no ambitions of its own, in this reading, it is useless to begin with a ceasefire. That treats the two sides as both provoking one another. Here, only Hizbullah matters, so you lean on Syria to lean on it, and, presto, peace breaks out.

It is a little window into the superficial, one-sided mind of the man, who has for six years been way out of his depth.

I come away from it shaken and trembling.
" No reference to, like, the wholesale destruction of Lebanon by the Israeli air force."


The point is this: The Bush administration relies on presumptions of superior morality and the illusion of control. The will to victory must result in victory because we must be right. Israel is now following the same line, and turning Lebanon into Cambodia as a result. As in Iraq, this is romance and revenge- and liberalism of a sort- not realism.

Bush went too far in Iraq, Israel went to far in Gaza, and it is going farther in Beirut. This was much less predictable than you pretend. The result of the Bush Neocon doctrine is disaster and death, the weakening of the US and of the Zionist state.

A little perspective, and a little realism, would be helpful if you would just stop moaning and think.

All in all As'ad is right: The Nation is explaining niggers to white people
"Too High a Price" indeed.

Turning Lebanon into Cambodia.

"The far north of Lebanon is Sunni, as is the port of Tripoli, where the Israelis killed a Catholic Lebanese soldier. They also hit factories in north Beirut, not a Shiite area. They bombed a village near Zahle, a notorious center of Greek Orthodox, killing 3 civilians. The Israelis are either not very good shots, since they have murdered 140 civilians since Wednesday and only managed to kill about 17 Lebanese military personnel. Or they just don't give a damn."

It's stupid.

Saturday, July 15, 2006

War and Piece.
Read the updates. However knowledgeable he is, what Mark Perry says here is silly. The Bush Administration has been so sloppy with its extremist rhetoric that the Israelis if pressed will not hesitate to throw it back at them.

"...the goal of the Israeli government is much more modest."

update: Someone else agrees with me on this


On a related note, saw Close-Up last week in LA, in a quintuple bill with
Floating Weeds, Hana-bi, La Chamade and La Carne; and all without getting out of bed.
LA was fun. I got laid too.

The Makhmalbafs are on my linklist on the left.
And Kristol is a fucking idiot.
Cole on Lebanon

Balkin: Breaking and Entering

I could have guessed. (idiot)

Friday, July 14, 2006

been very very busy

Saturday, July 01, 2006

JulioSpeak You Listen:
Enrique Krauze's op-ed in the New York Times ("Bringing Mexico Closer to God," June 28, 2006) about Andrés Manuel López Obrador, Mexico's leftist presidential candidate, reveals more about Krauze's conservative outlook than about the true prospects of a López Obrador administration. Lacking substantive facts, Krauze mixes a few casual remarks with his own personal impressions to project the ghost of "messianic populism" onto López Obrador's future presidency.

But the main threat to Mexico's fragile democracy is not a ghost. It is, instead, the brutal reality of the country's social inequality. Twelve years after NAFTA was implemented -- official sources attest -- almost fifty percent of Mexicans still live in poverty. Measures of wealth dispersion are dismal, comparable to those in Brazil, Haiti, and sub-Saharan Africa. Many Mexicans are under the impression that Felipe Calderón, the candidate of the right, "has failed to convey real concern for Mexico's poor," as Krauze puts it, because he has no actual concern for Mexico's poor.
reference: Ricas y Famosas