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Nicholas von Hoffman on ‘The Conscience of a Liberal’

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Posted on Nov 15, 2007
Conscience of a Liberal cover

Read or listen to Krugman’s interview with Truthdig about his new book.

By Nicholas von Hoffman

Paul Krugman’s “The Conscience of a Liberal” has arrived at the apposite moment. The latest figures on income disparity are out simultaneously with this book and they are grim. The Wall Street Journal reports: “The wealthiest 1% of Americans earned 21.2% of all income in 2005, according to new data from the Internal Revenue Service. ... The bottom 50% earned 12.8% of all income, down from 13.4% in 2004 and a bit less than their 13% share in 2000.”

      It is such alarming facts which prompt Krugman to write that, in addition to low- and middle-income families falling behind, there is “... the damage extreme inequality does to our society and our democracy. Ever since America’s founding, our idea of ourselves has been that of a nation without sharp class distinctions—not a leveled society of perfect equality but one in which the gap between the economic elite and the typical citizen isn’t an unbridgeable chasm. That’s why Thomas Jefferson wrote, ‘The small landholders are the most precious part of a state.’ ”

 

book cover

 

Conscience of a Liberal

 

By Paul Krugman

 

W. W. Norton, 352 pages

 

Buy the book

      How the chasm, a grand canyon of disparity between the oligarchic one-tenth of 1 percent and everybody else, came to be is the center of Krugman’s book, which, incidentally, is not a compilation of old columns but a fresh work. His premise is that the narrowing of the gap between income extremes achieved under Franklin Roosevelt and the New Deal was reversed and destroyed by a twisted Republican Party captured by “movement conservatives” beginning with Ronald Reagan’s election in 1980.

      Delving into the seeming contradiction of the masses continuing to elect Republicans who return the favor by kicking them down the economic staircase, Krugman sets out to solve this sociopolitical riddle. He is not the first person to scratch his head over this. Thomas Frank in his book “What’s the Matter With Kansas” dissected the Republican tricks for getting voters to go against their own interests—invoking abortion, gays, terror, political correctness, etc.

      Krugman buys Frank’s argument but says it is not enough to explain self-wounding electoral behavior. Such Karl Rovian electioneering cannot account for more than a marginal number of voters switching over from the Democratic to the Republican line. The missing element, according to Krugman, is racism.

      In so saying he has nailed it. The reactionaries who isolated the Eisenhower Republicans and took over the party could not have won their string of election victories had they not been able to capture the once solid Democratic South and turn it into a bastion of their own.

      That came about by exploiting the region’s historical white antipathy to African-Americans. The post Eisenhower-Nixon Republican Party has made its lack of enthusiasm for racial equality clear to the white South, beginning with Barry Goldwater’s opposition to civil rights legislation and carrying on through to Reagan’s beginning his presidential campaign in 1980 by making a speech at Philadelphia, Miss., the place where three civil rights workers were lynched in 1964. Reagan turned that bloody spot into hallowed ground for today’s clandestine white, more genteel Kluxers.

      Race being the explosive subject it is, Princeton University professors such as Paul Krugman and many another person safely lodged in our respectable institutions are shy about saying that the GOP’s success rests on profiting from racial prejudice. Whether or not people other than Krugman want to talk about it, the truth is that when Harry Truman and Lyndon Johnson made the Democratic Party the party of civil rights, the white South turned to the Republicans, who received these whites with sympathy and sneaky encouragement. Even with Colin Powell and Condoleezza Rice, the stink from its quiet exploitation of racial animosities clings to the Grand Old Party.

      But, Krugman argues, the movement to conservatism or reactionary Republicanism cannot count much longer on using Southern white distaste for persons of color to win elections. Without a doubt many younger white people do not share their elders’ ideas about racial superiority, and he points out that the nation’s population grows less white with every passing year. Nevertheless, he may be a trifle too sanguine in foreseeing a happy majority of all races in our future. Racial prejudice runs deep and has shown itself thus far in history to be nearly impossible to eradicate.

      Once in power, Krugman writes, the Republicans cut the New Deal-World War II taxes on the rich so drastically that the present-day dangerous income imbalance resulted. He argues that with each tax cut the plutocracy had more money to buy more political power to use to cut its taxes again.

      This kleptomaniacal cycle was achieved by relying on more than racial antagonisms. Krugman writes: “The nature of the hold movement conservatism has on the Republican Party may be summed up very simply: Yes, Virginia, there is a right-wing conspiracy. That is, there is an interlocking set of institutions ultimately answering to a small group of people that collectively reward loyalists and punish dissenters.”

      Whether that is a conspiracy or brute-force, tunnel-vision politics backed up by big money is open to debate. Either way, the network of publications, television channels, front groups, publishing firms and those intellectual whorehouses we call think tanks, all richly financed, have done fierce work on the liberal cause over the years. The other side, of course, has tried to match the forces of reaction in kind, but it does not begin to have the same kind of money.

      Outside of liberalism itself, the principal target of the right-wing network has been organized labor. Krugman devotes much of his attention to unions because he believes that their near destruction has left the working population of the country almost defenseless and deprived the Democratic Party of election muscle it has not been able to replace.

      There is no gainsaying Krugman’s description of the attack on organized labor and the right wing’s use of the federal government to weaken and defeat unions wherever possible, but that is not the complete union story. The roots of the decline of organized labor begin with the ferocious internal battle between Communist and non-Communist factions in the late 1940s and early ‘50s. The fight inside the electrical and auto workers unions, to name two of the big ones, left labor split and drained of its enthusiasm.

      Given the times, the struggle to rid labor of behind-the-scenes Communist control in those unions wherever it existed was destructive but necessary. If one were to pick a bone with Krugman it might be on his stance that the domestic anti-Communist fights were “paranoid” in nature. True, there was enough paranoia, inflamed by anti-union reactionaries, to go around, but, even so, much of the anti-Communist battling was the real deal.

      At the moment we are close to having no unions. Without them it is much harder to keep the Democratic Party on the straight and narrow. Krugman mentions New York Democratic Sen. Charles Schumer preventing a move to make our hedge fund billionaires pay the income tax they presently are able to legally avoid. No organized force exists to make Schumer break with his billionaire pals or walk the plank.

      Again and again we have seen Democratic politicians during the primaries tell sweet lies to their “base” only to repudiate them come the general election. This pattern has practically become a tradition in Democratic Party politics. Kid ‘em in February, betray ‘em in November.

      One can hope with Krugman that the unions can be resuscitated to play the role of enforcer or that changes in the population bring with them a liberal tide or that issues like health insurance or the anger over the Iraq war will turn the trick. Krugman tempers his optimism of a better day a’comin’ by recognizing how politically paralyzing are what he calls the “weapons of mass distraction,” the movies, TV and cyberworld, which hourly pour debilitating crap into innocent American brains.

      “The Conscience of a Liberal” ends with a clarion call of sorts, a la Barry Goldwater’s “The Conscience of a Conservative,” which electrified a generation of frighteningly committed right-wingers. Although this book will not do much electrifying, it will do much clarifying, and that is no small service.

    Nicholas von Hoffman, a former columnist for The Washington Post and a former commentator for CBS’  “60 Minutes,” is a regular columnist for The New York Observer. He is the author of numerous books, including “Hoax: Why Americans Are Suckered by White House Lies” and “Capitalist Fools: Tales of American Business From Carnegie to Forbes to the Milken Gang.”


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By Inherit The Wind, November 27, 2007 at 9:44 pm Link to this comment

You know, using Westchester County as an example of LIBERAL racism isn’t going to get you too far.

After all, it’s Republican Peekskill that gave the world the KKK riots at the Paul Robeson concert, where the cops hung back to let them, and it gave us George Pataki, that clod, and finally, Mr. Neo-Nazi himself: Mel Gibson.  Yeah, ol’ Mel is a Peekskill boy who made his name in Australia.

Scarsdale is and always has been Rich Republican, and, while it’s been about 35 years since I’ve lived in Westchester, the county government has been GOP for as long as I can remember. And Republican Yonkers is a disgraceful BASTION of old-fashioned segregation.

In fact, Westchester politics is such a jumble that nobody can make sense of it one way or another.

I guess you figured if you got REALLY granular nobody would know what you are talking about and challenge you.

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By cann4ing, November 27, 2007 at 7:07 pm Link to this comment

Now that I have seen something resembling content from you, Yani, I at least have an appreciation for your antipathy—precisely what I would expect from an unenlightened and uninformed Zionist.

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By Yani, November 27, 2007 at 1:41 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

“They seek to pierce through false claims of anti-Semitism which obscure the truth about an illegal and brutal forty-year occupation.” by Ernest Canning

You must be on serious drugs. Do you intentionally ignore the facts of Israel’s right to possess the land? The brutal murder of their citizens by her neighbors? The never ending struggle to kill them with war and terrorism? Their right to defend themselves?

You do ignore these facts because you choose to believe false propaganda, lies and distortions rather than the TRUTH!

Don’t even waste your time responding with your nonsense. And do not proclaim truth when spouting your lies.

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By Conservative Yankee, November 25, 2007 at 9:17 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

von Hoffman speaks of the “racism” in the Republican party, and talks convincingly about the South abandoning the old “Dixiecrat” party in favor of the Republicans. Sometimes (as in the cases of Phil Graham, Strom Thurmond, and Richard Shellby) they are the same person riding a new horse!

Maybe I’m tone deaf, BUT I didn’t hear von Hoffman talk about the racism in The Democratic party which leaders have tolerated for over 100 years.  “Southern” you say?  “White” you believe? The racism has actually morphed into “class-ism” as von Hoffman aptly notes, BUT it is not the Provence of the Republican party alone.  The Racism/class distinction in Democratic Newark, Detroit, or Chicago is as palpable today as it was in Birmingham in the 60’s, you just have to look a bit deeper than the lunch counters. It’s OK to abandon the economic structure of Detroit, cause the African Americans will vote Democratic anyway. Lawrence can be ignored by Kennedys, Kerrys and Tongases because Massachusetts is a dark blue state, and it’s not about to change.

liberals don’t have a conscience, for if they did, there wouldn’t be hunger and abuse in Boston, unemployment and despair in Flint, or Gang violence and homeless children in Seattle.

Think liberals have a conscience?

Drive down the Bronx River Parkway from “liberal” Westchester to Jerome Avenue…. notice a difference?

It’s been there for 50 years at least, through Democratic and Republican control…. my guess is that when we elect our first independent government, the difference between life in Scarsdale, and life in center-city Mount Vernon will still have the same disparities.

“liberal Democrats” (as a general designation) is an Oxymoron.  That is why the D party hasn’t won a landslide election since 1964. A party which abandons large pieces of its (supposed) base can’t stay a party!

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By cann4ing, November 23, 2007 at 7:40 pm Link to this comment

Non credo, I think there is a major distinction between so-called “liberals” and those whom we refer to as progressives.  True progressives are those who seek out journalists who speak truth to power, like Amy Goodman and Bill Moyers.  They are not blinded by propaganda, whether it eminates from Washington or Tel Aviv.  They seek to pierce through false claims of anti-Semitism which obscure the truth about an illegal and brutal forty-year occupation.

I do not buy into the claim that a Hillary Clinton, a John Edwards or a Barack Obama are unaware of that truth.  Just as global warming is to Exxon Mobil, these corporate shills see academic studies like those offered by a Noam Chomsky or a Norman Finkelstein, not to mention President Carter’s “Peace not Apartheid” as being an “inconvenient truth.”  Just as they find selling out to the corporatocracy the easier road to travel, so too they chose to tout the Israel-is-always-right line precisely because it provides the easier path than the road less travelled by the likes of a Dennis Kucinich.

Just as the war in Iraq was the product of fixing the intelligence around the policy, and not the product of “faulty intelligence,” so too the one-sided policies of America’s so-called “Democratic leadership” on this issue is the result of disengenous posturing and not the work of well-intentioned individuals who have been duped by AIPAC and Tel Aviv.  And this is precisely why these pseudo-Democrats should be held accountable for the disasterous policies throughout the Middle East.

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By cann4ing, November 22, 2007 at 1:24 pm Link to this comment

non credo, point well taken, but…

Marginalization is the process used by the corporate media to create what Noam Chomsky refers to as the “democracy deficit.”  It is not limited to those Dems who challenge the AIPAC propaganda line, but applies across the board to any who would challenge the vested interests of the American ruling class, be it on the Middle East, NAFTA, the WTO, the oil cartel, the healthcare insurance industry scam, the prescription drug pricing scam, the military-industrial complex, Enronesque accounting schemes or, most especially, media consolidation and the Fairness Doctrine.

Where the UK and European democracies conduct campaigns over the span of weeks, our system has devolved into a permanent electoral cycle.  No sooner were the votes being counted for the 2006 mid-terms before candidates begin declaring for 2008—Why?  To give them time to troll for the billions of dollars needed to buy time for their 30-second deceptive ads as the corporate media astutely covers only the image but never the substance of the corporate favored candidates.

To suggest that any of the so-called Democratic “leadership” are captive to this is to ignore the fact that these charletons have willingly bought into the corrupt system as the easy path to success—certainly the easier path to success than the road traveled by Dennis Kucinich.  It is their lack of integrity and not the threat of marginalization which is the true source of their self-imposed captivity to lobbies including, but certainly not limited to, AIPAC.

In the end, the real reason for perpetuation of this unacceptable status quo is neither AIPAC, Israel, the Republi-crooks or even the cowardess and dishonesty of the corporatists trying to pass for Democrats.  The fault lies with We the People.  Until a majority of Americans awake to the need to become active citizens who seek out substance from alternative media rather than passive consumers; until they begin to replace the Democratic “leadership” with progressive Democrats who put integrity before the prospects of re-election, ours will be a very dim future.

Anyway, Happy Thanksgiving to non credo and all truthdiggers.

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By Inherit The Wind, November 22, 2007 at 9:40 am Link to this comment

Ga:

You TOTALLY misunderstood me. Totally.

If someone is randomly shooting rockets into towns and cities, and places his launchers in towns and cities, you are saying it’s just as wrong to shoot back to knock out those launchers, and maybe hit civilians they are using as shields, as to just randomly shoot back into populated areas as well.  In fact, you are saying that the ONLY moral thing to do is let the assholes keep shooting at your civilians and NOT take action because you would then be guilty of killing them.

So… You figure that the attacked have a moral obligation not to stop the attackers but just to accept death and destruction out of fear of bringing the same on the attacker’s people.

I do not understand this.  Don’t bother explaining—you didn’t understand a word I said. All you read was “Israelis always bad, Palestinians always justified”. I said no such thing, nor implied it.

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By cann4ing, November 22, 2007 at 9:05 am Link to this comment

Non Credo:  Most often you make solid points in your posts, but the suggestion that the Republicans and the pro-Israel lobby have made it impossible for Democrats to oppose the administration’s war policies is not one of them.  Those Democrats with integrity, like Dennis Kucinich, have had no problem speaking out either against the administration’s war policies or against Israel’s 40 year illegal occupation of Palestinian territories.  Corporate-sponsored Dems like Hillary Clinton don’t speak out against such things as Israel’s erection of an apartheid wall “on occupied territory” precisely because they lack integrity.  That is why we have seen Hillary trying to out-Cheney old dead-eye Dick by stating that no options are off-the-table with respect to Iran when she appeared before AIPAC.

The only reason the pro-Israel lobby has been so successful in narrowing the range of acceptable discourse in this country is because disengenuous pols have allowed it to happen.  Those who remain silent in the face of injustice become complicit in the outcome.

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By Ga, November 21, 2007 at 10:23 pm Link to this comment

Oh yeah, I left something out…

America’s “blind eye” regarding the overwhelming amounts of Iraqi/Palestinian civilian deaths vs. American/Israeli civilian deaths is quite disgusting. What’s the ratio by now, like 1000 to 1?

And condemn me for stating it, but when an occupied people, under extended extremely harsh and humiliating circumstances, facing this disgusting ratio of dead, decides to inflict some death on the occupying forces civilian populous—by suicide bombings for example—in order to change that occupying countries’ thoughts about said occupation,
well that is legitimate warfare. And it always has been.

If Russia, for example, occupied the U.S. like we are in Iraq, what would you do? (And I ask all “red-blooded” American “patriots” that question.)

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By Ga, November 21, 2007 at 10:05 pm Link to this comment

The root is the Arabs’ inalterable desire to destroy Israel.

There is a difference between Isreal and the Isreal occupied territories. The Arab desire is regarding the latter. This is a BIG difference that few acknowledge or even seem to understand.

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By Ga, November 21, 2007 at 10:00 pm Link to this comment

Re: #114892 by Inherit The Wind

Thank you for a well written post. Who can add to that beyond one thought… like it or not.

So let’s cut this horseshit that the difference between legitimate warfare/resistance and terrorism depends solely on which side you are on.

We have this idea, in the U.S., that there is something called “good” and “bad” killing. Many believe that it is not just okay, but “good” to kill “bad” people, and “bad” to kill “good” people.

(Many will further clarify “good” people as “innocent” people. This is how many people justify capitol punishment; “people on death row are bad people and their victims were innocent people.”)

This is the basic argument, isn’t it? That deliberate killing of civilians is “terror” and hence wrong. But also that the accidental, or collateral killing of civilians is not “terror” and hence not wrong—that’s different you say.

Now, we could, look at the many wars of the 20th century, where Western countries deliberately bombed and burned whole cities of our enemies, but, that’s different, one would say.

But today?

Well, what about the Battle of Fallujah? *

But let me cut this post short.

Wars are no longer fought as armies in the fields, or tanks against tanks, planes against planes. There are no more carpet bombings, no more fire storms.

We have “smart bombs” now. We have “depleted uranium” shells now. We have “cluster bombs” and “daisy cutters.” We—U.S., Britain and Isreal—have MASSIVE FIREPOWER. We can rain UTTER DESTRUCTION from the sky targeted by GPS.

If, let us suppose, an enemy of ours wanted fight back… let us say, an enemy with only grenades and small arms as weapons… just how shall they fight back? Hmmm??

When a people has been on the receiving end of massive firepower and debilitating and humiliating occupation—for years—fostering a form of generational hatred, just what is not, to them, legitmate in fighting back?

The U.S. and Isreal is running down a steep road toward the belief that all civilian deaths on our sides are the results of illegitimate “terrorism” and that all the civilian deaths on “their” side are the result of legitimate tactics.

The difference is that “they” kill innocents “on purpose” and “we” kill innocents “by accident”.

They are still dead, though, in the end. And killing and the hatred will continue for another generation, will it not?

*
http://www.atimes.com/atimes/Middle_East/IK21Ak01.html

“FALLUJAH - Three years after a devastating United States-led siege of the city, residents of Fallujah continue to struggle with a shattered economy, infrastructure and lack of mobility.

The city that was routed in November 2004 is still suffering the worst humanitarian conditions under a siege that continues. Although military actions are down to the minimum inside the city, local and US authorities do not seem to be thinking of ending the agonies of the over 400,000 residents of Fallujah.”

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By Stephen Smoliar, November 21, 2007 at 7:28 am Link to this comment

Yani (#114795), let me try to help YOU understand with an experiment that involves far less risk.  Read all the comments that have been submitted since yours appeared.  Classify all the assertions you read there according to those “true-or-false, right-or-wrong or good-or-bad” terms that you claim to comprehend so well.  Then, convince the authors of those assertions of the validity of your classifications.  (Note that I said “less risk,” rather than “no risk!”)  When you have finished, take two aspirin and call me in the morning!  grin

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By Howard, November 21, 2007 at 7:20 am Link to this comment

RE:  #114892 by Inherit The Wind on 11/21 at 4:18 am
================================

Nice explanation, ITW
—-
And here’s an example of them going after civilians. In this case a young father.

Iran, Syria Stepping Up Support of Terrorists - Yaakov Katz

A day after Ido Zoldan, a young father, was gunned down in a Palestinian shooting attack near Kedumim,in Israel,  IDF officers warned Tuesday that Palestinian terrorist groups would continue trying to perpetrate terror attacks in an effort to derail peace talks ahead of the Annapolis meeting. Fatah’s Aksa Martyrs Brigades took responsibility for the West Bank shooting attack, saying it was “a protest against the Annapolis conference.” Defense officials said there was growing Iranian and Syrian involvement in motivating Hamas and Islamic Jihad to carry out terrorist attacks, including the transfer of funds and instructions.

(Jerusalem Post)

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By Inherit The Wind, November 21, 2007 at 5:18 am Link to this comment

Ernest Canning on 11/20 at 10:18 pm
(1149 comments total)

Robert:  Anyone who is so ignorant as to suggest that “terror” is the source of occupation does not merit a response.  What most people refer to as terrorism is, in fact, guerilla warfare.  It is the tactic that a weaker foe traditionally turns to in the face of overwhelming force.

While it is true that the force in power describes ALL resistance as ‘terrorism’, that does not make that the correct definition.  Check out what Lenin said about the use of ‘terror’.

You have confused guerrilla warfare and resistance with terrorism.  They are decidedly different.  Guerrilla warfare is targeted against military and government control targets—army and police.  It might attack a control center, or even, under some circumstances telephone or postal services.  It is intended to disrupt the functioning of the military or the government. It is either strategic or tactical, or both.

This completely differs from terrorism, which is NOT directed at strategic or tactical targets. It is TOTALLY directed at civilians, at innocents, at women and children, solely to terrorize the population of the opponent.  I find it despicable that intelligent posters ignore this obvious difference.

If a suicide bomber drives a car bomb into a military installation, that’s guerrilla warfare, whether you agree with the bomber’s position, or his target’s.  Still, from an disinterested POV, it’s a legitimate target.

When a suicide bomber walks into a wedding, or a pizza parlor filled with children, or a bus filled with commuters and detonates his bomb, that’s terrorism.  From a disinterested POV, that is NOT a legitimate target.

I find it impossible to understand anyone disagreeing with these two limited definitions of Guerrilla Warfare vs Terrorism.

Of course, where it becomes muddy is when a legitimate target—a military or police station, or a rocket-launching site, is buried in the midst of civilians.  Then, the owner of the target is USING the civilians as human shield, and relying on the humanity of his opponent, or on international outrage, to prevent his installation from being attacked.

It’s a poor tactic, because the other side then must make the tactical decision: Which is worse: Risking killing civilians to get at the target, or allowing my people to be killed instead.  Usually the decision is to protect one’s own.  But in that case, the greater share of the responsibility MUST fall on the target, who deliberately elected to use innocents as a shield.

So…If Hamas launches rockets from Gaza at military and governmental targets in Israel, that’s guerrilla warfare. Civilian deaths as a result are unfortunate, but are not “terrorism”. If Hamas deliberately launches them at civilian targets, solely to terrorize Israelis, that’s terrorism.

If the IDF launches missiles or other armaments at the sites of the Hamas missile launchers in Gaza, that’s legitimate warfare. Civilian deaths are unfortunate, but on Hamas’ head. If the IDF randomly launches attacks on civilians solely to terrorize Gazans, that’s terrorism.

So let’s cut this horseshit that the difference between legitimate warfare/resistance and terrorism depends solely on which side you are on.  There are, in fact, clear-cut definitions that delineate which is which.  These definitions will hold up for disinterested observers and go beyond the biases held by the supporters of either side.

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By cann4ing, November 20, 2007 at 11:18 pm Link to this comment

Robert:  Anyone who is so ignorant as to suggest that “terror” is the source of occupation does not merit a response.  What most people refer to as terrorism is, in fact, guerilla warfare.  It is the tactic that a weaker foe traditionally turns to in the face of overwhelming force.

It is interesting how the ideology of imperialism and aggression always produces phrases like terrorism to demonize any who would resist conquest and occupation.  The resistance movements throughout occupied were labeled “terrorists” by the Nazi occupiers.  In Franco’s Spain, the remnants of the former Republican army were given the terrorist label by the fascists.  Those who fought for independence in Algeria were labeled terrorists by the French.  In all three cases, as conquest settled into occupation, the occupiers turned to brutal repression and torture in response to resistance. 

(No doubt, if the word “terrorism” had been around at the time, the British would have applied it to the Colonial forces during our own Revolution.) 

Israel’s occupation of Palestine has not provided an exception to the rule.  Consider the following from a 2001 study by the Israeli human rights group, B’Tselem on the “torture of Palestinian minors” quoted by Prof. Finkelstein in “Beyond Chutzpah:”

“Israeli security forces, some of them masked and some with their faces blackened, arrested them at their homes late at night…After arriving at the police station, policemen used severe torture when interrogating the detainees…[including] severe beatings, splashing cold water on detainees (the events occured during winter), putting the detainee’s head in the toilet bowl….”

The report implicated Israeli medical personnel, who would examine handcuffed and blindfolded detainees, sometimes treating them after they were tortured, before sending them back for more.  B’Tselem found that these were “not isolated cases or uncommon conduct by certain police officers, but methods of torture adopted at the police station and used against dozens of detainees.”

This is not an isolated report.  On page after page Finkelstein quotes from reports of numerous human rights organizations like Amnesty International documenting Israel’s systematic use of torture, which has been so severe as to produce multiple deaths.

Of course, Finkelstein’s carefully documented academic study on the reality on the ground as well the manner in which Zionists and their allies utilize false claims of anti-Semitism to conceal the similarities between the Israeli occupation of Palestine and the Nazi occupation of Europe led to a well-orchestrated hard-right campaign, led by Alan Dershowitz, to smear Finkelstein and remove him from his tenured position.

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By BobZ, November 20, 2007 at 8:40 pm Link to this comment

“The root of the “problem” is not Israel’s administration of the territories. The root is the Arabs’ inalterable desire to destroy Israel.”

You have identified 1/3 of the problem. 1/3 is the Israeli practice of terrorism on the Palistineans and not being serious in getting the settler issues resolved. The other 1/3 is the inability of the U.S. to see the whole problem for whatever reason. We are perceived as turning a “blind eye” now matter how many human rights abuses the Israeli’s perpetrate.

Hopefully in Annapolis Condi Rice will be able to bring a more balanced U.S. viewpoint to the negotiations but I am not hopeful. We have been down this road too many times before.

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By rowman, November 20, 2007 at 8:33 pm Link to this comment

#114815 by Howard on 11/20 at 7:22 pm


Excellent response!

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By Howard, November 20, 2007 at 8:22 pm Link to this comment

RE:  #114803 by Robert on 11/20 at 6:41 pm
(576 comments total)

says ““OCCUPATION BREEDS TERROR

Israel must leave the territories, and must do it soon - whether accompanied by concessions on the Palestinian side or not “”
==================================
=======================================

NO.  TERROR BREEDS “OCCUPATION” !

The root of the “problem” is not Israel’s administration of the territories. The root is the Arabs’ inalterable desire to destroy Israel. No country should be asked to commit national suicide in order to appease world public opinion. No easy solution of the territorial dispute of the “West Bank” and Gaza is possible until the Arab nations give full recognition and acceptance to Israel and are genuinely willing to make peace and to establish full normalization of relations. Israel is surrounded by implacable enemies. Does anybody really expect the Israelis to turn over the strategically crucial territories of the “West Bank” to those who are sworn to destroy them? Look what happened after leaving. Gaza.  Rockets are daily sent into Israel. And Israel well remembers the example of Czechoslovakia, which, under irresistible international pressure, turned the Sudentenland over to Hitler’s Third Reich — and ceased to exist as an independent nation just a few months thereafter.

Jews have been living in Judea/Samaria since Biblical times. The area was made judenrein (free of Jews), following the Nazi model, by Jordan, when it was in possession of the territory, form 1948—1967.. After 1967, Jews moved back into the territory and a great hullabaloo was raised and is still being raised about the not more than 200,000 “settlers,” who do not occupy more than 2 percent of the area. But there is no concern about the hundreds of thousands of Arabs, who, lured by the prosperity of Israel, have flooded into the area, nor of the more than one million Arabs who live in Israel proper and who enjoy full rights of citizenship.

Israel acquired the territories (the “West Bank” and Gaza) in defense of an aggressive war waged against it. No country in history has ever been asked to return such territories. Do the Poles return the huge chunk of Germany that they acquired in the wake of World War II? Do the Czechs return the Sudetenland, do the French return Alsace-Lorraine? Of course not! Only Israel is being asked to return such territories. The last sovereign of the “West Bank” and of Gaza were the Ottomans. The “West Bank” and Gaza are unallocated territories. To speak of Israel as “occupier” is preposterous; to speak of it, as Kofi Annan, the Secretary General of the UN did, as “illegal occupiers,” which is poisonous slander. He knew better. But unfortunately, the Big Lie of Israel’s “occupation ” has been repeated so long and so often that even people of good faith have come to believe it and to accept it.

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By Robert, November 20, 2007 at 7:41 pm Link to this comment

OCCUPATION BREEDS TERROR

Israel must leave the territories, and must do it soon - whether accompanied by concessions on the Palestinian side or not

Seth Freedman


November 19, 2007 7:00 AM

“When I first moved to this country, I was prepared to play my part by enlisting in the IDF and serving in the West Bank. While there, I saw for myself the effect my mere uniformed presence had on the Palestinians I encountered on a daily basis. Every interaction took place with me holding all the cards - it was me with the loaded gun in my hands; it was me barking instructions to “stop or I’ll shoot”, “lift up your shirt”, “don’t come another step closer”; it was me playing with my quarry as though they were puppets on the end of short, taut strings.

However, I still believed that we “did what we had to do”, since it was a case of us or them, and we could never ease up in our actions for fear that the next Palestinian we encountered was the one with a bomb strapped to his chest. And so it continued, bursting into buildings to round up the residents and lock them in their own basement, so that we could take over the house and grab a few hours’ sleep in the middle of a mission - and all perfectly acceptable in the context of war.

But that was when I saw the wide, silent eyes of the families’ children as we screamed at their father - their hero, their protector - and wrested from him the reins of power inside his own house. And that’s when it started to dawn on me just what kind of effect our actions were having on the next generation, who were guaranteed to end up hating us when all they saw was us herding them like cattle and imposing our will on them through the sights of our guns.

Once I left the army, my forays into the West Bank were on more equal terms, as I sought to meet the very people whose towns I’d previously patrolled, to hear their stories about life under military rule. From Jenin to Bethlehem to Ramallah and beyond, the extent of the suffering and the depth of the torment was exposed to me time and again. There was no doubt in my mind that our mere presence in their daily routines was twisting the knife every time they encountered a soldier - and breeding extremism and radicalism all the while.

The unspoken truth that every Israeli knows, uncomfortable as it may be to admit, is that occupation breeds terror. Every incursion, every raid, every curfew and collective punishment, drives the moderates into the welcoming arms of the militants, who promise to return their honour and their wounded pride by fighting the oppressors’ fire with fire of their own. And that fact alone should be enough to shake Israelis awake and realise that the occupation has to end, as much for our own security as for the sake of the Palestinians that we’re subjugating.

Even those who only care about the safety of the Israeli people, and to hell with the Palestinians, should be backing the withdrawal of troops to the Green Line. They should know that the labyrinthine network of checkpoints is not actually making them safer, but is there just to make the Palestinians’ lives a misery, thus endangering Israeli lives further in the end. And they should recognise that while Israel’s presence continues to fester in the Palestinian territories like an open sore, there is little to no chance that the Palestinians will seek rapprochement and dialogue with their neighbours.

And that means that any coexistence projects - such as those promoted by OneVoice, the Clubhouse network, and so on - are doomed to fail while the occupiers refuse to acknowledge the plight of the occupied. Israel has the upper hand whichever way you look at it, and to treat the situation as somehow balanced is to overlook totally the sheer injustice of it all.”


http://commentisfree.guardian.co.uk/seth_freedman/2007/11/occupation_breeds_terror.html

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By Robert, November 20, 2007 at 7:37 pm Link to this comment

(Continued from above post)

OCCUPATION BREEDS TERROR

“Israel must leave the territories, and must do it soon - whether accompanied by concessions on the Palestinian side or not”

“Of course, the Israelis have suffered decades of terrorism at the hands of extremist Palestinian groups, and as such have every right to demand their government protects them from similar atrocities in the future. But, for all that Israelis have had it bad, they haven’t seen every facet of their lives systematically destroyed at the hands of an uncaring occupying force. They haven’t seen their economy run into the ground by crippling border closures and sanctions, they haven’t been denied freedom of movement between their homes and farmlands, and they haven’t had to beg soldiers to let their wives through checkpoints in order to give birth in hospital.

At the same time, the settlements are as much of a problem to a viable Palestinian state as anything, thanks to the watertight security their presence demands from the army, restricting Palestinian movement and cutting the West Bank into tiny ribbon-like strips. As one Palestinian said, in Emma Williams’ essential book on the region, “thanks to the settlers and their infrastructure, we’re locked so tight into the State of Israel we’re like a bug in concrete.”

But still the expansion continues, and still the stranglehold on the Palestinians persists. While the Israeli public stays silent, while their taxes swell the government’s coffers, they are tacitly aiding and abetting slow torture on a national scale. On top of the sporadic killing that the occupation inevitably causes, the killing of an entire people’s hopes and dreams takes place 24 hours a day, 365 days a year.

And it has to stop. Even though it’s no doubt too late to pull many of the current generation back from the brink of hate and enmity, there’s still time to ensure that today’s resentment doesn’t have to be instilled into the children of tomorrow. Playing the “fighting terror” card might win Knesset votes, but it doesn’t push things forward nor work out how to pave the way towards long-lasting future peace.

Israel must leave the territories, and they must do it soon - whether accompanied by concessions on the Palestinian side or not. The occupation is illegal, it is abhorrent, and it is utterly counterproductive if its aim is to bring security to Israelis. Anyone who ventures into the Palestinian towns and cities, who witnesses the devastation for themselves and hears the tragic tales from the horse’s mouth, knows this. And anyone who prefers to cover their ears or avert their eyes is only doing damage to both sides in the long run. Israel will never have peace whilst it crushes Palestinian aspirations - and both sides deserve far better lives than those they are being forced to endure at present.”
http://commentisfree.guardian.co.uk/seth_freedman/2007/11/occupation_breeds_terror.html

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By Yani, November 20, 2007 at 7:14 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Ernest Canning, sorry. I directed this to the wrong person. I confused you with Stephen Smoliar.  Please accept my apology.

Stephen, what you wrote here #114709 must require copious amounts of LSD because that makes no sense to a sober person. If you cannot comprehend true-or-false, right-or-wrong or good-or-bad and where to draw the line here, you must have problems.

Let me help you to understand:

First post all of your personal information here.

This includes Name, address, bank accounts, credit cards, employer, social security number and mothers maiden name.

Next, sit back and wait.

When your credit is destroyed, your debt exceeds that of your ability to pay and some guy in Nigeria owns the deed to your home, come back here.
Now tell me if it is right or wrong.

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By cann4ing, November 20, 2007 at 4:37 pm Link to this comment

Non Credo asks, appropriately, where the profit would be even for elites in waging war against Iran since it would drive up the price of oil.  Good point if you were dealing with rational people who are not ideologically blinded by the goals of Disaster Capitalism.

Consider the 3/20/06 newsletter from investigative reporter Greg Palast, who asserts he obtained a copy of a 323 page pre-war State Department Memo revealing the goal in Iraq was not to obtain control in order order to increase oil production but to suppress it.  As a result the 2005 profits of the five largest oil companies soared to a whopping $113 billion as compared to pre-war profits of $34 billion in 2002.  Of the $686 million in compensation received by former Exxon CEO Lee Raymond during the period 1993 to 2005, $400 million came at his last year at the helm.  Exxon’s net income skyrocketed from $4.8 billion in 1992 to $36.13 in 2005.  It’s 3rd quarter profits in 2005 of $10 billion works out to $4.5 million per hour.

For some, there is far greater wealth to be acquired from a disruption of the oil supply than there is in securing it. This, of course, entails an irrational focus only on immediate riches without regard for long term consequences, something we’ve already seen in their corrupt effort to deny the human impact on global warming.  Indeed, I am reminded of the display used by Al Gore in “An Inconvenient Truth” where gold bars are put on one side and the earth on the other—the central point being what good are gold bars if there is no planet?

What we have already seen in Iraq is thoroughly irrational, but, for a select few, it has been extremely profitable.

To Yani:  The only “issue” I have is hit-and-run snipers who have nothing substantive to say yet complain about those who do.

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By rowman, November 20, 2007 at 3:18 pm Link to this comment

Seems simple enough to say that you would dance around it. Thank you for the example smile

You need to get some chutzpah and I say this with all sincerity. This “grey” world you want to be in is not reality. There is a black and white. Choosing to talk around issues as opposed to taking them head on with truth and honesty is one of the problems we face in this world.

Your fear of using the word “ wrong “and justification is nonsensical to me. Do I think that it is rhetorically charged? No. That is nonsense. There are things in life that are wrong.

If your child is caught shoplifting do you not tell them it is wrong?
Is genocide not wrong?

If you truly struggle with people’s use of vocabulary, a dictionary might help.

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By Stephen Smoliar, November 20, 2007 at 1:51 pm Link to this comment

rowman (#114726), the reason why I explicitly cited to the final sentence of your #114707 comments was to observe that I liked everything in that sentence except the word “wrong.”

Now would it not be far better for you to understand the specifics of this and to know why it is wrong so as to properly challenge them on it?

If you do not agree with me that “wrong” is a rhetorically charged word, I am not sure I can persuade you otherwise.  However, even a cursory view of history would probably be enough to indicate that the word tends to start more arguments than conclude peaceful agreements!  Personally, I side with Kant’s observation that there are precious few propositions out there that are flat-out false, even in the domain of “pure reason.”  On the other hand, making a giant leap from Immanuel Kant to Clifford Geertz, I believe that our conversations are full of what I like to call “terminological disconnects,” where two people use the same word but differ in their semantic or rhetorical denotations or connotations of that word.

For example, if you told me that the sky is green, there are all sorts of hypotheses I would explore before declaring your assertion to be false.  The simplest is that we have different color vocabularies.  One more appropriate to our times would be a metaphorical usage with environmental connotations:  “The sky is refreshingly free of pollutants.”  To give you an idea just how far we can press this game, if you finally convince me that you really believe that the sky has the same color as the grassy field, I might then wonder if you were color-blind!

Do not think that this is an idle game, though.  Life is full of terminological disconnects, and part of the human condition seems to be that we are really irritated by them.  Personally, I find this a better explanation of our behavior than the hypothesis that hostility is wired into our genes!

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By rowman, November 20, 2007 at 11:06 am Link to this comment

RE: #114709 by Stephen Smoliar
I had to read my post several times. I do not recall using the adjective “wrong” and do not see where I did. I did say that accelerating the rapture, as some believe, is based on incorrect doctrine / interpretation so I suppose that you could rightly infer this as being “wrong”.

I stand by what I said. If someone states that we humans can influence G-d’s timing or plan by something we do, and they cite the Christian / Judea text as a basis for this, their interpretation is incorrect and their doctrine is flawed.

I disagree that “grounding the challenge on the premise that something is “wrong” does little more than blunt the rhetorical impact of the challenge.”

If I told you the sky was green today, would you tell me I was wrong or would you dance around the issue for fear of offending or some other reason?

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By Stephen Smoliar, November 20, 2007 at 9:16 am Link to this comment

rowman (#114707), skating onto the thin ice of cultural relativism, I wish to challenge your use of the adjective “wrong.”  I believe that much of the mess in which we are enmired can be attributed to hard-and-fast attempts to reduce everything to true-or-false, right-or-wrong, good-or-bad.  Like it or not, we live in a world with a massive number of belief systems.  We can talk about challenging each other’s beliefs, which is why I wholeheartedly embrace the rest of your final sentence;  but grounding the challenge on the premise that something is “wrong” does little more than blunt the rhetorical impact of the challenge.

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By rowman, November 20, 2007 at 9:03 am Link to this comment

#114509 by Ernest Canning,
“ …In short, the Christian right has its own agenda… to accelerate the Rapture”. Same could be said of some Muslims (Ahmedenejad version).

You would be partially correct on this being that there are “Christians” that do believe this but not all do. For those that do, problem is, it is based on incorrect doctrine / interpretation.

Now would it not be far better for you to understand the specifics of this and to know why it is wrong so as to properly challenge them on it?

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By Howard, November 19, 2007 at 7:27 pm Link to this comment

The obsession of the Muslim Arabs with Israel is totally irrational. To have Israel as an independent country in the middle of the Arab-Muslim world is utterly intolerable to them. That is the reason that, making allowance for the very cold peace with Egypt and the more recently concluded peace with Jordan, the 21 Arab states, among them the richest countries in the world, with a combined population of more than 200 million and with a land area greater than that of the U.S., have concentrated obsessive ferocity by military, economic, ideological, political, diplomatic, and any other means to destroy the tiny Jewish community of Palestine, and its successor, the Jewish state of Israel—only 7 million people, in a country just one-half the size of San Bernardino County in California.

Acts of terror in the United States, Argentina, England, and Israel have sobered many who had believed the Israeli-Palestinian conflict to be the cause for the unrest in the Middle East. The fact is that war is endemic in the Arab world and that the Muslim Arabs have been waging war against each other and against their non-Arab neighbors for centuries. But, as much as the Muslim Arabs hate each other, most of them are united in their greater hatred against the “infidel Jews” and their tiny country, and they have built vast war machines for the ultimate “jihad” to nuke the Jews, to poison them by chemicals or biologicals, or to chase them into the sea. The focus on the Palestinian-Israel conflict plight is designed to divert attention from the many domestic and inter-Arab problems, and to direct the Muslim-Arab frustration against Israel, the “infidel Western outsider.” The suggestion that Israel divest itself from its historic heartland, the 2,362 sq. mi. “West Bank,” and from the Golan would lead to strategic suicide. The real cause of the never-ending turmoil in the Middle East is the unremitting desire of still most of the Arab-Muslim states to destroy Israel, their inability to come to terms with its very existence. That hatred and that intolerance are fueled by Arab-Muslim fanaticism and intransigence and unwillingness to accept diversity in the region. Only when that will be overcome can peace and tranquility finally come to the Middle East.

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By Robert, November 19, 2007 at 7:11 pm Link to this comment

An Opening Shot for War on Iran?

By JONATHAN COOK

Counterpunch

September 27, 2007

Israel’s air strike on northern Syria earlier this month should be understood in the context of events unfolding since its assault last summer on neighboring Lebanon.

From the leaks so far, it seems that more than half a dozen Israeli warplanes violated Syrian airspace to drop munitions on a site close to the border with Turkey. We also know from the US media that the raid occurred in close coordination with the White House. But what was the purpose and significance of the attack?



It is worth recalling that, in the wake of Israel’s month-long war against Lebanon a year ago, a prominent American neoconservative, Meyrav Wurmser, wife of Vice-President Dick Cheney’s recently departed Middle East adviser, explained that the war had dragged on because the White House delayed in imposing a ceasefire. The neocons, she said, wanted to give Israel the time and space to expand the attack to Damascus.



The reasoning was simple: before an attack on Iran could be countenanced, Hizbullah in Lebanon had to be destroyed and Syria at the very least cowed. The plan was to isolate Tehran on these two other hostile fronts before going in for the kill.



But faced with constant rocket fire from Hizbullah last summer, Israel’s public and military nerves frayed at the first hurdle. Instead Israel and the US were forced to settle for a Security Council resolution rather than a decisive military victory.



The immediate fallout of the failed attack was an apparent waning of neocon influence. The group’s program of “creative destruction” in the Middle East—the encouragement of regional civil war and the partition of large states that threaten Israel—was at risk of being shunted aside.



Instead the “pragmatists” in the Bush Administration, led by Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice and the new Defense Secretary Robert Gates, demanded a change of tack. The standoff reached a head in late 2006 when oilman James Baker and his Iraq Study Group began lobbying for a gradual withdrawal from Iraq—presumably only after a dictator, this one more reliable, had again been installed in Baghdad. It looked as if the neocons’ day in the sun had finally passed.



Israel’s leadership understood the gravity of the moment. In January 2007 the Herzliya conference, an annual festival of strategy-making, invited no less than 40 Washington opinion-formers to join the usual throng of Israeli politicians, generals, journalists and academics. For a week the Israeli and American delegates spoke as one: Iran and its presumed proxy, Hizbullah, were bent on the genocidal destruction of Israel. Tehran’s development of a nuclear program—whether for civilian use, as Iran argues, or for military use, as the US and Israel claim—had to be stopped at all costs.



While the White House turned uncharacteristically quiet all spring and summer about what it planned to do next, rumors that Israel was pondering a go-it-alone strike against Iran grew noisier by the day. Ex-Mossad officers warned of an inevitable third world war, Israeli military intelligence advised that Iran was only months away from the point of no return on developing a nuclear warhead, prominent leaks in sympathetic media revealed bombing runs to Gibraltar, and Israel started upping the pressure on several tens of thousands of Jews in Tehran to flee their homes and come to Israel.



http://www.jkcook.net/Articles2/0307.htm#Top

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By Dr. Knowitall, PhD, PhD, November 19, 2007 at 6:45 pm Link to this comment

Don’t like the way things are?  Get a job on Wall Street where bonuses this year are to be in the hundreds of thousands of dollars each, totalling in the billions.  Those folks can refi their high interest mortgages.  Ah, war!

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By cann4ing, November 19, 2007 at 6:25 pm Link to this comment

That’s the point where you and I diverge, non credo.  With or without Israel, the Bush regime would be carrying out war not only as an instrument of the corporate global project but as an end onto itself.  As astutely observed by Naomi Klein in “The Shock Doctrine:”

“Every aspect of the way the Bush administration has defined the parameters of the War on Terror has served to maximize its profitability and sustainability as a market….

“Through all its various name changes—the War on Terror, the war on radical Islam, the war against Islamofascism, the Third World War….the basic shape of the conflict has remained unchanged.  It is limited by neither time nor space nor target.  From a military perspective, these sprawling and amorphous traits make the War on Terror an unwinnable proposition.  But from an economic perspective, they make it an unbeatable one: not a flash-in-the-pan war that could potentially be won but a new and permanent fixture in the global economic architecture.

“That was the business prospectus that the Bush administration put before corporate America after September 11.  The revenue stream was a seemingly bottomless supply of tax dollars from the Pentagon ($270 billion a year to private contractors, a $137 billion increase since Bush took office; U.S. intelligence agencies ($42 billion a year to contractors for outsourced intelligence, more than double 1995 levels); and the newest arrival, the Department of Homeland Security.  Between September 11, 2001 and 2006 [the DHS] handed out $130 billion to private contractors—money that was not in the economy before and that is more than the GDP of Chile or the Czech Republic.  In 2003, the Bush administration spent $327 billon on contracts to private companies—nearly 40 cents of every discretionary dollar.”

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By Yani, November 19, 2007 at 6:12 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Ernest Canning.
//off topic
Your posts strike me as odd. Not quite sure what it is but there is just something odd about you.

You post but your contributions are not relevant. No one cares what you say, but you post and post and post. Further proving your non relevance.

Like a small child crying for attention. Do you have issues Ernest? Do you need help?

\\off topic

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By Robert, November 19, 2007 at 4:00 pm Link to this comment

Another settlement freeze (sure)

What do you mean when you say ‘no’?

Last update - 10:31 18/11/2007 | Haaretz
By Gideon Levy

“A festive day for peace: Israel is planning to announce a freeze on construction in the settlements as compensation for refusing to discuss the core issues. The Palestinians are ecstatic at all the good-will gestures Israel is throwing their way. First came the release of prisoners, now a freeze on construction, and the prime minister has already spoken with the settler leaders and informed them of the decision. They said it was a “difficult meeting,” as it always is, winking at each other deviously.

Undoubtedly, Israel wants peace. But a tiny detail seems to have been forgotten: Israel has signed a series of binding agreements to freeze settlement activity, which it never intended to fulfill. Of the 40 years of occupation, only during three has construction been stopped despite all the agreements and promises to do so. There is no reason to believe that Israel will behave differently this time.

Of all Israel’s iniquities in the occupied territories - the brutality, the assassinations, the siege, the hunger, the blackouts, the checkpoints and the mass arrests - nothing serves as witness to its real intentions than the settlements. Certainly for the future. Every home built in the territories, every light pole and every road are like a thousand witnesses: Israel does not want peace; Israel wants occupation. Whoever is serious about peace and a Palestinian state does not put up even a shed.

From Oslo through Camp David and on to the road map, Israel has not put an end to the most criminal enterprise in its history. A short memory refresher: In article 7 of the Oslo Accords, Israel promised that “no party would undertake unilateral steps to alter the situation on the ground, prior to the completion of negotiations for the final status.” That really made an impression on Israel. During the 10 years that followed, the number of settlers doubled. What about the heroic peace efforts of Ehud Barak as prime minister? During the 18 months of his government, Israel began the construction of 6,045 residential units in the territories.”

http://www.normanfinkelstein.com/article.php?pg=11&ar=1321

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By Robert, November 19, 2007 at 3:57 pm Link to this comment

(Continued Part II)

Another settlement freeze (sure)

What do you mean when you say ‘no’?


“And why did Israel sign up to the road map two years later? “The government of Israel will freeze all its settlement activities, in accordance with the Mitchell report, except for natural growth in the settlements.” And what happened in practice? Accusations that the Palestinians are not implementing the agreements, and a boatload of new settlers. This was also the case in 2005, another major “year of peace”: the disengagement. And what did Israel do in its own backyard? Another 12,000 new settlers.

This terrible enterprise, whose purpose is to foil any chance for peace, is also a criminal enterprise. According to Peace Now, based on Civil Administration data that have been kept hidden for years, about 40 percent of the settlements were built on privately owned land of Palestinians helpless to safeguard what is in most cases their sole property that was robbed in broad daylight by an occupying state. This took place years after the Supreme Court ruled in 1979 that it is illegal to build on private Palestinian land. Indeed, while Israel is debating whether it is a state of laws, whether the prime minister was given a discount for the house on Cremieux Street, and whether we want a powerful Supreme Court, we should remember that what is happening in the territories is the real corruption that engulfs us.

Now we are on the eve of another peace event, yet during the past year another 3,525 new residential units were built in the territories, under the auspices of a government that talks incessantly about the end of occupation and two states. All the grandiloquent statements are void of substance when we read the data: Construction is at a peak in 88 settlements. Go to the territories and see for yourselves. When the construction firm Heftsiba imploded, suddenly hundreds of new settlers came to light, further proof of the magnitude of the “frozen” enterprise.

The mountains of excuses, “settlement blocs” and “natural growth,” as well as “beyond the fence” and “inside the fence,” cannot conceal the naked truth: The enterprise has not ceased for a moment. It will not stop now. The hands of a quarter million settlers are soiled by iniquity and felony, but they are not the true guilty party. That belongs to all Israel’s governments, with the exception of Yitzhak Rabin’s second government. All of them have a hand in the iniquity.

Nowadays, when Ehud Olmert says no, what does he mean? Is the “no” really “no” - perhaps it is only “maybe but not right now?” In view of past experience, the bitter truth is that Olmert’s “no,” like all those before it, is more inviting than “yes.” “

http://www.normanfinkelstein.com/article.php?pg=11&ar=1321

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By Stephen Smoliar, November 19, 2007 at 2:18 pm Link to this comment

Non Credo (#114492) my thesis regarding Krugman’s silence is not that he has chosen not to dare but that he has chosen to deliberate.  If your first point, that this is an emergency, is true, then it may also be true that an ill-conceived position does more damage than a postponed one.  (Read Max Hasting’s piece in the latest NEW YORK REVIEW, which examines, among other things, the postponing of D-Day and why it was justified on the grounds of inadequate preparation.)  Regarding your second point, look back at what I wrote (#114292) about Einstein:  A powerful mind is not necessarily always powerful in all things.  Having a reputation for “getting it right all the time” is a terrible burden to bear!

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By cann4ing, November 19, 2007 at 11:04 am Link to this comment

non credo, I am certainly receptive to reviewing Mersheimer’s book and comparing it to other accounts, though unfortunately, those other accounts are not readily available.

However, I think one has to be careful not to overstate the case for suggesting either that the U.S. runs Israeli policy or that Israel runs American foreign policy.  Relations between nation-states are usually far more complex than that.  Often times what is perceived as one dictating to the other is merely the product of a symbiotic relationship where there are shared goals.

Take for example the Aug. 15, 2006 Democracy Now piece addressing the newly formed Christians United for Israel (CUI) which hoped to rival AIPAC as a pro-Israeli lobby.  As noted by Max Blumenthal, “Christian Zionism has been a force within the Christian right for over 20 years…They’ve made themselves an asset to Israel by sending millions in aid….They’re a major source of Israeli tourism, especially during the Second Intifada….which is a key source of revenue for the Israeli government.”

But their reasons for supporting Israel differ markedly from AIPAC’s.  “The majority of America’s 60 million evangelicals are premillenial dispensationalists.  They believe that end times could come at any moment, and they’re looking for signs of that, so they’re sypathetic to Israel for that reason.”

In short, the Christian right has its own agenda—one that should concern every Israeli since their support is intended to accellerate the Rapture in which only those Israelis who convert to Christiani will rise up and be saved, while the rest are left to burn.

http://www.democracynow.org/article.pl?sid=06/08/15/1326256

In the case of one Richard B. Cheney, the real driving force behind Bush administration policies, his goals are neo-fascist and economic.  For Cheney, Israel, AIPAC and the Christian right are merely convenient weapons he keeps within his arsenal.

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By Inherit The Wind, November 19, 2007 at 10:57 am Link to this comment

Ernest Canning on 11/19 at 9:21 am
(1141 comments total)

ITW, I appreciate the compliment, but I would also hope that you appreciate that there is a symbiotic relationship between America’s hard-right and Israel’s hard-right which pursue policies that are contrary to the interests of the vast majority of Americans, Israelis and, most especially, Palestinians.  As aptly and academically demonstrated by Prof. Finkelstein the hard-right has utilized false claims of anti-Semitism to silence American critics of Israel’s abominable, apartheid-like policies in the occupied territories, creating the anomoly in which you will find a greater range of discourse on the occupation within Israel than you do within the American corporate media.

Symbiotic?  I don’t see that. But there surely is a real connection between the nutty religious right wings in both places—certainly there’s a coalition.

Christo-fascists believe that the reunification and reestablishment of Israel is necessary for the Rapture and Armeggeddon to take place.  Ultra-religious right wing nuts in Israel have no more respect for Muslim lives than ultra-religious right-wing Muslims have for Jews. The Likudists ARE fascists—I don’t disagree with that—they want to drive ALL Muslims out of the Biblical lands of Israel, and seek the Armeggeddonists’ help.  They are no different than their counterparts in the Muslim world, who want to drive every Jew out of the Middle East.

But the Likudniks only have some partial power in Israel, certainly not complete or total, and what they have is used mischieviously.

But what you have identified so well is that the neo-cons are using Israel and especially her hard right, as THEIR tool, not the other way around.

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By cann4ing, November 19, 2007 at 10:21 am Link to this comment

ITW, I appreciate the compliment, but I would also hope that you appreciate that there is a symbiotic relationship between America’s hard-right and Israel’s hard-right which pursue policies that are contrary to the interests of the vast majority of Americans, Israelis and, most especially, Palestinians.  As aptly and academically demonstrated by Prof. Finkelstein the hard-right has utilized false claims of anti-Semitism to silence American critics of Israel’s abominable, apartheid-like policies in the occupied territories, creating the anomoly in which you will find a greater range of discourse on the occupation within Israel than you do within the American corporate media.

The most recent evidence of complicity at the highest levels appeared during the news segment of today’s Democracy Now broadcast.  Israel’s Minister for Strategic Affairs Avigdor Lieberman just dismissed as “unacceptable” a report by Mohamed El Baradei and the IAEA which concluded that while Iran has not suspended its uranium enrichment program, it has not acquired nuclear weapons. 

http://www.democracynow.org/article.pl?sid=07/11/19/1450210

El Baradei’s reports reveal that the level of Iran’s enrichment is sufficient for use in nuclear power plants but not at the level required for weapons grade material.  Like the accurate reports debunking the claim that Saddam had been seeking to reconstitute Iraq’s nuclear program, the IAEA report is “unacceptable” precisely because it stands in the way of the joint US/Israeli goal of regime change in Iran.

Of course, when it comes to the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty, U.S. duplicity has been the order of the day.  As revealed by a separate report aired on Democracy Now today, several U.S. administrations were complicit in Pakistan’s acquisition of “the bomb.”  The same is true with respect to Israel’s development of nuclear weaponry, and Geo. W. Bush recently offered such technology to India.  The Treaty required that the US and the former Soviet Union cease further development of their own nuclear arsenals—a provision the Bush regime has chosen to ignore—a point the corporate media astutely avoids as it latches onto the Bush regime’s new round of propaganda which is designed to ratchet up the conflict as a precurser for a new pre-emptive war, and, I suspect, a declaration of a national emergency here at home as a precursor for Cheney’s final putch that will suspend elections and shut down Congress.

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By Inherit The Wind, November 19, 2007 at 9:37 am Link to this comment

Ernest Canning on 11/19 at 8:17 am
(1140 comments total)

non credo.  I for one do not downplay the influence of AIPAC on U.S. middle east policies, but there are times where one has to question who is influencing whom.  I read a number of accounts that Cheney wanted Israel to carry out its assault on Lebanon as a test of how successful an aerial “shock and awe” campaign could be against Iran.  I would say that the answer produced by that test is one that Cheney did not want to hear, so, as he does with any other inconvenient facts, he will simply bury it and plow ahead with his neocon quest for extending U.S. regime-changing hegemony over the whole of the oil rich middle east.

Now THERE’S an interesting hypothesis—and it seems FAR more consistent with known facts than the “Jews Control Everything” fantasies of the tin-foil-hatters and anti-semites.  And it’s good to see it come from someone not pre-labeled as “pro-Israel, pro-Zionism”.

Thanks, EC!

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By cann4ing, November 19, 2007 at 9:17 am Link to this comment

non credo.  I for one do not downplay the influence of AIPAC on U.S. middle east policies, but there are times where one has to question who is influencing whom.  I read a number of accounts that Cheney wanted Israel to carry out its assault on Lebanon as a test of how successful an aerial “shock and awe” campaign could be against Iran.  I would say that the answer produced by that test is one that Cheney did not want to hear, so, as he does with any other inconvenient facts, he will simply bury it and plow ahead with his neocon quest for extending U.S. regime-changing hegemony over the whole of the oil rich middle east.

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By Stephen Smoliar, November 19, 2007 at 9:10 am Link to this comment

Non Credo (#114465), here is a hypothesis to consider:  Krugman is simply living by Wittgenstein’s precept:  “Wovon man nich sprechen kann, darueber muss man schweigen.”  In my own (probably overly crude) translation, this means that, if he cannot yet get his head around what he really wants to say, he must keep silent.  Put another way, if and when he breaks that silence, it will be to provide a reasoned argument that will be well worth reading.

Personally, I think he faces a real predicament;  and I sympathize because it is the predicament of every Jew who takes pride in his identity.  The predicament is the gap that keeps widening between that concept of “Jewish identity” and the concept of Israel as a governmental entity that needs to be supported for the sake of Jewish identity.  The latter was grounded in the argument that, at the time of the Nazi genocide, the Jews had no place of refuge;  and one of the founding principles of the State of Israel was that this should never happen again.  From that point of view, Jews living in countries that had turned away fleeing Jews (such as the United States) felt a moral obligation to support Israel, turning a blind eye to the territorial disputes entailed by that support.

From my point of view, the aforementioned gap first began to open with the assassination of Yitzhak Rabin by an Israeli.  That one Israeli should assassinate another was unthinkable, but even more unthinkable was that the act should have been perpetrated in reaction to a major move towards peace between Israel and its neighbors.  Since then the gap has progressively widened for all sorts of reasons, many of which can be traced back to Likud policy.  This leaves Jews around the world in a state of mind bordering on paranoia (if not over the border), wondering if such extremist practices will provoke a new wave of anti-Semitism and what to do should that wave form.

There is not (and could not possibly be) a simple resolution to this problem.  So I can understand that Krugman would prefer to keep silent until he can write something that his own conscience would recognize as a serious contribution to resolving this sorry state of affairs.  After all, I do not think he used that word “conscience” in his book title merely out of an impish need for parody!

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By cann4ing, November 19, 2007 at 8:54 am Link to this comment

Present-day GOP Southern Strategy can now be found nation-wide in immigrant bashing.  It serves to divert attention from the impact of elite economic policies embodied in NAFTA & the WTO which have done much more than create a vast pool of economic insecurity at home as America’s manufacturing base has been outsourced in search of the $2/day laborer, but provides the engine driving a massive northward migration of economic refugees.

Under NAFTA & the WTO, the U.S. exports massive quantities of agricultural products so heavily subsidized that they sell at below the price of production in nations south of our border.  This has driven millions of peasants off local farms and into cities just across our Southern border, creating an overabundance of available labor who are paid below-subsistence wages for manufacturing jobs that once paid decent, union/middle-class wages here in the U.S.  Those opting for the dangerous trek northward across an increasingly militarized border, do so out of economic desperation. 

Rather than focus on the true source of the economic plight both north and south of the border, the ruling elites divert attention by creating a caracature of these mostly brown-skinned economic refugees as “illegal immigrants,” who provide the perfect scape-goat for displacing blame for the downward spiral of the American middle class, which is about to experience the loss of “the American dream” of home ownership as more and more fall into banckruptcy as the superficial housing bubble bursts as a product not only of the financial scams known as sub-prime mortgages but due to the loss of decent paying jobs here at home—all due to the greed of a tiny economic elite billionaires whose fortunes are being enhanced by the neoliberal “new world order” under policies which, as Chalmers Johnson astutely notes on the cover of Naomi Klein’s “The Shock Doctrine” are producing “our headlong flight back to feudalism under the guise of social science and ‘freedom.’”

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Robert's avatar

By Robert, November 19, 2007 at 7:48 am Link to this comment

#114440 by Inherit The Wind on 11/19 at 4:17 am
(115 comments total)

Robert on 11/18 at 8:26 pm
(566 comments total)

Ah Ha ... another great “original” idea from Mr. Originality! You just proved yourself again!

Keep going…don’t stop! ITW…you are too transparent…that teflon is NOT a good camouflage for your sly ways!

***********************

I know, I know!
It’s such dirty tricks I use, and so simple.

My “dirty tricks” and “sly ways” are because I dare to use FACTS AND LOGIC to dispute your absurd lies and propaganda, cited from neo-nazi and tin-foil-hat hate sites.

How DARE I use TRUTH against your lies!  What a sly fox I am to do that—must be my devious Jewish heritage!  I show again and again that you are a dim, hate-filled bigot and anti-semite and THAT is your answer? I’m transparent and have sly ways?

Yes I’m transparent—my motive is clear, overt and out there for everyone to see—to counter your crappy lying propaganda.
————————————————————-

Oh goodness…another one of ITW’s “original” ideas/posts!

Nothing new…eh! Still hurling those “hasbara originality codes” and worn out tactics…anti-semite, Jewish heritage, propaganda, lies…

Wow…impressive originality…ITW!

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By nucular, November 19, 2007 at 7:28 am Link to this comment

Reagan demonized two words—-“union” and “liberal”. The negative connotation that is attached to these two words today were the work of this half-wit “B” actor.  He was sending a subliminal message to the middle class that he would do his best to send us back to the days of indentured servants and slavery. But he did it with a smile on his face, wrapped up in the flag, incessantly pontificating about God and country. By the time he was done speaking you wanted to have a beer with him. I agree with Krugman wholeheartedly that labor and racism are tools that the republican party will never stop using to divide the populace. It has worked very well for them. Also does anyone remember Willie Horton, the campaign commercial used by George H.W.?

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By Inherit The Wind, November 19, 2007 at 5:17 am Link to this comment

Robert on 11/18 at 8:26 pm
(566 comments total)

Ah Ha ... another great “original” idea from Mr. Originality! You just proved yourself again!

Keep going…don’t stop! ITW…you are too transparent…that teflon is NOT a good camouflage for your sly ways!

***********************

I know, I know!
It’s such dirty tricks I use, and so simple.

My “dirty tricks” and “sly ways” are because I dare to use FACTS AND LOGIC to dispute your absurd lies and propaganda, cited from neo-nazi and tin-foil-hat hate sites.

How DARE I use TRUTH against your lies!  What a sly fox I am to do that—must be my devious Jewish heritage!  I show again and again that you are a dim, hate-filled bigot and anti-semite and THAT is your answer? I’m transparent and have sly ways?

Yes I’m transparent—my motive is clear, overt and out there for everyone to see—to counter your crappy lying propaganda.

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By billanthony, November 19, 2007 at 2:49 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

In response to Robert Giacobbe,
A “states rights” argument in defense of segregation is not a principled stand, more like a political calculation that didn’t pan out at the time.

Not sure exactly what dirty tricks you are referring to, can’t deny nothing of the sort happened, but if you mean the oft cited “Daisy” ad, I would disagree with Goldwater being painted a victim. The ad ran only one time and didn’t mention Goldwater by name. It didn’t have to, his speeches in the run-up years to the ‘64 campaign, when gathering the support of the hardline GOP hawks, he discussed the benefit of using tactical nukes in SE Asia. A common slogan of the campaign was “brinkmanship not chickenship”, a clever way to propose pushing the Cold War nuclear envelope. Of course none of this excuses the tragic disaster LBJ wrought on Vietnam, other than to say Goldwater’s course as stated, was every bit as criminal.

It’s great that Goldwater spoke out against the Religious Right’s ascension within the GOP during the   twilight of his political career. It also needs to be remembered he was a red baiting staunch supporter of Joe McCarthy, one of only a relative small number of Senators to vote against his censure.

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By billanthony, November 19, 2007 at 1:42 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

“Twin tools” as mentioned earlier is correct. The GOP plan has been to enact policies to erode middle/working class economic security, while at the same time playing a sometimes subtle, sometimes overt race card designed to divide and conquer. It’s as old as Jim Crow- threaten the “rednecks” that if they don’t side with the bosses’ interests, the “coloreds” will soon take their jobs away. Anxiety over the possible hardship of a decrease in standard of living is just the trick to make people circle the wagons and start thinking in Us vs. Them terms. Not saying that Goldwater, Reagan etc. were/are personally racist, they are certainly masterful at exploiting racist tendencies. That this is politically effective doesn’t say much good about the American public.

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By Robert, November 18, 2007 at 9:26 pm Link to this comment

#114393 by Inherit The Wind on 11/18 at 8:10 pm
(111 comments total)

For ITW…bitterness and revenge are a way of life!

Idiot! Living well is the best revenge, and the only revenge I want.

“Robert”, you truly are one hate-filled moron.  You wouldn’t recognize a fact if your life depended on it. You prove that in every post.  You don’t know shit about me so you make up shit just to throw it against the wall and see if it sticks.

Go find another tin-foil-hat bigot to quote!
———————————————————-

Ah Ha ... another great “original” idea from Mr. Originality! You just proved yourself again!

Keep going…don’t stop! ITW…you are too transparent…that teflon is NOT a good camouflage for your sly ways!

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By Inherit The Wind, November 18, 2007 at 9:10 pm Link to this comment

For ITW…bitterness and revenge are a way of life!

Idiot! Living well is the best revenge, and the only revenge I want.

“Robert”, you truly are one hate-filled moron.  You wouldn’t recognize a fact if your life depended on it. You prove that in every post.  You don’t know shit about me so you make up shit just to throw it against the wall and see if it sticks.

Go find another tin-foil-hat bigot to quote!

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By Yani, November 18, 2007 at 9:07 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Americans have such a blame culture. No matter the situation, you always seek to blame someone or something. Incapable of reaching consensus for the good of your fellow brother and so caught up with the “me” side of things. This will be your own demise.

Mr. Non Credo, in the case of the Israel lobby, you could not be more incorrect. The “lobby” machine in DC is fierce. Many people, countries, groups, orgs all trying to get the attention of the politicians. The thought that Israel wields power or somehow controls this is ridiculous. They spend more time attempting to correct disinformation spread by the many groups against them. Remember how the murderous terrorist Arafat became the Washington “prince of peace”? What a joke. If Israel was ever powerful as you think they are, such things like this would never happen.

If you disagree with me, come spend a day on K street and see what lobbying issues are really taken up. You have bought into a lie and you are too ignorant of the world and political climate to realize. You think you know because you educate yourself with disinformation.  One sided, heavily biased. But ask yourself if you really know. When is the last time you left your glass house?

Have you ever spoken to someone from this “lobby” you so despise?  Ever sought the other side’s opinion? Or are you happy to just take an uninformed position?

http://www.terrorism-info.org.il/eng/eng_n/hate_ind_1107e.htm

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By Inherit The Wind, November 18, 2007 at 9:02 pm Link to this comment

“Now you go all berserk and shit on me. What the hell is UP with this?”

Ah!  I took your use of “shit” as a verb, when you were grouping “berserk and shit”.

Two alternative interpretations, by way of rephrasing:
1) “Now you go all berserk (and shit) on me.”
2) “Now you go all berserk, and then shit on me.”

Both are possible. You meant 1) where (and shit) modifies berserk. I assumed 2) where shit was a verb and the “on me” made it personal.

Thanks for clearing that up.  That changes the sense of your post completely.  I won’t apologize, as I merely misunderstood ambiguous phrasing, but I certainly am happy to retract the personalizing part of my response that refers to that. I can’t delete it, of course, but I can say it was based on an incorrect assumption and ask you to therefore disregard it.

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By Robert, November 18, 2007 at 8:36 pm Link to this comment

Cyrena; Non Credo…

One of so many “original” name smearing ideas and posts on truthdig by…ITW !


“NC talks about the Israel lobby, then says Krugman doesn’t “dare” make this connection and “Let’s all try to wonder why.”

If you can’t infer that NC means because Krugman is a Jew, then I just don’t get your thinking. You understand racism and bigotry—don’t you get the code words here?

You also mistake disagreeing with me to being incompatible forms of thinking.  Tony Wicher disagrees with me vehemently.  But dialog is possible.

People who argue that the Jews are the cause of all the trouble in the world are those in which it’s either me or them.  I don’t consider the right of existence and even safety of myself and my family to be a debatable point. (Ayn Rand was the first to make that point totally clearly in Atlas Shrugged)

Your pal Less Frank Than Frank feels just the opposite—of course, he claims expert status at 500+ professions so he’s either even a greater genius than Leonardo da Vinci or he’s just lying and plain nuts.  I vote for the latter. (that means he’s changed professions every month for 40 years—and became expert at each in a month—sometimes the math show just what a liar someone is).

“Robert” consistently gets all his quotes from highly biased and suspect web sites.  His favorite is Michael Rivero who has be TOTALLY discredited—The National Enquirer is more reliable.  “Robert” also responds to criticism with a whirl-wind of invective, insults, unsupported accusations, but never any facts—he’s incapable of formulating an original idea.

Aryan-tologist is a racist, pure and simple. He has 5 or 6 posts “proving” how the Jews secretly and demonically dominate America that he recycles over and over.

The one who calls himself “PatrickHenry{” thinks it’s a fine insult to call me a woman.  I’m not insulted, but it’s not correct (I’d make a damned ugly woman—my beloved wife thinks I’m handsome, in a rugged-sort of way—but she’s totally biased, of course). Considering what so many women are capable of (starting with my beloved who used to solve matrices in her head for fun) I actually think it’s a high complement—and a fine goal.  But PH thinks it’s an insult…what do YOU take from that?”
==========================================

If ITW will only practice what he is attempting to preach, he may score a few crumbs here and there.

As for ITW, when and all his “Zionist HASBARA” efforts fail to silence, intimidate, side-track, discredit a critic of Zionism/Israel…its almost always for ITW to label him/her an anti-semite, Jew hater, Nazi bigot, mention Hitler, Jewish deaths & suffering. He just keeps repeating himself over and over…just like a broken record.

One can check ITW’s “original ideas” that are scattered all over truthdig, but his below the belt originality really bloomed on “Breaking the Taboo: Why We Took On the Israel Lobby” forum.

For ITW…bitterness and revenge are a way of life!

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By cyrena, November 18, 2007 at 8:29 pm Link to this comment

•  #114295 by Inherit The Wind on 11/18 at 8:17 am
Cyrena,
I appreciate your kind words—You had said I was shitting on you (rather crude) and I took that to mean you took my posts personally. I’m glad you don’t.
Inherit,

Ya know, we all learn something new everyday. When I read this again, (about you thinking that I say that you were shitting on me – which IS rather crude) I knew that I hadn’t said such a thing, (because I wouldn’t – even after 2 cocktails) so I had to go back and try to figure out where you got that from, feeling confident that you wouldn’t have just ‘made it up’ either.

And so, I found it. Here’s what I wrote:


•  Now you go all berserk and shit on me. What the hell is UP with this?

And YES, I can see how you (or maybe anyone) might read it as you did. However, I swear that was not the intention. And, probably the best way for me to convey the intent of this, (since it’s more like slang or a form ethnic dialect) would be to simply substitute the word ‘stuff’ for ‘shit’.

In effect, I was saying that you had gone berserk, (and stuff) with the accusations about any reference to Krugman as a dirty Jew. So, I’ll just have to be far more careful when I’m using this slang/lingo that isn’t easily understood in writing. Had I actually been saying it to you in person, you MAY have picked up the meaning, and then again, maybe not. I can easily see how reading it would have led to this conclusion. Not even any accepted punctuation would have clarified it. Actually, had I put a comma after berserk, it would have sounded far MORE like what you interpreted. So, there wasn’t much I could have done to fix it. That’s why the best clarification would be the substitution of ‘stuff’ for ‘shit’.

Still, for the record, I wasn’t suggesting that you had shit on me. Oh Lordy. Hope that’s better now. wink

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By Inherit The Wind, November 18, 2007 at 7:49 pm Link to this comment

Non Credo on 11/18 at 11:27 am
(508 comments total)

*****************

NC, you should try growing hot-house flowers—you have enough manure to fertilize them for a year.

Here’s what you said, yet again….
I have explained that a similar mechanism is involved in the cooptation of the Democratic party, especially members of Congress, into the war agenda, accomplished by leveraging the political and propaganda clout of the pro-Israel lobby. This is EXACTLY the kind of thing that Krugman is talking about with respect to racism and its uses.

Let’s all try to wonder for about one second why he doesn’t dare make this connection himself.

You got caught and are now trying to weasel your way out.  You know damn well Krugman isn’t afraid to speak his mind—no Times op-ed critic is. Nor has he ever been, despite getting SCADS of vehement, nasty criticism. 

So you know that his being “afraid” is a bullshit excuse you concocted to get out of saying that Krugman IS a Jew—and therefore won’t criticize it in any way, shape or form.  You thought that would just slip by, but when I nailed you on your “code” you had to come up with a plausible excuse quick.

It’s plausible, just not supported by ANY facts.

Considering your ENTIRE thesis is that everything wrong with America is due to the Israel lobby and therefore, Jews, and, that your thesis is TOTALLY incompatible with everything about Krugman’s thesis (which, BTW, does have factual support), your attempt to conceal your original intention is transparent.

“tin ear”, my ass.  Good try at redirecting but it didn’t work. 

I don’t expect you to understand this, but I trust that more objective readers can!

On another more pleasant topic,
EC:
Thanks.  It takes a big man to say what you said here. I’ve been trying to tell you that I LIKE many of Kucinich’s ideas—we disagree on the man himself, not the ideas (at least not too much).

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By cann4ing, November 18, 2007 at 5:45 pm Link to this comment

Let me clarify, non credo, the post with which I wholeheartedly agree is #113907 by ITW.  When ITW posts about Israel or Dennis Kucinich he and I usually disagree, vigorously.  There is no question but that the fascists, aka GOP, have used race and union busting to further their hard-right agenda which strives to maintain and increase economic inequality.

As to Israel, I think the most powerful academic critique is that offered by Prof. Norman Finkelstein in “Beyond Chutzpah,” though certainly President Carter’s assessment in “Peace not Apartheid” as applied to the occupied territories, is fairly persuasive, though, in many ways Palestinians are worse off, especially in Gaza, then Blacks were under South African Apartheid.

In any event, non credo, the fact that ITW and I disagree elsewhere should not prevent praise for an excellent post, and I felt ITW post #113907 provides a solid analysis.  If you feel ITW was wrong in that particular post, please tell me why.

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By cann4ing, November 18, 2007 at 10:48 am Link to this comment

ITW, while there have been many occasions here at Truthdig in which you and I have disagreed, this is not one of them.  I congratulate you on a well-thought out and well-written post.

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By Stephen Smoliar, November 18, 2007 at 10:30 am Link to this comment

Inherit the Wind (#114295), the problem with the fact that language can be used both figuratively and literally is that it is often very difficult to distinguish between a “code” and a red herring.  The current debate over the “Israel lobby” is so intense right now (what with the dueling book-talks between Mearsheimer-Walt and Foxman), that it is hard NOT to see “codes” in everything we read.  However, if you use the local Google search engine on The Unofficial Paul Krugman Archive, you will see that he has avoided the lobby question in his own columns and has little to say about Israel one way or the other:

http://www.pkarchive.org/

This does not settle the question of whether Non Credo is actually speaking in anti-Semitic code;  it only indicates that Krugman appears to have chosen to fight other battles.  I think that, if there REALLY is a question of influence to debate here, it may have more to do with how much (if any) influence THE NEW YORK TIMES wields over Krugman in his choice of topics.

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By Inherit The Wind, November 18, 2007 at 9:17 am Link to this comment

Cyrena,
I appreciate your kind words—You had said I was shitting on you (rather crude) and I took that to mean you took my posts personally. I’m glad you don’t.

Re-read what Non-credo said:
” I have explained that a similar mechanism is involved in the cooptation of the Democratic party, especially members of Congress, into the war agenda, accomplished by leveraging the political and propaganda clout of the pro-Israel lobby. This is EXACTLY the kind of thing that Krugman is talking about with respect to racism and its uses.

Let’s all try to wonder for about one second why he doesn’t dare make this connection himself. “

NC talks about the Israel lobby, then says Krugman doesn’t “dare” make this connection and “Let’s all try to wonder why.”

If you can’t infer that NC means because Krugman is a Jew, then I just don’t get your thinking. You understand racism and bigotry—don’t you get the code words here?

You also mistake disagreeing with me to being incompatible forms of thinking.  Tony Wicher disagrees with me vehemently.  But dialog is possible. 

People who argue that the Jews are the cause of all the trouble in the world are those in which it’s either me or them.  I don’t consider the right of existence and even safety of myself and my family to be a debatable point. (Ayn Rand was the first to make that point totally clearly in Atlas Shrugged)

Your pal Less Frank Than Frank feels just the opposite—of course, he claims expert status at 500+ professions so he’s either even a greater genius than Leonardo da Vinci or he’s just lying and plain nuts.  I vote for the latter. (that means he’s changed professions every month for 40 years—and became expert at each in a month—sometimes the math show just what a liar someone is).

“Robert” consistently gets all his quotes from highly biased and suspect web sites.  His favorite is Michael Rivero who has be TOTALLY discredited—The National Enquirer is more reliable.  “Robert” also responds to criticism with a whirl-wind of invective, insults, unsupported accusations, but never any facts—he’s incapable of formulating an original idea.

Aryan-tologist is a racist, pure and simple. He has 5 or 6 posts “proving” how the Jews secretly and demonically dominate America that he recycles over and over.

The one who calls himself “PatrickHenry{” thinks it’s a fine insult to call me a woman.  I’m not insulted, but it’s not correct (I’d make a damned ugly woman—my beloved wife thinks I’m handsome, in a rugged-sort of way—but she’s totally biased, of course). Considering what so many women are capable of (starting with my beloved who used to solve matrices in her head for fun) I actually think it’s a high complement—and a fine goal.  But PH thinks it’s an insult…what do YOU take from that?

That’s my point.

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By Stephen Smoliar, November 18, 2007 at 8:48 am Link to this comment

cyrena (#114252), I’m afraid I have to take issue with you and John Borowski (#114124) over the attribution of delusion to stupidity.  Indeed, there are a depressing number of data points that indicate that it is easier to manipulate smart people than the “average Joe,” the most blatant probably being the way in which Uri Geller managed to twist an entire project at SRI International around his little finger.  The “evil ability” resides not in conning an “ocean of ignorance” but in the ability to quickly figure out which strings to pull to manipulate which sectors of the population (usually either the voting public or the consumers).  Smart people are pathetically easy to manipulate because it is a matter of pulling the strings the appeal to their intelligence and then providing just the right hint of distraction.

Albert Einstein used to say that he enjoyed walking home from work with Kurt Goedel (probably the most brilliant figure in mathematical logic in the twentieth century), because Goedel was the only person Einstein knew who could give a logical reason why Eisenhower should be President of the United States.  Einstein got the joke:  Goedel had the sharpest mind in mathematical logic and did not particularly care about anything else, meaning that he never gave it much thought, meaning that he could be easily conned.  Einstein, on the other hand, had enough common sense to turn down an invitation to become President of Israel, not because it was a figurehead office but because he knew how vulnerable to manipulation he could be in that position.

Finally, John seems to imply that it is only the Republicans who know how to manipulate.  I disagree.  One only has to look at what the Democratic would-be candidates are doing to each other to see that manipulation skills are in ample supply on both sides of the fence.

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By mary, November 18, 2007 at 8:24 am Link to this comment

With so many great comments, I am partial to Cyrena and a few others, I feel hope for our Democracy because it seems there are a lot of people paying attention out there. Wouldn’t it be great to defeat the media, the corp financed lobby, the hateful religous right, and the ciminal manipulation of our votes.  It won’t be easy, but I believe we can get there.  For me, the most frustration has been the seeming ignorance of most Americans, like sheep.  I want to believe the Democratic Party will eventually come around.  It’s important to stay involved in the process, no matter how disappointing it gets.

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By cyrena, November 18, 2007 at 12:42 am Link to this comment

#114125 by Non Credo
•  Cyrena: the beauty of it is that, unlike the Southern strategy, this one does not involve switching the political self-identification of the target constituency.
•  See? Isn’t it brilliant? There’s no need to get traditionally Democratic pro-Israel voters to switch to the Republican party, or even to stop identifying themselves, delusionally, as “liberals”.
Non Credo, thanks for the illustration, because I do understand it now. However, (and this isn’t to dismiss the explanation you’ve provided) I’m thinking you’re just too far ahead of the foundation, in illustrating the brilliance of what amounts to the few who’ve managed to organize such a brilliant plan. (maybe you’re just too smart);)


And, I say that because it wouldn’t succeed, (this brilliant plan) if the CONSTITUENCY weren’t so ignorant. So, I would point you to the previous post #114124 by John Borowski. They can only delude themselves (or be deluded) because they’re stupid. I’m not sure who’s fault it is, because people have not always been this ignorant. John points to a few of the standard reasons, (greed, etc) but it is just as much the greed of the ignorant, (that allows them to buy into the stuff) as it is the greed of the fewer who are doing the controlling.

Louise points this out in another post that I’ll have to look for, since I can’t remember now, which thread it’s on. But, suffice to say that people are uneducated to the extent that they don’t even understand the concept of an oligarchy that controls them all. If they don’t even get that, I don’t know how much hope there is left for any of us.

John’s post is great. I’ll try to find the one from Louise as well, since it should be posted on all of these threads.

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By mmjr, November 18, 2007 at 12:21 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Gosh is it that clear and shallow? I thought the electoral college and the rigged voting machines were the cause of the eviseration of the constitution, of the will of the people in majority

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By cyrena, November 18, 2007 at 12:06 am Link to this comment

#114133 by Inherit The Wind

•  Cyrena, what makes you think you enter into my considerations at all? Whether you agree with me or disagree with me is totally your choice, and has nothing to do with me at all. Also, just to keep the chronology straight, I posted BOTH of these posts before you posted either of yours, so it’s totally irrational for you to think I’m shitting on you—unless you think I’m a mind reader.

Thanks for making this exception for me ITW. I appreciate it, because you are in fact right on about the chronology here, which I didn’t connect until after the fact. (I also admit to having indulged in TWO cocktails, and I rarely, rarely, ever do that).

Still, I wasn’t suggesting (by even the slightest inference) that I enter into your considerations – ever). None of this is EVER about ME. Nothing on this blog is about ME, so I’m sorry if I’ve given that impression, or if anyone has adapted such an impression, because clearly it hasn’t been the intent.

Sorry that you don’t get that whole thing about the dreaded either/or concept either. That’s unfortunate. Your mentality suggests that I can’t agree with something that one person says, (if you don’t like them) and agree with you as well, or that I can disagree and agree with different points from the same people. And, quite frequently I DO gain some insight from your opinions, which is what seems to be the greater point of these blogs.

Still, I’ve never been inclined to throw out the whole hunk of cheese, because it has a small piece of mold on it. Such as it is.

I did in fact take offense to your accusations of any or everyone when you claimed that Non Credo, (or anyone) was calling Krugman a dirty Jew. You’ve made these broad either/or generalizations before, and they’re always inappropriate. Personally, I very much admire Paul Krugman, and I reference his work routinely myself, and I recommend it for a broader audience as well. So, that’s what happened to set me off.

But, your logic is sound here, since I did in fact miss the chronology. I’ll probably survive if you continue to ignore me, based on the same suggestion that I’ve already made. It’s not about me, and not about you. Still, thanks again for making the exception.

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By blueshift, November 17, 2007 at 5:38 pm Link to this comment

The statement that “Ever since America’s founding, our idea of ourselves has been that of a nation without sharp class distinctions….in which the gap between the economic elite and the typical citizen isn’t an unbridgeable chasm” is ludicrous, absurd, and false.

Despite the high-flown rhetoric of the founding fathers, institutionalized racism prevailed, and the vote was only given to white male landowners. This was a high degree of polarization, built into the American DNA from the beginning.

Over the centuries, the American people have greatly expanded rights and freedoms so that they more closely approach the Constitution’s promise. But we have a long way to go, yet. “Old Europe” has learned from us and surpassed us, while we are mired, temporarily I pray, in the reactionary neocon slough of despond.

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By Inherit The Wind, November 17, 2007 at 1:34 pm Link to this comment

You see?
Nomascerdo and Enemy Of the People CAN offer valid criticism of AIPAC and US policy toward Israel without without me having ANY desire to give them grief for it.  Why should I? It’s valid and in keeping with the thread.

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By Nomascerdo, November 17, 2007 at 1:06 pm Link to this comment

Regarding the Israel lobby and all other lobbies JUST like it the answer is very simple.  The United States should not be in the business of doling out foreign aid to sovereign nations.  Particularly not aid that conditionally requires the recipients to spend it buying our military equipment from us.  That is corporate welfare of the worst kind and it should stop, period.  It foments hatred and promotes war and the only people that benefit are the weapons manufacturers who are selling their goods to both sides of conflicts that our policies of meddling tacitly promote.

There are other ways that we can interact and engage with the world that don’t involve subsidizing our massive defense industry with taxpayer dollars in the name of ‘promoting democracy’.  What a farce.  Last time I checked Saudi Arabia and Pakistan aren’t democracies.  In fact, we have a habit of overthrowing democracies and supporting military dictatorships.  You can thank our powerful lobbies and special interest groups for all of that goodness too.  AIPAC is as guilty as the rest of them but no more so.

The answer is to follow the law and stop the madness going on in DC.  I am so thrilled that this Presidential election there is actually a principled man to vote for who is as disgusted as I am with it all.

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By Nomascerdo, November 17, 2007 at 12:52 pm Link to this comment

Enemy,

I appreciate the necessity of attempting to remove statistical noise due to price volatility when it comes to food and fuel prices but I do think that the BLS has taken this concept from trying to make these measurements of inflation more accurate towards making them more politically agreeable.  Heuristic adjustments and other weighted adjustments are designed to understate inflation.  The modern CPI statistics also allow substitution which completely removes any real of moral measurement of quality of life.

As an example, if the price of steak rises beyond where the BLS is comfortable with it (aka pushing CPI materially higher) they will substitute ground beef in where they once used steak to keep the measured price levels in the desired range.  This is considered acceptable to our government number crunchers as they would argue that consumers are rational and are substituting ground beef for steak to save money but they are still eating “steak”.  There is no consideration that the consumer’s quality of life literally just declined from eating a nice juicy steak to eating hamburger meat due to price inflation.  I can also assure you that those who make these decisions are most certainly eating steak no matter what the price.

The measurement models also overweight falling prices and underweight rising prices. They are actively managed to do so. Why does this bias exist?  Who does this bias hurt the most?  Refer to my first post in this string for a hint. 

The birth/death model for employment numbers is also another example of better government through statistical chicanery.

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By Enemy of State, November 17, 2007 at 11:10 am Link to this comment

Nomascerdo:
  It is interesting about the divergence between the CPI, and inflation as experienced by the people. The only place where we differ is in intent. I don’t think leaving out food and energy was a willful conspiracy. It was done because these prices were considered to be highly volatile, i.e. they go up and down quickly, and including them would add a lot of noise to the measurement. This was valid, at least at the time it was proposed. As long as they went down as often as they went up, it was a good policy. The problem is that both these cost of living components are now in sustained secular increase. A new measurement which takes into account the slow long-term change, but avoids the shot term changes is need.

  Now to this stuff about the Israeli lobby. They wouldn’t be so effective if the vast mass of the people didn’t buy into some of the popular myths that we have bought into: One is the superiority of Judeo-Christain civilization versus the others. It is natural for us the identify with Israeli’s (they are not much different from ourselves). It is natural, but our bias is too strong, which clouds our judgement in dangerous ways. Politicians don’t live in fear that some faceless invisible Israeli-Lobbiest can destroy their career. They live in fear that their opponent will exploit the people’s common bias to defeat them.

  That is a crucial difference. The problem is not a few backroom power brokers, but rather the sloppy thinking of a great many of our fellow citizens.
Another supporting pardigm. A recent poll suggests that nearly all Americans will support a policy of wanting the country to be as strong as possible militarily. This is so easy to exploit to support ever larger military-contractor welfare (weapons systems), and easily is converted into a belligerant bullying foreign policy. This meme is so strong, that all politicians have to play the “I’ll be tough” card. Getting Americans to recognize the risks inherit in this simple belief is going to be really tough.

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By Inherit The Wind, November 17, 2007 at 7:04 am Link to this comment

cyrena on 11/17 at 5:21 am
(1564 comments total)


Damn it ITW…I just finished CONGRATULATING you on what I believed to be a really decent post, even if I suggested that this racism went further back, and has provided the very basis for the red necks now….as has been the case for centuries, except I was too tired to go into the whole history.
Now you go all berserk and shit on me. What the hell is UP with this?

Cyrena, what makes you think you enter into my considerations at all? Whether you agree with me or disagree with me is totally your choice, and has nothing to do with me at all. Also, just to keep the chronology straight, I posted BOTH of these posts before you posted either of yours, so it’s totally irrational for you to think I’m shitting on you—unless you think I’m a mind reader.

Why is it that everyone who calls the Israel Lobby into question, has to be a flippin’ Nazi Jew hater? Did anybody claim that EVERY Jew in America (or Israel) is associated with the Israel Lobby? NO! Not any more than every black person is hanging on Oprah’s every word, or doesn’t see though the despicable character of the likes of a Clarence Thomas, or an Armstrong, or a Condi Rice, or any number of them that have no ideological or other claim to their heritage.

The fact of the matter is that this Lobby wields a powerfully NEGATVIE influence on the political interests of MOST Americans, because of their powerful connections to the foreign policy of those who are currently in power.

Did we say they represent ALL Jews? No!!

So just stop all of this hysteria. Just cool it with all of this drama. And don’t let Howard keep egging you on.

Thank you for your attention.

*********************

If you feel that my first post was logical, rational and a clear and accurate representation of American politics and both praised Krugman for being correct, and equally criticized him for saying nothing new, then I am confused.

Non-Credible’s garbage is just that: Garbage.  Because if it’s not, then my post that you admired must be garbage. They cannot both be true.  They are contradictory.

Additionally, Non-Credible’s cowardly and slanderous implication that Krugman is deliberately skewing his argument because he’s a Jew (though NC doesn’t have the guts to actually SAY this, instead using this dirty little line “Let’s all try to wonder for about one second why he doesn’t dare make this connection himself.”) is typical of the bigot’s excuse for an argument.

No, both posts are equally true and non-contradictory.  Criticism of certain Israeli lobbies CAN certainly be valid, but Non-Credible’s isn’t. Because it’s not even vaguely relevant to the thread, but is another one of his attempts to “prove” that everything wrong with America is ultimately the fault of the Jews, when, in fact, there are many far more powerful home-grown players behind the evils as we have seen.

The dichotomy is in yourself, Cyrena, not in me.  But I’m used to that.  I’ve tried, in the past, to appeal to your internal logic and consistency, but have given up. That’s why I don’t usually respond to your posts, positive or negative. 

It is not possible to admire both the postings of myself and Less Frank than Frank and “Robert”. There is not one iota of common ground.  Since you have chosen to accept their nonsense, I sadly gave up discussing things with you, figuring there was a gap in your logic I could not breach.  This post is an exception.

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By Paul, November 17, 2007 at 6:45 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

A few comments:

1. The Republicans take control of Washington in 1980 was more because of Carter’s ineffectiveness than Reagans brilliance. And to that Reagans media appeal, being a former actor was a great appeal.

2. Reagan DID manage to win the cold war without firing a shot. Anyone doubting this should read Operation Solo by John Barron, it is one of the most eye opening books you could ever read.

3. One crucial mistake Democrats/Liberals have made is to be to closely identified with people like Jesse Jackson/ Al Sharpton, Rosie Odonnel/Barbara Streisand etc. These people are not good press for Democrats.

4. Republicans tried to register Blacks to vote in the 1920’s and got lynched. The Democratic party was an unlikely union between the immigrant factory workers of the North and the old Conderates of the South. Seems unusual to look at that now but it was an alliance of convenience back then.

5. There was very little antisemitism in the confederacy, indeed some Jews fought bravely for the Southern cause. The Jews got involved in the civil rights movement in the 1960’s only after the KKK blew up a Synagogue.

6. There is no monolithic Jewish vote in America except on issues of Israel, even then Jews quarrel . If you recall the fools who shook hands with Ahmandinejad when he came to N.Y.

I don’t claim to be an expert on these subjects feel free to disagree with me.

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By cyrena, November 17, 2007 at 6:21 am Link to this comment

#114085 by Inherit The Wind
•  You are just another nazi bastard after all, aren’t you non-credible? The answer to your question is, of course, because Krugman is a dirty Jew, isn’t it?
In your twisted nazi mind, Jews would help sabotage the Left by helping the Republicans recruit the Southern racists—despite the fact that they are among the MOST anti-semitic of all Americans.  It’s not logical, it doesn’t make sense, but to a Jew-hating nazi like yourself, ALL Jews are evil so it make perfect sense.
This thread is yet another befouled by you and your filth and hatred and bigotry.  On top of it all, you are just plain stupidly wrong in your feeble excuse for logic.
Damn it ITW…I just finished CONGRATULATING you on what I believed to be a really decent post, even if I suggested that this racism went further back, and has provided the very basis for the red necks now….as has been the case for centuries, except I was too tired to go into the whole history.
Now you go all berserk and shit on me. What the hell is UP with this? Why is it that everyone who calls the Israel Lobby into question, has to be a flippin’ Nazi Jew hater? Did anybody claim that EVERY Jew in America (or Israel) is associated with the Israel Lobby? NO! Not any more than every black person is hanging on Oprah’s every word, or doesn’t see though the despicable character of the likes of a Clarence Thomas, or an Armstrong, or a Condi Rice, or any number of them that have no ideological or other claim to their heritage.

The fact of the matter is that this Lobby wields a powerfully NEGATVIE influence on the political interests of MOST Americans, because of their powerful connections to the foreign policy of those who are currently in power.

Did we say they represent ALL Jews? No!!

So just stop all of this hysteria. Just cool it with all of this drama. And don’t let Howard keep egging you on.

Thank you for your attention.

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By John Borowski, November 17, 2007 at 5:10 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

The Republicans (Aka Conservative right wingers), religious devils, hate mongers, and assorted con artists are aware of the ocean of ignorance out there. If they appeal to their hate, (Blacks, Hispanics, immigrants) greed (Phony tax cuts; helping the poor) fear (Will you burn in Hell after death?) they will achieve tremendous wealth, and power. Their evil ability to con this ocean of ignorance could teach the mythical devil a few tricks. The people with intelligence, maturity, and good character are a tiny minority in this world. If I could con this ocean of ignorance by taking a penny from each one of them, I would be richer than Bill Gates. A decent person will never subscribe to this kind of conduct because his conscience and integrity wouldn’t allow it.

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By anambrose, November 17, 2007 at 4:50 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Under Reagan New Home Prices and New Car Sales were taken out of the indices used to determine inflation that had been used since the start of such record keeping. Blaming the Clinton’s for Manipulation of Economic Data while leaving Reagan at rest is like saying Jackie O made a killing in the Gold Market without also explaining it was Nixon taking us off the Gold Standard that made that possible. You’d have to grow up in the racist South of the 1950’s to really understand racism as a local government institution as well as a personal threat to your life, family and liberty. True even if you were a white kid who loved jazz, blues and yes rock and roll. It is precisely that White Priviledge that gets passed by because generally if you’re white you don’t see it but like the invisible air you breathe you can’t live without it. So there is then then the inevitable cycle of guilt and resentment which is the white liberal guilt of the ‘60’s and the white conservative resentment which has bled into the Amway/Christian Right takeover of the Republican Party. All of these groups were small cults on the fringe and tolerated like bastard cousins at the wedding. Some rich guy like Scaife and Adolf Coors figured if the splinters got united they could start to drive the party far to the right of where it was. So they spent the dollars with the priviso that in return for the financial support these ‘community’ groups got they would have to respond on issues they themselves had no stake in but were told by their benefactors to oppose. Affirmative Action, Bussing, Integration, Environmental, Unions were the targets until they could reach the critical mass necessary to creat the agendas by use of ballot initiatives and astroturf groups to gain seats in State and Federal Houses. We do not have a passed down memory but there was good reason Republicans became a minority party. Read History of early 20th Century America which was dominated by GOP and their rule of kleptocratic non government broke our economy and military to the point that we were ranked 17th in 1933. Now they want to stir the hornets nest with an attack on Iran and if a world war were to result where’s the great manufacturing base that allowed us to out produce the original Axis? In China? India? Not Peoria. Not in Kansas Anymore Toto.

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By cyrena, November 17, 2007 at 4:34 am Link to this comment

#113907 by Inherit The Wind

•  And the racism? It didn’t start with Reagan in 1980 in Philadelphia, Mississippi. The first hints were in 1964, with Goldwater’s campaign, and dirty tricksters like William Rehnquist attempting to illegally intimidate Black voters.

Inherit, I’m telling you, you just MAKE ME PROUD!! Oh yes you do. You give me hope. Matter of fact, you all most ALWAYS give me hope, even when I disagree. Ya’ll prove that there IS intelligent life on this planet, and even right here in the good ol’ US of A.  just feel so privileged to post among you.
Now, just for the sake of very long term conversation, I would actually bring us a few hundred years back. Like to about 1619, when the first Blacks arrived at Jamestown, Virginia, on a Dutch slave ship, and the original justification for slavery depended upon whether or not a man or a woman was a Christian. And then, 20 years later, the defining characteristics (for slavery) had changed to skin color. But, that goes way, way, way, back of course, and has managed to recycle itself over and over again.

•  But it was “The Southern Strategy” of Richard Nixon in 1968 that was the REAL outing of the GOP going after Southern White racists.  Using the code words of “Law and Order” and “States’ Rights” the GOP cleverly manipulated the Red Neck crowd to vote against their own self-interest by pandering to their racism.

And, this speaks to one of those many cycles – a biting-off of the nose to spite the face. It happens every time ignorance prevails.

Actually, maybe it never went away at all…not from the very first years…Non Credo knows it as well…#113911 by Non Credo

•  That came about by exploiting the region’s historical white antipathy to African-Americans.
——————
That was the old trick: “Watch us swell the racks of Republicans by pandering to racists!”
But they have a new trick. The new trick is, “Watch us neutralize the Democrats, so that they vote like Republicans when it comes to foreign policy and war. How do we do it? Pandering to the Israel lobby, of course!”

But, here’s the thing with that. In the old days, the ignorant red necks never bothered to even differentiate between Jews and Blacks. They were equally hated. (yes, I know it was a while back). So, how did the Israel Lobby become so powerful? I’ve yet to figure that out. Maybe I’m just too old. Still, I do remember the times when ordinary Jews and ordinary Black folks were ALL dems.

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By Inherit The Wind, November 16, 2007 at 8:18 pm Link to this comment

Non-Credible writes:

Krugman cites anti-black racism as a way this is done. This happens to be true, but it takes no courage to say it, since it has been the standard wisdom in academia for about 40 years - the loss of the “solid South” to the GOP etc. You think it’s OK to discuss that here, rather than moving it to a “racism” venue, because you are a typical academic defender of the governing consensus. It’s so politic, so tenure-track. Norman Finkelstein you ain’t, and I’m sure your life is very comfortable.

I have explained that a similar mechanism is involved in the cooptation of the Democratic party, especially members of Congress, into the war agenda, accomplished by leveraging the political and propaganda clout of the pro-Israel lobby. This is EXACTLY the kind of thing that Krugman is talking about with respect to racism and its uses.

Let’s all try to wonder for about one second why he doesn’t dare make this connection himself.

*******************

You are just another nazi bastard after all, aren’t you non-credible? The answer to your question is, of course, because Krugman is a dirty Jew, isn’t it?

In your twisted nazi mind, Jews would help sabotage the Left by helping the Republicans recruit the Southern racists—despite the fact that they are among the MOST anti-semitic of all Americans.  It’s not logical, it doesn’t make sense, but to a Jew-hating nazi like yourself, ALL Jews are evil so it make perfect sense.

This thread is yet another befouled by you and your filth and hatred and bigotry.  On top of it all, you are just plain stupidly wrong in your feeble excuse   for logic.

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By thomas billis, November 16, 2007 at 7:01 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Of course it is based on racism.Now we can unite and all hate the Mexicans.The big guys get the little guys in bullshit differences as they loot the treasury and it works everytime.The big guys could care less about abortion,homosexuality or a guys skin color they care about green.The question becomes how can I get you to bend over so I can lift your wallet.These social issues are to get votes they could care less.

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By Stephen Smoliar, November 16, 2007 at 6:49 pm Link to this comment

Non Credo (#114063), I think it is dangerous to assume that “right-wingers are a natural minority.”  If anything, the numbers seem to indicate that left and right are relatively equally balanced these days, united only in their disgust with current conditions.  The result is that elections decided by a statistically insignificant number of voters are becoming commonplace.  Krugman has tried to analyze how this came to pass, and I feel that Tomasky gave a better account of this part of his argument than von Hoffman did.  Unfortunately, identifying how we got into a mess does not necessarily provide us with a strategy for getting out of it!

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By Stephen Smoliar, November 16, 2007 at 6:40 pm Link to this comment

Jack (#114047), having heard the Book TV broadcasts of book talks by Mearsheimer and Walt, on the one hand, and Foxman, on the other, I have to say that Foxman seemed more inclined to invoking AD HOMINEM arguments than M&W;were.  Nothing that M&W;had to say justified their being accused of anti-Semitism;  and, for Foxman to try to make that label stick, he had to play some peculiar games with the semantics of “anti-Semitism” that recalled a former President trying to play games with the semantics of “is!”  For all that, Foxman still conceded that there are those who lobby on behalf of Israel and that their influence in the District is pretty strong.  Where he sees an effective statement of a position, M&W;see a dangerous muddying of our political decision making process.  Their evidence is anecdotal, which, for Foxman, is unacceptable;  but I am not sure what evidence WOULD be acceptable to him.  I would say the ball is in his court to identify criteria for refuting M&W;, after which we could see if they accept his conditions.  All this could be conducted without ever invoking the concept of anti-Semitism or any other AD HOMINEM attack.

What interests me the most about this whole affair is that the divide over the question of Israeli influence seems to be as great as our economic divide.  I do not believe that the two are related (meaning that we should move the Israel lobby debate to a more appropriate venue).  I wonder, however, if, as a society, we have not devolved to a mentality that can only deal with sharp opposition, having lost the capacity to seek out synthesis or a “middle way.”

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By jbart, November 16, 2007 at 6:12 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

I’m “emcountering” difficulties in “posying” comments on TD. Is this a problem that I can “fix” on my end, or are you “monitoring” the content of my comments and making a “decision” to “dis-allow” my comments?  I “REALLY” require an answer.  Or are you “in league” with the “people” we ALL find wrong??Please, TD, make your “allegiance” knowmn to us all.

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By Nomascerdo, November 16, 2007 at 5:25 pm Link to this comment

By the way, the government started significantly manipulating how they measure inflation, the CPI, during the Clinton years.  The manipulations have continued to this day under Bush.  There are private citizens that track the CPI using pre-Clinton methodology and the numbers are strikingly different from what is reported today.

Next question.  Who does a better job truly helping people in an efficient and effective manner…

The US government or Bill and Melinda Gates?

I’d much rather voluntarily give my money to the B&M;Gates foundation than have to give it to the government where it will be wasted and help no one.  Don’t liberals realize that if you pay less in taxes you have more to give to charity directly?  Isn’t that a better way to really help the poor and provide true accountability?  If you don’t like how a charity you gave money to is operating go pick another one.  Just don’t vote a politician in office who wants to tax you more promising they can make the world a better place.

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By Nomascerdo, November 16, 2007 at 5:22 pm Link to this comment

I take it back! I love you Truthdig

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By Nomascerdo, November 16, 2007 at 5:21 pm Link to this comment

Why isn’t my comment being posted Truthdig?  Certainly not offensive in any way.  I clearly disagree with Krugman almost entirely but that shouldn’t be considered offensive should it?

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By Jack Black, November 16, 2007 at 5:03 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

#114041 by Non Credo

No, you are misinformed. The Israel lobby is a non issue. It was something invented by anti semetic racists and you continue to push it as the “country not the jews”. It is a racist position so matter how you try to spin it.

Enough already. You bought into a lie and keep trying to sell it here. If you cant wake up to it, take your position to the nearest neo nazi site where they will agree with you.

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By Nomascerdo, November 16, 2007 at 4:54 pm Link to this comment

I agree with the earlier post that pointed out the primary role that monetary inflation (easy money) has played in the widening of the income gap.  This is so simple and has nothing to do with racism or voters being tricked by the GOP etc etc.  Everything Krugman is asserting here is false and frankly it makes me cringe.

The central bank is devaluing the money.  Every time they print money out of thin air, the money you have earned or saved loses value. The only way to counteract this ‘inflation tax’ is to invest in assets that have the potential to increase in value on real (or at least nominal) terms.  Krugman?

Poor people can’t invest because they don’t have income that can be allocated away from consumption.  As a result, they earn wages at rate growing maybe 2-3% per year, if they are lucky, but their purchasing power continuously declines as prices rise at least double that, probably triple.  They get poorer.  It is impossible for them not to. Krugman?

Rich people invest and speculate with the extra capital available to them and as a result they see their assets increase in nominal (and if they are clever) real terms.  Compounding this effect is how easy money courtesy of the Fed, and moral hazard also courtesy of the Fed enables and encourages the rich to use massive amounts of leverage to realize astounding returns on their capital. The rich simply get richer, as a group.  With the super cheap money and the rightly held belief that the Fed will keep money easy (and some massive global trends that they rich have been able to invest in) the rich have become uber rich in recent years. Krugman?

Widening the gap further, easy credit has the opposite effect on the poor. For them it is used to fund consumption or necessities, not for enhancing returns.  Predatory credit providers prey on people who turn to credit because their wages no longer cover the bills because prices are rising so rapidly (put another way, their purchasing power is falling so dramatically).  0% teaser rates that balloon into 40% APR’s if a borrower misses a payment by a day can and will bury someone living paycheck to paycheck under a mountain of debt.  The same thing is happening in housing.  Greed and cheap money led to speculation.  The rich who understand money benefit by being early, providing credit, speculating and the poor, who don’t understand money are the last ones to buy.  You can’t blame the poor when the hear Alan Greenspan on TV telling people they should take out adjustable rate mortgages at the bottom of an interest rate cycle.  Krugman??

The dollar has lost 35% since 2001 versus major currencies and way more than that versus gold and oil.  People that tell you it doesn’t matter if the dollar loses value unless you travel abroad are dead wrong.  It matters more than cutting or raising taxes ever can.  Krugman??

Why would you trust the government to get your money to the people that need it most anyhow?  I never understood that concept. Raise taxes and everything will be better, poverty will decline etc.  The only thing raising taxes will enhance is the government itself and everyone should remember that the government doesn’t actually produce anything.  The government doesn’t create wealth.  Free associating people taking risks, working hard, innovating, saving, and being clever is what creates wealth and prosperity.  Why would we ever want to discourage people from creating wealth in this country?  How can we honestly think that if we tax productivity in this country that it will stay here in this day and age when the barriers to global business and capital flows have never been lower? One last time, Krugman???

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By BobZ, November 16, 2007 at 4:13 pm Link to this comment

I read Frank’s book and thought it identified the core reasons why people vote against their economic self interest. I have a close relative who blames all of his percieved misfortunes on “liberals”. Most of it is libertarian style thinking that the government is controlling our lives, by not letting us smoke, increasing the cost of gasoline so we can’t drive our gas hog pickup trucks, and feeding us “fake science like global warming”. Then there are the millions of seniors who voted for FDR but were rascist as many in that greatest generation were. They bought into the Reagan PR, but it didn’t help the Democrat’s that they had such a weak candidate in Carter. Carter was a disaster for the Democrat’s and led to the rise of Reagan. I do take issue with the Communist influence in the labor unions. I think that was way overblown. The Union movement was plenty strong in the 50’s. What killed unionism was the move by corporations to non-union right to work states. Unions lost power and corporations gained power, and thankful workers in the south started voting Republican. The Republican party also feeds off of the “anti-intellectual” attitude of many American’s who want everything painted in black and white which Republican’s will gladly do. Democrat’s are loath to do that - look at the pain Obama went through last night when asked to give a yes or no answer on driver’s licenses for illegal immigrants. He tried to give a nuanced answer but that doesn’t work in the sound bite driven TV media. Republican’s are much better at providing the quick red meat quotes the media want’s to hear.

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By Howard, November 16, 2007 at 2:50 pm Link to this comment

RE   #113911 by Non Credo on 11/16 at 3:59 am

““But they have a new trick. The new trick is, “Watch us neutralize the Democrats, so that they vote like Republicans when it comes to foreign policy and war. How do we do it? Pandering to the Israel lobby, of course!” “
===========================
=====================

I made $65.00 on a bet with one of the other commentators you would show up on this commentary, and post something on the Israeli lobby!  No connection at all here, or as on other topics, but just like a dandelion, up you pop with the Israeli lobby.  What a fixation.

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By Wolf Vorkian, November 16, 2007 at 2:13 pm Link to this comment

Crimson Ghost said:
<snip>

Easy money touched off the speculative asset booms that ensnared so many average folks in “get rich quick” schemes that now are ending in tears. Such policies also are fueling inflation—an inflation that the government continues to cover up via biased CPI numbers
.....................................................

This was an interesting post by the fellow above. An angle that isn’t normally brought up.

One thing in particular that caught my eye was the claim that inflation is being covered up. Without a doubt this is correct, you’d have to be totally stupid or an ostrich to believe otherwise. But how are they getting away with it, how is inflation being measured these days?

Even before the astronomical increase in the price of crude, everything has went up tremendously here in Alaska. Utility prices have increased enormously, food is much-much higher, cost of building has to have nearly doubled in the past five years, medical including pharmaceutical have sky rocketed yet according to SS, my annual increase is only a paltry 2-3%. Obviously somebody is lying, how is inflation being measured?

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By Stephen Smoliar, November 16, 2007 at 1:41 pm Link to this comment

heavyrunner (#113985), having logged rather a bit of time into the examination of efforts towards “democratization of the workplace” in Scandinavia, I have a (relatively) minor nit to pick with your position.  The Scandinavian experiments seem to have recognized that there are situations in which control by individuals leads to better working conditions than the more “democratic” model, under which all workers control everything.  More important than the question of who has control is the question of who has a voice in decision making.  Workers do not want to be treated as “mechanical components,” whose efforts to ask questions or make assertions about working conditions are automatically ignored (the metaphor of the Suggestion Box that feeds into the wastebasket).  A workplace that supports community-style deliberation tends to be far more satisfying to workers than “pure democratic control;”  the trick is to convince Management that Labor has useful things to say!

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By Wolf Vorkian, November 16, 2007 at 1:28 pm Link to this comment

Krugman and I see the world thought pretty much the same eyes normally but I suspect he is attaching too much importance to racism as a reason for people voting against their vested self-interest.

The reason I say this is that it simply doesn’t jive with my experience in life. I’ve known far too many people who weren’t racist as far as I could ever tell who voted GOP.

So if Krugman isn’t right, what is it? My guess it has been more than anything the rise of the Roger Ailes type of propaganda media blitzes, the Rush Limbaugh types, etc. Used to be there would have been unions to counteract their barf, but no more. The somewhat weak minded, those incapable of determining that they are getting it shoved to them or at least who is doing it, vote the way Rush and company says. They use to vote the way the union suggested.

Developing this spin can’t be given justice in a ‘comment’ section to a book review. Notice however how they have successfully redefined terms. One example is that what used to be called speculation is now called investment.

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By John Borowski, November 16, 2007 at 1:22 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Dearest people,
If you want to know which right wing polluters of this web page are it is easy to discern. Their names are in colors other than black. (Although not to stand out too much, sometimes it is in black)

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By jkoch, November 16, 2007 at 12:18 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Krugman and Thomas Frank have got it all wrong.  Blue collar Americans voted for Bush and will vote against Hillary in 2008 because of pickup trucks, and TV sports.  Give a working stiff a pickup truck and suddeny he’s free of public transportation and joins the owner class.  Anyone who has driven a pickup can attest that you instantly feel a power over your fate and the ability to carry whatever matters most and ditch the rest.  TV sports, meanwhile, satisfy all the psychic cravings for adventure, fair play, and glory.  Why give a hoot about labor affairs or politics, when you can live in the fantasy land of super athletes and their mega salaries.  Hedge fund managers are invisible. Pitchers and quarterbacks, meanwhile, play right before your eyes.  And those who don’t care for sports can find equally gratifying fulfillment from celebrity gossip, televangelists, a lotto ticket, or a can of Bud.

Oh, I forgot to add the other reason: the IRS and the 1040 form.  Anyone who has to fill one of those out acquires a deep and persistent dislike of anything to do with government.  A candidate who promises a tax cut gets instant sympathy from nearly every voter, no matter what their marginal rate.

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By Ga, November 16, 2007 at 11:37 am Link to this comment

The south’s historical white antipathy to African-Americans and how that plays into politics is conveniently documented by American Renaissance’s September 2000 issue about the roots of William F. Buckley’s magazine, The National Review.

Here is just one of many relevant quotes:

Likewise in 1957, Sam M. Jones interviewed segregationist Senator Richard Russell of Georgia. In a Q&A;format, Mr. Jones asked, “Do the people of the South fear political domination by the Negro or miscegenation or both?”

Senator Russell replied, “Both. As you know, Mr. Jones, there are some communities and some states where the Negro’s voting potential is very great. We wish at all costs to avoid a repetition of the Reconstruction period when newly freed slaves made the laws and undertook their enforcement. We feel even more strongly about miscegenation or racial amalgamation.

http://www.amren.com/ar/2000/09/

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By heaavyrunner, November 16, 2007 at 11:37 am Link to this comment

I do not agree with your assertion that the split between Communist and other union elements was a good thing.  If you are working for worker rights it makes sense to advocate for worker’s democratic control of the means of production-the elimination of the bosses.

You would have to make an actual argument based upon factual information to support your assertions about the resolution of those disagreements before I would accept them.  It hasn’t worked out so well for the unions, has it?  Things would have been so much better if the pension funds were used to buy the corporations that employed the workers and they controlled their own destinies.

WTO, NAFTA, CAFTA, favored nation for China, all those moves would have been blocked, most likely, if the “Communist” sectors of labor had succeeded in their dreams of owning the means of production and we would not be staring into the black tunnel we find ourselves at the entrance of today.

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By Frostedflakes, November 16, 2007 at 11:19 am Link to this comment

The entire American political infrastructure is corrupt, inept, and simply based on the gain of power. Race is used as a factor, but only with any real significance by caucasions. For if blacks represent only 13% of the whole country that leaves much room for the lack of inclusion, which we presently see happening with the Republicans now. The real problem is this other 87% of the country that can be led to believe in all the lies propagated by both parties, such as the actual beneficiaries of affimative action, which ethnic group overwhelmingly dominates social services, who receives the most from welfare etc.,etc., etc…
And let us not forget that the terrorist attack preceding 9/11 was domestic and it was carried out by members of caucasion militias, whom now infiltrated the U.S. Armed Forces and work as mercenaries for companies such as Blackwater. So what you see is that America is in need of a revolution, beginning in the mind. We have to quit allowing ourselves to be divided and robbed by politicians that represent corporate interests within this fraudulent two-party system by the use of fear and misinformation. We all need to research and form our own opinions instead of watching and listening to the corporate financed punditry on the airwaves. America was originally established as a republic, we as the people are responsible for making it a democracy and we need to reassert ourselves and take our responsibilities as individuals. Only then can we take back control of this great country from the oligarchy, with it’s own cabals, that run this country now.

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By Ga, November 16, 2007 at 11:05 am Link to this comment

Some here may have come across the various defenses of Ronald Reagan in the news lately. Here is a quote by Eric Alterman that makes sense and is, perhaps, relevant:

“I couldn’t care less whether Ronald Reagan was or was not a “racist”—whatever that means—and neither should you. What matters is whether Reagan was willing to exploit and, indeed, encourage racism in support of his political agenda.”

http://mediamatters.org/altercation/200711150011

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By Stephen Smoliar, November 16, 2007 at 10:58 am Link to this comment

Personally, I prefer the perspective that Michael Tomasky brought to his review of the book in the latest issue of THE NEW YORK REVIEW.  He also uses the bimodal distribution of wealth as a point of departure but then explains the conservative revulsion for Roosevelt and his New Deal in terms of the “Great Compression” that resulted from it, that is the narrowing of the distance (in terms of assets) between the wealthy and the poor.  Political conservatism has dedicated itself to widening that distance, making it even greater than it has been in past “gilded ages;”  and they are doing a good job of it, particularly when we can now talk about trillions of dollars so casually:

http://therehearsalstudio.blogspot.com/2007/11/how-much-is-lot.html

Krugman is not as strong as I am in framing all of this as a War Against the Poor, but his spirit is definitely in that frame!

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By ocjim, November 16, 2007 at 10:43 am Link to this comment

One can hope with Krugman that the unions can be resuscitated to play the role of enforcer or that changes in the population bring with them a liberal tide or that issues like health insurance or the anger over the Iraq war will turn the trick.

To hope that unions can be resuscitated is a hope built on turning back the clock to the days of regional economies. It won’t happen unless catastrophes strike. Changes bringing a liberal tide is possible but so many cultural forces—the corporate media, a government owned by corporate America, and existing propaganda duping the people—make it is a grand struggle. It’s a Catch-22. The dominant forces are keeping the people down. Keeping the people down keeps them preoccupied with survival and less able to evaluate the oppressions of the dominant forces.

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By Ga, November 16, 2007 at 10:36 am Link to this comment

Re: #113944 by Hammo

Yes, read the American Choronical article. Then read “The Education of Little Tree and Forrest Carter,” here:
http://www.nativeweb.org/pages/legal/carter.html

And then, perhaps, find some more to read on your own. As we all should.

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By mike de martino, November 16, 2007 at 10:28 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

This book is no revelation. The southern racists were the Democrat’s racists until the civil rights movement. The labor unions sold out the people who organized them. How do I know? My family was part of it. My dad was very happy the day that Walter Reuther died in a plane crash. Von Hoffman doesn’t know what he is talking about.The brains of the movement were thrown out which only left the brawn. Now we have a group of trade guilds that only care about themselves. There is no solidarity. No democracy in the work place.

If your looking for the heartbeat of the country,
look to the environmental movement. People of all stripes unite to protect their homes from LNG terminals off the coast, from contaminated food.
Who is our biggest enemy, the labor unions that have been co-opted by big business. They are more than willing to cross our picket lines for short term employment.

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By Ga, November 16, 2007 at 10:15 am Link to this comment

Re: #113938 by Robert Giacobbe

But what about other factors that certainly contributed to the evolution and expansion of the GOP.  What about the sheer desire to grow and maintain political power?  What about the desire to grow and maintain economic wealth?  And what about pure socio-cultural reasons, such as the conservative’s belief that the so-called secular left is godless and amoral?

But what you point out are not the factors that Krugman brings up. What you describe are the driving forces which cause the GOP to resort to tactics of race baiting and fear mongering.

Let us not forget that other “groups” trying to change America are driven by their own, similar, desires. The differences between these groups (broadly) of the Right and the Left are that the former are “people that collectively reward loyalists and punish dissenters,”* while the latter are usually not (they are the “bleeding hearts,” right?).

The Right leadership are more and better organized than the Left (Newt Gingrich’s propaganda program worked wonders). So they have “won” many times in putting forth policy.

What Krugman is pointing out is not that factors that have created the Right Left divide but the actions of groups involved that have got us to where we are today: a country deeply divided not just philosophically but physically, with 1% of the populous with near absolute control and wealth.

Case in point: look how the GOP embraces black Americans who declare themselves conservative, such as JC Watts and Shelby Steele.  They’re put on a pedestal, as would any other black who openly supported the GOP.  If true racism were in effect (e.g., belief in inherent differences leading to superiority) this would not be the case.

I think that is totally naive and an inductive fallacy. And “put on a pedistal”? One could draw the opposite conclusion! They are put on a pedistal just so and because the GOP needs to say, “See, we aren’t racist!” Of cource the GOP is going to embrace blacks who declare themselves conservatives!

One has to look at the overall policies and laws that the GOP supports.

One just has to LISTEN to what the GOP/Conservative leaders are saying to realize that most of them really are of the streotypical, “we wouldn’t have all these problems,” “they didn’t know how to get out of the way of a hurricane,”—rasict—mentality.


* This attitude is also seen in some lefttist groups of the past, but hardly so today.

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