Friday Open Mike Nite

Our friend Leon Hadar has an interesting take on a David Remnick piece describing a stream of consciousness ramble from Avraham Burg, the former Speaker of Israeli Knesset and the son of a renowned Zionist and religious-Orthodox figure. This continues the related dialogue by Philip Weiss in Amcon.

We Are Winning

Apart from these fine pieces (we don’t know Weiss), the Stiftung continues to express disappointment at the fear and yes, even cowardice, exhibited by so many of our allegedly stalwart cultural, intellectual and dare we say they believe it – genetic – sentinels of our great country, the so-called White Anglo Saxon Pundit (WASP). They still hide behind the Weisses and even the Hadars to say things that they believe but fear to say, dreading the 2:00 AM knock on the door by Abe Foxman et. al. That premature flinch says almost everything about 2001-07.

There are exceptions. Lind, Buchanan (naturally, for his own brown shirt reasons) and some of the group. But by and large, our so-called WASPs flee in terror from even the whiff of the label ‘anti-semite’; kryptonite to their Master of Universe branding (see last post). They see Tony Judt’s necklacing or Mearsheimer and Walt’s clumsy stumbling under velicoraptor attack. Their vow? ‘Never again’ (but meaning risking their own reputations and self image).

In many cases, ‘WASP’ cowardice and reliance on proxies permits a dialogue still to proceed from an Israeli-centric p.o.v. on AgitProp territory often chosen and prepared in advance by the Neocons, Likudists and Jabotinsky heirs. (This obersvation is explicity not about either gentleman referenced above or their works. Dr. Hadar hardly needs that carve out from the Stiftung — his breadth of global and strategic analysis is firmly on record for over 20 years).

Our support for Israel in the most inclusive sense remains undimmed. For cultural, political, strategic and moral reasons. Yet, until Americans can have the same kind of free and unfettered debate about the strategic choices and their ramifications in U.S.-Israeli relations that we would have regarding any other close ally — and that takes place daily in Israeli media — we will always be the semi-autistic GOLEM at the beck and call of others’ agenda. Yes, it’s nice to see the ‘reformation’ conversation occur within one subgroup. But afree and and unfettered debate will never occur until our White Anglo Saxon Pundit class and their various colleagues grow a pair.


Next, our truly very good friend Jerry Pournelle has a long and interesting discussion with some service men about Ron Paul and the Legions. (Jerry thinks in these kinds of terms, in the best sense). Jerry thinks we can and should go the extra distance to make sure every option is exhausted before allowing an army to return in defeat and self doubt. A valid p.o.v. — and the Stiftung thinks in such historical structural terms often, too. Yet here we disagree. Jerry may be right that the Army on the ground thinks it is winning. Our own assessment is that if that is the case, the Army is doubly damned for stupidity. And after 20 something years of sometimes intense conversations with Jerry I do firmly believe him when he says but for the withdrawal he would be right behind Paul’s candidacy.

Dave Neiwart has a great item about the Fox/Movement new assault on the non-wingnut blogosphere. Perhaps it is a defect in our blogging skills, but we did not feel motivated to write about all that stuff. Not because it isn’t important. Just that we expect it from the Movement. And have enough faith in the netroots’ ability to rebuff the schwerpunkt. Too sanguine?

The Heretik, with its wonderful art, has a funny item about A.G.A.G.’s latest stumbles with an assist from his FBI Director.

What would you do if you were God for an hour? A day? Would you gather the most annoying people ever in say the Royal Albert Hall and vaporize them? That’s the question — and extra credit for those who show the math.

What comes to mind when you see the words “Cheney unleashed” put together? A half-assed air strike on Iran? Wolf Bltizer sent to Guantanomo for his last CNN interview? The NRO gives you the answer.

The Chinese are catching on the whole branding madness of Our Time. They are marketing the PLA anew, with comely women posing with visitors and weapons at a new exhibit at the Military Museum. It’s not quite the maid madness in Akihabara. Yet.

Another reason the Joe Kleins, Howie Kurtz and others are both doomed and incompetent. Yet again Newsweek trying to be ‘hip’ and relevant by writing on something its ageing dead tree mindset doesn’t understand — the (so-called) phenomenon of ‘Second Life’.

Second Life currently has a turn over rate of 90% – that is, 90% of people who try Second Life leave after 3 months. With this in mind, the cover of a Newsweek magazine we saw this week in Frankfurt airport left us wondering what the heck the staff there were reading – not the blogs obviously, probably other magazines. The cover says, “Why are millions of healthy people choosing to live their lives online? Welcome to second life.” Live? Or just try it out?

Exchanges of ignorance beamed into the vastness of space . . .

What is happening to our global cities? “Global Cities looks at the changing faces of ten dynamic international cities: Cairo, Istanbul, Johannesburg, London, Los Angeles, Mexico City, Mumbai, São Paulo, Shanghai and Tokyo.” This site explores each city through five thematic lenses – speed, size, density, diversity and form.

Finally, does anyone care what ’24’ is up to anymore?


Please feel free to add your preferred links and suggestions . . .


  1. Dr Leo Strauss says

    O’Hanlan just wants in on the Clinton bandwagon and figures if a lightweight kid like Megan O’Sullivan can leave Brookings in 2001 and end up being the defacto WH czar on Iraqi and other policy at the tender age of the mid 30s, he’s going to grab History’s hemline when she passes by. But he I am sure promises not to look at the HRC cleavage, at least overtly. Pollack probably could care less about such niceties.

  2. Comment says

    On a humorous note – in the wake of O’Hanlon’s “we might win this thing” meme float, we heard Brit Hume trying out the rhetorical formulations – Saying this was news because these were soft Brookings types and not neocons or Cheney lackey etc – The good cop comes – And he began to pull a “even Kenneth Pollack thinks this might be worth trying” line of approach. But then he sort of stopped short and clarified that ‘Hanlon and Pollack just objected to tactics

  3. Comment says

    re “Nothing you’ve mentioned I don’t think disagrees fundamentally unless I missed it (entirely possible, btw).”

    You’re probably right – just another illustration of how almost all commentary on mid-east related politics is just vague meaningless alterations of perspective.

    Even though we are mild Obama supporters — we admit that we would exploit this issue as his achelles heel – We can’t blame anyone for trying to paint him as weak onIsrael. Ofcourse, compared to most African – Americans, he’s indistinguishable from Bush or HRC.

  4. Comment says

    It’s useless to ask wasp pundits to grow a pair since they’ll assume you mean a double shot of scotch on the rocks. But if they ever do decide to weigh in on Foxman it would be indirectly – like tying him down in a food fight with a donahue-type blowhard –

  5. Dr Leo Strauss says

    If you are suggesting that a small reformation conversation among that closed community by itself is not particularly compelling, that is precisely the point being made here — that the overall societal mental preconditioning still is shaped largely by the Neocon and associated Movements (whether the red heffer is a who-whom thing in the minds of the Rapture crowd a different question).

    Mainstream Anglo-Saxon pundrity refuses to engage for a variety of reasons – one of which we assert here is simple fear of the mau mau even in 2007. So there really is only one meme-polluter churning it out still. Witness HRC’s pincer movement re Obamma and invocation of Iran, etc.

    Simple, broad brush stroke AgitProp is what the Neocons are good at still. Any other ideological subgroup with their disasterous run the last 7 years would be marginalized and lampooned by ‘the smart set’. Yet Zakaria walks away with his trousers still wet from the blood he has wiped off and George et al. pretend not to notice. Because no one is playing their game. A response that will get traction in these hyper-real times requires similar broadbrush, blunt repetition. Blunt. Repitition.

    Weiss and Global Paradigms making clever (and true) points are not enough. It’s not like Lenin said, “A negotiated settlement while we revamp our political system, a revised distribution mechanism to allow a more equitable distribution of carbohydrate subsistance food groups, and change in the extractive benefits from our farming subdivisions — that’s our initial program.” Peace, bread, land. Repeated over and over.

    The Neocons and Likudists have been doing this for years: (a) Palestenians are ‘animals’ (untermenschen); (b) Israel never has nor does practice terrorism; (c) the Iranian president is a powerless position and it’s a waste of time focusing on what he says (when a moderate is in office); (d) when a useful AgitProp figure is in office we must take every utterance at its most malign potential, etc. Add the Churchill/Lincoln anti-democratic cultism, etc.

    It is hilarious that Ariel Sharon helped create Hamas but that simply has been airbrushed out of history, and so forth. Again – it is not about being “right”, etc. Weiss et al. don’t know how to play smashmouth. A one-time clever riposte in the face of our zeitgeist perhaps is badmitton during Katrina, to continue our evolving recourse to sports metaphors.

    Until the non- Neocon pundit class discovers its backbone and smacks down the Neocons and Abe Foxman et al. with the same confidence and force that the latter conduct assassination-smear campaigns, we are the semi-autistic GOLEM at the beck and call of others’ agendas. This is not ‘anti-Israel’, merely a recognition that the Israelis discuss these things openly daily in their media, but Americans are denied that open debate because Likudist extremists control the terms.

    Nothing you’ve mentioned I don’t think disagrees fundamentally unless I missed it (entirely possible, btw).

  6. Comment says

    We think Weiss errs in his overestimation of the value of his debates and that he underestimates the power of the general zeitgeist, which is unfavorable to his position.
    Just consider one thing Dr. Hadar says – His interesting point that many of Israels miltary victories have been curses in disguise. He makes a pretty good case re’67 war.
    Can you imagine him trying to explain this to Anderson Cooper while a talking snowman from YouTube peppers him with questions? Then the next day the insincere ridicule woul kick in earnest and people like Carlson and Tweety would be painting him as a naive and a loon (while defending him, while getting hammered off camera among their own restricted audiences). But they are a product of a larger culture.
    Imagine a debate between Rudy and Obama – Now Rudy was able to dishonestly dismiss the most basic obvious observations of the 9-11 commission (and common sense) when Ron Paul referenced them in a debate. Even though Ron Paul was without a doubt factuall correct. Who did the Russert types defend in this exchange? Now imagine Rudy demagoguing Iran issue in a debate – repeating that questionable Ahmandinegjad line endlessly. At that point a greater percentage of the American electorate believes that the Iranian actually made that threat than the Israeli electorate does – Surely Obama knows this, but does he point it out? Who would Tweety and Russert defend the next day? Who would George Will say was right? Jpod and Weiss are irrelevant to this larger climate of how things are debated.

  7. Comment says

    In terms of becoming a debate topic within mainstream punditry and discourse, we doubt that will ever happen. Right now the whole isssue and sub-issues have political pundit commodity value that has been abstracted and stands alone independently of the underlying real issues – An entire debate about Mid-East politics can take place and be considered mostly coded debate about other issues – only tangentially relate0d. There are too many ironies in the reality of the Mid-East, as Dr. Hadar has noted with great humor and substance. Our collective hard drive has to be updated to handle all those ironies – but there is is also problem with our bandwidth.

  8. Comment says

    We were joking about Ali/Liston – Maybe Weiss thinks he’s playing soccer but he is actually playing college football without the blitzing linebackers and Jpod thinks he is playing Pro football, but he is actually playing that game Rollerball. Jpod often gets personal in his comments – way before most people degenerate to that level – He wraps his comment re Weiss wife in the thinist tissue paper of faux-joke deniability. We think it’s all a bunch of hot air and pales in significance to demographic realities. Jpod thinks he is being hard but realistic, but he is living in a fantasy world, taking comfort in Isreal building grandiose alliace with evangelical leaders who , somewhat ironically, more realistically understand the facts on the ground and who serves whom, in the long run.. This is one of the great ironies of the whole debate –

  9. DrLeoStrauss says

    Ali/Liston? Dunno. If Weiss is going to play the game, then he must know it is not about being “right” but advancing the meme. Jpod knows it. Seems more like someone playing baseball versus someone playing football. The dark edge, thud and contact are the point.

    As mentioned, the drama of a debate unfolding within that community (loosely defined) is fine but still elevates Israeli issues and membership in the community as the ultimate arbiter. We’d be much more impressed when it becomes a permissable and indeed mainstream aspect of American punditry overall.

  10. Comment says

    We went to Weiss’s new blog via Leon and we noted that he has this back and forth going with that elegant debater John Podhoretz – We read Weiss from time to time and don’t always agree with him – Sometimes he makes good points, but in our humble opinion his POV is very much an extension of his own unique writers style as much as it is a commentary on actual Israel related politics. Sometimes he’s just trying to tweak – as he works his way thru things in his mind. He’s a very good writer, but sometimes his musings lead to misunderstandings and misdirections. We think this partly done on purpose – so as to provoke and to draw out sensitivities. JPod always has a dark edge to his parley – Even when he’s trying to joke, there is a thud. Weiss’s Ali V. JPod’s Sonny Liston? No?

  11. Anon says

    The road to Jerusalem is thru Baghdad – and if you get to Jerusalem and keep going, you’ll wind up in Riyadh. Then, if you’re lucky you’ll end up in Zurich.

  12. A Random Quote says

    “The destructive fixation of the envious English-Canadian mind requires that the highest, happiest, most agile flyers be laid low … a sadistic desire corroded by soul-destroying envy, to intimidate all those who might aspire to anything the slightest exceptional.”
    ~Conrad Black
    A Life In Progress, 1993

  13. Anon says

    This looks better – but we need that random quote in the top right hand corner – along with the comment cue!

  14. Aldershot says

    The most chilling thing about the Fox montage about the left blogospere was when O’Ratsass called out JetBlue. He was essentially trying to put the fear of God in any other companies who were thinking of doing the same.

  15. Anon says

    Doctor – speaking of the NYTimes – a few posts back we jokingly noted that Ira & Co over at the NY Sun were “as smart as Gail Collins.” Anyway – we always thought Collins was symbolic of Times larger problem of being a undeservedly smug and pretentious. Glad to see we have some company:

    On a broader note – The so called liberal media has been a bigger problem for the opposition than the Movement media – Recall the recent flap w/ Sanjay Gupta and Michael Moore. Gupta tells Moore that basically agrees with his movie, but then when he goes to tell “the other side” of the argument he lies and says Moore “fudged facts.” Instead of lying (or repeating falsehoods unwittingly), he could have dissected Moore’s arguments and attacked his analysis – Or he could have shown why single payer might work in Canada or Denmark or Israel – but be problematic in the US for a variety of reasoms. Anyway – Gupta and CNN did not do this – instead they just said something untrue about Moore’s film – So the narrative becomes, “…even CNN say Moore …”
    The NY Times does this all the time with their endless supply of Collins and Dowd frivolities – circulating phony GOP talking points that are extremely damaging politically – even though they think they’re unimportant.

  16. Comment says

    re The NYT ad – That very annoying TV ad just came on and we cannot help but wonder if anyone thinks that is an appealing ad with appealing people. It was as if the Times decided they wanted a readership of smug assholes and they crafted an ad to recruit them – A pretty mocha woman braggiing about her boots, a thirtysometing woman who looks like a someone who encourages her friends to leave their boyfriends and husbands over slight disagreements, a guy who looks like an insider trader, another guy who looks like a slackjawed temp, etc

  17. Comment says

    We’ve always had trouble taking Babbin seriously since we heard him refer to Turkey as an “Arab democracy.” This was just too much for a man with his resume. Hoekstra is also seems light – in that we’ve heard him make glaring errors – as bad as any that the current Dem chair of the Intel committee.

    The big questio re secret prisons is whether or not there was implicit or explicit reciprocity. Do any foreign countries have secret prisons in the US, with US knowlege?

    Also – there may have been “other Inteligence activites” – Gonzales may be half-right, and is being caught in a spliced-lie ™

    Was the “terrorist surveillance program” (tsp_ actually named “TSP” before it was exposed in all its statute-breaking illegality? We think we recall reading that it a different name.

  18. Dr Leo Strauss says

    Here’s another morsel for the Babbin Gospels . . .

    It’s pretty amazing how widespread this kind of silly thinking is. Not just because of talk radio.

    The Stiftung had a lunch a while ago with a prominent attorney (for whom Instapundit worked in his larval state as billing power tool). This attorney also at the drop of the hat launched into the whole treason thing. It’s an insidious meme.

    Mark the Stiftung’s words: In 25 years, someone — perhaps an ageing Matthew Broderick along with the preternaturally effervescent Scarlett Johanssen will make a movie showing how Feith et al. were betrayed and sabotaged by [insert montage]. Instead of ‘tie your shoe’ perhaps we will get ‘time to step on the light bulb’. In other words, Feith et al. will live on in history notwithstanding themselves because they were in the end just the messengers or servants of a much more important and shared meme.

    After all, the discussion over the Gnostic/Coptic gospels help revive memes that open even Judas Iscariot’s role and purpose. A conversation that flows over into pop records. As written recently by Pete:

    Two thousand years
    Two thousand years
    Two thousand years
    Two thousand years
    Have I waited

    To ask if I have loved you
    To know if I have served you
    To find if I’ve obeyed you
    To know if I’ve betrayed you

    Two thousand years
    Two thousand years
    Two thousand years
    Two thousand years
    Two thousand years
    Have I waited

    Then find I can’t be perfect
    Not even a perfect snake
    To know that we are hated
    You suffer for my sake

    Two thousand years
    Two thousand years
    Two thousand years
    Two thousand years
    Have I waited

    And so I have a chance to love
    As you intended
    You really lived and die for me
    Is the waiting really ended?

    Two thousand years
    Two thousand long, long years
    Two thousand years
    Two thousand long, long years
    Have I waited

  19. Armchair says

    In the next epidode of ’24’ Jack learns that some corrupt Arabists burrowed within the Community are sitting on some Intel that would assist MOSSAD in uncovering a terrorist plot to kidnip some American diplomats – So Jack, from reading medical records supplied by a patriotic HMO, learns that one of the Arabist is hiding the key documents in a secret compartment in his fake eyeball, so when he goes to retrive them he makes a mental note to retrive them with a power drill and to ‘accidentally’ drill the wrong (real) eye first.
    Alas – he learns that these documents were planted by someone who knew he was on their trail – So drilling of both eyes was for naught – Further, a corrupt trial lawyer is now using this to go after him legally after catching it all on tape. Jack learns that they plan to use the Torts to fund a whabbi Madrassa exchange program with American correctional institutions that will allow violent criminals to be freed from jail should they make promise to wage jihad. He now only has 12 hours to uncover the plot

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