Worst Ballot Challenge Ever

It seems that Norm Coleman in MN is falling behind because his ballot challenges are bunk.  The Coleman campaign tried to get a certain Franken ballot thrown out because the voter wrote on the ballot. What did they write you ask?  No, no, not Lizard People (though that is a good guess and shows you’ve been paying attention).  This person wrote “Thank you for counting my vote!” 

Say hello to the 59th D US Senator, Mr Al Franken!

114 Responses to “Worst Ballot Challenge Ever”

  1. ymatt Says:

    Well I think it’s obvious that Senator Franken has a clear mandate from the people of Minnesota.

  2. shcb Says:

    Overwhelming! :-)

  3. NorthernLite Says:

    Cause he’s good enough, smart enough…

  4. shcb Says:

    The one thing this recount has shown me is that Republicans were correct in fearing the Democrats were going to keep recounting the 2000 Florida votes until AlGore was one vote ahead of Bush and then declare victory. Coleman has been leading by varying amounts for something like 6 weeks now, Frankin gets ahead one day and he is introduced as the next Senator. Now I’m not just picking on Enky here, I was glancing through a few articles yesterday and came across one from a newspaper in Minnesota. Some of the points they made were

    A. Colman has led throughout the race

    B. At least one hundred ballots given to Franken are too hot to handle for the canvassing board, the board said this issue should be addressed by “another entity” read Supreme Court.

    C.These ballots may have been counted twice

    D.And finally (drum roll please) only 46% of the disputed ballots have been counted

    Now even after they made all the above points they couldn’t help themselves in referring to Frankin as the “presumptive winner”. As my favorite corrupt Democrat, James Traficant use to say beam me up Scotty!!!

  5. shcb Says:

    I also liked Frankin’s campaign manager coming out and saying he will announce Tuesday that Franking is the winner. Ok, he can announce that all peaches are purple for all I care, I don’t think that changes anything. He is basing his announcement on the Frankin campaign’s original count which assumed they would win every single challenge. Please Scotty, please push the damn button, get me out of here!!!

  6. knarlyknight Says:

    Sounds like a ways to go yet… just because Coleman’s team is behaving like jackass’s (e.g. dispute “thank you for counting my vote”) don’t mean they have lost yet.

    But the uncertainty about the winner of the race is likely to persist well beyond the adjournment of today’s canvassing board meeting. One reason for the delay: the state Supreme Court ruled on Thursday that counties were required to tally mistakenly rejected absentee ballots. Counties have until Dec. 31 to submit the count to the secretary of state.

    In addition, the vote count at the end of the day will change again once about 5,000 ballots that both campaigns initially challenged, but later withdrew, are awarded to the candidates and that won’t happen until next week, Secretary of State Ritchie said.


    BTW, Can anyone figure out what shcb is raving about? Sounds like a big whiner blabbing away in jibberish.

  7. enkidu Says:

    yes, please beam him up, rapture or otherwise remove the wingnuts

    seriously you wwnjs won in ’00 by a single vote, yet you don’t want to do an accurate recount in MN? Note that the recount is mandated by existing MN law.

    There were millions of votes cast. We are talking about an change in the tiny fractions of one percent. 2.5 million votes cast and coleman was up by 200 (less than 0.01%) now Franken is up by about the same. But because you are happy with a R, any R, even a corrupt, bribe taking jingoist moran like Coleman suddenly its all democrats stealing the election. Can we all wait to call the election until the recount is over?

    You can review all the contested ballots on-line if you have the time. It’s kind of entertaining for the first 5 or so.

  8. shcb Says:

    Say hello to the 59th D US Senator, Mr Al Franken!

    Only three days later…

    Can we all wait to call the election until the recount is over?

    Not only do you guys not read what I say, you evidentially don’t read what you say either. Just once you should read what I write and not twist it into what you think I should have, could have, or did say or mean based on your biases and prejudices. I’m not that deep, I usually say what I mean and mean what I say.

  9. knarlyknight Says:

    Can’t wait for Enky to throw back some of your quotes about nukingthe middle ice, etc. Oh, yea right, you didn’t mean to say those things, those were just exaggerations. Your “usually mean what you say” must be weaselspeak, & R-thug logic, for you mean what you say about 51% of the time.

  10. knarlyknight Says:

    As far as I recall all the people wanted in 2000 and in the Franken / Coleman contest is to count all the valid votes.

  11. shcb Says:

    Where have I or other Republicans said we don’t want all the votes to count? In 2000 we just wanted the votes counted, we didn’t want to keep recounting and recounting, changing the rules at every recount to give AlGore just a few more votes.

    But here is what I mean by you don’t read what I write, I have no major problem with the way this is being handled, my comments were about the way the press is reporting the event and the silliness of the comments of one of Frankin’s campaign people, they had nothing to do with count itself.

    You guys also have obviously not been following this recount at all, both sides have many silly contested ballots, doodles in the margins, checkmarks or a single line instead of the space fully filled in, all sorts of things. They have both done what they are being paid for, giving their candidate the best chance of victory. For the most part it seems the people in charge of the count are doing a good job as well. That couldn’t be said in Florida 2000.

    One other difference, in this recount it was automatic and state wide, in Florida AlGore sued for a recount in only 6 counties, heavily Democratic counties. I suppose Bush could have sued for a statewide recount but he didn’t.

  12. shcb Says:

    Oh, one other thing, in the 2000 election it was the Democrats who didn’t want some military votes to count, not Republicans.

  13. enkidu Says:

    dear wwnj, due to your lack of sense of humor (and lack of sense) I can see I shall have to explain my link text: Al was a ‘comedian’ so if you say it in a smarmy announcer’s voice (kind of like this) LLLLLadies and Gentlemen! please give a warm wellllcome toooo the 59th Democratic Senator, Mr Allllllll Franken!

    But of course you see nothing wrong in Coleman protesting a vote where the challenge is the voter wrote “thanks for counting my vote!” (for Franken). All that matters to wwnjs is that it is a vote for the Ds and therefor should never be counted etc.

  14. shcb Says:

    I guess that Minneapolis newspaper has a sense of humor similar to you.

  15. shcb Says:

    Here is an article by John Lott to balance your “thank you for counting my vote” article. it is good they have posted all the ballots for people to see.

  16. shcb Says:



  17. enkidu Says:

    a link from fox? really?
    it isn’t news, it’s bullshit (esp Coleman’s crap about ‘double counted ballots’)

    I am sure I could cherry pick a bunch of ballots on the other side.
    and frankly a bunch of foxnutz examples sucked: if the voter has mostly D votes, but a mark in Coleman then an X thru it and a darker circle for Franken (yes the voter should have asked for another ballot), then the voter intent was clearly for Franken. Also quite clever the way the ballot images are cropped (hard to tell the voters’ intent if you only show a small portion of the ballot)

    Let the boards decide and then fight it out in court. You just don’t like the results.

    The plain FACT remains that many of Coleman’s challenges were crap, while Franken’s were more conservative/valid. Trying to deny a voter their right to vote because they wrote “thanks for counting my vote!” is just classic Rethuglikanism.

    You stay classy wrong wing nut jobs!

  18. shcb Says:

    I’ve always found John Lott to very credible. I would think anyone who wants to see a fair election would be troubled by these inconsistencies no matter which candidate you were rooting for. It sounds like the board has the ability to reconsider so we will see, this will go on for some time. Where these things get in trouble is this “intent of the voter” nonsense. The instructions are clear, if you make a mistake, ask for another ballot, we need to hold voters more responsible. If there is more than one candidate picked, the ballot is void, end of story.

  19. enkidu Says:

    Lott is right wing nut job just like you.

    His wiki article is hilarious: I especially love where he uses a pseudonym to give his own book good reviews, defend his ideas (kooky as they may be) and so on.

    He cooks up numbers that he pulls from his ass (gee now that sure sounds like you!). Plus he loves guns guns and more guns (can I have a side of guns with my guns please?). And hates him some Dummycrats. He looks like a major nutter in the pic too. Bonus: he loves him some deregulation! mmm mmm mmmassively crazy!

    wwnj – not credible (except to other wwnjs)

  20. shcb Says:

    I always think it is funny how liberals complain about how bigoted and prejudiced conservatives are and yet they judge people by their looks and the position they take, not the merits of their arguments for or against that position.

  21. enkidu Says:

    The problem with your wwnj: his arguments are bunk and he has a sock puppet pseudonym that he used to prop up his work for years. google Mary Rosh. The merits? give me a break. As to his looks, please go take a look at that pic on wiki and ask yourself if you would leave your kids unsupervised with this creep around…

    but I am a bigot because I don’t respect wwnj wankery

    Do you really want me to dig up the many directly grossly bigoted comments you have made about blacks, hispanics, arabs, muslims, democrats, etc?
    basically anyone who doesn’t agree with you…

    Hey your man Big Dick Cheney has been all over the media smirking it up about how he did indeed yell “go fuck yourself!” on the Senate floor to Patrick Leahy. Same to you buddy.

    You stay classy wwnj! ;-)

  22. shcb Says:

    Why are Lott’s arguments bunk? Your Wiki article said his methodology was good, I have heard him on several occasions, he seems credible. He doesn’t say liberalizing gun laws eliminates crime, he says on average violent crimes drop a few percentage points (7 or 8) when concealed carry laws are passed, some crimes, notably rape usually drop significantly, by as much as 30%. That sounds reasonable to me. The only thing I have ever heard him say that didn’t sound reasonable was the number of crimes guns stop because of brandishing them, he extrapolated that out from too small a number. He started out saying something like 95% of these incidents aren’t reported, well, when the percentage is that high how do you know if it is 70% or 95% of something that didn’t happen?

    Go ahead and cite my comments just make sure you put them in context.

    Leahy deserved it, I’m glad Cheney said it, shows some spunk, and to be fair it was in a private exchange, not in a speech or in a book about Rush Limbaugh and conservatives (you will have to get out your calculator to count the number of times Franken uses it)

  23. shcb Says:

    Here is an interesting twist to this race. I knew that the Senate would not seat anyone that Blago appointed but I didn’t think about it maybe happening in the Colman – Franken race. So I wonder what would happen if the Senate didn’t seat either of them? Would Minnesota be forced to hold a special election? Can you imagine that happening after all this?

  24. shcb Says:

    Now this one fits the title of this site. It seems Bill Clinton is giving his wife a bunch of money for her donor list. And then he released his donor list even though he said repeatedly “I did not sleep with that woman” oops wrong quote, he said he would not sell the list in question. Now, one would think for the most part the two lists are one and the same, FOB’s are probably FOH’s. I would think donor lists to a political campaign would be public knowledge anyway after McCain Feingold, maybe not. If it is public knowledge what value is he getting, if there is no value is this not just a campaign contribution? I wonder if any of the people that gave money to Bill thinking it was going to philanthropic causes are upset that it is being used for political purposes? Probably not. Now on one hand I applaud Obama for wanting to be transparent, but on the other I don’t think it is good to pressure people to go back on their word, although it doesn’t take much pressure to get the Clintons to go back on their word. Which is one reason I like Hillary as Sec State, a more devious, spiteful, mean, lying bitch the world has ever seen… perfect for a diplomat.

  25. knarlyknight Says:

    That last sentence sums up most of what I find reprehensible about shcb’s world view.

  26. shcb Says:

    It’s a cutthroat business, not for the weak of heart.

  27. knarlyknight Says:

    Yea, unfortunately Hillary does not rank in that category because she’s discredited as a lousy liar, and she is not of comparable intellect or competency as other former Sec of States (with the exception of Condi who is a joke with her PhD and obvious lies (e.g. her involvement in discussions on torture etc. & “Well golly gee, I believe the national security note was titled ‘Bin Laden determined to strike inside the USA'”)

    Yet that’s all beside the point, which is that your world view of secretary of state being at the head of a cutthroat business is a pathological mindset that ultimately does more harm than good. Maybe Obama will reign in some of the terror that has been unleashed in the name of your cutthroat business and turn bearings to a more civilized form of constructive diplomacy.

    It’s a serious business, not for the weak of mind.

  28. shcb Says:

    That’s odd, at one point Hillary was billed as the smartest woman alive, wasn’t that on the cover of Time?

    Of course diplomacy is a cutthroat business, any form of negotiation is to some degree, the higher the stakes the more nasty it becomes. You are trying to get something from someone that really doesn’t want to give it to you, and they are doing the same, and you are trying to do all this without violence. War is more straightforward in this regard, it just comes down to who is stronger.

    Now Condi has had the advantage of working for a fairly direct and uncompromising president, in some ways that makes her job easier. It is hard to say what kind of boss Hillary will have given his sparse record in executive positions. We and our opponents and enemies know Hillary well however. The wild card with Hillary is how well will she follow orders, we know she has ambitions Condi never had, and we know how ruthless she can be. It will be interesting.

  29. enkidu Says:

    I think it would be easier to identify those posts from dear wwnj that aren’t bigoted. There was that thread where you guys traded recipes (awwww). And the recent thread where you discuss trucks. Besides those two… anyone else think of thread where wwnj hasn’t blamed all the Evil™s of this world on damn dirty hippies and demoncrats? Anyone?


  30. knarlyknight Says:

    I think you got it covered Enkidu.

  31. shcb Says:

    “>Tax cuts and hikes that ain’t

    Here is a fun one, there is so much here for a short article.

    Axelrod argued that letting tax cuts expire is not the equivalent of a tax increase.

    Why is it not a tax increase? People are going to be paying more than they are now aren’t they? That is an increase. Is it not an increase if it is on a small voting block?

    I assume he means that the amount of decrease of taxes of the majority is more than the increase on the tiny minority since he says it is a “net tax cut for the American people” but I thought all the great and glorious promises made in the campaign were going to be paid for by soaking the rich. Now just this little stimulus package can’t even be paid by repealing the tax cuts of 2001 and 2003.

    So he says they are going to repeal the 2001 and 2003 tax cuts, fine, we knew that would happen when we elected Democrats, they always raise taxes, it’s like fresh air to them. But we all know the tax cuts of 2001 and 2003 were across the board, so that means everyone over $42,000 is going to get a tax increase that isn’t an increase and then a bunch of people are going to get $1,000 and a few aren’t, they get to pay some of the $1,000, but not all of it. But since the “middle class” taxes are going up they really aren’t getting a grand are they?

    But the one that got me laughing the most was this

    The lump-sum rebates issued earlier this year were used by many people used those rebates to pay down debt, rather than spending them as the administration had hoped.

    Coupled with

    “People need money in their pockets to spend,” Axelrod said. “That’ll get our economy going again.”

    So why do they think it will work this time? Did the $1,200 get everyone’s credit cards paid off? Why will they spend Obama’s money? They will just pay their credit cards down more. Which isn’t a bad thing but I thought this was going to be a new group with new ideas. Seems like the same old thing to me except Obama is giving out a little less to the hard work’n folks than Bush did, quite a bit less if he increases their taxes.

    …probably needed a stronger communications strategy for letting people know and understand how this was going to work and what this money was going to be used for,” he said.

    I would agree with him on that, but I sure see a bunch of questions marks above this, seems they don’t have it quite figured out yet. I wonder how well they are going to communicate to the masses what they don’t know themselves.

  32. shcb Says:

    that link didn’t work well


  33. knarlyknight Says:

    Sounds to me that fox news is confused, that’s one lousy article.

  34. shcb Says:

    “We must kill the messenger”

    A casualty of the 24 hour news cycle, it’s not well written but the tap dancing quotes of folks that promised way more than they can deliver are fun.

  35. shcb Says:

    You see the problem is they have spun so much for so long that now them chickens is gonna come home to roost. The tax cuts Bush enacted were across the board, not just on the rich, so how are you going to repeal them without raising taxes across the board. If they just repeal the increases on the top few percent of tax payers, there probably won’t be enough money, debt will be increased and Republicans will be on them like stink on shit. If they don’t do anything, you guys will be, we gotta extract that pound of flesh from those fatcats god damn it. Why do you think they have changed their minds on soaking the rich three times in as many weeks? It’s not because they are confused, they‘re smart guys, they knew this was going to happen back when they were making promises, but that was then, their objective was to get elected, now it is to save as much face as possible. They also know they need to get it done as soon as possible so people will have forgotten about it before midterm elections in 2010. Politics as usual.

  36. knarlyknight Says:

    It’s common knowledge that Bush’s tax changes benefitted the wealthy far more than the middle class, despitet the smoke and mirror show put out by White House spokespersons.

    Enky’s right, wwnj’s have their own fantasy-land where they make outrageous statements that mock reality, such as “The tax cuts Bush enacted were across the board” .

    Every comprehensive analysis I’ve ever seen shows that the wealthiest 1 percent of Americans reap windfall tax savings under Bush’s so-called plan. For example, the first google search result from 2002 shows these findings:

    Over the ten-year period, the richest Americans—the best-off one percent—are slated to receive tax cuts totaling almost half a trillion dollars.

    The $477 billion in tax breaks the Bush administration has targeted to this elite group will average $342,000 each over the decade.

    By 2010, when (and if) the Bush tax reductions are fully in place, an astonishing 52 percent of the total tax cuts will go to the richest one percent—whose average 2010 income will be $1.5 million. Their tax-cut windfall in that year alone will average $85,000 each.

    Put another way, of the estimated $234 billion in tax cuts scheduled for the year 2010, $121 billion will go just 1.4 million taxpayers.

    Although the rich have already received a hefty down payment on their Bush tax cuts—averaging just under $12,000 each this year—80 percent of their windfall is scheduled to come from tax changes that won’t take effect until after this year, mostly from items that phase in after 2005.

    In contrast, the vast majority of taxpayers have already received most of their tax cuts from the 2001 legislation.

    For the four out of five families and individuals making less than $73,000 this year, three-quarters of the tax cuts—averaging about $350 this year—are already in place.

    Tax cuts for the 19 percent of taxpayers making between $73,000 and $356,000 this year will grow a little over the next four years as the cuts in the upper tax rates continue to kick in, but then will dwindle thereafter. By 2010, the tax cuts for this group will be no bigger as a share of income than they are now.

  37. knarlyknight Says:

    The expiring tax cuts are regressive—they provide a larger percentage cut in after-tax income for high-income households than for low-income households. If the tax cuts were made permanent, filers with income above $1 million would see a 5.7 percent increase in their after-tax income, whereas filers with income below $50,000 would see just a 2.2 percent average increase in their after-tax income. (These figures do not include the estate tax repeal, which is also quite regressive.)

    The percentage changes in after-tax income are the most theoretically preferred method of examining the progressivity of tax changes, but attention also naturally focuses on other measures. For example, the top 1 percent would receive 27 percent of the tax cuts provided by making the expiring provisions permanent, even though that group pays only 21 percent of federal taxes. As a second example, taxpayers with income above $1 million would receive average annual tax cuts of $107,000 (again, this does not include the estate tax). This is higher than the income of about 86 percent of tax filing units.


  38. enkidu Says:

    I am so sorry knarls, but using facts and figures just won’t work when discussing reality with wwnjs. There is some sort of brain shunt that makes facts ‘partisan’ or ‘bigoted’ when they don’t jibe with wwnj world views. Perhaps fauxnewz is some sort of viral brain rot or something that opens a parallel universe of partisan douchebagery that I have named The Wingnutoverse. Lil Billy Kristol is a god there (or so I hear).

    We do appreciate you trying.

    Only a few more weeks and then we can start fixing the enormous fuckups of the dumbya era. Is there any way we can get Obama to start a bit early?

  39. knarlyknight Says:

    Just wondering if you truly understand what your ally is up to, because to most of the world it sounds criminal.


  40. shcb Says:

    I’m pretty sure we’ve gone over this before but you guys obviously weren’t listening. The way people like Brookings can make the claims they make is they are simply ignoring the EITC. Here is the way it works, when you file your return, if you are a low income worker, you pay a certain amount of money like everyone else, either throughout the year or you write a check at the end of the year. If you qualify for the EITC you get a credit on a separate line item that in most cases not only pays for the taxes you may owe, but reimburses you for the money you paid through the year. So technically you paid taxes, but then the government pays you back.

    Brookings is using Publication 1304 or something like it. I came up with similar numbers, you have to go to 1.8% of upper income taxpayers instead of 1% but that is the first rule of political mathematics, always round in the direction that makes your point. But Pub 1304 only documents the amount taxpayers pay, not the net after the EITC. In 2006 there were 49,123,555 returns filed, and 23,042,200 were filed with EITC’s, that is 46%, you can’t ignore that big a percentage. Using Pub 1304 the lower 40% of taxpayers pay 17% of all taxes, after including the EITC you will find that the lower 50% only pays 3% and the upper 1% pays almost 40% instead of the 22% cited in the article.

    Now being the good liberals they are I’m sure Brookings sees nothing wrong with 50% of the population not paying taxes and think including the EITC in their calculations is wrong. It depends on your objectives. Are those good enough facts and figures for you Enky? You wouldn’t know an accurate fact or figure if it jumped up and bit you on the ass.

    I’m a little confused by the thought process of the fifth paragraph on in your first post Knarls, it seems like you (they) think it is somehow a beneficial for the rich to still have their tax cuts ramping up. It seems to me it’s like the boss saying he is going to give everyone a 10% raise, the hourly people will get the 10% now and the salary people will get 5% now and 5% in three months, at the end of the three months the hourly people complain that the salaried people got a raise and they didn’t. I am always intrigued by the liberal mind but I will never understand it.

    Now all that said, none of it has anything to do with my point which is that if Obama repeals the Bush tax cuts most everyone that pays taxes will be getting a tax increase, not just the top 5% as he campaigned. This is an article from 2003 giving some details of the Bush tax plan

    A family of four with an income of $40,000 would see their federal income taxes fall from $1,178 to $45 under the President’s plan.

    So if the Bush tax cuts are repealed this family of modest income will pay an additional $1,178 and get $1,000 back, so their taxes are increased, no matter how you look at it or how you spin it.

  41. shcb Says:

    Well most of the world doesn’t have little school girls getting killed by indiscriminant Arab mortars and rockets. The general consensus among the far right is that it will get worse as Obama starts to side with the Palestinians and Israel decides they are on their own, they won’t take that crap.

  42. knarlyknight Says:

    Oh really now, you think Obama is going to make Israel think they are on their own? That’s utter crap.

  43. knarlyknight Says:

    FYI – Little schoolgirls in Gaza have been dying at a rate thousands of times higher than their counterparts in Israel. That’s due to restrictions which prevented medical supplies, food, fuel and other essentials being imported to Gaza over the past two years. Just because your source of news does not report that to you does not mean there is not some truth to it.

    And recent guided Israeli bombs demolishing all sorts of buildings in densely populated areas of Gaza has only added to the pain and death. It is shameful of you to suggest that the Israeli’s are the only victims.

    The Israili’s, bless their misguided souls, have tried for years to suppress another popluation using many of the failed tactics of their former oppressors in Europe (e.g. expropriating property and land especially by way of settlements in “occupied territories”, ethnically isolating and inflicting group punishments on civilians for actions of the militants, blitzkreig tactics in densely populated civilian areas, and now a declaration of “total war”.)

    The random, and relatively impotent, rockets lobbed by Hamas seems to have increased in recent weeks out of a desperation to make the world take notice. An extreme action, and although I completely disagree with it I can’t think of any other actions that has been able to make the world take notice. Certainly their pleading to Israel, the US, the UN, and others have had no real effect on their situation. Now at least some people have taken notice that millions of people in Gaza have been living for years under intolerable oppression that has only worsened over the years, an oppression that pales in comparison to the threats Hamas had ever posed to Israel. Unfortunately it may be Iran that takes the most notice. I hope it is not too late to persuade Israel to adopt more sane measures that would reduce violence rather than escalate it for the pleasure of Fox viewers.

    You should read some of the Facts / Myths listed in the common dreams link I posted above so that you don’t come across in your next post as being as big an idiot as you have in your previous posts.

  44. knarlyknight Says:

    This says it better than I ever could:

    From: Starhawk
    To: ,
    Subject: [starhawk] On Gaza

    Dear friends,

    All day I’ve been thinking about Gaza, listening to reports on NPR, following the news on the internet when I can spare a moment. I’ve been thinking about the friends I made there four years ago, and wondering how they are faring, and imagining their terror as the bombs fall on that giant, open – air prison.

    The Israeli ambassador speaks movingly of the terror felt by Israeli children as Hamas rockets explode in the night. I agree with him that no child should have her sleep menaced by rocket fire, or wake in the night fearing death.

    But I cant help but remember one night on the Rafah border, sleeping in a house close to the line, watching the children dive for cover as bullets thudded into the walls. There was a shell – hole in the back room they liked to jump through into the garden, which at that time still held fruit trees and chickens. Their mother fed me eggs, and their grandmother stuffed oranges into my pockets with the shy pride every gardener shares.

    That house is gone, now, along with all of its neighbors. Those children wake in the night, every night of their lives, in terror. I don’t know if they have survived the hunger, the lack of medical supplies, the bombs. I only know that they are children, too.

    I’ve ridden on busses in Israel. I understand that gnawing fear, the squirrely feeling in the pit or your stomach, how you eye your fellow passengers wondering if any of them are too thick around the middle. Could that portly fellow be wearing a suicide belt, or just too many late night snacks of hummus? That’s no way to live.

    But I’ve also walked the pock – marked streets of Rafah, where every house bears the scars of Israeli snipers, where tanks prowled the border every night, where children played in the rubble, sometimes under fire, and this was all four years ago, when things were much, much better there.

    And I just don’t get it. I mean, I get why suicide bombs and homemade rockets that kill innocent civilians are wrong. I just don’t get why bombs from F16s that kill far more innocent civilians are right. Why a kid from the ghetto who shoots a cop is a criminal, but a pilot who bombs a police station from the air is a hero.

    Is it a distance thing? Does the air or the altitude confer a purifying effect? Or is it a matter of scale? Individual murder is vile, but mass murder, carried out by a state as an aspect of national policy, that’s a fine and noble thing?

    I don’t get how my own people can be doing this. Or rather, I do get it. I am a Jew, by birth and upbringing, born six years after the Holocaust ended, raised on the myth and hope of Israel. The myth goes like this:

    For two thousand years we wandered in exile, homeless and persecuted, nearly destroyed utterly by the Nazis. But out of that suffering was born one good thing the homeland that we have come back to, our own land at last, where we can be safe, and proud, and strong.

    That’s a powerful story, a moving story. There’s only one problem with it – it leaves the Palestinians out. It has to leave them out, for if we were to admit that the homeland belonged to another people, well, that spoils the story.

    The result is a kind of psychic blind spot where the Palestinians are concerned. If you are truly invested in Israel as the Jewish homeland, the Jewish state, then you cant let the Palestinians be real to you. Its like you cant really focus on them. Golda Meir said, The Palestinians, who are they? They don’t exist. We hear, There is no partner for peace, There is no one to talk to.

    And so Israel, a modern state with high standards of hygiene, a state rooted in a religion that requires washing your hands before you eat and regular, ritual baths, builds settlements that don’t bother to construct sewage treatment plants. They just dump raw sewage onto the Palestinian fields across the fence, somewhat like a spaceship ejecting its wastes into the void. I am truly not making this up I’ve seen it, smelled it, and its a known though shameful fact. But if the Palestinians aren’t really real – who are they? They don’t exist! then the land they inhabit becomes a kind of void in the psyche, and it isn’t really real, either. At times, in those border villages, walking the fencelines of settlements, you feel like you have slipped into a science fiction movie, where parallel universes exist in the same space, but in different strands of reality, that never touch.

    When I was on the West Bank, during Israeli incursions the Israeli military would often take over a Palestinian house to billet their soldiers. Many times, they would simply lock the family who owned it into one room, and keep them there, sometimes for hours, sometimes for days – parents, grandparents, kids and all. I’ve sat with a family, singing to the children while soldiers trashed their house, and I’ve been detained by a group of soldiers playing cards in the kitchen with a family locked in the other room. (I got out of that one but that’s another story.)

    Its a kind of uneasy feeling, having something locked away in a room in your house that you cant look at. Ever caught a mouse in a glue trap? And you cant bear to watch it suffer, so you leave the room and close the door and don’t come back until its really, really dead.

    Like a horrific fractal, the locked room repeats on different scales. The Israelis have built a wall to lock away the West Bank. And Gaza itself is one huge, locked room. Close the borders, keep food and medical supplies and necessities from getting through, and perhaps they will just quietly fade out of existence and stop spoiling our story.

    All we want is a return to calm, the Israeli ambassador says. All we want is peace.

    One way to get peace is to exterminate what threatens you. In fact, that may be the prime directive of the last few thousand years.

    But attempts to exterminate pests breed resistance, whether you’re dealing with insects or bacteria or people. The more insecticides you pour on a field, the more pests you have to deal with because insecticides are always more potent at killing the beneficial bugs than the pesky ones.

    The harshness, the crackdowns, the border closings, the checkpoints, the assassinations, the incursions, the building of settlements deep into Palestinian territory, all the daily frustrations and humiliations of occupation, have been breeding the conditions for Hamas, or something like it, to thrive. If Israel truly wants peace, there’s a more subtle, a more intelligent and more effective strategy to pursue than simply trying to kill the enemy and anyone else who happens to be in the vicinity.

    Its this instead of killing what threatens you, feed what you want to grow. Consider in what conditions peace can thrive, and create them, just as you would prepare the bed for the crops you want to plant. Find those among your opponents who also want peace, and support them. Make alliances. Offer your enemies incentives to change, and reward your friends.

    Of course, to follow such a strategy, you must actually see and know your enemy. If they are nothing to you but cartoon characters of terrorists, you will not be able to tell one from another, to discern the religious fanatic from the guy muttering under his breath, “F-ing Hammas, they closed the cinema again!”

    And you must be willing to give something up. No one gets peace if your basic bargaining position is, I get everything I want, and you eat my shit. You might get a temporary victory, but it will never be a peaceful one.

    To know and see the enemy, you must let them into the story. They must become real to you, nuanced, distinctive as individuals.

    But when we let the Palestinians into the story, it changes. Oh, how painfully it changes! For there is no way to tell a new story, one that includes both peoples of the land, without starting like this:

    In our yearning for a homeland, in our attempts as a threatened and traumatized people to find safety and power, we have done a great wrong to another people, and now we must atone.

    Just try saying it. If you, like me, were raised on that other story, just try this one out. Say it three times. It hurts, yes, but it might also bring a great, liberating sense of relief with it.

    And if you’re not Jewish, if you’re American, if you’re white, if you’re German, if you’re a thousand other things, really, if you’re a human being, there’s probably some version of that story that is true for you.

    Out of our own great need and fear and pain, we have often done great harm, and we are called to atone. To atone is to be at one – to stop drawing a circle that includes our tribe and excludes the other, and start drawing a larger circle that takes everyone in.

    How do we atone? Open your eyes. Look into the face of the enemy, and see a human being, flawed, distinct, unique and precious. Stop killing. Start talking. Compost the shit and the rot and feed the olive trees.

    Act. Cross the line. There are Israelis who do it all the time, joining with Palestinians on the West Bank to protest the wall, watching at checkpoints, refusing to serve in the occupying army, standing for peace. Thousands have demonstrated this week in Tel Aviv.

    There are Palestinians who advocate nonviolent resistance, who have organized their villages to protest the wall, who face tear gas, beatings, arrests, rubber bullets and real bullets to make their stand.

    There are internationals who have put themselves on the line – like the boatload of human rights activists, journalists and doctors on board the Dignity, the ship from the Free Gaza movement that was rammed and fired on by the Israeli navy yesterday as it attempted to reach Gaza with humanitarian aid.

    Maybe we can’t all do that. But we can all write a letter, make a phone call, send an email. We can make the Palestinian people visible to us, and to the world. When we do so, we make a world that is safer for every child.

    Below is a good summary of some of the actions we can take.

    Please feel free to repost this. In fact, send it to someone you think will disagree with it.

    Starhawk http://www.starhawk.org

  45. shcb Says:

    So we’re finished talking about the Bush tax cuts?

    One way to tell the good guys from the bad guys is if one of them stops shooting, does the other?

    As part of their mission statement, Hamas has the destruction of Israel, the fellow Hamas is getting the longer range missiles from has vowed the destruction of Israel, Egypt is allowing these missiles to be shipped into Gaza. Whenever Israel has agreed to a cease fire Hamas breaks it, and finally the Palestinians themselves voted Hamas into power. I don’t have a lot of sympathy for the Arabs anymore, it is sad kids get hurt but it is because the cowards hide behind the women and children. I don’t understand why you guys want to appease these people, must be in your blood. Do you have a St. Neville metal around your neck?

  46. knarlyknight Says:

    LOL, yea I guess I’m finished with the Bush tax cuts. I perused the government info site you provided, and many of the reader comments disagreed with the government commentary. For example:

    I consider myself well off – almost 40 & close to becoming a millionaire. The American Dream is the greatest. I pay healthy taxes and would love to see the price of Government come down as would anybody. But I wouldnt dream of letting a Republican make me sell my soul for a tax cut.

    They want to throw me (middle class tax bracket) a healthy tax cut so as to give the richest .05% an even bigger one. I stand to gain and I will admit this is just wrong. For the first time we were just able to pay the bills and come up with a little left over. The Republicans want to give an accross the board percentage tax refund that will land most of it right in the pockets of the rich who sheltered all their taxable income in the first place.

    How Republican. Rest assured, this Republican Party IS NOT what Abraham Lincoln was a member of.

    As I look at our Fortune 500 muti-millionaires, billionaires and soon to be trillionaires who own everything including all your markets, I have to ask “How much of the American Dream does one need…?”

    I’m not saying Joe Shmo who posts such a comment is more qualified than the Teasury Department Anaysts who wrote those reports, I’m just saying it seems strange to have such widely divergent opinions on such a basic issue. I understand that the Bush tax cuts involved income tax rate cuts which do appear to be “across the board” as you say but would be more accurately described as “across the board FLAT percentage tax cuts” (and therefore the rich get far more in $ terms), but I also understand that the Bush tax “cuts” involved far more changes (e.g. reduced taxes on dividends paid, huge cut to inheritance tax) which didn’t do much for the average working stiff but benefitted the abundantly wealthy a tremendous amount. So yea, I’m finished with the Bush tax cuts and I’m disappointed that there does not seem to be a reliable and impartial source to pass judgement on the issue. We can be fairly certain they were of big benefit to the rich, as may of them have been very appreciative of that fact. But if only there was an average guy, you know, a Joe the Plumber type, who held the same job at the same salary for the past ten years and could tell us whether Bush’s tax cuts meant diddly squat to him or not. Oh wait, maybe the American public as a whole can serve that function, as the common perception out there as far as I can tell is that they didn’t benefit much under Bush at all.

    Now, you say appeasement again, you make me sick. Can’t you see there are two sides to this story? It’s about living together on one planet, tactics of genocide ultimately fail regardless of whether you think the people involved are wearing white hats or black.

  47. knarlyknight Says:

    Mainly through air strikes, Israeli forces have killed nearly 400 Palestinians, most of them civilians, wounded over 500, and inflicted widespread property damage. Over the past several weeks the Palestinian rockets have resulted in one reported Israeli casualty. But Israeli authorities now say that they have just begun. And despite the grossly unequal character of this fight between the world’s fourth or fifth best equipped army on one side, and crude Palestinian racketeers and stone throwers on the other, Israel’s Defense Minister Ehud Barak indicates the fight may go on indefinitely. The Israeli aircraft and pilots are encountering no resistance because the Palestinians simply have no capacity to fight back.

    According to Sara Roy, a Harvard University Middle East expert (see the January 2009 London Review of Books), the Israelis actually began the campaign to destroy Hamas on November 5 (only hours after US election results indicated a change of administration was coming in the US). To begin its attacks, the Israelis broke the truce that Hamas had observed for the past several months. Following that attack Israel has squeezed Gaza in virtually every possible way, blocking food supplies for United Nations Relief and Works and the World Food Program, refusing to permit entry of diesel fuel needed to run Gaza’s power station, interfering with the operations of Palestinian banks, blocking the movements of Palestinians, and preventing the entry of journalists or other observers into Gaza. There is no other example of a modern military power attacking an unarmed population this brutally and indiscriminately.

    As Sara Roy and other observers describe it, the Israeli plan is to turn Gaza into a massive humanitarian problem that is devoid of any political dimension. That means the Israelis want the outside world to forget that the Palestinian people, especially those in Gaza, are the other side of the long-stalled Israel/Palestine peace process. Rather, with the Sederot rocket attacks as the excuse, the Israelis want the outside world to believe that the entire problem is the fault of the Palestinians. However, the Israelis attacks look like an obvious effort to kill, wound, dismember and render homeless as many Palestinians as possible before world reaction sets in.

    from “Gaza – Obama’s Two Urgent Political Choices” by
    Terrell E. Arnold – a “retired Senior Foreign Service Officer of the US Department of State whose overseas service included tours in Egypt, India, Sri Lanka, the Philippines, and Brazil. His immediate pre-retirement positions were as Chairman of the Department of International Studies of the National War College and as Deputy Director of the State Office of Counter Terrorism and Emergency Planning” http://www.rense.com/general84/urg.htm

  48. shcb Says:

    Well, someone must be lying

    Israel launched its massive air attack Saturday eight days after Hamas terminated the agreed six-month Gaza ceasefire by showering missiles and mortar rounds on 250,000 Israeli civilians day after day. They kept on falling even as Israel opened the crossings to allow 90 trucks of food and medicines to cross into the Gaza Strip. A further 30 trucks of assistance required by international aid agencies went through from Israel Sunday.


    I’ve never really understood this thought process of “one side has less capability than the other so the strong nation is in the wrong”. Is it jealousy or is it the want for all wars to end in a tie so that there are no winners in war? It is clear the Israelis are targeting military and terrorist locations while the Hamas rockets are just being tossed willy nilly. And these rockets are every bit as powerful as a 2.75 FFAR. Sure more Palestinians are being killed, that is the idea of war, kill more of them than they are killing of you.

    It seems to me it is like saying the police department has many, many officers, in the thousands, they are well trained and heavily armed. They have automatic weapons, grenades and sniper rifles. What chance does a knife wielding 19 year old crack head robbing a liquor store really have? We should just let him do whatever he wants, it’s only fair, what is the worst that can happen, he kills a store owner, we have lots of store owners, we can afford to lose a few, if there is one crook we should just send in one cop, if the bad guy only has a knife, the cop should only have a knife. Of course liberals are the first to scream bloody murder when a bad guy is shot 9 times, why so many times they ask? The police over reacted they say. I always answer because the three cops were good shots, good for them.

    Arabs in this area have been trying to eliminate the Jews since they showed up in the ‘40s. What choice do they have but to arm themselves to the teeth? Let the Arabs embrace the Jews as valuable neighbors, if Israel continues to kill Arabs then I will take your side.

  49. shcb Says:

    Oh! I keep forgetting to congratulate you, a Canadian has the longest confirmed sniper kill on record. Good going Canada!

    Canadian soldier Corporal Rob Furlong, formerly of the PPCLI (Operation Anaconda, Afghanistan) – holds the record for the longest-ever recorded and confirmed sniper kill at 2,430 meters (1.509 miles) using a .50 caliber (12.7 mm) McMillan TAC-50 rifle.

  50. knarlyknight Says:

    Yea, we got crack snipers. Seems our strategy is to specialize in very specific areas so we can provide some value added services to joint missions that folks back home can be proud about. Sort of like the “Canada Arm” on the space shuttle – we don’t have a rocket ship but we got one heckuva good lever. Wooohoo, I say.

    I must admit I had to scan your last Arabs are crackheads post as the wwnjobbery was a little over the top. For the record, this is not about rockets, and this is not comparable in any manner to your childish cops and robbers fantasies.

    There are no rockets coming out of the West Bank. Yet the illegal Israeli occupation there continues and so does the ethnic cleansing, the land theft, the illegal settlements, the colonization, notes Stuart Littlewood.


  51. shcb Says:

    Well, we appreciate all your help, really, I’m not kidding. Canada has always been a reliable friend.

    The whole mid east mess is a little beyond my attention span. I really wish Israel would just say this is our land, draw a line in the sand and if the Arabs don’t agree they can try and take it back. One big battle and be done with it.

    A little naïve huh?

  52. knarlyknight Says:

    Yea, a lot of people feel that way. Me too mosttimes, but then I think back to the Jews struggle to create their state – I think they were seen as the terrorists in the region pre – WWII. Funny what trillions of US dollars can do to enhance image and military capabilities. Unfortunately, one big battle won’t settle anything, the grievances will just fester until the losing side has gained enought strength again to exact some vengeance or pursue their goals again. Sorry to disappoint you friend, but in the Holy Land peace is the only true answer. One creates a lasting peace by nurturing the positive, blasting away at the problem only dislodges it temporarily to fester and reappear again. That may have been the lesson from WWI – Germany being beaten and forced to pay war reparations brought a temporary peace that ended when German nationalism re-established itself with a vengeance. The end of WWII was engineered better to create a lasting peace with the UN and the rebuilding of Europe…it’s a shame to repeat errors of lessons learned the hard way

  53. shcb Says:

    I think you are essentially right, but I also think there is a different mentality with the Arab world now than the German world after WW II. It seems the Arab world now has the mentality of the German world prior to WW II, there seems to be this feeling among Arabs, I’m using that term as a generalization not all Arabs to be sure, that they somehow are superior, not in the sense that they have accomplished more, but that they have the obligation or right to make all other people think and act like them. There is that similarity, and I am afraid you have to win the war first before you can begin the healing, like we did in WW II and we are doing in Iraq.

    It takes a lot of time and money to accomplish that. The US spent 13 billion dollars in 1940’s dollars to rebuild Europe, we waited until well after the shooting had stopped, and we imposed draconian restrictions on the nations receiving aid including mandating American films be shown in France. Now this all worked as you say, but it wasn’t a panacea either. One interesting parallel with the Marshal plan and Iraq is the Marshal plan was originally sold that all the countries that received money would pay that money back to the US taxpayers, but an elaborate system of getting the money to them was put in place. There was one point in this money transfer that it was understood from the beginning would be the place where the money would just disappear. With the exception of Germany who paid back something like 1% of the money we gave them.

  54. enkidu Says:

    A New Year full of hope and change…
    it will be good to see the wwnj-in-chief go (are you sure we can’t have Obama start on Monday, we’ll throw in a bonus if he starts on the weekend! this weekend)

    so much nut-jobbery, so little time
    the EITC – perhaps you might try reading the wikipedia article before spouting complete nonsense? here http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Earned_Income_Tax_Credit

    A few facts:
    – the tax credit is intended to help working poor families
    – it seems to start at $0 of income and on a sliding scale tops out at income of $37,780 for a couple with two children ($33,241 for a couple with one child and a really spendy $12,590 for singles – a max benefit of $428 for these high rollers oooooo!)
    – the EITC isn’t a blank check or giveaway, they are giving some of your tax money back to you (I thought this was R/wwnj canon… less taxes = gooder [forgive me for using wwnj lingo to get thru the thick layer of stupid])

    So basically you’ve been ranting on and on and on about a tax break for poor families. There is compassionate conservatism for you. Total cost of the EITC? something like $36 Billion (’04 numbers). chump change next to the trillions dumbya n co. have wasted. But hate radio tells says you them damn dirty Dems is sending your hard earned tax dollars to (insert racial pejorative here) and (insert racial pejorative here)!!!1!1! so you lap it right up.

    Then in the season of peace and joy you start in on your love of killing. I don’t think launching missiles at Israel is very smart, except from a political point of view. Forgive me for pointing out the reality that Hamas was democratically elected. Their approval ratings were down to something like 17% (even worse than The Decider!) But by having some faction lob missiles at Israeli settlements, thus provoking a disproportionate response, both sides get to prove how tough they are and shore up their flagging chances. The Israelis used very dirty tactics to found their state. They were setting bombs and torturing, killing etc. but because Saint Ronny said them brown folks is Bad you are happy to kill on a massive scale (recall your ‘lets nuke 10 million them damn dirty a-rabs’ schtick?)

    Your last post about them damn dirty A-rabs making everyone think and act like Them is so wacky it makes my teeth hurt. IENJs need to be treated as the criminal minority they are, but by over-reacting so badly, so incompetently you wwnjs have fouled things up without parallel. Probably for a generation. Hey how is shrub’s roadmap to peace going? Quite the legacy!

    perhaps you could remind dear wwnj that the US and Canada weren’t always friends? I would think sacking and burning the White House during the war of 1812 wasn’t so friendly (ok ok, so we burned the Parliament Buildings of Upper Canada after the Battle of York). And don’t get you guys started about lumber tariffs!

  55. shcb Says:

    And according to our trusty Pub 1304 table 2.1 people under $35,000 had a tax liability of $5,289,832,000. That’s a tad over 5 billion. Now I don’t know if that is before or after the tax credits, I think it is after since it is something under 1 percent of total individual taxes reported on this table.

    But none of that matters since my point wasn’t whether the EITC was a good thing or a bad thing, or even how big or small it is. My point was that the Brookings report isn’t taking it into account.

    When we took my youngest to CSU for orientation the upperclassmen had a skit where they were telling the new students how to study, in it they said to not trust Wiki. Although in this case I think they may be right, you just left out “the rest of the story”

  56. J.A.Y.S.O.N. Says:

    It’s shockingly weird how skewed the leftist view on Israel and it’s formation is.

    I guess I don’t see how the Jews don’t have a right be where they are. Yes someone will say they’re imposing their will on the people there, but its not like the Jewish people were invading and taking over the indigenous landscape like we all did in north and south America.

    Second, Enk, I mean no offense here, but like your historical inaccuracy about Georgia’s national relations historically the Israelis didn’t use some dirty tactics forming their country, they fought it out. The Arabs didnt’ welcome the Jews back after WWII, they didn’t want them there, despite the fact that by the yardstick everyone uses regarding the holy land, everyone who claims some Abrahamic religion has a right to be there. When the British Mandate dissolved, the Jews declared a state for themselves and every Arab country turned on them, militarily, even though Israel was recognized by most of the UN nations, including the USA and USSR. The Arabs weren’t great neighbors, and got defeated in 1948 by a desperate opponent who were the victims of genocide.

    Add to this the 7 Days War, suicide bombings etc. and I find it really weird to expect the Israelis to act differently than they do. If your neighbors were trying to kill you _all_ the time it would start to affect your behavior all the time. I don’t condone on general principle Israel’s treatment of the Palestinians but its easy to see where it came from. You also never had Arafat or anyone calling for a Palestinian state with peaceful coexistence with the Jews, its been death to the Jews since day one in 1948.

    I really don’t think either side wants to get along, the Israelis are never going to get over the Holocaust, rightly so, and the Arabs are never going to decide that they should welcome and accept their Jewish neighbors and extend the olive branch either.

    To characterize Israel as a malicious bully armed by another, larger malicious bully that exists as some cartoon evil to inflict suffering on another group of people is just historically incorrect.

    This is just as bad as the right having a kill ’em all mentality toward Arabs. No one is going to solve this problem ever trying to pick a side and call them the good guy and demonize the other. Objectively an ancient enmity, a type of problem that has yet to be peacefully resolved.

    Truman should have given the Jews Nevada, that would have been problem solved, too late now.

  57. shcb Says:

    On that same note here is a link to a story of the son of a Hamas leader, it looks like they are having an interview with him tomorrow night.


  58. J.A.Y.S.O.N. Says:

    What’s happening with the recount anyway?

  59. shcb Says:

    Last I heard Franken was still ahead by 50 votes or so with 1600 absentee ballots to be counted, they said they should announce a winner sometime next week and then whoever loses will take it to court. If Franken wins Democrats want to seat him during the long court battles and Republicans have threatened to filibuster.

    It sounds kind of screwy, all the absentee ballots left have to be agreed on by both campaigns and the canvassing board, they can look at the ballots but not touch them, quirky things like that. The one thing I didn’t understand was that each county has already eliminated many on the absentee ballots, in many cases as many as 50%, these were eliminated before the canvassing board even sees them. I think areas like that will be what is taken to court.

  60. knarlyknight Says:

    Frankin is the favourite at Intrade.com with odds of about 9 to 1; surprises are always possible but them odds mean it is game over for the republican.

    For the record, Israel has a right to defend itself. It’s heartwarming that you understand so well the motivations for grossly disproportionate responses (i.e. Death, Pain, and Destruction) that mostly affect the civilians in crowded cities. I would understand it too, if we were talking about a gang war or something rather than a trapped population of 1.5 million in Gaza. Nevertheless, it seems that you misunderstand the “Left’s” objection to the narrative being shoved in every orifice by official media sources (i.e. pretty much as summed up in your post: Jews have a right to their own nation which was earned after WWII, Israel’s continued existence requires strong defensive actions against their hostile “arab” enemies, therefore virtually any action that Israel takes – including as one example the land expropriation by permanent settlements outside of Israel in occupied arab terrirories – is justified based on that narrative.

    What would be nice is to see some balance in the perspective. It’s not as comforting to consider both sides in such a situation, it is simpler (intellectually and emotionally) to just say it’s the good guy defending their right to live against bad guys who want to kill them all. Unfortunately, the good guy bad guy thing is pretty much a fairy tale, and we can argue it forever without much benefit. That’s a dead end, except as an excuse to justify more violence by the side making the argument that they are in fact the victiims.

    You seem to think that the “Left” doesn’t want “the Jews to be where they are” and I think you are very wrong about that. I doubt that very few people in the “Left” of the political spectrum would want to endanger the rights of Israel let alone extinguish its right to exist. That position is pretty much staked out by the far-right neo-nazis Republicans already!

    All the “Left”, if I can speak for “the Left ” for a minute, is asking is for a little understanding of what’s been happening in Gaza for the past two freakin horrid years for the 1.5 million people trapped there without adequate food, medicine or electricity due to Israeli border restrictions.

    For instance, this provides a short, clear and concise explanation of the parameters and wider implications of the “current” (i.e. long simmering) conflict.

    Understanding The Gaza Catastrophe
    By Richard Falk
    UN Human Rights Envoy
    Professor Emeritus Of International
    Law and Policy At Princeton University

    shcb, are you going to believe what that “son of a Hamas leader” has to say, I would have thought you would think he was part of a sleeper cell!

  61. enkidu Says:

    Jayson – I am not picking a side other than my own (and my family’s and my country’s). I am also of the opinion that we may be better off to just scrape the top 1m off the entire state of Israel move it all lockstocknbarrel to eastern Nevada and then terraform the rest (personally I’d send them to Utah and have em battle it out w the LDS nuts, but I think they’d win and then sweep the whole country).

    btw – I have a hard time taking anyone seriously who calls it the 7 day war… ;-)
    The states of Egypt and Jordan have peace agreements with Israel (brokered by Carter and Clinton respectively). The other 22 A-rab states in the region have offered peace and recognition of the state of Israel if they simply go back to the ’67 borders (a gross simplification, but I’m too tired to get into the nitty gritty, mb I read it on wiki ;-)

    So the justification for the state of Israel is that God promised it to em…. rrrriiiight

    So… if I don’t think there is some magical sky fairy who pwns us all, what real justification do they have? Oh, right, that they lived there for a few hundred/thousand years? Isn’t that the same justification that the Islamic world uses to justify their acts? I just want Israel to act like a nation instead of a bunch of JENJs.

    I condemn both the rocket attacks on southern Israel and the disproportionate response… what exactly is your problem with that?

    please explain how I was so wrong about S Ossetia. thx

    As to MN, did you know that it is in the state constitution that disputes like this should be resolved by the toss of a coin? Well, that is what someone told me who musta read it on wiki ;-) I still think it funny that Coleman was trying to get the ballot thrown out because the voter wrote “thank you for counting my vote!”
    you can’t make this shit up

    wwnj please go set the ‘experts’ at wikipedia straight (make sure you just copy and paste from conservapedia. They’ll have a good laugh!)

  62. J.A.Y.S.O.N. Says:

    You made an assertion that S. Ossetia wasn’t part of Georgia until Stalin annexed it, factually incorrect. Just like saying there was some ‘dirty business

    Sorry, it was always called the 7 Day War in all the stuff I read about the formation of the state. We’ll call it the 1967 Arab-Israeli War from now on.

    You realize the Palestinians have the same justification for being there. There are basically two arguments. Our people are originally from here and God gave it to us, so its ours. I roll my eyes a bit at the religious argument, but its very real to the involved participants.

    I know about the offer for ’67 border agreement. What I was trying to say before though, was that the psychology of the Israelis makes it really difficult for them to do that, given their history with their neighbors. Especially since Arafat was proclaiming that the 67 border move was something he wanted to see as a key to the eventual destruction of Israel.

    It’s difficult for me to read anything posted by the people farther to the left than I am here about Israel without reading a heavy bias. What I was saying is there doesn’t seem to be any genuine understanding of the problem or considered viewpoint, until my post that is. While a flippant ‘heartwarming’ remark is made, you reinforce my point. It wasn’t meant to be heartwarming, or an excuse, it was meant to be a statement of ‘this is how these people are thinking, this is why they act like they do.’ Some information that would have to be taken into account for any kind of viable solution to come forth. Here though, you’re extrapolating a lot here that I never said, nor even implied. I never asserted that the left didn’t want Israel to exist. I was asserting that leftist statements about the situation cast the Israelis and Palestinians into very polar roles.

  63. shcb Says:


    I’ll have to wait and see what he says before I know whether to believe him or not.


    From what I’ve seen your Wiki article may be right, at least the 46 billion is close to the 44 billion in 2006. And yes that is chump change, and yes the poor folks may “deserve” it. But that wasn’t my point, my point is that Brookings is using figures that don’t apply to their analysis.

    I’ve only had one personal experience with the EITC. A girlfriend of one of the guys that worked for me came into my office once in tears because she had tried to do her own taxes and she owed a thousand dollars and didn’t have it. She was a single mom and waitress when she was sporadically employed and hadn’t paid any taxes throughout the year, she didn’t have a pot to piss in but she did have a window to throw it out of in her trashed out trailer house. I took a couple hours and did her taxes for her, I found a new program in her packet called the EITC, after figuring that into her return she got about $600 back, not a blank check to be sure, it came back with $600 plainly printed in the amount space. I went home that night feeling pretty good that I had helped this poor girl feed her child and her alcohol, drug and cigarette addictions.

  64. enkidu Says:

    I was speaking of the modern era and found it ironic that wwnjs are so hot to defend Iosif Djugashvili’s (Stalin) reapportionment of the area. What is not factual about that statement? Obviously there are a few thousand years of history that I’ve left out, but the fact remains that Stalin – a Georgian – drew the map in this part of the world within the last 80 years or so. Not sure why this is even up for ‘debate’.

    btw I didn’t write the “heartwarming” comment knarls did.

    So wiki is unreliable, but foxnewz is your go to source for factoids or a moderate perspective? yeah

    The EITC cost in 2004 was $36B not $46B. So of the $2.5 Trillion dollar fed budget we spend maybe $36B to $50B (being generous w old wwnj here) to help the working poor with children. My sympathy for your waitress friend dried up when you stated she hadn’t paid any taxes all year. mb she’ll wise up and have them take out the minimum withholding tax? naaaah! Brookings doesn’t include the EITC because it is inconsequential to overall tax revenues (tho a boon to working poor parents).

    You may also be interested in the wiki article on those Qassam rockets – these aren’t shipped in from Egypt or Russia, they are made locally. Sugar and fertilizer are the propellant. They are completely unguided. The smallest one carries a ‘war head’ of about 1 lb (.5kg). Tho the kinetic energy of a hunk of scrap steel hurtling down from the sky is also significant. I don’t know how many of each type has been fired, so it is hard to say exactly how awful these things are, but the most recent spate of rocket/mortar attacks seems to have killed 4 Israelis and wounded about 70 (please provide better numbers and refs if you care to dig them up). On the other side something like 400 dead A-rabs and thousands wounded (again, please provide more accurate numbers if you like). 100:1 is a disproportionate response (and possibly a war crime if those are civilians, but to wwnj all dead A-rabs is trrrrists, even the women and children, of course).

    question – why is it heroic to drop a 500lb bomb in a crowded city, but it is a cowardly act of terrorism for Hamas militants to fire a 22lb unguided rocket indiscriminately? Both of these acts are counterproductive. Both are morally wrong. ymmv

  65. shcb Says:

    The 46 was a typo sorry.

    It may be inconsequential to the tax revenue, but it is very consequential to their statistics. You see the Bush tax cuts didn’t include people that don’t pay taxes because it was a tax cut not a welfare program, but this Brookings report and reports like it use those people in their calculations to make the rich seem like they got more than they deserved.

    The short range rockets you talk about are made locally, the longer range rockets that have placed a much larger area of Israel under fire are Iranian smuggled in through Egypt or through the Suez Canal with Egypt turning a blind eye.

    Jason has it right; you are a master at misstatement.

  66. J.A.Y.S.O.N. Says:

    Enk, sorry. I was addressing everyone on that.

    My point is, you have been wrong twice in the assertion of historical fact. You are 100% wrong about Stalin’s did not ‘attach’ South Osettia to Georgia. He never did. That region was part of Georgia long before the advent of the USSR.

    This was brought up because your statement about the formation of Israel was also factually incorrect.

    On the macro level, this was brought up because I was saying that there is an unfair characterization of the state of Israel. That’s all.

  67. shcb Says:

    when has Fox news ever said anything not factual?

  68. enkidu Says:

    Please back up your claim that I am wrong about Iosif Djugashvili’s (or Joe Steel if you prefer) drawing the map in that region in the 30s and 40s. thx If you are right, I will learn something and stand corrected, but so far you are just standing there calling me a liar time and again. cheers

    And before we go any further, I defend the right of the state of Israel to exist in peace with its neighbors. I do not support endless warfare. I am with Obama: I am not against all wars, just stupid wars.

    As to your statement about (and this is a lovely euphemism) ‘the formation of Israel’, you have much to learn. Try googling a few things like “Irgun” or “birth of israel terrorism” or even (gasp!) “jewish terrorism”. Now the Brits weren’t playing patty cake either (btw they drew the map for Iraq, where they were also quite brutal). I don’t think some of the Israeli tactics were morally upright, but that is history. Maybe you should read some of it. Regardless, it is 2009 and it is time for these ancient religious hatreds to end. We had a good start with Carter and Clinton, hopefully Obama can do even better.

    btw – news is on the wire that Israeli ground troops are entering Gaza now

    please back up your claim that Iran is shipping rockets into Gaza. thx
    The Qassam3 is a 90kg rocket… it can’t be that hard to make a 200lb tin can rocket with some dynamite on the end of it. I am not saying that Iran is or isn’t shipping missiles in, but this is the first I’ve heard of it. And considering the source, the probability of it being true is low. Very low. But I’ll wait to see what fox news says ;-) They were SO right on them I-raqi WMDz!

  69. enkidu Says:

    zomg u are funny wwnj

  70. shcb Says:

    Hamas activated its Iran-made improved Grad Katyusha unit, sending rockets winging as far as Moshav Bnei Ayish near Yavne to the northeast and the big port city of Ashdod to the north, both nearly 40 km from the Gaza Strip.


  71. shcb Says:

    Can’t give an example can you?

  72. knarlyknight Says:

    yea, Enk’s right, it was I who used “heartwarming” to refer to Jayson’s understanding of Israeli motives for over-the-top actions that inflict direct pain and suffering against 1.5 million people.

    To bad that Jayson misinterpreted it as a “flippant” remark, if paying attention he might have realizedfrom the context that it was a calculated sardonic segue.

  73. knarlyknight Says:

    This is not pretty, but here’s a good way of multiplying the number of your mortal enemies: www . kawther.info/wpr/2009/01/04/what-israel-does-not-want-you-to-see

    Weird that this link does not post when all the other do.

  74. J.A.Y.S.O.N. Says:

    I can’t take anyone seriously who doesn’t call him Stalin. Call him Stalin, it’s what they called him.

    You are factually incorrect about your claims that South Ossetia was incorporated into the Georgian SSR region by Stalin.

    Today’s South Ossetia: http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/9/91/Georgia_high_detail_map.png

    Kingdom of Georgia 1184-1230: http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/5/50/Geor_tamro_aandersen.GIF

    Note the lines of the northern boundary of modern Georgia.

    Democratic Republic of Georgia 1918-1920: http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/4/41/DRGMap.png

    Not again, the Ossetian territory lies within the historically defined boundaries of Georgia. It’s easy to see, consulting the maps, that the South Ossetian region has been part of Georgian preceding the USSR by a significant time frame. The above statement is in no way an endorsement of any of the military actions in the region.

    Your claimed in the post regarding the South Ossetian region was that it was not part of Georgia until Stalin incorporated it into the Georgian SSR, from which the modern country of Georgia is derived. As you can see, this is incorrect. If you are now making another claim that Stalin ‘redrew the map of the region’ it is another matter, the onus of which is now on you to prove.

    Knarly, just so the language is clear. I didn’t misinterpret your remark. Just so you don’t misinterpret this; you respond with flippant remarks whenever someone disagrees with you. You get ‘cute’ for lack of a better term. It makes neither for a strong, nor convincing argument. Nothing I’ve said was meant to be a personal attack on anyone.

    Enk, I am familiar with the formation of Israel. There is a point I’ve been trying to make here that you and knarly very conveniently overlook. In regards to your initial statements about Israel, here on this blog your statements were uniformly anti-Israeli, selectively judging historical fact while failing to compare it to the current situation. I’m going to go out and a limb and say you were doing this to ‘work over’ shcb in the argument, to use the parlance of our time. However strongly you collectively disagree with him, spin never makes for a good rebuttal.

    I am very glad both of you support the right of Israel to exist. Know too, that I agree with you both the violence on the part of both groups of people is now counterproductive. I’m glad you both agree with me that there is no good guy or bad guy in the situation, but a combination of factors that have lead to a bad situation at present. I’m hopeful that the next four years will see our countries being part of a peaceful solution in the region.

  75. J.A.Y.S.O.N. Says:

    Also Enk, I said you factually incorrect on an issue, not that you were a liar.

  76. shcb Says:

    this is from your link

    We took this video (and article) from Haitham Sabbah in good faith and without further checking, since we considered him a trusted source. Haitham in turn took the video from WakeUpFromYourSlumber, an American Blog. Since, several readers have written or posted comments saying that the video is related to another incident, an explosion which occurred in 2005.

    We asked Haitham to verify that the video is really from a bombing of a market by the IDF of yesterday, and I just spoke to somebody in Gaza by phone. Haitham could not verify his source, and the person in Gaza could not definitely confirm that such an incident happened yesterday.

    We sincerely regret to have posted this without better verification, we apologize for the commotion which we caused, and for disappointing our readers. This is the first time that we have taken an article in full from somewhere else, and it is probably also the last time.

  77. enkidu Says:

    np jayson, but please do debunk those two items if you can.

    I would be glad to admit my error and stand corrected, but Joe Steel did indeed redraw the map in the region in the 30s and 40s. And the ‘formation of the state of Israel’ was accompanied by violence, terrorist bombings, kidnappings, etc. Try googling “Irgun” as a starting point.

    Just because someone says those are Iranian rockets doesn’t make it so (recall all those Iranian IEDs? they were locally produced in Iraq). I wouldn’t doubt Iran wants to stir the pot, but why? With a new US administration coming in, getting caught red handed shooting Iranian missiles at Israel give the Israeli crazies exactly the excuse they need.

    As to foxnoise: better to ask what portion of their broadcasts aren’t partisan crap. They were so right on those IEDs for example. But facts and reasonable debate will never sway a partisan zealot.

  78. J.A.Y.S.O.N. Says:

    Well, now you have to show me where he redrew the map. Also as you’re happy to avoid, the assertion that he ‘redrew the map’ was different than ‘he incorporated S. Ossetia into Georgia’ again, the later factually incorrect. Two different statements. So you’re in fact not glad to admit your error, you would rather obfuscate the argument by changing it. If he redrew the map in Siberia then a statement that ‘He redrew the maps!’ is true. If he didn’t redraw them for Georgia and incorporate S. Ossetia into the Georgian SSR, which he didn’t. Then you’re factually incorrect.

    I’m reading up on the Irgun as you suggested. Although there seems to be a point where one could make the case between differentiating between Irgun activities in the 1948 Palestine War and the participants in the 1948 Arab-Israeli War of 1948 as a result of the formal declaration of the state of Israel. I’ll have to read more.

    I’m going to quote jbc from another thread here, the working epistemology of arguments here is still:

    1) Examine a situation from an a priori position that is heavily slanted based on one’s existing politics.

    2) Cherry pick a few facts that support one’s pre-existing conclusions.

    3) Share a few high-fives with oneself, and move on.

  79. enkidu Says:

    show me the links that prove me wrong

    I don’t use the exact same words over and over again and neither do you
    I am not changing my argument, you are avoiding it
    prove me wrong

    nice prevarication on the ‘formation of Israel’
    you are wrong
    zionist/jewish/israeli terrorism happened, it is part of history

  80. enkidu Says:

    btw here is the link that I read that had me using the phrase ‘drawing the borders’ (or something similar)


    It was Stalin, as Vladimir Ilyich Lenin’s commissar for nationalities, who made the current conflict and East-West crisis over the former Soviet republic of Georgia in the Caucasus inevitable.

    As commissar for nationalities, Stalin specialized in drawing borders that were conflicting, contradictory, deliberately ambiguous and confusing, impossible to maintain and expressly designed to pit neighboring peoples against each other for generations to come. Having studied carefully the ancient Roman principle of “divide and rule,” he applied that to the new Soviet state he helped Lenin to construct.

    Perhaps this source is wrong? Please disprove it if you can and back it up with links/facts.

  81. enkidu Says:


    In the last para I state: “I am no expert on the history and polisci of the area…”

  82. knarlyknight Says:

    Thanks shcb, that video looked pretty sketchy to me anyway the quality was so bad as well I wasn’t sure if the guy was walking in circles taking shots of the same victims from different angles. Glad to hear that it was bogus so I’ll just assume that the tons of IDF Bombs are having about the same impact in Gaza as the Hamas rockets are in devastating the nation of Israel. For example, the carnage from just one Hamas rocket:


  83. J.A.Y.S.O.N. Says:

    I showed you the links, look above there are three very easy to read maps that confirm my point about Georgia completely.

  84. enkidu Says:

    I scrolled up and up and up and there aren’t any links
    please back up what you say

    I said “I’m no expert on the history and polisci of the region” but still think it funny that wwnjs want to keep Joe Steel’s redrawing the map of the region. Of course it is because the gov of Georgia was Democratically elected. Just like we are acknowledging and supporting the elected gov of Gaza… er, uh, um, nm

    And it is the 6 day war – not 7, not 5, not 8, not 10
    Which reminds me: how are you doing on your Irgun homework?
    Ready to admit you may be wrong? naaaaah!
    I am more than willing to admit I am wrong on Stalin drawing the map in the region, but you haven’t proven anything. You seem to be the expert. Enlighten us if you please. My amused claim from Aug 15th is that wwnjs are “wwnjs want to continue to prop up Stalin’s plan”

    You seem dead set that this is some gotcha moment. Stalin redrew the maps. Thems the facts. Until you can show me otherwise, you are just slinging the same old chatroom he said she said. And on the wrong side of history.

  85. knarlyknight Says:

    “6 day war” :-)

  86. J.A.Y.S.O.N. Says:

    You are factually incorrect about your claims that South Ossetia was incorporated into the Georgian SSR region by Stalin.

    Today’s South Ossetia: http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/9/91/Georgia_high_detail_map.png

    Kingdom of Georgia 1184-1230: http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/5/50/Geor_tamro_aandersen.GIF

    Note the lines of the northern boundary of modern Georgia.

    Democratic Republic of Georgia 1918-1920: http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/4/41/DRGMap.png

    “You seem dead set that this is some gotcha moment. Stalin redrew the maps. Thems the facts. Until you can show me otherwise, you are just slinging the same old chatroom he said she said. And on the wrong side of history.” You have so far been unable or unwilling to do this. Please prove your assertion.

  87. J.A.Y.S.O.N. Says:

    I just looked, looks like Franken is up by either 78 or 225 votes.

  88. enkidu Says:

    jayson – thanks
    That is the first we have seen of these links, but I don’t think they actually prove I am wrong in asserting that Stalin redrew the geopolitical maps in the early Soviet Union. I could of course be wrong, but that doesn’t seem to be what history records.

    Did you read the UPI article?

    As a result, from the very beginning, the Soviet republic of Georgia in the Caucasus was saddled with two quasi-autonomous internal regions of South Ossetia and Abkhazia that were encouraged to look to the Soviet capital in Moscow for survival and protection against The Local Georgian rulers down in Tbilisi.

    So how is redrawing the geopolitical maps not factual? I am just not seeing your point. I am no expert, but you seem to be able to look at 3 maps and read just about anything into them… enlighten us, please.

    1) Examine a situation from an a priori position that is heavily slanted based on one’s existing politics.

    2) Cherry pick a few facts that support one’s pre-existing conclusions.

    3) Share a few high-fives with oneself, and move on.

    Hey how is your Irgun homework going?

  89. J.A.Y.S.O.N. Says:

    You can’t read a map then, plain and simple and neither can Seiff. If you look at the kingdom map, you see that the Ossetian region was inside the Kingdom of Georgia, likewise you can look at the short lived post-WWI Georgian nation and see that the same territories reside in the same borders. I read the article and it doesn’t make any sense. But if you look at the actual maps, Seiff is just wrong, you are wrong. No one is actually paying any attention to historical records or maps here.

  90. J.A.Y.S.O.N. Says:

    Oh my Irgun homework is going ok, actually backs up the three points I quoted from John very well, reinforcing my original point.

    My take is this. Yes, I see that the Zionist Revolutionaries employed tactics vs. the British that could be regarded as terrorism. However it’s disingenuous to extrapolate those actions into some inherent ‘rotteness’ to the character of the Israeli state hearkening back to its foundation while not appraising the current Palestinian situation in the same light. The Irgun were part of what was happening, not it’s entirety, not the major players in the battles that resulted in the nations foundation nor did their movement become the single or even dominant party in the resulting formation of Israel; unlike the comparable revolutionaries in Germany or Russia in their respective eras.

    My initial assertion was that the ‘lefties’ here were seeking to damn Israel in this thread. Mostly, as I perceive it, as a result of the ‘righty’ here coming out with a militant pro-Israeli stance. It’s actually pretty easy to draw parallels between the Irgun and Hamas. So if the rocket attacks and whatnot are no big deal, just trying to get the world to notice, or are morally justified actions against a repressive regime by a freedom hungry people, then the actions taken by Jewish revolutionaries against the British can be seen as no different. Conversely, if they Irgun were vile and worth of condemnation, then the same can easily be said of Hamas, and like Israel, there will be something truely rotten at the core of any Palestinian state that comes to be.

    Again my conclusion in examining the conflict is to look at it for what it is, and not something to beat each other over the head with here.

  91. J.A.Y.S.O.N. Says:

    I just figured out the Georgian thing. Seiff is talking about the Ossetian ASSR, which is a slight re division in the traditional Ossetian region. In terms of trying to pit regions against each other to maintain centralized authority. At the same time, Enk, you’re still misinterpreting this. The South Ossentian region was historically a part of Georgia since the middle ages. That northern border has been defined for some time. What you have been saying the whole time has read to me that Georgia existed with a South Ossetian shaped hole in it’s northern border pre-1922, which it hasn’t, you still can’t say everyone was defending Stalin’s borders at all though. Its different conflict on a different scale. Yeah the Red Army organized an Ossetian ASSR in ’22, but it was part of the Georgian SSR, which who’s borders were the same as the 1918-1921 independent Georgia.

  92. knarlyknight Says:


    I think you need to establish what is meant by a “political” map versus ethnic, cultural or other types of maps, then maybe you and Enk can get on the same page.

    The three maps you provided were pretty (that’s not a flippant comment either). FYI – there are a lot more pretty maps here:


    Up to the 1500’s Ossetia can be considered as a single cultural entity. Then a bunch of stuff happened (that’s a flippant remark.)

    Then, it seems that for a period of over a hundred years, starting in 1801, ALL of Ossetian territory was part of Russia, along with Georgia proper. Then in 1917 begins the “great” revolution and a tumultuous period in which you “pick” the 1918-1920 map, showing N. and S. Ossetia as part of Georgia despite ubiquitous continuous struggles for independence/control by Russia/control by Georgia/etc. Following these struggles we get Stalin’s historic division of Ossetia:

    1922. Georgia becomes a founder member of the Soviet Union. The South Ossetian Autonomous Oblast (district) is created within Georgia in April 1922. “Stalin – whose father was reputed to be Ossetian – in 1922 divided control over Ossetia between the Georgian and Russian Soviet republics, a move which angered Ossetians and prompted occasional protests over subsequent decades.” (BH)

  93. enkidu Says:

    jayson, my point was Stalin set up this unstable mess in the early Soviet days. He was the guy who redrew the maps (that is a fact, no matter how much you want to dance around it). I found it funny that the right wingers – being so eager for viokence and mayhem – were eager to play on Stalin’s gametable so to speak. I’m not the expert, just the jester. We are arguing about nits when the broad outlines are in agreement. You lost this round, Stalin was the modern era map maker (which makes it ‘funny’). You won this round, at one time or another Ossetia and similar kingdomlets were part of Georgia or Russia, so pick your time period and antecedents and you are ‘right’. Time to move on.

    As to Israel, please stop putting offensive words in my mouth (I can do plenty of that myself! ba dum dumm! rimshot)

    You are trying to portray my words as saying Israel is “rotten.” Not my words. That is your extrapolation/invention, not my view. Israel was formed in part by terrorist groups, using bombs, rifles, knives, whatever. It is history. The brits weren’t playing pattycake either. I have stated my support for Israel, its people and its religion. So can you admit that some part of the birth of Israel was accomplished by violence, terror and the like? Not trying to make a 1:1 comparison w today, just talking about history.

    I think you were reacting to these sentences?

    The Israelis used very dirty tactics to found their state. They were setting bombs and torturing, killing etc.

    Which to the best of my knowledge and the vast majority of recorded objective (heh) history, factually correct. Bombing civilians is wrong, and white washing it later doesn’t make it right.

  94. enkidu Says:

    Al Franken has won the state mandated recount.

    now to win the legal challenges (which seems assured as Coleman’s ‘count mine but not his’ strategy isn’t going to fly – what was that phrase from ’00 oh yeah sore loserman ;-)

    He’s good enough. He’s smart enough.
    And gosh darn it the lizard people voted for him.

  95. enkidu Says:

    thx knarls, good info on the Ossetia thing, I’m no expert, just a hairless ape with a keyboard and some jokes to make here n there. Trenchant observations free this week.

  96. knarlyknight Says:

    Thanks Enk, but I have a problem taking trenchant observations seriously. That’s because I’ve noted a consistent 3 step pattern with my own learning about ANYTHING historical.

    Step One: Define problem – Wonder what really happened back then?, realize my ignorance and set out to fix it.

    Step Two: Work on Problem – Gather facts, recognize irreconcilable differences between facts and see holes in available knowledge, realize an adequate explanation would be so complicated that few if any people truly understand it and that a simple explanation does not do justice to the truth, and admit with a sigh that yet again the truth is lost somewhere in that random area where multiple competing interests collide.

    Step Three: Give up – Realize that even after gaining all the knowledge available I am still ignorant about the central truths … sometimes return to step one with wonder what really happened back then?.

  97. J.A.Y.S.O.N. Says:

    Enk, Stalin didn’t redraw the maps in any way that is meaningful to the conflict in Georgia last year. Knarly is right about thinking in terms of a cultural map. If you look at South Ossetian history, they has an armed uprising in 1920. From an ethnic viewpoint they wanted to be separated from Georgia. Stalin got the Ossetians to look to Moscow instead of Tiblisi. I agree that the political manipulation on his part caused a rift that we saw open. I’ll even go so far as to say designating the region as an ASSR contributed to this. However, your point about redrawing lines on the maps still remains incorrect, thus your assertion about the US supporting Stalin’s borders remains incorrect.

    “srael was formed in part by terrorist groups, using bombs, rifles, knives, whatever. It is history. The brits weren’t playing pattycake either. I have stated my support for Israel, its people and its religion. So can you admit that some part of the birth of Israel was accomplished by violence, terror and the like? Not trying to make a 1:1 comparison w today, just talking about history.” That’s cool. I’ll admit that violence certainly played a part in the formation of Israel and I learned something new about world history.

    However, I have a hard time interpreting your remarks both about Israel and Georgia as part of a general history discussion. This is my reasoning. I see the thread discussions here in terms of some sort of contest between the left and right. It’s really about three people arguing, 2 v 1 with some wild cards thrown in.

    ‘These arguments always tend to be about policy and sides in a conflict. You are trying to portray my words as saying Israel is “rotten.” Not my words.’ Correct, not literally, but it’s difficult for me not to see this in terms of contextual inference, which in, to be blunt, I see being made to score some points vs. shcb in the given argument.

    The reason I see it like that, is the earlier statements lack the more well reasoned, generalist analysis that you (and knarly too here) have stated after I weighed in. Statements that address one participant in the given situation without nuanced historical context, for the purpose of arguing points about current happenings and policy. I weigh in, because in my mind at least, I’m trying to champion academic style arguments, which I feel are the only truely valid ones.

  98. enkidu Says:

    My personal perspective (I was going to write “opinion” but jbc just ruined that word for today… sigh):
    – on Aug 15 I write that I’m no expert on the region
    – I express amusement that wwnjs are eager to fight in an area where Stalin redrew the maps (more polisci maps than natl geo)
    – Stalin’s involvement: “As commissar for nationalities, Stalin specialized in drawing borders that were conflicting, contradictory, deliberately ambiguous and confusing, impossible to maintain and expressly designed to pit neighboring peoples against each other for generations to come.
    – Stalin was the one who pitted the satellite states against one another so they would be busy bickering instead of revolting against USSR hegemony
    – Stalin came from a mixed Ossetian/Georgian family from some of the rather cursory reading on his (ugly sordid and monstrous) history. I am no expert on this monster, so please correct this if I am misinformed.

    Yet in this thread you take me to task for something that you can’t prove but seem adamantly of the opinion: that Stalin didn’t redraw the geopolitical map in the region. That certainly seems to be what you (repeatedly) accuse me of: not using facts. You don’t show your references until I’ve asked politely over and over again, then linking to three maps with no explanation of your analysis/opinion. Sorry. Epic fail.

    On Israel. Careful how you quote people, your ‘quote’ of my words above has a whole sentence that I never wrote included in my ‘quote’. I am sure it’s a typo ;-)

    You were wrong, both broadly and narrowly on both points. You can say I don’t have all the facts and then explain them, but you didn’t do that until a couple posts ago when you admit your error. I was wrong to not use more specific language that allowed semantic misinterpretation. But in our very real history, Joe Steel did indeed redraw the geopolitical balance in the area and jewish terrorism was part of the birth struggle of the modern state of Israel.

    You want to do nuance? Fine. I am not stopping you. Really. Knock yourself out. But wwnjs don’t do nuance. You can do the John Kerry bit and I’ll do the Jon Stewart schtick (obviously less adroitly than the master).

    I think the Palestinians should try more MLK than PLO. It would put the moral onus on the Israelis to do something productive instead of destructive.

  99. knarlyknight Says:

    Sorry Enk, but your “the Palestinian’s should try more MLK than PLO” “opinion” (he says in disgust) needs some re-think. For some reason protests just does not work in their “territories”, and even when they get peacenik Jews in Israel rallying for their cause it makes nary a ripple.

    They’ve tried, repeatedly, loudly and continuously. British MP’s have taken up their cause on public radio, in the House of Lords, and the UN repeatedly condemns Israel for their actions towards the Palestinians. Israel has far more UN condemnations than either Iraq or Iran. Huge Palestinian or Jewish demonstrations against Zionist agendas just don’t get reported except in a few boring articles easily dismissed / ignored.

    It’s like the historical norm in that region is bloodshed. MLK tactics don’t make it on to the radar. I’m not condoning violence, just suggesting that rallies for Palestinian’s are unsuccessful even at promoting meaningful dialogue. That leaves civiil disobedience a la Ghandi, conducted on an even more profound scale so that it affects Isreael and other nations as the only remaining option I can think of for them to try… and fat chance taht that will ever happen. Unless perhaps Israel gives them so many martyrs that public opinion coalesces around their plight. The whole situatino is just sad, pathetic and stupid. Moore should make a movie…

  100. enkidu Says:

    Sadly, right now MLK/Ghandi type resistance isn’t going to work.
    But it would a lot less bloodshed, terror and anger down the road.

  101. J.A.Y.S.O.N. Says:

    I’m not looking at it like that. I’m trying to point out a problem. This is your problem not mine. You don’t define your terms until its convenient. You make a statement that’s a once sentence to the effect of the US is defending Stalin’s borders. Then you back peddle and say well not actual geographic borders, but ethnographic. I meant that the whole time. You’re right if you’re talking about non-physical borders, although in the Osseitian situation its terminology I’d use more as a metaphor. But you’re wrong about geographic borders. The problem is, if you had said ethnocentric borders, I would have said something along the lines of ‘Well, we have to now discuss which is more meaningful, the sovereignty of nations or the identity of peoples.” or “huh, yeah”

    As commissar for nationalities, Stalin specialized in drawing borders that were conflicting, contradictory, deliberately ambiguous and confusing, impossible to maintain and expressly designed to pit neighboring peoples against each other for generations to come. – I read that. Its one guy’s opinion in one article. I think it’s a metaphor? It’s certainly not expressed on any geographic map anywhere, but we were never actually talking about geography, right?

    Now with the Israeli issue. There was no point in your making any statements about whatever use of terror existed in the formation of Israel then, none whatsoever. You were factually right, but again it just as easily never could have been mentioned, being a meaningless statement. I was factually wrong about the Israeli point, but broadly there is nothing wrong with anything I’ve said about the arguement.

    This isn’t a Stuart-Kerry thing. I don’t care what right wing or left wing people to. Nuance is important to any functional understanding of a problem and any hope of reaching a viable solution to one. I’ve watched enough cable ‘news’ to see talking heads like Ann Coulter and whoever MSNBC has on shouting at each other. Those arguments, like the ones here, get loud and fall into that a priori trap every time. They’re disgusting. Nuance is important and shouldn’t be cast aside because of some screaming jackasses. Those people are only on tv for one reason, to promote books. Emulating that style argument in this forum is really really pointless unless it either just makes you feel good to ‘shout’ or you have a book you want to promote at the end of the thread.

  102. knarlyknight Says:

    Jayson, you say that Stalin re-drawing the map is “One guy’s opinion in another article”. Before making flippant statements like that, how about consulting a history book? Or at least consult Google. There is an excellent article (link below) written by Stephen Jones with support of the Center for Slavic and East European Studies at The Ohio State University that provides this glimpse of borders taht were redrawn during the time that Stalin held positions of high influence in the Russia’s Bolshevik government:

    The new Soviet authorities in Georgia gave South Ossetia separate administrative status as an autonomous region (oblast) in 1922. They created borders that were never there before and provided South Ossetians, for the first time, with their own governing structures and resources.


  103. J.A.Y.S.O.N. Says:

    knarly, I’ve mentioned that before. It’s not a geographic redraw. Gave them administrative status, yes. The borders of what wasn’t an ASSR, now were. Thats not the same as any kind of geographic change. It’s terminology you are not correctly interpreting. I did consult a lot of sources, and looked at a lot of maps, which absolutely no one seems to care about here. Furthermore, none of this argument now has anything to do with Enk’s statements in the Georgian thread. The original statement was about Stalin’s borders right? The war was about Ossetian succession from Georgia. Ossetia was geographically part Georgia both before the USSR and after. The ‘borders’ they created were the borders resulting in the region being designated an ASSR, not because they were expanding or contracting the S. Ossetian region. And certainly not because Stalin decided to expand Georgian territory by grafting additional landmass to it in the form of a previously unincorporated South Ossetia. So in terms of support during the war last year, the USA was supporting the historical, geographic Georgia, and the Russian Federation was supporting an a political boundary defined by Stalin. I agree, organizing them into an ASSR and having them answer to Moscow and not Tiblisi certainly destabilized the region. This isn’t what was at all originally stated Any geographic map, Georgia 1918, Georgian SSR, medieval Kingdom of Georgia have a northern border incorporating the Ossetian region geographically.

  104. knarlyknight Says:

    Jayson – Yes, I seem to recall that you have mentioned that before. And I noted to myself when I submitted the comment that, unfortunately, it did not fully nor clearly support the “funny” that Enk was alluding to of the GOP Rethuglicans supporting Stalin’s “redrawing” of the Georgian “borders”. And for the trifecta, I apologize for suggesting you haven’t done your research on this.

    I am glad also that you seem to recognize that Enk’s comment has some merit because, if I may elaborate and expand your geographic vs “political map” theme, we have to admit that Trotsky, Lenin and Stalin had the raw power over Georgia and thus ample opportunity in 1922 to re-draw Georgian borders in any way they wanted to do so, and by establishing Autonomous Oblasts for N. and S. Ossetia it is clear they had far more ambitious intentions (which they saw to fruition) than simply dragging a magic marker along a geographical map of former kingdoms.

  105. knarlyknight Says:

    Back to modern politics (or geo-pol), check this out: http://www.informationclearinghouse.info/article21646.htm

  106. enkidu Says:

    You should join the circus: the contortions you go thru to prove how ‘wrong’ I am and how ‘right’ you are qualify you for Cirque de Soleil. or fauxnews

    Face it: Stalin redrew the geopolitical ‘maps’ in the early USSR and jewish terrorism (or if you prefer “dirty tactics”) were part of the “formation” of Israel. Thems the facts. Please stop misquoting me and learn to use the blockquote tag.

    Of course, as I clearly stated before, I’m not the expert on these matters, obviously you are.

  107. J.A.Y.S.O.N. Says:

    Well, Enk, honestly. I graduated with my art degree and was about 6 credit hours short of a BS in history as well. (Too lazy to do two final projects at once, the callowness of youth) I’m actually way more of an expert than you are in general terms. If you want to talk about bona fides, there it is.

    I feel the same way about you although I’m just going to say you’re too self righteous to admit you’re wrong. You’ve been wrong Georgia and unable to prove literally any of your assertions the entire time. All you have been able to do is say ‘I was really talking about something else.’ That’s the problem I’ve had with all these arguemtents. Get caught with your foot in your mouth, get proven wrong? Say ‘I’ll admit I’m wrong but you…’ You didn’t. You can’t. I did about Israel. I just did again, but you’ll probably continue to call me out about it.

    This isn’t academics though. This is about being self righteous on someone else’s blog, being cute with the names of historical figures, declaring nuance invalid because your main opposition doesn’t use it, all the while totally failing to make anything that would stand up as an academically viable argument.

    You were talking about the US defending Stalin’s borders, you were wrong because you read an article incorrectly. Now you’re talking about geopolitical shifts of power in the Georgian region, but you’re done to figuratively yelling ‘wrong’ and ‘borders.’

    Knarly, “we have to admit that Trotsky, Lenin and Stalin had the raw power over Georgia and thus ample opportunity in 1922 to re-draw Georgian borders in any way they wanted to do so” Right. They could. They could have also totally dissolved interior borders of the USSR, they could have made the Red Army wear chicken suits. If we’re not talking about actual points of fact though there is no point in actual discussion. They changed the political map, not the geographic one. There is a distinction, especially as it relates to the original point of contention. What’re you saying? That they power to change geographic borders, even though it wasn’t exercised is the same as exercising that power?

    Enk, your argument would be like if I said the following: Terrorism played no part in the formation of the state of Israel. The Irgun were fighting the British. They weren’t any significant part of the 1948 that result in Israel’s declaration of statehood. Then after another cycle of argument said: Well, Ben-Gurion wasn’t in the Irgun, therefore there’s no terrorism.

    It seems all you care about here is winning the argument, and increasing the ‘score’ for ‘your side’ or something I’ve stopped being able to fathom, maybe frustration with the last 8 years and arguing with shcb has pushed you too far.

    Whatever it is, this is my last comment on this subject.

  108. shcb Says:

    Don’t bring me into this, for once I’m being a good boy :-)

  109. enkidu Says:

    You seem to think my comment was about cartography – you just misread me and I don’t care to get in a cartographic argument about an area that is not my area of expertise. Even a cursory reading of my post back in August would bring an objective reader to the conclusion I wasn’t talking about Uncle Joe and his magic marker cartography hobby. I still find it amusing that Rs are playing on Stalin’s gameboard (btw you are aware I’m not playing cute games with his name right? his birth name was Iosif Djugashvili of a mixed Georgian/Ossetian marriage – he took the name of “Joseph Stalin” which is loosely translated as Joe Steel – it is what history records – or at least what wiki informs ;-)

    As to the Israel thing… you put your foot in it, not me brother. I said

    The Israelis used very dirty tactics to found their state. They were setting bombs and torturing, killing etc.

    All your semantic contortions can’t erase the plain and simple fact that jewish dirty tactics/terrorism happened. Actually in retrospect and after subsequent reading, I am not so sure about the torture bit (see i learned something). My error, but again, I am no expert.

    Your opinion about my opinion was very interesting, thx.

    I can’t make heads or tails of your third to last paragraph.

    On both counts you haven’t won me over. If you look at the facts instead of some narrow convolutely semantic bs, then you are 0 for 2.

  110. knarlyknight Says:

    (I can’t figure out your third to last para either.)

    You asked me:

    What’re you saying? That they power to change geographic borders, even though it wasn’t exercised is the same as exercising that power?

    I’m saying that if the thugs who run the big cattle ranch to the north of your little hobby farm come over and rough up your wife, toss you on the ground and put a boot on your head while they think about what to do with your wife, whether to burn your house, steal everything, send you packing and add the hobby farm to their ranch, or just break up your face some more, well then we’d have an approximation of the Red Army in Georgia c. 1921/2.

    If after they “thunk” it over a bit they decide that your wife is ugly and they don’t need your toy farm stuff and they got plenty of grazing land already so they would be okay to let you live in peace but only if you minded your own business, grew carrots in your south facing vegetable patch to feed THEIR horses, let one of your daughters come mess around with their nasty boys (because apparently she likes being with them more than with you) and if you consulted them on other matters relating to that vegetable patch and that particular daughter – well then you could keep your little acreage.

    Now you tell me, did the thugs excercise their power (and get exactly what they wanted) even though they did not kill you and add your acreage (or a part of it) to their ranch?

  111. shcb Says:

    For what it’s worth Jayson I understand your 3rd par and agree, now you know what I go through on a daily basis,

    Bush lied and people died

    when did he lie?

    They didn’t find WMD

    Yeah but how is that a lie?

    Bushy the brushy couldn’t find his way out of a one door out house


    You know exactly what I’m talking about, all you rethuglicans are the same, you’re nothing but a bunch of bigoted stupid moronic liars propping up the worst war criminal joke for a president that won the office by one vote in history.

    Ok? So when did Bush lie?

    Rosen had Alan Dershowitz on yesterday, they were talking about this very subject and all the excuses the Palestinian apologists make, it was quite interesting. They hit on almost every point make above.

    I’m on your side on this one Jason

  112. enkidu Says:

    it would figure you could parse that para and make ‘sense’ of the nonsensical…
    nonsense is your specialty. If I could take a run at processing that para thru the ol logic mill, I think j is saying that my arguments have shifted? I don’t think that is correct, additional words were written to try to explain my intent, and rebut an opinion of my opinion.

    So you are on the side of denying that the Israelis used some very dirty tactics to found their state? Counterfactual belief not supported by historical fact.

    And you also believe that Stalin did not ‘redraw’ the geopolitical balance in the Georgian region? Counterfactual belief not supported by historical fact.

    One last thing: nuance is fine if you want to use it. I just said the wwnjs will not heed it and I won’t bother with it. Mockery and comedy is much more fun and to the point (ie the Kerry vs Stuart comparison). But please knock yourself out tho. I am certainly not insisting that you use humor or satire or cynicism, and find it amusing that you insist that I use your ‘nuance’. shcb sure doesn’t. To be fair, he is the most vociferous and occasionally reasonable of the lot, craig having receded to lurker status (TV/lefty having therapy issues after Obama’s election – those two jokers [while occasionally unintentionally funny] are certifiable).

    I said you are right if you want to use artificially (I could use the word ridiculously or counterfactually) narrow readings of my opinion (everybody got one! ;-) But on the broad truths of what you were objecting to, you were objectively wrong on both counts. I could have used different words to better describe my opinion, but obviously the same could be said on your part.

    Have a nice day.

  113. J.A.Y.S.O.N. Says:

    In all seriousness Enk, I am wondering. I admitted you were right about the Israeli thing about 7 times total. That one paragraph was just an example argument. That’s all. Fine, your original argument wasn’t geographic, thats how it read to me.

    Knarly, sorry if that was unreadable. I’m done on the topic now. If you really want to pick up the topic again we can do so some other time.

    shcb, thanks. I’m sure we’ll be on different sides again soon enough.

  114. knarlyknight Says:

    Jayson – I respect your decision to close off this topic.

    By the way, your paragraph was readable (I understood that marginalizing Irgun and aggrandizing Ben-Gurion’s role in the formation of Israel would be a historical and logical fallacy.) I should have been more specific, as what I couldn’t figure out about it was that I didn’t see the supposed analogy to any of Enk’s arguments (there may be, I just didn’t see it.)


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