Wednesday, May 04, 2011

Dumbshit Americans, the killing of Osama, and the selective eye of the mainstream media

A guest post by Jogo

Note: This post was originally a private e-mail sent to me by Jogo, posted here with permission. Like all guest posts here, it does not represent Bob's view.

The day OBL was killed, I got this email from my liberal cousin Mark W. in Boston
"The celebrations in the streets of America eerily reminded me of the footage from the streets of the Middle East following the World Trade Center attack. Although there is no moral equivalence, of course, a "strange ambivalence" came over me, watching college students and military cadets alike celebrating the death of bin Laden as one might the Red Sox winning the World Series." 
This was my reply.

The selective eye of the media strikes again. Did you see celebrations and street parties in your neighborhood? Well, I did not see them in mine, either. I suspect there were a number of apeshit-prone bars and frat houses that provided the TV cameras with their daily dose of Dumbshit-Americans Fodder for that day. Of course this fodder goes directly to Pakistan, Gaza and Somalia, where TV-audiences see hate-spewing herds of decadent, stupid Americans leering and salivating, cans of beer in their fists. But what about the W--- family? Are they on the nightly news?

The immature story-tellers of the America media-megaplex -- who are only medium-literate in the Great Stories, and mostly products of "journalism" programs in commieprof-dominated academia -- love symmetry (e.g., Ahmed dances with joy, Chuckie dances with joy); they love to magnify the deeds of some (e.g., border-vigilantes, homo-haters) into the deeds of many; they love weirdos (e.g., Fred Phelps, Charles Manson). And other cheap devices.

Of course I can see the "eerie" resemblance of celebrants Chuckie & Pals to the swarms of shit-finger Arab monkeys dancing with joy after 9-11. But -- even assuming the OBL dance was widespread in America (which I am not convinced of) -- a Death Dance for a Satan-worshiping orchestrator of an insane apocalyptic nightmare, and a Death Dance for 3000 office-workers are two very different things. (Very different moral things, may I add.)

Media-savvy people know that the pictures of USA-USA celebrants were CHOSEN. There is a word for this: fake news. Oh sure, the pictures are real, but ... did the TV cameras come to your street in Newton? Did they come to my barrio, looking for drunk revelers? That particular footage was chosen to have two desired effects -- a] to make Americans cringe at themselves; b] to give aid and comfort to our enemies (by depicting what Equivalent Savages we are).

News footage does not just happen. There is not a camera hooked up to the eye of God. News footage is sought out, chosen, edited and selectively presented. "The News" could have featured pictures of, hmm, say, the W--- family, soberly reflecting on the day's event. But the fingers on the media dials and levers did not choose to do that.

Finally, there is a symbolic value and meaning to the killing (by order of POTUS) of Osama bin Ladin. President Obama -- who is an intellectual, rather than a man of action -- is not at ease making decisions on this order of magnitude. I say he is to be honored and supported for making the decision and giving the order to kill a man... especially because so many on the Cringing Left are not supporting him in the fullness of their hearts, and seem not to grasp the weight of his anguish and struggle at this time.


FlyingRodent said...

Leaving aside the "Arab monkeys" point - although, what? - surely this entire analysis works for the 9/11 "celebrations" too? After all, I'm sure I heard there were some people celebrating in Gaza, I think, but I don't recall widespread keg-parties across the region.

If I'm right here, and the poster's point on teh awful meeja manipulation is also correct, then what does that tell us about how the Gaza shenanigans made it onto TV? Particularly given that the circumstances in 2001 were a little more inflammatory than some murderous little turd getting knocked off?

Me, I don't care much about either, but this stuff seems to annoy a lot of people. In my experience, it's usually people who quite enjoy being annoyed.

ModernityBlog said...

If all of these supposed celebrations did take place then does that make Americans any different than anyone else?

I suspect not.

Bin Laden was perceived as a threat and people are naturally happy he's gone, in that respect Americans are no different than those who celebrated when the Egyptian President went, or when Gaddafi will get his comeuppance.

It may seem crass, and probably is, but bin Laden was a rich sociopath who revelled in the death of Westerners, infidels or his opponents

Bin Laden was quite happy to slaughter other Muslims, if they got in his way.

Leaving aside 9/11, bin Laden is responsible for the murder, directly or indirectly, of hundreds of Africans, in the bombings in 1998.

Al Qaeda bombed embassies in Nairobi and Dar es Salaam and that is often forgotten in the West.

I think what is peculiar is, not that people celebrate the demise of this pampered sociopath, but that some educated individuals in the West seem annoyed at his death (the StWC is but one example).

bensix said...

That particular footage was chosen to have two desired effects -- a] to make Americans cringe at themselves; b] to give aid and comfort to our enemies (by depicting what Equivalent Savages we are).

You've got to be kidding. I was watching WWE (yes, I know, I know) and the entire crowd went into some kind of celebratory orgasm when a wrestler screamed out, "We got 'im!" Is Vince McMahon in on this great conspiracy as well?

...shit-finger Arab monkeys...

I should probably be challenging the "Arab monkeys" line but I'm too confused by "shit-finger". What the hell is that?

President Obama -- who is an intellectual, rather than a man of action...


FlyingRodent said...

...shit-finger Arab monkeys...

Aye, I was hoping this post was some kind of ironic gag that folk like me don't get. Because if it's serious, it's cretinous beyond belief.

socialrepublican said...

"commieprof dominated academia" is also a highlight.

This is either just stupid, pouty contrarian or that genre of sub PJ O'Rouke diatribe that much of the right thinks is cutting "hilarious" analysis. Oh, take that, Liberals....Ouch

It also demonstrates the bizarro world in which large corporations are somehow active agents of a never entirely clear plan to destroy America and " give aid and comfort to our enemies". Again the dynamic and the reasoning are always left fuzzy and instinctive.

And then the memes. The whole thing is a word span between the pylons of well matured single line phases that anchor the world-view. How to get from the nefarious media to the professorial "un-manly" quality of Obama to a wider dig at the left.

What's next Bob? Libby T on Eugenics and those stupid breeding ennoi people...Guido on the ANC...Robert Spencer on the future of Anatolia?

skidmarx said...

Here is one American who may stand tall, but doesn't think there's much to celebrate.

There might be more anguish and struggle in Gaza than Jogo might care to consider as the reason for some of the ambivalence about the man who ordered the attacks on America's leading financial and military centres

ModernityBlog said...

It is marvellous to see ambivalence amongst Marxist or ex-Marxists, when they never believed in bourgeois legalism.

Still, worse is their inability to grasp that bin laden's victims were often the poorest of the poor.

Bin Laden's group slaughtered hundreds of Africans and killed numerous Muslims along the way, best not forget that.

skidmarx said...

Who these Marxists and ex-Marxists with their inability to grasp and their ambivalence, we may never know. A bit like Jogo's invention of the Cringing Left.

ModernityBlog said...

This is the problem with ex-SWpers they're basically thick and can't read what you've already written.

As Carl Packman has pointed out, StWC is having the problem with bin Laden's demise.

Now before I have to state the obvious again, the StWC is stuffed full of ex-SWPers (onetime Marxists) and CPers (still tankies), etc

I dealt with it here,

Where the intellectually indolent StWC are strangely compelled to use the words of a right-wing libertarian crank, Justin Raimondo, for want of their own views on the topic.

And linked to Carl's piece here,

ModernityBlog said...

PS: Damn, I forgot that many SWPers/Ex-SWPers don't even know what Twitter is, so here's how to get at it:

1. SWPers/ex-SWPers, get someone to start a browser for you.

2. Tell them to point it at the URL!/STWuk

3. View the StWC tweets on bin Laden's death and work out why they seem grumpy on the matter.

4. Failing that get someone to explain it to you, in simple words....

5. If you still don't understand give up politics, and best take up gardening in a flower pot or something equally undemanding.

Duncan said...

swarms of shit-finger Arab monkeys

Seriously, what is this racist crap doing on your blog Bob?

skidmarx said...

Yeah it's just grumpiness for these ignorant people to think that if states claiming to be based on the rule of law don't live up to the promise, there might be some consequences, while pointing out that some of the things OBL claimed to fighting against are legitimate concerns (though the Palestinians' legitimate concerns seem to disappear for modernity whenever they want to do anything about them).

This is the kind of intelligent thinking that lost the propaganda war to Saddam Hussein, a task that might have seemed impossible when one considers the mendacity of the opposition.

skidmarx said...

Gandalf put it well:
Many that live deserve death. And some die that deserve life. Can you give it to them? Then be not too eager to deal out death in the name of justice, fearing for your own safety. Even the wise cannot see all ends.
Link goes to the top of the page while this comment is a ways down, on the way you might encounter a deal of intelligent discussion about the legality of the kill operation, unless you're doing Carl Packman's impression of Officer Barbrady.

bensix said...

It's nice to see the Stop the War Coalition is still relevant to some people. Its opponents.

ModernityBlog said...

Once more I have to state the bleeding obvious:

1. It is strikingly hypocritical for Marxists to go on about the rule of law in the case of bin Laden's demises when they don't actually believe in bourgeois legalism.

2. Leninists, in the past, always boasted how they would put their enemies up against the wall come the revolution, one can only wonder if they've changed their minds or past attitudes?

3. It is a pity that SWPers and Ex-SWPers are so shallow intellectually not to realise the contradictions in the above points.

A pity but not a surprise.

skidmarx said...

My last comment seems to have been lost. Maybe it wa the two links:
Gandalf put it well:

Link goes to the top of the page while this comment is a wys down, on the way you might encounter a deal of intelligent discussion about the legality of the kill operation, unless you're doing Carl Packman's impression of Officer Barbrady.

skidmarx said...

or maybe it was the length of the quote:
Many that live deserve death. And some die that deserve life. Can you give it to them? Then be not too eager to deal out death in the name of justice, fearing for your own safety. Even the wise cannot see all ends.

ModernityBlog said...

I'm reminded of how the SWP and their politics have occasionally been compared the nonsense seen in South Park.

I am not surprised that these ex-SWP members, who spent years in Oxbridge, instead of looking at these issues with any maturity, revert to form and post links to South Park nonsense.

kellie said...

I can't think of anything better right now than to listen to Screamin' Jay.

skidmarx said...

Kellie - is there "something wrong with you" or are you just "strange"? I hope you're not "hearing voices".

modernity - I'm having real trouble finding Oxbridge on any map, so I think you may be making stuff up again. It really doesn't add to the maturity of any discussion and may add to the suspicion that ad hominem attacks are all you're about.

ModernityBlog said...

All of this ably illustrates why trying to exchange views with SWPers/Ex-SWPer is a largely futile process.

They're not particularly interested in politics, and won't concede the bleeding obvious.

So instead of acknowledging that Marxists, and in particular Leninists, are not often bothered by bourgeois legalism we are treated to a selection of nonsense from South Park.

That shows that they cannot, even when it's plain as a pikestaff, concede a point because essentially they are juvenile and insecure.

This is despite having spent years in pampered universities learning the basics of argumentation.

They are politically useless, intellectually juvenile and disconnected from humanity, as can be seen by the quality of their meaningless contributions here.

skidmarx said...

Modernity - having read your last contribution it is hard to discern any meaning amongst the abuse.

More seriously, for decades the revolutionary left has faced the claim that it is really,really evil because it allegedly collectively believes the the end justifies the means, and it would be decent for those Decentists with no qualms about this operation to dissociate themselves from such arguments, or else admit that Yasmin (I was not nowhere near Abbottabad, so don't need an)Alibi-Brown was right when she said that this shows that there is one law for them and one for everyone else.

And what is up with the fingers and the monkeys?

The Contentious Centrist said...

"Duncan said...

swarms of shit-finger Arab monkeys

Seriously, what is this racist crap doing on your blog Bob?"

This is the entire sentence:

"Of course I can see the "eerie" resemblance of celebrants Chuckie & Pals to the swarms of shit-finger Arab monkeys dancing with joy after 9-11."

I looked up "shit-finger monkeys" and found this in the Urban dictionary:

"A shit-flinging-monkey (simular to a douche pelican) refers to a person who is complaining/ mooching/ or just being an ass hole. Shit in this case is a metaphor for the stupid things this person is complaining or bitching about. "Flinging their shit at everyone".
However you can like a shit-fliging-monkey. I have one as a friend he is very nice and cute like a monkey but every once in a while he flings his shit like a rabid monkey.
"So i talked to him today and he was acting like such a shit-fliging-monkey."
"i dont want to hang out with thoes shit-flinging-monkeys...i'm tired of that shit..."

I suspect that Jogo intended to say:

"Shit-flinger Arab monkeys"

It's the same kind of mistake people make when they say "I could care less" when they actually mean to say "I could not care less".

The Contentious Centrist said...

I'm leaving another comment just because the word verification is: barack

skidmarx said...

Leaving aside whether the definitions given by Urban Dictionary for shit-finger might fit as well, or that if Jogo wanted to say that there's been plenty of time for a correction, isn't it just barely possible that "Arab monkeys" is the really offensive part? Perhaps theat can be re-cast as an innocent reference to Aran donkeys?

Duncan said...

Thanks Contentious Centrist.

Can you now look up 'Arab monkeys' and explain what Jogo meant?

Even if it's unintentional I think it's a display of extraordinary ignorance. Referring to non-white people as 'monkeys' has been a part of the repertoire of racist abuse for decades. It's not acceptable.

Flesh said...

Clearly the 'shit finger' allusion also provides some people with a welcome diversion from the main point of the post.

The Contentious Centrist said...

The phrase is "shit-flinging-monkey". If you are talking about the Arabs being "shit-flinging-monkeys" getting rid of the "monkey" rather misses the point of using this phrase in the first place.

I'm curious. Would you feel the same if someone sharing your politics wrote about "Arab chickenhawks" (to describe that rare species, the Arab who is interested in a peace settlement with Israel rather than its annihilation)?

FlyingRodent said...

I suspect that Jogo intended to say: "Shit-flinger Arab monkeys"

Oh yes, that must be it. No doubt the same credibility-stretching largesse will be forthcoming for, say, Guardian writers or former London mayors if they happen to say anything with mildly dodgy racial undertones.

Clearly the 'shit finger' allusion also provides some people with a welcome diversion from the main point of the post.

Oh, clearly. The main point of the post is intimidatingly perceptive. Or not.

It is, as best I can tell, that we should extend similar largesse to Americans revelling in the death of their enemy because, amongst other things, the revellers aren't representative of all Americans.

This is 100% different to those Arab monkeys of course, who are presumably totally representative of other Arabs.

Additionally, we're to believe that a bunch of multi-billion dollar media conglomerates are intentionally making the Americans look bad, for some weird ideological reasons that don't make any sense from either a business or professional standpoint.

I'd say that the rest was empty-headed Fox News boo-hoo, but Fox pay educated people good money to draft their cranky talking points. This is like a talented but disturbed seven-year-old decided to rail against the evil Commies who live in his brain.

bensix said...

Clearly the 'shit finger' allusion also provides some people with a welcome diversion from the main point of the post.

Oh, come on! Which bit? The part where it points out Americans weren't united in cheering? Who's denied that? The part where it claims the media was conspiring to make us believe otherwise and get Americans cringing? Bunk. (And, besides, while I agree an unfortunate/bigoted insult needn't revoke a theory, would you have felt the same if it was blacks or Jews? I don't remember this blog's lengthy explanations of why, say, Israel Shamir isn't just a bigot but mistaken.)

Jim said...

I read the monkey and shit finger comments as being the image the media produced of the Arab street, analogous to Chuckie and the dumbshit Americans produced as images of the American street.

I thought FlyingRodent's very first comment, which teases out that logic a bit more, is very interesting, and surely correct.

Like SocialRepublican, I find the idea of the mainstream media deliberately giving "aid and comfort to our enemies" utterly ridiculous, but the mechanisms of symmetry, weirdos, etc all seem like good explanations in themselves.

Sam said...

Clearly the 'shit finger' allusion also provides some people with a welcome diversion from the main point of the post. Oh, come on! Which bit?

I take the main point to be two-fold. First, that the USA-USA chanting crowd is not a representative view of the American street (a fair point surely?) and second that it is not in any way symmetrical to the Osama-chanting crowd on the Arab street. FlyingRodent is right to say that the crowd is also not representative.

I think that the media does not deliberately obscure the truth in both of these, it's just that the media demands spectacle and excess, and seeks it out; and it likes simple stories of black and white.

I think it is also worth taking on the liberal meme, fed by the illiberal American media, of a "clash of fundamentalisms", almost as pernicious a myth as the conservative one of "clash of civilisations".

ModernityBlog said...

Of course, if people did celebrate then it might have been crass, etc

But that's not a big issue, spur of the moment stuff, compelled by the need for emotional release etc etc

The question is, why did many in the West appear annoyed that bin Laden was killed?

kellie said...

I blame the ol' narcissistic wound.

mikey said...

i blame 24 hour rolling news. well, partially, at least. if the news was just an hour a day, we may have concise, intelligent, thoughtful reports instead of endless "i'm live here, huw, and as you can see nothing's happening" broadcasts and the perpetual search for entertaining, sensationalist shite.

course, i might be wrong, like.

Andrew Coates said...

When, after my UNITE meeting on Wednesday, someone started talking about this celebration I simply said that "I couldn't care less if the imperialists killed Ben Laden: he was murdering filth."


I added,

"In any case, apart from not giving a toss about the US's action, I am a million times more concerned about the positive way the Tunisian revolution is going."

I could have added that I am not particularly interested in American patriots, or indeed the USA generally, but I still hear in my inner ear the sounds of the Twin Towers falling and the sight of the Kenyans killed by Al-Qaida.

Waterloo Sunset said...

I take the main point to be two-fold. First, that the USA-USA chanting crowd is not a representative view of the American street (a fair point surely?)

A fair point, sure. But it's not all that Jogo says.

He specifically claims that the news footage was "CHOSEN" (caps in original) "to give aid and comfort to our enemies" and behind this all was that whole standby of "commieprof-dominated academia". He does all this without a single fact or statistic to back up his conspiratorial claims. And it's certainly needed- this isn't simply a claim that a certain focus was taken, it's a claim that this was a conscious decision, made by actual people, for a stated agenda.

That's as worth taking seriously as claims that 9/11 was done using giant holograms or that the royal family are all secretly reptilian aliens.

When complaining about misrepresentation of the general mood by presenting people as nutters, it's best not to post like a tinfoil hat wearing loon.

kellie said...

Some of Jogo's points were made in a more measured and sensible way by Peter Maass of The New Yorker. (I bet Jogo hates The New Yorker!)

FlyingRodent said...

I find it odd that, under a post that makes some very definite and clear claims, there are commenters keen to tell us what the real issue is, yet seemingly none willing to defend the post itself.

After all, dodgy racial slurs aside, Jogo really is positing a vast academic/media complex lizardman plot to pollute our precious bodily fluids.

And yet, that's not the issue, apparently. The "question" is, why did an unidentified group of individuals known as "so many in the west" get annoyed when Osama got killed?

I'm not annoyed at all, myself. I do think it's pretty damn odd that the story has now been altered about ten times, but I'm willing to put that down to bureaucracy.

I also think a lot of people are uncomfortable with the door-kicking, face-shooting stuff, but that's to be expected - they're civilians. Civilians like myself, for instance, get a bit twitchy about door-kicking and face-shooting by heavily armed soldiers, a fact which is often an impediment to warmaking but is usually quite good for democratic accountability.

So, about that Commie-Prof conspiracy to impurify our precious bodily fluids and all those Arab monkeys. Does anybody have a raise on "What I think the author meant to say is" and "Hey, look over there!"?

Waterloo Sunset said...

Poor Jogo. He was hoping to deal with the "Cringing Left", but instead he's been ambushed by the "Mocking Left".

Although I should respond to the implied lack of hardness on the left with due seriousness by pointing out that I reckon I could take Jogo in a fight pretty easily.

Am I the only person that thought the line "not supporting him in the fullness of their hearts , and seem not to grasp the weight of his anguish and struggle at this time" sounded a bit creepy? Like a really dodgy parental guilt trip.

You've let Osama down. You've let me down. But most of all, you've let yourselves down.

skidmarx said...

Thinking of Bob's last post, this one( seems to show further evidence of racial nationalism. It seems that Jogo's fans have an inability to grasp that the anti-Arab racism they wish to ignore is one reason why crazy jihadists ever had any traction at all. Jogo also does dishonesty and condescension:

Kellie - if you really want to exchange any sort of ambivalence for refusing to berational about this in any way, shape, or form, Jon Stewart does it best:

skidmarx said...

"Plus -- if you think for five minutes about converting all the Moslems to Christianity, it's not really totally crazy, is it? I mean ... if we could actually DO THAT, wouldn't it be a good thing? It WOULD be a good thing, but no one except Ann Coulter has the balls to say it."

bensix said...

Me, I've got Derangement Syndrome Derangement Syndrome...

skidmarx said...

Some things to think about:

Richard Dawkins channels Jogo:

ModernityBlog said...

Strangely enough, I would agree with our Oxbridge poster, Skidmarx.

Jogo was well out of order with his comments, very low level racism and if that wasn't his intent then he should say so. Frankly, anyone that agrees with Ann Coulter around these topic probably hasn't thought them thru, or can't...for want of brain cells.

As for Chomsky's comments, I would heartily recommend reading them, but not for Skidmarx's reasons, rather his stupid comment about 9/11.

Chomsky has long been thought as a crank, and his latest comments only reinforce that view.

skidmarx said...

I would wonder why if Chomsky has long been thought of as a crank, he's the most cited living author, but I don't have to, as it is obvious that your view of him (and I imagine Bob's) is that of a tiny minority.
Faint praise for finally getting around to noticing Jogo's racism, it only took pointing it out a dozen times or so.

ModernityBlog said...

I suppose it proves that Skidmarx's elitist education wasn't a complete waste of time.

I had wondered, but his skill with Google must be acknowledged.

I hadn't followed the text terribly closely, a deficit all too common for those with poor eyesight, but Jogo needs to think about what he really means.

As for Noam Chomsky, the old appeal to authority is a fallacy and won't work here. I would have hoped that at Oxbridge they should have taught Skidmarx that. All rather elementary.

Chomsky is not some political deity that deserves our homage, he's a all too faulty individual, who is judged on his words and actions:

1) supporting a Holocaust denier in the 1980s
2) arguing that Hezbollah should keep their weapons, etc
3) and now somehow contending that Obama is lying about 9/11.

So the question for Chomsky's admirers, do you agree with the great sage? Did lizard men do 9/11 or what?

skidmarx said...

Did lizard men do 9/11 or what?

You could stop making stuff up if you wanted, but I guess we know that's not going to happen anytime soon.

When the Israelis have fighter jets and nukes and have murdered tens of thosands of Lebanese in the various invasions, then yeah, obviously it's Hezbollah's weapons that are the problem.

ModernityBlog said...

I keep forgetting that SWPers and ex-SWPers are pig ignorant concerning 9/11 and the conspiracy theories surround it.

One of them is that lizard men, conspired indirectly or directly to cause the destruction in New York City, favoured by David Icke followers.

But there are many more weird theories, normally concerning one particular ethnicity, but even Skidmarx with his, er, issues would surely know that?

So is Chomsky right about 9/11? Well?

Any thoughts? (and it's not a rhetorical question)

9/11 who did what?

skidmarx said...

But there are many more weird theories, normally concerning one particular ethnicity, but even Skidmarx with his, er, issues
And what exactly do you mean by that?
I see an outrageous smear, I think your accusing me of racism, with no supporting evidence whatsoever. I think it's a disgusting charge, and I think you should apologise for it forthwith.

bob said...

Sorry I've not said much here. I'll get back later. Just quickly tho, the example Skid gives of "racial nationalism" is surely textbook "civic nationalism"?

skidmarx said...

Bob - obviously I was making a rhetorical point, but if you're going to say that calling Negroponte a "Roman" supports the contention that Galloway is a racial nationalist, then comments like "Not only is our privilege earned, it has been shared – unlike the privileges of, say, La Raza, Magyar, Teuton, Gaul or Hutu" should do the same for Jogo. The general point isn't rhetorical, either he should apologise his racist slurs, or you've got your own Terry Fitzpatrick situation on your hands.

skidmarx said...

and Modernity - it's a task of Sisyphus to deal with the stuff you make up, so I would explain in detail how it is that Chomsky isn't saying that Islamic terrorists didn't do 9/11, or that lizards did it, but you'll have more fabrications along in a minute.
And your implied accusation of anti-semitism is disgusting, and you should apologise.

The Contentious Centrist said...

Jogo has nothing to apologize for. Just because some readers are not smart enough to understand the point he is making does not make him a racist.

Remember the kerfuffle over this New Yorker front page caricature of Obama and Michelle as a Muslim and a terrorist?

The same logic applies to Jogo's phrase.

Of course, when a writer speaks ironically, he must consider the risk that some readers, bereft of any sense of irony, will take his words as if they actually were intended to convey exactly what they said. So when one writes for Bobfrombrockly one must remember that it's not bob who is the target readership, but rather his guests, many of whom arrive from the wing of the Left in which irony has shriveled like a sick gallbladder: all bitter alazonic pain, and overblown self-righteous outrage, gleefully enjoyed.

Levi9909 said...

Moddy - 1) you are making out that Chomsky supports holocaust denial. He doesn't and he never did. He supports people's right to deny the holocaust but so do/did many people including Raul Hilberg, widely considered the dean of holocaust scholars.

2) There is nothing wrong with wanting Hezbollah to keep their weapons. They were and are the only force in Lebanon willing and able to resist Israel. Who do you think should resist Israel the next time it attacks Lebanon?

3) Given your record of abject and persistent dishonesty, what exactly are you saying that Chomsky said Obama lied about with regard to 9/11?

ps, re this Jogo, skidmarx was a little premature with his praise. If all you think is required from him is clarification when he is an overt racist, then skidmarx should be withdrawing his, admittedly faint, praise forthwith.

pps, looking at the link provided by skidmarx to the jogo post from 25/09, I'm surprised Bob wants to defend his (jogo's) obvious racism by reference to "civic nationalism". There is nothing to suggest civic nationalism in his post. His worldview is distinctly volkish. He is not comparing states, ie, civic entities, but ethnicities, hence his comparison of "we [who] earned" to "La Raza, Magyar, Teuton, Gaul or Hutu"

Levi9909 said...

CC - the trouble with you is that you are so racist you don't see it in others or you don't see it as problematic. Like when you thought you were enlightening me by pointing up the similarities between Atzmon and bog standard zionists. I already knew this and I don't approve of either. Bob and Moddy must have been appalled, if they understood what you were saying. Now for you, Jogo has nothing to apologise for. Of course not. In Nogaworld, racism is the norm. It's everyone else who should be apologising.

kellie said...

CC, I can't find irony in Jogo's dips into bigoted language. Maybe it's intended as hyperbolic black humour, but whatever the intent it is stupidly offensive, and while the bigotry doesn't make less true any element of truth in his analysis, it certainly makes his communication of that truth significantly less effective.

kellie said...

CC again - on irony, the New Yorker cover comparison really doesn't work. The designer who commissioned the cover for The New Yorker was a contributor to the Obama campaign. The cover was intended as ironic because the intended point of view was to regard the image of Obamas as Muslim radicals as farcically laughable. It was done from a point of view sympathetic to the Obamas. But when Jogo writes of "swarms of shit-finger Arab monkeys dancing with joy after 9-11" and "a Satan-worshiping orchestrator of an insane apocalyptic nightmare," I don't think anyone can seriously believe that within the context of the overall piece that he is writing ironically from a point of view sympathetic either to Arabs or to Muslim beliefs.

The Contentious Centrist said...

"But when Jogo writes of "swarms of shit-finger Arab monkeys dancing with joy after 9-11" and "a Satan-worshiping orchestrator of an insane apocalyptic nightmare," I don't think anyone can seriously believe that within the context of the overall piece that he is writing ironically from a point of view sympathetic either to Arabs or to Muslim beliefs."


The point in Jogo's ironic hyperbole is to express sympathy neither to Arabs nor Americans when "Ahmed dances with joy, Chuckie dances with joy". At the same time, he doesn't buy into the media's moral distortion that equates the two kinds of celebrations. He makes it perfectly clear that while both may provoke feelings of revulsion, it is absolutely necessary to note the essentially moral difference between them: that those celebrating Arabs were dancing as people were jumping to their death from an inferno, with the alternative being death by fire, while those celebrating Americans were dancing because a thoroughly evil, murderous man was gunned down by those he dedicated his life work to kill.

It's a two tier post:

The first tier is a depiction of the caricatures of Ahmed and Chuckie as filtered through the media.

The second is an acerbic (and correct) criticism of the media that wants to sway people to believe that the two events are equally evil.

The sympathy is reserved, I suspect, to the 99.99999% of Americans who DID NOT celebrate the death of Bin Laden in this way, or in any way, except to note with satisfaction that some sort of closure to an open and bleeding wound has been provided by his killing.

However, anyone who doesn't consider B"L to be an evil human being, would certainly have a problem with him being described as "a Satan-worshiping orchestrator of an insane apocalyptic nightmare".

The Contentious Centrist said...

Ah, levi9X0 has dropped his two cents of venom. And as usual he tries to bath in his own righteousness by invoking the only person he considers an antisemite by way of proving to the world that he is as much concerned about antisemitism as the next man, only he, of course knows the real antisemite when he sees it. And the only antisemite he knows is Gilad Atzmon.

As I pointed out before, I suspect Atzmon is mentally sick and therefore cannot be judged as anything other than as a very sick person. Shellshock can incapacitate people's functional thinking for life.

bob said...

So, this guest post originated as a personal e-mail to me, which I thought interesting and provocative and worth posting with permission, in the context of very widespread meme of equivalence between the crowds on the American street then and the crowds on the Arab street before. I read the Arab monkey stuff as irony in exactly the way CC does, and a comment on the reportage. Maybe I read it wrong; I'm not sure.

I regret not toning down the language before publication, especially the shit finger bit, which would unambiguously be racist language if it was not characterising a media stereotype.

I would leave the Satan-worshipping bit intact, however. Although Satan-worshipping is not a literally accurate description of OBL, the God he worshipped is surely not any God of love or mercy as worshipped by any of the Muslims I know. And surely he was the orchestrator of an insane apocalyptic nightmare?

On the ethnic nationalism point, a very minor point, the context seems clear to me: the American nation is praised in the post for being able to include ethnically various people, and progressively including more and more over time, in contrast to La Raza etc which, as ethnically defined, can never include anyone ethnically different, i.e. Chicano nationalism is an ethnic nationalism while American nationalism is a civic nationalism, by and large. (Obviously not all American nationalism: nativist versions are racial, but then they would not welcome the increasing inclusiveness of American belonging.)

Another sideline, two questions to Skid: what would be the effect of disarming Hezbollah? What would be the effect of disarming Israel?

I also theink we need to address Mod's big question: why have so many on the left reacted negatively to OBL's death, and why does the reported celebration on the American street somehow legitimate his "grievance" in the Euro-liberal discourse?

skidmarx said...

Bob -

Disarming Hezbollah - Israel expands its border up to the Litani River and turns the rest into a protectorate.

Disarming Israel - isn't going to happen.

skidmarx said...

OBL's death - I don't have a principled objection to the extra-judicial killing and dumping the body in the ocean, but neither might be the best course for those attempting to assert moral superiority. And if you can't win a morality contest with the world's greatest terrorist...

Posted by: skidmarx | May 03, 2011 at 10:27 AM

It doesn't legitimate his grievance, but he had latched on to genuine grievances which shouldn't be ignored just because he was associated with them, which seems to be what Mod and his like want to do.[And by like I mean people of a similar political predisposition, and still think he should apologise for his nasty insinuation]

kellie said...

Of course we should be prepared to see incompetence rather than malevolence in the use of bigoted language, but I find it hard to see it as just balancing the description of how Americans are depicted.

There's a clear argument that the depiction of Americans is misleading, but I don't see any indication in the piece that he sees the depiction of Arabs as misleading. Rather the very next line,the "Satan-worshipping" one, is intended to argue against equivalence.

The "Satan-worshipping" remark, which is not contextualised by anything differentiating OBL's beliefs from those of other Muslims, reminded me of this reminiscence by Imran Ahmad, writing about the Narnia books of CS Lewis:

As I grew older and had a series of intense discussions with some particularly abrasive evangelical Christians (who seemed to gravitate towards me), my discomfort with the Narnia stories increased. Whilst Muslims like to stress the commonality of Islam with Christianity - the same Judeo-Christian roots, the belief in one (and only one) God, the belief in all the Prophets – my Christian evangelizers always stressed the opposite, claiming in the worst cases that Islam was a false religion deliberately created by Satan to mislead people from the only true salvation of Jesus Christ. Whilst Muslims like to explain that Allah and God are actually the same, in different languages (and Arabic translations of the Bible use the term 'Allah'), the Christians were adamant that this was also Satanic deceit - that Allah and God were not the same.

skidmarx said...

Moderrnity (from the thread)- "So is Chomsky right about 9/11? Well?

Any thoughts? (and it's not a rhetorical question)"

(from his blog)"Does anyone really know what Chomsky is on about concerning 9/11?

Who knows? Frankly, who cares? "

I'd say that you couldn't make it up, but then modernity does little else.

skidmarx said...

kellie - and they all hate the Yazidi:

bob said...

Skid: "Disarming Hezbollah - Israel expands its border up to the Litani River and turns the rest into a protectorate." Do you really believe that?

"Disarming Israel - isn't going to happen." But if it did, which you advocate (if perhaps ironically, altho some people here disapprove of irony), it would lead to genocide.

bob said...

Kellie, I think you are right, that J Jogo does not explicitly make the point about Ahmed that he makes about Chuckie, and that this is a failing in the post. We need to take that leap ourselves, as FlyingRodent did in the very first comment.

skidmarx said...

Bob - when did I advocate it? I'm a little reluctant to call for things that aren't going to happen as it's a bit of a waste of time.
If the balance of military forces between the Israelis and Palestinians were to become less grotesquely unequal, the pressure amongst Israelis for some sort of reasonable deal would grow, and as I don't believe the idea that Arab opposition to Israel is down to some underlying anti-semitism, I don't think there would be any genocide. Victims are often justifiably angry, but it is those wishing to maintain oppression that tend towards massacres, not those fighting it. And having to maintain the historical injustice of the Palestinians because they might be pissed off if it ever ends is not a good argument(China/Tibet and Russia/it's former empire come to mind as comparisons where it would be thought outrageous to put forward such a position. So why should I/P be any different?).

skidmarx said...

After the 1967 war, Moshe Dayan, Israel's defense minister during the war, said that Israel had achieved "provisionally satisfying frontiers, with the exception of those with Lebanon." Both David Ben-Gurion and Moshe Dayan at various times advocated Israeli occupation of southern Lebanon and the Litani. Over the years, the Litani River has continued to be in Israel's sights.

And if Jogo was being ironic, perhaps a statement from him to that effect would be a good idea; in any case the phrase is offensive whatever his intention. Do we really have to go through the argument that much of the anti-PC scare is an attempt to return to the 70s when racist language was considered acceptable?

bob said...

Skid, sorry, you didn't advocate disarming Israel. You said: "When the Israelis have fighter jets and nukes and have murdered tens of thosands of Lebanese in the various invasions, then yeah, obviously it's Hezbollah's weapons that are the problem."

However, your response now says that Hezbollah are victims and that their struggle is somehow just victims' anger.

It takes no assumption that opposition to Israel is down to antisemitism to see that genocide would result from teh unilateral disarming of Israel. The Germans didn't kill the Jews in the Holocaust; the Arabs would not kill the Jews. But there are enough heavily armed forces surrounding Israel with murderous intent towards the jews of israel that as things stand now genocide would occur. This is not inevitable, and we should work towards avoiding it, by strengthening the forces on both sides that want peace and justice and defeating the forces on both sides that have genocidal intent.

Levi9909 said...

Bob - before Hezbollah existed, Israel expanded up to the Litani River and stayed there from 1982 to 2000. It was that genocidal campaign (20,000 were killed in a matter of weeks) that led to the establishment of Hezbollah.

When the UK set the boundaries of Palestine, Chaim Weizmann, the President of the World Zionist Organisation, said that the WZO would never accept a "Jewish national home" that excluded the aforementioned territory. About 3 decades later Moshe Dayan said that all Israel needed was a Lebanese Christian major or captain or some such, and Israel would effectively establish the south of Lebanon as a protectorate. Do you really believe some of the things you say, Bob? I know you don't because you sometimes come clean.

The assumption that if Israel isn't armed to the teeth, then the natives and/or neighbours of Palestine will commit genocide against Jews is both racist and hypocritical. It also serves to justify Israel's periodical campaigns of slaughter against Arabs and suggests that Arabs are incapable of negotiating a peaceful settlement. This is a standard zionist trope dusted off every time "the boss goes crazy".

Regarding whether or not this Jogo was expressing a "civic" or a "racial nationalism", we're back in Bob's very own private wonderland where everyone means what Bob says they mean, even when, like Galloway, they explain what they mean and like Jogo, regardless of what he means in one line his general tenor over two posts is racist.

But then if Bob thinks a casual assumption of genocidal intent on the part of Israel's victims is permissible and a belief that Israel's own genocidal campaign against Arabs has been "very unsuccessful" then perhaps Bob isn't the best judge of what is racist and what is not.

Noga, try addressing the points. Nothing venomous in what I have written. There are people on this thread (maybe a majority, some of whom Bob counts as "friends") who discern racism in what Jogo has written and with good reason. You can't see it. Fine.

Levi9909 said...

The Germans didn't kill the Jews in the Holocaust

What's that supposed to mean? Bob, you seem to have upgraded criticism of your racist assumptions to the level of holocaust denial. And this because you don't seem to be able to come to terms with your Terry Fitzpatrick moment/s.

bob said...

I mean the Nazis, rather than the Germans, killed the Nazis. As in, I'm against the Goldhagen thesis of German collective responsibility. Of course, there were a number of willing executioners on the periphery, but the whole people are not culpable. The Holocaust did not require the whole German people to be irredeamably intrinsically antisemitic. The same logic follows with what would happen to the Jews of Israel if Israel was disarmed.

kellie said...

I see the influence of the Strange Attractor is now well and truly manifest on this thread as well. It would be interesting to chart the frequency, speed, and volume of its effects across the entirety of the blog's comments threads, or even across the wider blogosphere.

Melek Taus was a stimulating diversion, though. Thanks for that. Reminded me of things I read years ago about Alchemy and Gnosticism.

skidmarx said...

The same logic follows with what would happen to the Jews of Israel if Israel was disarmed.
It's an assertion, not logic, and as I've already said, there are good reasons for not seeing it that way (plus Levi9909 has added some).
And I assume you mean that the Nazis killed Jews in the Holocaust, something we can hopefully all agree on.

Kellie - I learned about it from reading Rger Zelazny, which if Sarah AB is listening in, would also make a very good film.

ModernityBlog said...

Returning to the above point.

Chomsky unequivocally says that Obama is lying over 9/11.

So what do Chomsky's admirers read into that?

“Thus Obama was simply lying when he said, in his White House statement, that “we quickly learned that the 9/11 attacks were carried out by al Qaeda.” “

skidmarx said...

Reposting the same point:

(from his blog)"Does anyone really know what Chomsky is on about concerning 9/11?

Who knows? Frankly, who cares? "

I'd say that you couldn't make it up, but then modernity does little else.

ModernityBlog said...

So hang on, a fawning admirer of Chomsky posts his work, but can't actually defend it when it comes under scrutiny.

Doesn't that sum up the nature of Chomsky's cultees?

They can read the words, but haven't got an ounce of reason to interrogate what Chomsky says.

This is the behaviour of cultees and religious acolytes. An unthinking approach to life, wait until your "betters" tell you what to think, then spout it as if you know something

I am not surprised that many ex-Leninists are now enamoured with Chomsky, never having acquired independent reasoning they transfer their loyalty from one political deity to another.

bensix said...

The second is an acerbic (and correct) criticism of the media that wants to sway people to believe that the two events are equally evil.

Extraordinary, really, because me, FR and SocialRepublican were asking for this wacky claim to be substantiated in the first few comments. Clearly, though, the vital issues are Noam Chomsky and the Stop the War Coalition - both of whom are conspicuous in their absence from this post.

I guess we should be thankful for blogs. In the old days people who conducted pointless arguments at cross purposes would'a just shot eachother.

Levi9909 said...

Moddy - you can't defend your own comments when they come under scrutiny. And how did skid offering "some things to think about" become fawning deification?

But anyway, what are you disputing about what Chomsky actually said? I ask because you are very good at falsely accusing people of adhering to positions they don't adhere to.

Chomsky is criticising the invasion of Pakistan, the summary execution of a suspect and the fact that Obama was lying when he said “we quickly learned that the 9/11 attacks were carried out by al Qaeda”. He is further saying that "Nothing serious [in terms of evidence] has been provided since [April 2002]. There is much talk of bin Laden’s “confession,” but that is rather like my confession that I won the Boston Marathon. He boasted of what he regarded as a great achievement." I must say I fundamentally disagree with Chomsky here. Winning a marathon is not a great achievement.

Skid's doing you a favour not rising to your red-baiting nonsense, Moddy. You should quit while the going's as good as it's going to be.

Far from finding it disturbing that there are people who find the summary execution of bin Laden problematic, even without considering the many innocents killed along the way by the US, its allies and its enemies, I find it far more disturbing that so few are criticising the US for what it did. I suspect that the lack of criticism is down to resign rather than support but I don't know.

skidmarx said...

Modernity still hsan't answered this: "Given your record of abject and persistent dishonesty, what exactly are you saying that Chomsky said Obama lied about with regard to 9/11?"
or explained what my "issues" are, as I can see no other reasonable explanation from the context than that you were making an outrageous accusation of racism.

"Fawning admirer of Chomsky" - he's the most-cited living author. You are the one in the tiny minority.

ModernityBlog said...

So how exactly is “Obama was simply lying"

When he says “we quickly learned that the 9/11 attacks were carried out by al Qaeda.” ?

The Contentious Centrist said...

"... but I don't see any indication in the piece that he sees the depiction of Arabs as misleading. Rather the very next line,the "Satan-worshipping" one, is intended to argue against equivalence."

I'm a little puzzled as to how a lacunae can be thus impregnated with so much racist meaning to justify calling Jogo's comment racist.

Levi9909 said...

because according to an FBI source they still had no evidence of whodunnit by April 2002. the only evidence they seem to have linking bin Laden/al qaida to 9/11 is bin Laden's own bragging.

are you quietly dropping your allegation that Chomsky supports holocaust denial? great if you are but do let us know because you accuse quite a few people of the same thing.


ModernityBlog said...

Again, you have to explain basic reasoning skills to these Chomsky admirers.

Simply because one supposed FBI source says something doesn't make it true.

Chomsky employs a slippery approach to evidence that which he likes, he often emboldens, that which he dislikes he belittles, irrespective of the nature of evidence.

Chomsky doesn't do as you might expect from an intellectual, survey the vast range of evidence and come up with a plausible interpretation, based on the evidence, rather he substitutes minor pieces of evidence that he likes to diminish and counter the wider facts.

So again how is Obama lying? What evidence is there?

I should explain this to Chomsky cultees, that evidence is not just the words from Chomsky's mouth.

That doesn't count as evidence to any reasoned person.

Evidence might be a link to a reputable, objective site or to a well-known media outlet, etc

So where is the evidence to back up Chomsky's claim?

skidmarx said...

I was hoping not to bother,but oviously modernity is insistent on not working out for himself that Chomsky is saying there wasn't evidence linking Osama personally to 9/11, not that it was carried out by someone other than the mostly Saudi jihadis who hijacked the planes.

Noga - if the Satan-worshipping thing stood alone, then it might be most reasonable to suggest that he's saying that OBL was a follower of the boss from Hell rather than Allah, but when combined with the Arab monkeys jibe suggests more that Islam is Satan worship. Are you still defending the shit-flinging Arab monkeys remark?

bensix -how dare you point out that those who would think like the poster would prefer to discuss anything but the indefensible post?

The Contentious Centrist said...

"Bob - before Hezbollah existed, Israel expanded up to the Litani River and stayed there from 1982 to 2000. It was that genocidal campaign (20,000 were killed in a matter of weeks) that led to the establishment of Hezbollah."

Israel twice occupied the area up to the Litani and twice withdrew from it. That certainly proves, beyond a doubt, that Israel has territorial aspirations for the south of Lebanon.

One wonders at times at these Israel haters who are relentless in their search for inventive ways in which to depict Israel's defensive moves as motivated not by dire necessity but by sheer evil will to expand.

The Contentious Centrist said...

"... but when combined with the Arab monkeys jibe suggests more that Islam is Satan worship. Are you still defending the shit-flinging Arab monkeys remark?"

Yes of course. I explained how I saw this phrase, as a phrase, and within the context of the entire comment itself.

Your insistence reminds me of the man who said:

-Your sister is a whore.

-But I don't even have a sister!

- Never mind. She is still a whore.


Now what kind of person would claim that, skids?

I'll spare you the need to answer: someone like you. someone who finds the very attempt to defend American good name an affront to all that is moral and noble.

And how do we gauge what is moral and noble for skids?

By looking at how he thinks about other situations, like this:

"When the Israelis have fighter jets and nukes and have murdered tens of thosands of Lebanese in the various invasions, then yeah, obviously it's Hezbollah's weapons that are the problem."


From an interview with Claude Lantzmann:

"In the Israeli army life is valued higher than anything else. And yet every soldier in the Tsahal is prepared to give his life. Unlike other armies of the world, the soldiers of the Tsahal do not die for the glory of their fatherland, they die for life alone. You should not forget that the genocide of the Jews in the Second World War was not just a murder of innocents. It was also a genocide of the defenceless. My film describes the path to overcome defencelessness. It describes how the Jewish people empowered themselves with weapons and it describes the psychological metamorphosis that the people had to undergo, in order to build an army like the Tsahal, in order to be able to defend themselves, to be able to kill.

For decades, young Israelis have been growing up with the insecurity of knowing that no-one can guarantee that "Israel will still exist in 2025".

Some uberschmucks will never get it. And it is to be hoped that they will never get the chance to repent their positions.

Waterloo Sunset said...

This is either just stupid, pouty contrarian or that genre of sub PJ O'Rouke diatribe that much of the right thinks is cutting "hilarious" analysis. Oh, take that, Liberals....Ouch

Just thought this was worth repeating in the light of CC's defense of the post.

Ok, back to yet another fucking discussion about Israel, despite that having nothing to do with the OP. ffs

skidmarx said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
skidmarx said...

"I'll spare you the need to answer:"
why should I have to when you're there to tall me what I think?

WS - sorry about that. Did you want to drag the discussion back to the OP?

ModernityBlog said...

So Al Qaeda admits doing 9/11.

Bin laden says he was one of the instigators behind 9/11,

Yet were supposed to ignore all of that, because of some supposed FBI source (which no one provides a link to).

Chomskites really do believe almost anything he says.

The Contentious Centrist said...

Yes skids. Your moral illiteracy is well in evidence. AS you would equate Americans' happiness over B"L's assassination with Arabs celebrating 9/11, so you would create a moral euqivalence between Gilad Shalit, a soldier defending his people, and the many Palestinians prisoners who are in Israel jails because they were seeking to kill, harm and terrorize the very people he defends.

You can also compare the treatment these prisoners get in Israeli jail with the conditions of Shalit's "imprisonment".

Uberschmuck to your bone marrow.

Anonymous said...

Modernity - "we quickly learned" -bin Laden says what he does three years later. Truly bonkers that you're taking his word for it. Does he give any operational details that were never made public, so proving that he was behind it? Does he hell. Is that all you've got?
{And again, before you completely wet your pants, I do think he was probably behind the whole thing]

FlyingRodent said...

Uh, I thought it was well-established that Khalid Sheik Mohammed was the man who gave the go-ahead for the September 11th attacks? Those crazy conspiraloon cranks that drafted the 9/11 report certainly say so.

And I'll say this again - it really is good fun to watch all these commenters pretending they can't see the nutty bullshit in that post, even while they're being repeatedly prompted on it. Credit to the Contentious Centrist - he or she may be talking crap, but at least it's on-topic crap and not a free-form ramble about the boundless evil of some academic and the Stop the War Coalition.

skidmarx said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
ModernityBlog said...


A serious question, does your blog have a no platform policy?

Or are you willing to accept your commenters posting whatever they like?

Think on this for a is a serious question...and I would welcome a straight answer...

noga said...

Where is "occupied Palestine"?, skidoo? Have you the guts to spell it out for us? What must happen to 'unoccupy' it?

skidmarx said...

In the Middle East,I think.23.No, I'm a cringing coward.Quite a lot.

skidmarx said...

"For the record, let’s everyone substantiate our claims, as Chomsky has done. He doesn’t deny that bin Laden didn’t plan the operation, only that it hasn’t been proven- and since his assassination has rendered a trial pointless, it will never be argued in court. Maybe this is a foolish assertion but I can’t recall any conclusive evidence that proves the case (this is because it never before occurred to me to doubt it). So help me out, everyone: Prove bin Laden guilty and Chomsky ridiculous."

skidmarx said...

Another terrorist-enabler:

Anonymous said...

skidmarx -

Is it really necessary to link to Alison Weir's site?

skidmarx said...

Anonymous - want to put a screenname to that question?

socialrepublican said...

Bob, I think you read it wrong.

Within the whole libertarian right's discourse, touching on all forms of identity, is a stark and static cultural essentialism. I suggest this goes in hand with the extreme individualism as a counter balance, a social glue. Libtares see the need for such complete freedom but only for a certain breed i.e. themselves and their audience. This exclusivity provides a defence and a purpose to an otherwise atomised society and/or culture. A few examples

In 08, there were plenty of discussions about the US not being a democracy but being a republic. Thus there was a political nation who could be trusted with the vote and those who could not, the "hate-spewing herds of decadent, stupid Americans leering and salivating, cans of beer in their fists". Several Libtare leaning Republicans, Santorum I believe, spoke of a need for a minimum educational requirement, of latter day Jim Crow laws to do with the franchise. This was before the health care debate and the polls looked bad for the GOP in 2010.

If we look at Ron Paul, his belief in maximising freedom rests on a far greater level of religious public devotion and legislation. Only the pious can enjoy and be trusted to enjoy a free but moral life.

socialrepublican said...

Similarly, the recent attemps to get round the first amendment protection of religion with regards to Islam is to deny it is a religion and thus can be in and of itself legislate against. Thus the thinking goes that the founders meant a particular brand of Abramatic faith or faiths (certain Libtares are at the very least agnostic towards Judaism). Only those who limit their liberty within bounds that mark out a wider collective sense of morality can enjoy the fullness of pigmy freedom

This, of course, harks back to pre-1873 Liberalism (Libtares are pretty much historical re-enactors without the ability to hold their ale of basic sewing skills)and the idea of an unified political nation bound by a virtuous mythos, thus able to responsibly enjoy the fruits of liberty. Even Ayn Rand's brutalist materialism was based around her personal prophetress cult, linking the soothsayer and the revelation to the chosen who are to live out its "charms", seperate from the "moochers".

Muslims or in particular, "the swarms of shit-finger Arab monkeys dancing with joy after 9-11" are undeserving of liberty and thus beyond the pale because they are unceserving, they are not conforming. They deserve only catharitic insults that I'm sure gave the author a great sense of speaking truth onto power. This "Cultural realism", like its more hardline relative "Racial Realism/Racialism" does not condemn, it reassures and bonds the holder of the idea back into their imagined free community. In no way is this a defence of the mostly pal celebrations post 9/11. But for Libtares, this is not dynamic or based on super-structure interactions, there is only the unchanging culture, that can never and will never really change. For if that was possible, the uniqueness of the community of liberty might be transient too. And then all the supra-personal existential relief from mortality that power such a reaction would be just as passing as our singular human lives

btw, how are the American mass media activly destroying America? At least a clue would be nice

A measure of CC is that they thought Rosa Luxemberg was a Bolshevik

ps. Skidders, how do you feel about Chomsky not only defending a piece of genocide denial but providing a foreword to it, i.e. "The politics of Genocide". And given it was an interpretive work and used only secondary sources, don't play the revisionist canard either

Anonymous said...

skidmarx -

I'd be willing to share my real name if you'd be willing to share yours, though, I can assure you we don't know each other. Nor am I sock-puppet for someone in this thread.

The question still stands. Was it necessary to link to Alison Weir's site? Would it not have been wiser to link to her source, Addameer, instead?

skidmarx said...

Hi Anonymous - I'm not asking for your real name, just a screen-name that will hold you somewhat accountable for your posting if you want to hold me accountable for mine.

And/or you could explain what is so detestable about Alison Weir. Has she called anyone a "shit-finger Arab monkey", which seems to be below the level that is deemed offensive on this thread.

ModernityBlog said...


I hope that you won't miss my previous question concerning no platform.

Miles said...

Skidmarx -

Fair enough on the name.

The problem with Alison Weir is documented here:

and here:

Thank you for reponding to my question.

bob said...

Wow, I go out for the day and enjoy the sunshine, and return to something like 50 new comments. Have you guys got nothing better to do on such a beautiful day?

I don't have the interest, energy or time to get into another argument about Izzy/Pal. I can't even remember how we got onto that - I guess I encouraged it with my Hezbollah question, which I regret. Skid and Levi seemed to be saying the only thing stopping Israel from expanding as far as the Litani River and establishing "the rest" (of Lebanon for Skid? more reasonably of just Southern Lebanon for Levi) is Hezbollah. That's what I was disagreeing with, not the idea that Moshe Dayan or whoever didn't have aspirations to the Litani river. To be honest, it's not a fight I really have a dog in, so won't continue on that.

Much more important to me is the notion that believing that if right now Israel was unilaterally disarmed would lead to genocide is a racist belief. I repeat, I don't for one second believe that "the Arabs" have genocidal intent, and I've argued that in the past (e.g. in arguing ultimately for a one state or better no state solution). In Israel's neighbourhood, as elsewhere, it is not the mass of ordinary people who are the ones with the weapons. I'm not talking about "the Arabs"; I'm talking about Hezbollah, Hamas, Islamic Jihad, Syria, Iran, the Muslim Brotherhood... I can see how a sane person could argue that Hamas are "the victims of Zionism". I can just about see that a sane person could maybe argue the same about Hezbollah. But the idea that Iran, Syria or the Muslim Brothers in Egypt are the victims of Zionism is utterly tendentious. [cont...]

bob said...

On the civic nationalism issue, I'm not sure of the sequence of the argument, so maybe I'm repeating myself, but comparing the American nation to the Magyar nation is not comparing ethnicities; it is comparing a non-ethnic conception of nationhood to an ethnic one. I am not arguing that the current post is in any sense an example of civic nationalism, but just the one Skid used in his forensic trawl through the Jogo archive to find evidence of Terry Fitzishness.


In previous comment, I meant "Israel's victims", not "Zionism's victims". Sorry to misquote.

[Maybe continued, still reading all the comments.]

skidmarx said...

Miles - thank-you.

1.I wasn't particularly aware of who ran the site. I think I came across it when finding this:

2.I don't find Adam Holland convincing. He claims that she is making allegations of ritual murder, she's not as far as I can see. And when he says:
"Jewish opposition to the blood libel" or "dismissing them as merely the result of a Jewish conspiracy of silence", he seems to dishonestly claim his views as those of all Jews.

Continued in next box

skidmarx said...

3. My first reaction to her article is here:

I'm not impressed with the use of Israel Shamir as a source a couple of comments later:

and make the first point from 2. above here:

4.If I'd known that she was linked to Counterpunch I would have thought twice about the link,because I wouldn't want to unnecessarily offend our host. If you have a further argument on the subject I'd be happy to hear it, though you notice there have already been complaints about the thread being diverted. I usually like diversions.

I hope that answers your question

bob said...

[Have read up to 15:15. Off to read kids bedtime story. Maybe one more shot tonight.]

skidmarx said...

Been out three times. Nice, if a bit windy.

Skid and Levi seemed to be saying the only thing stopping Israel from expanding as far as the Litani Hezbollah
It's arguable as CC does, that they don't want to, but I don't see anyone else stopping them.
Much more important to me is the notion that believing that if right now Israel was unilaterally disarmed would lead to genocide is a racist belief.
Levi9909 said "If Israel wasn't armed to the teeth" rather than "unilaterally disarmed", and I don't think I said anything of the kind.
Skid used in his forensic trawl through the Jogo archive to find evidence of Terry Fitzishness.
It wasn't that thorough, maybe there's more. And of course TerryFitz was far more openly racist in his e-mails than in his blog posts, which didn't even match this level of dodginess.

Miles said...

Skidmarx -

I would disagree on one or two points, but you're right that continuing this discussion would only further divert the thread. Thank you for taking time out to respond to me, and to Bob for being incredibly patient.

bob said...

If Americans Knew Alison Weir…

Miles said...

Skidmarx -

My apologies, but I forgot to mention that the link you provided with muslim_asterix.jpg in the url was blocked by WoT (Web of Trust) when I tried to access it.

The website hosting that image appears to be a white supremacist news page. That may have been why it was flagged, but there's always the possibility of malware.

skidmarx said...

Miles - no, it's my place to apologise. The website is one promoting "European-Americans". I'd found what seemed an amusing cartoon representing Bob's view of what could happen to Israel after doing a google images search for "Asterix Zionism", and didn't look closely at the site. Thank-you for pointing out my error.

Bob - Not the tentacles again. Doesn't seem to justify the death threats she mentions at the start of the interview.

bob said...

I don't have the energy to deal with some of the things I know I ought to, including Mod's question and the Alison Weir issue.

SR, I buy your analysis of "Libtares" in general, but not sure it fits this post.

I'm very grateful for the outbreak of politeness at the end of today.

Levi9909 said...

Bob - congrats on finding another diplomatic solution to your Moddy problem.

Moddy - So Al Qaeda admits doing 9/11.

Bin laden says he was one of the instigators behind 9/11,

Yet were supposed to ignore all of that, because of some supposed FBI source (which no one provides a link to).

Chomskites really do believe almost anything he says.

As it happens I'm none too keen on Chomsky but he already accepted in his article that bin Laden claimed responsibility for 9/11 so you're adding nothing new here except to upgrade a claim to an admission because the claim is what you want to believe.

Also, you are using an article from 2004 to prove that Obama was telling the truth when he said "we QUICKLY learned that the 9/11 attacks were carried out by al Qaeda".

So even if we assume bin Laden to have been telling the truth, it is still a stretch to squeeze three whole years into "quickly" without the stretch involved in accepting bin Laden's claim as irrefutable evidence.

And there is still the problem that even if we can be 100% sure that bin Laden did it, was it appropriate or legitimate for America to invade Pakistan and to summarily execute him? And that is the issue that you, Moddy, raised earlier in the thread: why leftists (though it's not just leftists) are concerned about the invasion of Pakistan and the execution of a criminal suspect.

The problem isn't simply isolated to the killing of bin Laden. It extends to the killing of all those killed supposedly in pursuit of bin Laden, which brings us to what Chomsky was saying in his article. How would it be if people from abroad invaded western countries in pursuit of western war criminals? Fair question, I'd say.

bob said...

Levi, that was not a diplomatic solution to a Moddy problem. Moddy posed the question of no platform, an important topic for anti-racists and anti-fascists, and of my comment policy, an important question for a blogger. I am not sure, when he asked that, whether he was referring to Jogo, portrayed by Skid as my Terry Fitz, or to Skid, who once again has included (non-hyperlinked) urls of extremely dodgy websites, inadvertently or not (and gives a slightly confusing account of whether or not he knew who Alison Weir was).

On Weir, I see no flaw in Adam Holland's posts whose urls Miles provided. Skid, however, writes: 'I don't find Adam Holland convincing. He claims that she is making allegations of ritual murder, she's not as far as I can see. And when he says: "Jewish opposition to the blood libel" or "dismissing them as merely the result of a Jewish conspiracy of silence", he seems to dishonestly claim his views as those of all Jews.'

Weir's August 2009 Counterpunch article denied the obvious truth that the allegation that Jews use Christian blood for ritual purposes is a libel; to do so she lied in several large and small ways; and Adam Holland's first post shows this beyond any reasonable doubt whatsoever.

Denying this seems perverse to me (altho Moddy would provide a compelling alternative explanation, which is, I think, what motivates his no platform question).

Even more perverse is Skid's claim that Holland 'dishonestly' claims his views are those of all Jews, simply because he uses words like "Jewish opposition", as if that means "the opposition by every single Jew", a palpably absurd reading.

Note that when Holland uses that phrase, in his second post, he is talking about Weir's source Israel Shamir, by whom Skid claims to be not impressed. The charges we're talking about are that Mendel Beilis and Dreyfus were guilty; Jewish opposition to those claims long pre-dates Holland's existence.

I'm at work all day today, so don't know if I'll be able to get back to this. To conclude, tho, it rather weakens the case that you can recognise racism to provide links to Western Voices World News or to Alison Weir.

skidmarx said...

Bob - obviously the WVWN link was inadvertent. No I didn't see Alison Weir's name on "If Americans Knew" when I saw some graphs from it. I don't know what you mean by "once again", but to compare my inadvertent linking to Jogo's blatant racism is insulting, and not in the spirit of politeness you welcomed.Does you apology for Jogo's racism as "irony" mean that you are incapable of judging when something is racist?

The Weir article is about organ trafficking, not about the ritual use of blood, with just a small reference at the end to the medieval blood libel. If she is supporting the blood libel then she's wrong and offensive, but thus far I don't see it, particularly when even Holland admits that she has denied doing so repeatedly.

Levi9909 said...

Maybe it wasn't a diplomatic sidestep this time though it wouldn't have been the first if it was. I am well aware of no platform issues but given the nature of the post it's a strange issue to be raising in the thread beneath it.

I know Alison Weir is a very dodgy character but that skimming her work doesn't always nail it. But Moddy isn't trying to protect the integrity of the site or the thread. He's tried to get me banned before now and he can't pin the dodgy links issue, or anything else, on me. What he can't handle is serious counter argument.

Also, skid's explanation of the WWM site had nothing to do with recognition or not of racism. It had to do with checking which he apologised for not doing.

re Adam Holland, I agree mostly with what he says about Weir who I was aware of way before the body organs business but he is out of order on Israel Shahak. To read Holland you would think that there is only one brand of orthodox Judaism. Also, browsing the site he does stretch his points in support of zionism, by which he clearly means, statehood for Jews. So possibly not the best critic of Alison Weir to be running with.

Skidders - I remember when Weir first presented the article. She definitely lied about Israel Shahak but most of what she said about the Toaff affair was true as far as it went. He is the son of a leading rabbi, he did say that he had evidence of Jews in medieval times killing Christian children for ritual purposes and he did withdraw his claims following protests from Jewish organisations. But she sought to link the body organ issue as per Bostrom to the medieval blood libel. So she combined truth with falsehood and to promote a classic antisemitic trope. All in all, not to be touched with a bargepole.

skidmarx said...

Levi9909 - thanks for that. Does that mean that you think that the organ theft allegations can be dealt with separately on their own merits?
Having done a quick search I see that JFJFP has five references to her, several positive ones in passing, and a broadside from Andy Newman against both the ritual murder and the organ trafficking propositions.
Again I think I said before that the allegations about Israelis in Haiti seemed like nonsense, but that other cases (such as with the KLA) seemed more plausible.
As I said before, I wouldn't link to any associate with Copunterpunch here without damn good reason, so let's hope Bob can distinguish between inadvertent linking, and the unapologetic direct use of racist language.

Back to what should be the main issue, I see that Jogo has used the phrase "you people" on the next thread. Not racist in itself (and there was a recent episode of The Cleveland Show in which Rollo and his Jewish friend funnily used it it to substitute for "Jew" and "black" respectively), but if it was Galloway I'm sure Bob would see an emerging pattern.

bob said...

Couldn't resist a peek in my lunchbreak. On the "you people" bit, I think it is obvious he means us European liberals and leftists, especially if you set it alongside the use of "our people" in the post you yourself quoted to indict Jogo, which pretty obviously referred to Jews.

Skid, I am perfectly happy to accept that the fact that the pages you linked to reflected lack of checking and not active promotion, especially with the white supremacist one. I know you would never promote white suprematicism and that you link to a range of sites that you don't necessarily endorse. But I think this is symptomatic of something wider, which is the increasing difficulty of drawing a clear line between the world of anti-Zionism and the various worlds of conspiracy theory and antisemitism, as demonstrated by the wide use of citations to far right websites by left-wing anti-Zionists.

I completely dispute that Jogo's post is "obviously" racist. Of course it uses obviously racist language, as you would if you, for example, said that I portray Arabs as barbaric semi-humans, or as I would if I directly quoted Alison Weir's buddies Shamir and Atzmon in order to condemn them.

skidmarx said...

Get some lunch. Can't have you wasting away.

Of course that was his intended meaning.My point was that if someone you didn't like said it you'd be liable to see it as part of a racist pattern.

So our response should be, to use that as an opportunity to discredit those we disagree with because of those they've linked to, however accidentally, or to judge people by what they themselves say?

I don't get the sense of your last paragraph. Jogo's use of obviously racist language isn't quoting racists he means to attack, it's on his own account.

bob said...

The involvement of Israeli nationals in organ transplant criminality in Kosovo may well be true. That is beside the point. The point is whether this reported as part of a libel against Jews in general, or Israelis as representative of Jews in general, associating them with some kind of age-old propensity for devouring the blood of gentiles, which is precisely and very obviously what AW did in her Counterpunch article.

Her suggestion that Israelis are deliberately capturing Palestinians for their organs is blatantly ridiculous and antisemitic. If there were any doubt about this, the final section which turns to Toaff, who was making a claim not about Israelis but about Jews, surely shows it. That clearly says that the blood libel myth is not a myth. Notwithstanding that the Toaff section contains an untruth in almost every paragraph (including a libel against Shahak), which Holland shows totally conclusively.

Just looking at Andy Newman's very good post on this, I noticed David Rosenberg's comment: Good post Andy though I think you are somewhat over-generous to refer to Counterpunch as a “well respected American leftist publication”. It lost a lot of respect from serious anti-racists some years back when it handed over its columns for commentary on Israel/Palestine/Jews to Gilad Atzmon with his ridiculous Jewish conspiracy theories, and failed to publish or respond to criticisms of this from anti-racist anti-Zionists. So no great surprise that it has descended lower into the sewer.

Levi9909 said...

skidmarx - I thought that "If Americans Knew" was worth linking to in 2005 but I think I saw Alison Weir's dodginess before the organ thing (so between 2005 and 2009) but I can't be sure of context or content. I know I was warning the Just Peace UK list against her before the organ thing but I don't remember specifically why. I do remember being criticised for criticising Weir and by people who I often thought were over-sensitive to antisemitism.

But the organ article by her certainly stands alone to damn her as dishonest and antisemitic.

ModernityBlog said...


You're right it is an important issue for antifascists.

But I don't believe it would need the combined forces of Lord Mandelson and Jonathan Powell to compose a reply.

I'm taking this step by step because I find that any complex remarks I make here, or ideas that actually have embedded ideas within it so often need explaining time after time.

I just wanted to establish your ground rules concerning posters in your threads.

It is a topic that most bloggers would have thought of, even if they subscribe to some peculiar libertarian notions, where do you draw the line with the posters in the threads?

I would be grateful if you could take five minutes out of your busy schedule, not indulge the local "anti Zionists" and simply answer the questions:

1. Does your blog have a no platform policy?

2. Or are you willing to accept your commenters posting whatever they like?

It's not a difficult point, it doesn't require a politician's answer or some carefully crafted reply littered with weasel words.

I am asking, directly, as one antifascist to another a straight question, and not unsurprisingly, I would prefer a straight concise answer

skidmarx said...

Modernity - two pieces of unsolicited, and I imagine unwanted advice:
when you're asking something from a self-described libetarian, barking orders as to how you want it done might not be any better received than it was by John Travolta's character in Pulp Fiction.
In a similar vein, have you ever heard the phrase "a little sugar helps the medicine go down"?

It might help you to be better understood if you explained what prompts your enquiry about no platform: the racism that seems to be apparent in the OP or something else.

Bob and Levi - the Weir article does look worse each time I look at it (though I'm not sure I ever read Counterpunch before, be careful you're not adding to their readership), though the question remains: if it's reasonable to speculate that Israelis helped with organ harvesting in Kosovo (which I didn't say, by the way, I just used it as an example to show that the idea it takes place isn't ridiculous per se), then would the allegations she makes about the organs be necessarily anti-semitic if the medieval coda wasn't appended (or if they are made elsewhere, such as in the original Swedish report, if you want to make the obvious point that anti-semites can't be trusted).

Levi9909 - I see there is an approving reference on JfJfP to Weir from this year:

Again no complaint from me about something somebody else said. For everyone else, what was promoted as the classic text on this type of thing recently on Socialist Unity:

Noga said...

It's actually: "just a spoonful of sugar and the medicine goes down".

As for Modernity's query: I do hope bob will not enforce any moderation policies based on ideology. It is very frustrating on such sites as "Engage" or Juan Cole when you can't get a comment through if it budges from the website's tight party lines. My own rule of thumb is: no profanity and no personal information. Much as I thoroughly dislike, disdain, deride and abhor levi9Xo's putrid positions, I think his comments ought to be allowed. When he was being too pesty and rude on my blog I asked him politely to leave and he graciously obeyed. If Bob finds him as annoying as I do, he can ask him to leave. But banning? No.

Think of it this way: Levininezeros and skids' presence and ways of thinking and comments on this blog act as foil and enhancers-by-contrast for your own good sense and better quality of thinking. You come off that much more handsome in comparison :) (Not that I share your views on many issues, not being a Marxist or whatever, but I think we do share a sensibility and we do recognize decency when we see it).

bob said...

Thanks Noga.

Mod, the simple answer is I don't know. In late 2009, I tentatively outlined a comments policy:

Basically, from now on, I will delete from now on all personal comments about other commenters. If you call someone a "douchebag", for example, then your comment will just be deleted, so all the effort you have gone to, if any, to formulate your thoughts will be wasted. (I will tolerate such comments aimed at me, unless they are made persistently and repetitively, in which case I will consider it harassment.)

I will also delete comments that link to fascist or racist websites, although on occasion I might ct and paste these comments without the links.

Basically, much as I have ambitions to one day be a superstar blogger (?), I want this blog to be a space of conversation and debate, among people who respect each other. I want to be persuaded to think differently, as I want others to be persuaded by me. I want to make connections. I started blogging as a means of making a very small political intervention (and this remains a goal), but I have found that one of the pleasures of blogging has been the sense of a community, of new acquaintances. The word "friend" is cheapened in the age of Facebook, but I have come to consider at least some of my virtual acquaintences as friends, and I value that more than I value winning an argument.

However, after the ensuing debate, I added these caveats:
So what I'm moving towards is to apply my new policy in as light a way as possible: that is, only when abusiveness becomes an issue. (At Duncan's place, because all the BNPers were constantly harassing him, the abusiveness was an issue, so he was right to crack down.)

Trying to define even the simplest terms can be complex: Lee Barnes is a fascist bigot, Gilad Atzmon too, but then there are people I find unsavoury but can't say are exactly fascist bigots, like Gert, or The Exile. But then, it's my house, so I'll apply my rules in an idiosyncratic, biased, unsystematic and subjective way. Thank god I'm not Alan Rusbridger's daugter, or even David T, and don't have to consider these issues too often!

I have changed my mind over the years about fash-linking. A decade ago, I was involved in an early internet anti-fascist project that came to nothing. I fiercely argued against any linking to fascist sites at all, on a "no platform" principle. However, I have come to think that the rules have changed with the internet, and we need to be aware of what is out there. And there are plenty of ways of avoiding the direct link[..]

I think that fascism has changed as well, and that makes the old "no platform" rule a bit complicated. Euro-nationalism and right-wing populism on one hand, Islamist fascism on the other, the terrain has shifted. Fascism 2.0?


bob said...

[continued...] So, one major problem is deciding where the line should be drawn, and what is beyond the pale. I am absolutely not in favour of unlimited free speech and anything goes, but I am not sure how to make the decision. Even things beyond the line I find it can be more helpful to show what we are up against than to delete it. So, for all those reasons, I prefer to err on the side of liberality than stifling.

HOWEVER, what I do not want is this to be a place where people come for unpleasant slanging matches, and to drive away the nice people and nice conversations that have gathered here over time. The community here (if I can use that word) has been one characterised by a great variety of opinions, but a certain common sensibility, as Noga puts it, and, yes, a certain shared decency.

I feel that has been lost in recent months, mainly due to the interventions of Levi and Skid and I regret that enormously. However, to be fair, both of them have shown themselves perfectly capable of gracious and thoughtful engagement at various points in the debate, and I have learnt useful things and clarified my own thoughts as a result of the exercise, as well as been frustrated to the point of rage at other times.

I remain, therefore, undecided as to my best course of action.

That was rather more than 5 minutes! I hope that answer's your question.

bob said...

Apologies for the rogue apostrophe at the end of my last comment, which also violates one of my dear-held principles.

I also meant to remove the "you were lying" bit in the comment I pasted. This is one of the things that really irritates me. That's the sort of thing I want us to step away from.

On organ stuff: of course it is not in itself antisemitic to speculate about Israeli involvement, but it is antisemitic to portray Israelis as having some inherent lust for doing dodgy things with organs; that is, in my view, an updated version of the blood libel, whether the medieval context is mentioned or not - it's just that the medieval context makes it even more explicit. That Weir piece in its final words also includes a particular version of the Israel Lobby theory that draws on antisemitic Jewish power myths.

bob said...

Actually, I'm deleting my own comment where I had the pasted version of Levi's comment, and trying again now.


[Me:] I think we really need to tone down the animosity here. I am deleting on comment, but pasting the substantive parts here. I know that will irritate, but I think this is getting out of hand.

Levi9909 said...
[...]Going back to what you [Mod] were saying earlier, no one misunderstood that you were trying to make out that Chomsky was saying that bin Laden had no responsibility for 9/11. He was simply saying that the claim he made (that you subsequently made out that Chomsky had ignored) was just that, a claim. You called it an admission. Chomsky said that Obama had lied when he said "we quickly learned etc". You said that a claim by bin Laden, three years after the event amounted to evidence that it was Chomsky that was lying or just being weird. He was doing neither. [...]

No complexity there, Mod.[...]

Earlier on Bob had said you raised a serious point with your red-baiting inquiry as to why some on the left were expressing disquiet over the invasion of Pakistan and summary execution of a crime suspect. Both skidmarx and I have tried to address this[...], Mod, and you try to get skidmarx banned and you've already tried to get me banned though the reason wasn't clear.[...]
09 May, 2011 14:14

ModernityBlog said...


Honestly I don't mean to be acerbic, but upbringing comes out and I find the middle classes' inability to deal with racism extremely annoying, when it comes from their own area.

This is your blog you can do what you like, but if you let people post racist links then other posters may think this is an unfit place to discuss politics in a mature way.

I am not saying that you have to moderate with a hatchet, but clearly state to some of your commenters in these threads that linking to racist material, directly or indirectly will not be tolerated.

I am not asking for much merely for behaviour which is consistent with solid anti-fascism.

Again, so do you think it is "gracious and thoughtful engagement" to post in links to racist web sites?

And if not, surely you might want to give at least a warning to those concerned and not a pat on the head? It is your blog you decide the policies, but as you point out you are losing people, alienating people by pandering to these cranks.

PS: I regret having to write this, Bob,I know you're a very smart man I would prefer that you saw the obvious decline and didn't inch away from a remedy, by some misplaced notions of liberalism.

However, it is for you to decide where you draw the line, but I would thought that posting links to racist web sites crosses the line? Or perhaps it is acceptable if the middle classes do it, graciously?

Levi9909 said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
ModernityBlog said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Sam said...

As a semi-regular reader, can I say a couple of things? I find Skidmarx and Levi9909 negative presences here. They always drag the topic to Israel and the evils of Zionism, whatever it starts out as. They hurl about accusations and wind people up. Levi has his own blog but seems to write more here. Skid needs to get his own blog, because he seems to find it appropriate to paste in link after link. But would anyone visit his blog? I doubt it.

But to ban them would be, to quote the next thread, "petty minded, stupid and anal". What exactly is the thought crime they're supposed to have committed? I don't get it.


On Chomsky, it is totally beyond a doubt that he supported a Holocaust denier. The evidence is overwhelming. There is no ambiguity. Only someone who lives on another planet could disagree.

Talking of denial, I saw Diana Johnston, who Chomsky has also supported, cropping up recently on the LRB letters page, to talk about "the monstrous five-year-long prosecution of Slobodan Milosevic that sent the defendant to his grave before he could complete his defence"...

ModernityBlog said...


I will happily spell out my arguments in some detail later on, but I wanted to give Bob the opportunity to think about the issue and reply after that.

Personally, I don't favour banning people for political differences, I am a pluralist, but do you want threads peppered with incomprehension to anti-Jewish racism and links from racist web sites?

Where do you draw the line?

Or do you draw the line at all, and make it a free for all?

There are obvious consequences for either approach, but in the latter case there are plenty of examples of once good blogs descending into pits of racism and vitriol.

I prefer to bring them to Bob's attention and let him decide after all it his blog.

Sam, but it would be remiss of me not to comment on these issues, and I *do* like Bob's blog.

Levi9909 said...

Mod - you are drawing a distinction without a difference. If you are not saying that he supports holocaust denial then there is no point in saying he supported a holocaust denier - in the 1980s. It appears an associate of Chomsky used a letter from Chomsky offering general support for free speech as a preface to a book that Chomsky apparently hadn't even read.

I've just been reading the old Hitchens and there's even less to it all than I imagined.

But did I also misread you making Chomsky out to be a liar over what Obama said about 9/11? Chomsky mentions bin Laden's claim of responsibility. You posted a link to the claim as if to prove that Obama was telling the truth when he said "we quickly learned etc". But, to repeat, Chomsky had already alluded to bin Laden's claim. You made out that he was saying that al Qaida and bin Laden bore no responsibility for 9/11. He wasn't and you should acknowledge that.

And did I also misread your disquiet over some leftists being disturbed by the American invasion of Pakistan and the summary execution of a suspect, albeit one who had, as noted by Chomsky, claimed responsibility for the worst of the crimes of which he was accused? Did I misread Bob when he said that point was worthy of serious consideration?

No Mod, I don't misread what you write. You make bogus assertions, you can't meet challenges to them and so you start chucking abuse and more bogus assertions around. And you try to get people banned on the flimsiest of grounds.

But just to recap on what you actually said in your case for calling Chomsky a crank:

"he's a all too faulty individual, who is judged on his words and actions:

1) supporting a Holocaust denier in the 1980s
2) arguing that Hezbollah should keep their weapons, etc
3) and now somehow contending that Obama is lying about 9/11."

1) he didnt' support the holocaust denial or even the denier in any significant way.
2) so what?
3) Obama was lying about 9/11. He said "“we quickly learned that the 9/11 attacks were carried out by al Qaeda” as if there was incontrovertible evidence and there was no more than a claim made by bin Laden 3 years after the event.

Now perhaps we could deal with the serious point as to whether it is appropriate for leftists to support American invasions of sovereign states to summarily execute crime suspects.

bob said...

Thanks for the answer Modernity.

While I'm here, what is "red-baiting" in this context, which I think there have been about 3 accusations of in this and another thread in the last week or so? I believe the British police arrested some people for being suspected "anarchists" the other weekend, but being a Communist isn't really seen as a crime these days is it? Least of all by socialist bloggers like Modernity and Bob. Or am I missing something else?

bob said...

And I also just went to Modernity's place, and saw the excellent posts on Occupied Palestine and Alison Weir. To be honest, I hadn't known Occupied Palestine was quite so toxic. I'll be back soon with some kind of an answer.

Levi9909 said...

Sam - I can't speak for skidmarx but I rarely introduce the subject of Israel or zionism in these threads. In this thread I think it was Noga who first mentioned Israel followed by Moddy with his suggestion that only a crank would suggest that Hezbollah should not be compelled to disarm. My first mention of Israel was a response to moddy's gratuitous mention of Hezbollah in between a bogus point on a holocaust denier and an even more bogus point about 9/11.

I have only just started reading in detail what Chomsky did regarding this Faurisson chap (back in the 1980s) so could you provide some of this "overwhelming" evidence? I thought Hitchens must have it about right in the article I linked to because he goes into such detail. Here's the link again:

You might want to skip down to the bit that starts:
"Chomsky can be faulted here on three grounds only" and read around that.

But what is your evidence?


bob said...

Sorry, trying to disentangle everything. I'm very confused about all these "liar" allegations, who is accusing who of accusing who of being a liar. I think Mod accused Chomsky of being a liar? And Levi says that's equivalent to Levi calling Mod a liar? I don't mind the allegation of dishonesty, what I mind is this "you're a liar", "no you're a fucking liar", "no your pants are on fire" type of discourse. Can't we behave like adults?

skidmarx said...

Sam - you're entitled to your view. On Chomsky, he isn't a Holocaust denier, he just believes in the right of such to free speech. If you'll forgive me, here's a link to someone making the case for such in detail:

modernity - if I had the inclination I'd use the Chomskyite method of assuming your complaint is in good faith, and then seeing how such a position conflicts with reality.

If your complaint is the link itself, why do you not ask for that to be removed? It seems because you want to be offended as it gives you an opportunity to call for the banning of someone you don't like.

If your complaint is the expression of racism, why are you not calling for the removal of Jogo's post, and for Bob to be banned from his own blog for posting it? Clearly you have a double standard.

And I didn't post a link to a racist blog, I posted a link to a cartoon that appeared on one, and that only appeared he because I was polite enough to respond in detail to Miles' question.

If your desire was to cause as much embarrassment as possible, it has backfired a little. I was mortified when I realised what I'd done, but you seizing the opportunity to be opportunistic on the subject has only succeeded in diminishing yourself.

Bob - you're welcome to delete the link to the cartoon I posted at 08 May, 2011 20:15, or leave it up as a reminder of my stupidity.

Levi9909 said...

Bob - you seem to be missing quite a lot if you don't see Moddy railing against not just SWPrs and Leninists but even against ex-SWPrs and ex-leftists.

It doesn't seem like a socialist position to me to support an American invasion of Pakistan and the summary execution of a suspect. The red-baiting bit is to be concerned that leftists are concerned.

Sam said...

Hitchens totally overstates his case, and whitewashes Chomsky. Chomsky can be faulted here on three grounds only. First, for giving a power of attorney to Serge Thion, who seems rather a protean and quicksilvery fellow. Hitchens calls Thion a friend of Chomsky's and Thion was already deep into Holocaust denial by the time of this incident, so it is shameful that Chomsky didn't clock this, and stupid of him to think that Thion would use his words responsibly. The fact that the two of them had form together in minimising what Pol Pot did may or may not be pertinent.

Second, for once unguardedly describing Faurisson as "a sort of relatively apolitical liberal." Admittedly, this came in the context of an assertion that Faurisson's opinions were a closed book to him; still, all the more reason not to speculate. The whole point is that Faurisson's opinions are not the point.

Actually, let's look at the context of this assertion, which is totally politically stupid: Let me add a final remark about Faurisson's alleged "anti-Semitism." Note first that even if Faurisson were to be a rabid anti-Semite and fanatic pro-Nazi -- such charges have been presented to me in private correspondence that it would be improper to cite in detail here -- this would have no bearing whatsoever on the legitimacy of the defense of his civil rights. On the contrary, it would make it all the more imperative to defend them since, once again, it has been a truism for years, indeed centuries, that it is precisely in the case of horrendous ideas that the right of free expression must be most vigorously defended; it is easy enough to defend free expression for those who require no such defense. Putting this central issue aside, is it true that Faurisson is an anti-Semite or a neo-Nazi? As noted earlier, I do not know his work very well. But from what I have read -- largely as a result of the nature of the attacks on him -- I find no evidence to support either conclusion. Nor do I find credible evidence in the material that I have read concerning him, either in the public record or in private correspondence. As far as I can determine, he is a relatively apolitical liberal of some sort.

Third, for attempting at the last minute, when he discovered too late that he was being bound into the same volume as a work he had not read, to have his commentary excised.

I don't think that there is evidence that he made any attempt to do so.

Levi9909 said...

Bob - sorry, I didn't all of your comments when I responded to the one I did see and I'm rushing now.

Mod has falsely accused me of falsifying dates and of revising facts in an earlier thread. He offered no back up for his false allegations and you closed the discussion down at the time accusing me and skidmarx of mere sniping when our tendency is to make substantive points.

Anyway, as I understand it, accusing some of falsifying dates and revising facts is the same as calling them a liar.

ModernityBlog said...


Please, for your own sake don't waste any time with Elf.

If I said my favourite colour was green, then in all probability Elf would reply, "No he's lying, his favourite colour is turquoise".

That's what he does.

Elf assumes the worst of everyone else, has an authoritarian personality, isn't much of a thinker, can't read and in the process mangles what people say.

Yet if you ask Elf, he will tell you he knows irrefutably what they were getting at, even when his interlocutors categorically contradict him.

Surely, reading the other threads you've noticed his techniques?

Bob, you could spend an eternity explaining the bleeding obvious to Elf, with no noticeable appreciation, it's not worth your time.

I'm not interested in him, I am concerned that racist links get posted in, with barely a murmur.

So Bob, I urge you to clarify your views on these issues, shortly.

I think it isn't a complex subject, the question is, do you accept people posting in racist links to questionable web sites (and no I'm not talking about the childish cartoon)?

bob said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
bob said...

Edited versions of some comments above I'm about to delete:

Levi9909 said...
Bob - you're defining as animosity responses to smears. Also, you allow Moddy to accuse people of lying without even saying what it is he is referring to.

What has happened here is that Moddy has complained that Noam Chomsky lied when he said that Obama lied when he said that “we quickly learned that the 9/11 attacks were carried out by al Qaeda.” Moddy has used a claim by bin Laden over three years after the event to support Obama's contention. He did so as if Chomsky had not referred to this himself but he did refer to it himself in the article Moddy was "critiquing". He says that Chomsky supports holocaust denial. He doesn't. And he tacked on to the liar and holocaust denier allegations that he doesn't want Hezbollah to disarm which may or may not be true but so what given what they have been defending against?

In the thread you Bob tore into the Alison Weir article with tremendous aplomb and yet all Moddy can do is call for a ban.[...]

And let's not forget that you Bob and Moddy find it disturbing that some leftists are not happy with the American invasion of Pakistan and the summary execution of a suspect. That was an important point [...]

Skidmarx - there have been approving links to Alison Weir articles on JfJfP and the Just Peace UK list. I presume people do what you did. They google something, find a link useful to their argument and run with it without checking the whole article or site. The Counterpunch article was as antisemitic as Bob. If the Scandinavian newspaper allegations were made without the linkage to blood libel then they wouldn't have been antisemitic of themselves but they would still have been wrong. But Israel does have form for harvesting body organs from Palestinians and Israelis alike. Zionists say that this is the same as the Alder Hey scandal but of course Alder Hey didn't harvest the organs of victims of the Crown Forces.

ModernityBlog said...
"He says that Chomsky supports holocaust denial. "

Read what I wrote[...], Elf.

I didn't say Holocaust denial I said, DENIER.

The person, not the subject.


Elf is NOT interested in other peoples' views, thus he doesn't read them.

I didn't say Chomsky supported Holocaust denial, I made the point that from my point of view one of the bad marks against him was his support of a Holocaust DENIER.

Now Elf might not see that as an issue but if you're an antifascist it's a big issue[...]

So once more, contrary to Elf's perpetually wrong assertion Chomsky is wrong in my book for supporting a holocaust DENIER.

I hope that is clear enough and Elf won't continually repeat himself.

Just in case you missed what I wrote:

"Chomsky is not some political deity that deserves our homage, he's a all too faulty individual, who is judged on his words and actions:

1) supporting a Holocaust denier in the 1980s 
2) arguing that Hezbollah should keep their weapons, etc
3) and now somehow contending that Obama is lying about 9/11.

So the question for Chomsky's admirers, do you agree with the great sage? Did lizard men do 9/11 or what?"

Levi9909 said...

Sam - many thanks for the response and for reading what I suggested but can we now saw your evidence?


bob said...

The simple concise answer to "are you willing to accept your commenters posting whatever they like?" is "no". But I don't think it is possible to be clear-cut about directly or indirectly putting in links to racist sites. I think it is completely possible to innocently link to a non-racist article on a racist site, to paste in the url of a racist site for reasons of critique, and to be unable to rule whether a site is racist or not in a clear-cut way. The irritating feature of, that urls pasted into comments are not clickable, is a good thing here: pasted links don't add to google juice and don't alert the site to the link. So, I'd be quicker to delete clickable links than unclickable ones. I have, however, deleted the Occ Pal and If Americans urls.

I also think that the ease with which anti-Zionists find themselves inadvertently linking to racist sites is a symptom of something bigger. There is so much racism that draws on anti-Zionist discourse, and racist discourse which has invaded anti-Zionist discourse, that the line is getting blurrier all the time. True, those of us who are opposed to Islamism need to be vigilant too when we enter territory also occupied by the far right. But I think that the anti-Zionist movement is so interwined now with racist memes and racist individuals and movements that this is a massive problem. (Another example: Jay Knott, former British ultra-leftist turned Nazi, defending Atzmon and calling Tony Greenstein a crypto-Zionist over at Mystical Politics.)

Just quickly on the red-baiting: "The red-baiting bit is to be concerned that leftists are concerned." I guess, then, that this whole blog is little more than red-baiting, because one of my main concerns is what does and doesn't concern the left.

For the moment, people are welcome to continue to debate Chomsky, the response of the left to Bin Laden's death, the American celebrations of that death, etc etc. But in this thread at least I will continue to delete ad hom attacks, and will police the links a little more carefully. This is not a private school debating club, an argument at last orders or Harry's Place.

And I will probably have to bow out of the discussion for the rest of today because I'm on someone else's clock now.

Levi9909 said...

I think this blog, like some of those it describes as "anti-totalitarian left", is indeed little more than red-baiting much of the time. It often seems that far from policing the left from unsound ideas and tactics, the charge is against the left itself. For example, you speak of how anti-zionists give succour to extreme rightists. But you have also claimed Israel's ethnic cleansing to have been unsuccessful and that its position on citizenship is no different from India's and Germany's when it is almost diametrically opposite. So really you just don't like detailed criticism of Israel. The involvement of a ragbag of holocaust deniers is really fodder for you.

Another example, Chomsky has criticised the killing of bin Laden in much the same way that I and many others would. And yet he is said to have supported a holocaust denier in the 1980s and that is supposed to damn him for all time. But not only that, anyone who supports his position on other things is similarly condemned even if they arrived at their position independently.

I'm amazed that there has been such widespread support for what America did re bin Laden especially since so many clear innocents have been killed along the way.

So this blog together with the supporters of it appear to support some distinctly unleftist positions on American imperialism and on zionism which I am guessing explains the red-baiting. It's not like, eg, you and Mod, are saying that you are against American imperialism and zionism but you are concerned about some others who oppose them. You support them and condemn all who oppose them.

ModernityBlog said...


I regret that you feel you have to pander to Elf and Skidmarx, but it is your blog.

You've spent ages trying to explain the nature of antisemitism to Skidmarks, and what have you gained for all of your hard work?

Nothing, he's posted in links from two racist websites: Weir and the occupied Palestine.

And Skidmarx receives no reprimand, nada, zip.

Hasn't it occurred to you that nothing gets thru, that Skidmarx doesn't understand anti-racism? He doesn't care if he reads anti-Jewish material.

I have no doubt from now on he will make a token gesture and denounce Weir, but nothing gets through, really.

Bob, you could spend a fortnight carefully slowly, as you do, explaining things and at the last minute he'll say "No, that is not the way I see it".

Why can't you accept that there are people in the world, educated people, Oxbridge types. Who don't get anything? Who don't get the message, who don't think for themselves and can't see the issue with anti-Jewish racism.

Surely you’ve been in pubs, met bigots and realised that nothing you say will get through to them?

That's the type of attitude that Skidmarks exemplifies, educated ignorance, holding views he was told, but never quite understanding them, unable to admit the bleeding obvious, insecure but not bright enough to educate themselves.

He is, but one example, and I'm not really interested in him, rather the phenomena of educated middle-class people who hold entrenched views concerning Jews.

There is little reasoning with these people, there is little debating them. Not much gets through.

And Bob surely the reason is obvious? There are those of us who base our views on evidence, reason and arguments, and then you have the Skidmarks of the world, the Cif posters, etc

Haven't you noticed the phenomena of highly educated people who don't listen, and can't respond to arguments and still hold belligerent views?

So why you wish to pander to this spectacle I don't understand.

You really need to decide your priorities now.

Do you want your posters pushing racist links, or do you say to them enough is enough?

Which is it? Hang-wringing ain’t the answer…

skidmarx said...

"supporting a Holocaust denier in the 1980s"
can mean two things:

1.Backing his right to publish
2.Endorsing his argument

Apart from Sam, we seem to be agreed that Chomsky did the first rather than the second, and I think we're agreed that we'd disagree with him for doing so (though as someone who's always worried more about Stalinism than anarchism, I am alwys tempted towards anti-censorship positions).

Hands up those who think this mis-states where we're at on this.

The Left and bin Laden's death - I think largely it's been "yeah, I suppose we ought to be upset at the way it's done, but it's hard to get too bothered" while it is in fact genuine liberals who are more outraged on the modalities. I've re-posted my reaction upthread, so I'm not going to bother to repeat, but someone could try addressing some of that instead of tilting at windmills.

On the American celebrations - perhaps if Bob wanted to re-raise the level of debate [and it is one of the interesting things here, when things are working well, is that people of such widely different opinion do get a chance to interrogate each other views]he might want to points made in comments 1,2,and 4 on this thread that Jogo has the whole thing ass-backwards and is engaging in sub-P.J.'O@Rourke diatribe. and as with bensix and the WWE, many of us liberal European elitists[sic]don't find Americans that offensive, it's more the American liberals who worry about what image is being presented to the world (though obviously not Jon Stewart this time round).

Briefly, I stll don't think civic nationalism really covers the OP, and I think there's some irregular verbage involved in casting Levi9909's[ CC - when I saw you put it as "Levininezeros I did mean to say that seems like Greek to me]analyses of modernity's behaviour as ad hominem attacks, but que sera, sera.

skidmarx said...

"you have also claimed Israel's ethnic cleansing to have been unsuccessful"
I did see someone point out recently that this argument is very similar to that of Nazis who claim that there can't have been a Holocaust because there are still Jews around today.

Levi9909 said...

There are those of us who base our views on evidence, reason and arguments

And then there is Moddy who rarely presents evidence and when he does it doesn't tally with the point he is trying to make.

This is pretty much the same point I was making contrasting my own reality based position with Bob (and Moddy's) prejudice based positions. Hence, Moddy wants Israel to get away with anything it does to Lebanon so he ranks suggesting Hezbollah shouldn't be disarmed to holocaust denial and 9/11 troofism. And I've only just set out a couple of items from Bob's prejudice based wish-list.

The difference between what I am saying and what Moddy is saying is that I can back up what I am saying by reference to, er, "evidence, reason and arguments" whereas all Moddy can do is scream "burn the witch".

ModernityBlog said...

I'm astonished nowadays that apparently literate people with access to the Internet can be so profoundly ignorant of history and this episode with Chomsky.

It has been dealt with in so many places.

I would heartily recommend reading the work of the French scholar, Pierre Vidal-Naquet.

Or in the case of Elf and Skidmarx, getting someone to read it to them, slowly, explaining each point bit by bit over the coming weeks, then drawing some nice pretty pictures, and explaining it again.


ModernityBlog said...

This is the English language version,

Levi9909 said...

Moddy - You've presented as evidence something written by someone Hitchens already adequately critiqued in what I presented. You're doing it again. As with the bin Laden claim, you are presenting discredited evidence as sound evidence. And for what? To prove that Chomsky supports first amendment rights. Which American intellectual doesn't? But ok, we all accept that he supported a person's right to write whatever they wanted but it is only relevant to anything if you are suggesting he supports the contentions of the denier, which he doesn't. Just to be explicit here. Pierre Vidal-Naquet makes out that Chomsky supported the truth of what Faurisson was saying. He didn't. Again see Hitchens.

And of course you are still refusing to acknowledge your smear that had you making Chomsky out to be suggesting persons other than al Qaida were responsible for 9/11 when all he said is that the case against bin Laden remained to be made and it does.

In both of your "arguments", neither evidence or reason support what you are claiming.

skidmarx said...

"I would heartily recommend reading the work of the French scholar, Pierre Vidal-Naquet."
Of course all you're really interested in is the fact that he's the main source of criticism of Chomsky on this.
His criticisms in the linked article are summarised in the wikipedia article on the subject, along with Chomsky's response, which seems to be perfectly adequate in its dismissal of Naquet's interpretation of "findings", as well as re-stating the difference between supporting and defending the rights of. When Naquet concludes "You had the right to say: my worst enemy has the right to be free, on condition that he not ask for my death or that of my brothers. You did not have the right to say: my worst enemy is a comrade.", he's distorting what Chomsky says and simply insisting that Chomsky not support Faurisson's freedom of speech, something I may disagree with Chomsky about, but it's still up to modernity to show that what he's doing is support rather than defence of rights.

skidmarx said...

Levi9909 - I should probably have taken a look at the Hitchens, so as not to be needlessly repeating. In passing on the organs thing, I think you have the balance right.

ModernityBlog said...

I should remind readers that we have done this topic to bits, many times on this blog and elsewhere:

"I also feel Chomsky is less than honest about the Faurisson affair. This was, of course, the 1979 controversy when Chomsky signed a petition circulated by the ex-leftist Serge Thion defending the "respected" Robert Faurisson and his "findings" about the Holocaust, which "fearful officials" allegedly tried to suppress. Chomsky claims the key word ("findings") "is absolutely neutral" - an absurd claim. "

ModernityBlog said...

"No problems, I'll happily re-state my argument which is that

1) Chomsky is essentially soft on rightwing militia depend on where they come from
2) Chomsky supports the increase of guns and armaments into a volatile region of the world, the Middle East
3) Chomsky wouldn't support the arming of rightwing militia in the United States, because that's a bit too close to home, yet he's happy for rightwing militia in Lebanon to be up to their eyeballs in guns rockets and other useless killing machinery

4) that is not the stance of a consistent intellectual, and certainly not the world’s greatest intellectual."

skidmarx said...

Following the links I come to these two statements by Modernity:
"Part of Sand’s work retreads a well-trodden path from Arthur Koestler, to any number of dubious Far Right web sites"
"The logical reason why I wouldn’t critique Sand’s work is that I don’t have a copy of the book."
Eerily similar to Naquet's allegation about Chomsky, he has read it and he hasn't.

skidmarx said...

Shorter modernity - there's no difference in context between Timothy McVeigh and Hassan Nasrallah, and Chomsky has educated himself into such ignorance that he can't see this or how much better armed Hezbollah are than the IDF.

Oh and the link to Bob calling Michael Moore a "blowhard" does tend to confirm Levi's assessment of him for me, but at least Bob couldn't be easily replaced by a bespoke comment generator.

bob said...

First, to repeat my position on Chomsky, as I was reminded via the "blowhard" link: Just to be absolutely clear: Chomsky is not a denier of the genocide in Cambodia or of the Nazi Holocaust. However, first, he has on a number of occasions minimised, relativised, or explained away Pol Pot’s genocidal regime, and also Milosevic's genocidal regime. He does this through tendentious comparisons, inappropriate analogies, and excessive and selective contextualisation. He picks the highest estimates for kill rates by regimes he dislikes and quotes them as facts, and he picks the lowest estimates for kill rates by regimes opposed to those he dislikes and again cites these as facts. His scholarly mode of presentation adds an aura of respectability to those who have less savoury motives for similarly minimising such genocides. Second, his defence of the free speech of actual deniers is sometimes robust enough to slip over into actual endorsement of their claims, as in the Vielle Taupe affair cited at the start of this comment thread, and in the Diane Johnstone affair I’ve dealt with elsewhere.

bob said...

I know it's very unfashionable to quote Oliver Kamm, but I think he gets it right here: 'Faced with the facts of Faurisson's antisemitism, the apologist for Chomsky will move from denying them to denying that Chomsky could haveknown about them. Faced with the fact that Chomsky did know about them - from the writings of Vidal-Naquet, if not at first hand - the apologist will deny (typically without having read it) that Vidal-Naquet gave a sufficiently convincing account of Faurisson's antisemitism. And when all else fails, the apologist will revert to the straw man he first thought of: that we critics libel Chomsky as a Holocaust denier. Our case is not so easy to dismiss. Chomsky is not a Holocaust denier and is not an antisemite. He does not assert the factual accuracy of Faurisson's absurd and pernicious claims about the Holocaust. Chomsky did, however, defend the political legitimacy of those claims, stating that he saw "no antisemitic implications in denial of the existence of gas chambers, or even denial of the Holocaust".'

Kamm spells it out more carefully hereFaurisson was convicted in a civil not a criminal trial, brought not by the state but by two anti-racist groups, not for the content of his opinions but for falsifying history. The charge was, as I have indicated, correct and proven. Whether the trial itself was a good idea is another matter – I believe it was not, and that historical falsification ought to be policed by historians alone rather than by the courts – but the notion that Faurisson’s freedom of speech was at stake is mendacious nonsense. Faurisson was also convicted on separate charges of slandering another historian, and of incitement to racial hatred on account of antisemitic remarks made in a radio interview; again, both of these charges were correct, and in my view both prosecutions were justified...

Chomsky’s own position on the Faurisson affair is recorded in his essay Quelques commentaires elementaires sur le droit a la liberte d'expression, rendered in English as Some Elementary Comments on The Rights of Freedom of Expression. This essay was reproduced by Faurisson as an ‘avis’ (opinion) in his book Memoire en defense (Testimony in Defence). One of the many myths propagated by Chomsky’s admirers on this subject is that Faurisson published the essay without Chomsky’s consent. In fact Professor Arno J. Mayer of Princeton spoke to Chomsky a month before publication of the book, when Chomsky confirmed that he knew exactly the use to which his own essay would be put. Further, according to the report of an interview in the Italian newspaper, La Stampa, 18 December 1980, Chomsky confirmed that even with the benefit of hindsight he considered that his essay had not been misused...

bob said...

[Hitchens and others] all overlook the fact that when Chomsky described Faurisson as “a sort of relatively apolitical liberal” he was already aware of the character of Faurisson’s views.... How do I know this? Because in the same essay Chomsky himself tells us so: "The fact that I had signed the petition [in Faurisson’s case] aroused a storm of protest in France. In the Nouvel Observateur, an ex-Stalinist who has changed allegiance but not intellectual style published a grossly falsified version of the contents of the petition, amidst a stream of falsehoods that merit no comment. This, however, I have come to regard as normal. I was considerably more surprised to read in [Vidal-Naquest's book] Esprit (September 1980) that Pierre Vidal-Naquet found the petition "scandaleuse," citing specifically that fact that I had signed it (I omit the discussion of an accompanying article by the editor that again merits no comment, at least among people who retain a commitment to elementary values of truth and honesty)." Kamm quotes from Vidal-Naquet's book, which Chomsky says here he had already read, showing that it shows Faurisson the many ways in which Faurisson denied the Holocaust. That is, Chomsky cannot honestly claim he ignorant of why Faurisson could not be called an apolitical liberal.

Meanwhile, just saw this: Hitchens contra Chomsky re 9/11, American raids and al-Qaeda from October 2001, rehearsing some of these same arguments (see here for start of the debate). Many of the issues are summarised and analysed well, in my view, at the Mekong Net site (at greater length here).

Also see Johan Hari on Chomsky, for a more ambivalent view.

skidmarx said...

Chomsky does seem to nail Hitchens in his re-rejoinder. I could repeat what Chomsky says, but perhaps it would be better to "to waste no more time on these shameful meanderings."

ModernityBlog said...


Have you ever been into an establishment that you know is going downhill?

Slowly the customers move away, only returning if forced to, the proprietor does not seem to notice too wrapped up in his own world of declining returns and then the shop goes bankrupt for want of customers.

That happens in the blogging world too.

Good blogs don't keep up with changes, let bigots or racists drive away reasonable posters and go into decline, but unlike the shop example they don't go bankrupt, rather they are hollow examples of what they were before. By the same token, I suspect many posters have just stopped dropping by with the offputting presence of Elf and Skidmarx.

I seen it before, so have you, the effect of letting the crazies takeover and on a couple of blogs I no longer, comment, link or post articles to them.

That is the net effect of racism and that's why it needs to be nipped in the bud, it sours any exchange, brings them down to the lowest level, etc.

But this is your blog and you can argue with who you like, when you like.

I hadn't wanted your blog to go the way of other blogs.

Other commentors might simply have walked away, I wanted to bring this to your attention and you to act, but you haven’t, and unlike your political answers your responses to this issue have been, frankly, feeble.

But this is your blog, and I will leave you to the company of Elf and his merry band of crazies, in the hope that one day you will tire of them :)

Anyway, when you finally get bored of the echo chamber of these Zioncentric crazies, then drop me an e-mail I might pop back.

PS: I do enjoy your posts, but I am not hanging around whilst liberalist angst allows middle-class racism to be practiced. I wouldn't put up with such behaviour in the street and I see no good reason to tolerate it on a blog.

ModernityBlog said...

“As for Modernity's query: I do hope bob will not enforce any moderation policies based on ideology. It

is very frustrating on such sites as "Engage" or Juan Cole when you can't get a comment through if it budges from the website's tight party lines. My own rule of thumb is: no profanity and no personal information. Much as I thoroughly dislike, disdain, deride and abhor levi9Xo's putrid positions, I think his comments ought to be allowed. When he was being too pesty and rude on my blog I asked him politely to leave and he graciously obeyed. If Bob finds him as annoying as I do, he can ask him to leave. But banning? No. “


I hate to belabour this point, as you seem to be under some misapprehension on my views, but as this will be my last comment at Bob’s I felt I should reply to your remarks.

I do not favour banning people.

I do not favour a party line.

I am a pluralist I like an open debate.

However, I’m realistic enough to realise crazies like Elf ruin discussions with others and your solution would have been perfect.

You know this as well as I do nothing gets through to Elf, you could argue for five years and a day and he would still hold his irrational beliefs.

But I still think Elf should be allowed to spout them, he has his own blog, the UK mailing list and numerous fringe establishments that welcome him.

I just really object to people posting links to racist websites, without an apology, without even knowing what they’ve done.

It’s not difficult to have a broad comments policy, many sites do it.

They allow an expansive discussion without the vitriol and racism that comes along with these crazies, something like this:

A simple comments policy,

"1. Post anything racist and you risk getting banned.
2. Think before you post, you will be presumed as an adult and treated as such, don’t post racist material or link to web sites that do.
3. In the event of posting racist stuff you will be warned once, then banned if you do it again.
4. Ignorance of racism is no excuse, inform yourself and act in a mature fashion.”

Not hard. Anyway enjoy Elf and Co :)

bob said...

Sorry to hear that Mod. I hope to be able to welcome you back soon. Just to repeat, racist links are not welcome, and I have deleted the ones here. But I am not ready to do banning or barring, partly for the reasons Noga says, and maybe for the middle class liberal reasons you mention (but not guilt).

I'm away the next two days, so, mice, play as nice as you can. I will not be rescuing the stuff that gets sent to spam.

ModernityBlog said...


Finally, yes, you do delete them which is, useless.

But you utterly failed to deal with the person who post them.

You don't even speak to him in harsh tones.

The next time he starts posting dodgy stuff I won't be around to check it.

I can't imagine that if someone was pushing Jew Watch and the Protocols on Lewisham High Street that you wouldn't at least remonstrate with them?

I can't imagine that if they were persistently in this area that you might take harsher measures, yet on your blog you do nothing but delete it as if it didn't exist.

That's not the way to deal with racism or racists, to pretend it wasn't there in the first place. Hmm..

Surely, you can see all of this? It ain't complex...

bob said...

I don't think I deleted it as if it wasn't ever there - it was the subject of debate before I even saw it, with people having ago, and me explaining why it was offensive, a little bit of remonstrating - then, this morning, I deleted it. True, it took me a day or so, and I would have acted quicker if it had been a clickable link. I'm starting to realise that running a blog is more full-time than I had thought!

(Btw, I didn't realise OccPal was offensive until i saw your post; I wasn't familiar with it previously. Thanks for doing the work.)

bob said...

Having a go, not having ago

Waterloo Sunset said...

There is precedent on the whole "accidentally linking to racist sites" issue, with AGT, although that was on his blog. He dealt with it correctly though, by apologising, putting out a statement explaining the mistake and deleting the link.

In terms of apologetic responses, I'd put Skid at a midpoint between AGT's response and the Propagandist going "yeah, we link to racists and publicise far right events, fuck you, they're pro Israel so who cares". I'm paraphrasing, obviously, but I don't think I'm twisting the gist of their argument too much.

On Sam's point about discussions being repeatedly dragged back to Israel/Palestine, it's something that irritates me to.

Bob, if you're getting annoyed with it, there's a really easy solution. Delete any comments that mention Israel/Palestine, apart from on OPs that are about that subject. All of them- getting into who did it first is never productive. If you want to make the point more forcefully, delete all the comments by the offender on that post, even those ones that aren't the issue.

kellie said...

An alternative to W Sunset's suggestion would be to have an off topic thread or a ziocentric thread to send these discussions to, by reposting the first such comment there and directing anyone wanting to respond to follow.

Levi9909 said...

WS - of course it's relevant who initiates discussion about any topic, expecially if it's Bob or someone supporting Bob's position on a post or in a thread. Also, I remember you taking positions on I/P that you couldn't sustain or justify so what you are suggesting could simply be a way of defending your own position.

Similarly, I don't see Moddy's stand as a principled one. He's accusing Skidmarx of linking to racist sites willy nilly which he doesn't. But what's he accusing me of?

Check back through the thread. Skidmarx gave a link to a Chomsky statement on the killing of bin Laden. Moddy then made points about Chomsky that he can't sustain. Whether or not Chomsky supports the right of people to deny the holocaust is a complete irrelevance given that he doesn't support holocaust denial. So let's concede Moddy's point that Chomsky supported a holocaust denier - though the case was by no means straight forward.

But then we get Moddy's critque of Chomsky's statement that Obama lied about 9/11. The statement is true and Moddy has engaged in the most dubious argumentation to support his notion that Chomsky was claiming that someone other than bin Laden or al Qaida was responsible for 9/11.

And then we get from Moddy Chomsky's belief that Hezbollah shouldn't be forced to disarm which is perfectly sound unless you support Israel's right to run riot (at best) throughout the south of Lebanon.

I think the main things that should be deleted are unsupported allegations of dishonesty or comments that are plainly off topic. In this instance, it seems to have been moddy who raised the issues of holocaust denial and Hezbollah (and by extension Israel). It is also usually moddy who makes unfounded claims of dishonesty.

Still now Moddy's removed himself perhaps we'll less of the false allegations of dishonesty and less off topic discussions of Palestine, its occupiers and its neighbours.

Waterloo Sunset said...

@ Levi

of course it's relevant who initiates discussion about any topic, expecially if it's Bob or someone supporting Bob's position on a post or in a thread.

Not if the objective is to try and stop it happening on every thread, it's not. Put simply, I'm talking about a policy. Kellie's suggestion is also decent. And in either of those cases, who started it is entirely irrelevant to the policy's implementation. Not if it's just going to be applied consistently across the board. Note that it hasn't been implemented and Bob may not wish to, hence any complaints that it's currently inconsistent are entirely missing the point.

Also, I remember you taking positions on I/P that you couldn't sustain or justify so what you are suggesting could simply be a way of defending your own position.

Really old chap? I seem to recall you grandly announcing you didn't want to discuss it with me anymore. I'm not accusing you of lying to be clear, just confirmation bias. And I'm not calling for it to never be discussed, simply for it not to be on OPs where it has no relevance.

Sometimes things are as straightforward as they seem. I'm bored of every thread having it brought up and I don't care who started it. Apart from anything else, the Tories are currently engaging in fullblown class war and, just perhaps, it's time for the cobweb left to actually start addressing that as opposed to dicking around about events elsewhere over which they have no chance of real influence.

The rest of your post seems to be about Modernity, so I'm not sure why you've addressed it to me. If I've somehow given off the false impression that I care about other people's internet spats, I can only apologise for misleading you.

BobFromBrockley said...

Finally, is back up and I can leave this comment!

Blogger's temporary outage has probably spared me having to read lots of comments on this post accumulating while I was away, and may have prematurely drawn this to a close. Whether it would continue on its own steam or not, I think it is time for it to come to an end. I wanted to thank WS and Kellie for their comments, and will ignore Levi's.

What I did want to say, before closing, is this: PROMOTIONAL LINKS TO RACIST WEBSITES WILL FROM NOW ON NOT BE TOLERATED. There are only so many times that anyone can get away with accidentally posting links to racist websites. I should have been much clearer, much earlier, that this is completely unacceptable here. So, from now on, think before you post a link. If in doubt, check it out. Dodginess will be deleted. And people continuing to post dodgy stuff will find their comments deleted. I hope that's clear.

Also, and this is less important, I am going to be less tolerant with personal abuse.

Please respect my ground rules, or leave the house. That's all.

bob said...

P.S. I think I might adopt Paul Stott's new comment policy:
1. Keep the threats and abuse to a minimum2. Try to make your comments shorter than the piece you are commenting upon
3. Avoid posting up scores of links to youtube clips and Google vids. It is one of the traits of the 9/11 truth movement - a link is believed to trump a concise argument. It does not.
4. Remember this blog is paid for and run by Mossad/New Labour/Zionist-Rothschildism/Me, and that all posts should be viewed in that light.

Flesh said...

This is somewhat of a relief for me, Bob. Like Mod I'd been feeling increasingly alienated from this blog, and that BfB was becoming, rather than a community and important site of inquiry, instead another place where anti-Israel activists are free to conduct their abusive, slanted, discriminatory obsessions, while the others (you foremost, to your great credit) are obliged to fact-check and respond. I've had a bellyful of this already, and to see it play out here filled me with sadness and foreboding. I may generally be a silent participant rather than a contributor, but I'm very active in my silence and it mattered to me. I was trying to find the words for some time, but kept succumbing to the conclusion that "It's your blog". So I'd like to thank Mod for bringing it up and you for taking the responsibility of arbitrating what should and shouldn't be permitted in your comments threads. In adopting a comments policy, clearly you're reluctantly responding to the abusers of free expression, rather than abusing it yourself.

Levi9909 said...

I suppose it would be trite to ask for examples of "where anti-Israel activists....conduct their abusive, slanted, discriminatory obsessions" on this blog.

Waterloo Sunset said...

On the metaissue of commenting policy. I know that you probably haven't entirely ironed the details in your mind yet, so consider this a contribution to that process.

On linking, a few issues spring up instantly. We've touched on this before, but you need to make a decision on what the preferred process is when people are linking/citing dodgy sources in order to criticise them. Atzmon is an obvious example. If somebody is describing Atzmon as an antisemite and wishes to show this through his own words, which of the following is your favourite option? Link to him, but break the link so it isn't direct? Quote his words, but don't provide a source for them? (People can always Google after all). Or criticise him without directly citing him at all?

The second pair of issues surrounding linking is even more of a hot potato. Does this include people who link to dodgy sites elsewhere on the net and have been proven to do so? In the case of collective blogs, are all 'above the line' commentators responsible for the actions of that blog?

There's two obvious incidents that have brought these issues to the fore. The first is 'Fitzgate'. You recently had Mikey Ezra do a guest post, despite the fact he's a member of a blogging team that gave posting rights to a racist. With that case, you can at least argue that a) they didn't know he was a racist and removed the link when they realised he was and b) they do seem to recognise it was a fuck-up (there hasn't been an apology but HP aren't known for being great at admitting when they're in the wrong). Neither of those factors applies to my old sparring partners over at the propagandist. They openly linked to a JDL event, they openly link to the anti-Muslim crowd and they're utterly unapologetic about doing either. With that being the case, how can you not ban all their contributors from commenting here and still have this as a consistent policy?

On Paul's rules, I don't think they work here really.

1) is fair enough, even if I am a bit amused, considering the CW milieu are the poster children for abuse as political argument. As a minor point, does that include personal abuse of people who aren't commenting? Public figures etc.

2) I accept I'm possibly suffering from confirmation bias as one of the worst offenders on comment length, but I don't think that will work here. Firstly, a lot of your posts are clearing houses of links. That's fine, but it means they're shorter than their content suggests. In an average post of this type, you're linking to at least 10 full sized blog posts. Secondly, the nature of discussions here is different than over at Paul's. They tend towards being a bit more indepth. A good example would be the debate about Vietnam, which included me, John G, Skidmarx and Mikey, among others. Because that post ended up with quite a detailed argument about various academic sources, comment length reflected that. And it was a discussion that I seem to recall a lot of people saying they thought was really high quality. And sometimes threads develop in a different way anyway- this discussion about blog policy being a good example.

3) Nah, Paul's just being a Luddite. Assuming it's a discussion where providing sources is valid/preferable, there's nothing wrong with people using Internet sources. Let the legitimacy of sources be judged on content, not format.

bob said...

Thanks very much Flesh and Waterloo. Some good and interesting points raised. Yes, I am still evolving in my own thinking, and imagine I will continue to do so as long as I carry on blogging.

a. On the linking question. I don't have a hard, fast rule. I would avoid linking to any kind of white supremacist site, but I am not sure that I would say it shouldn't be done. (There are two practical reasons not to - so they don't pique their attention and so they don't get any google juice - as well as the abstract No Platform principle, but unclickable links or redirects like tinyurl get around that.)

On the other hand, I have linked to 9/11 truth type sites or to Islamist type sites, and to some, er, "intensified" anti-Zionist sites I consider borderline antisemitic. Is that just because I don't have the same in-grained taboo? Maybe. But also I think The Public (as in broadly sane leftish web-surfers) need to be persuaded through the evidence of the bad-ness of those sorts of politics, and won't accept someone's word so readily.

I am pretty sure I have never deliberately hyperlinked to Atzmon's website, or Israel Shamir's, but it is possible I have pasted someone else's text that includes a hyperlink.

bob said...

b. On collective responsibility: I tend to think that there is a big gap between Fitzgate and Prop-ist. Fitzgate, for me, is ultimately not about racism but a sad story about a sick alcoholic's inner demons. Perhaps I'm too forgiving, then, but I don't hold HP contributors responsible for it and think ultimately HP more or less did the right thing. (By the way, I think Andy Newman, after using it as a stick to beat HP with, continues to allow Fitz to comment there. To be honest, I'm not sure what I'd do if Fitz commented here.)

On Propagandist. I see Terry Glavin, Eamonn McD, Ben Cohen, Roland Dodds, Karl Pfeifer and Lauren Oates as basically good peoples, and would not want to ban or boycott them, but I have to say I would have been a lot happier if they were all clearer in condemning the editor's dallying with the JDL and Wilders. I haven't visited there for a while, so I'm not sure what the state of play is now.

[Actually, just took a peak, and it bizarrely links to a parallel issue, Stephen Pollard of the JC on being taken to task by the Guardian, which regularly publishes Hamas voices, for publishing a completely outrageous piece by Geoffrey Alderman ]

Actually, there's another issue. Which is crackpot antisemitic Speak Your Brains type comments on old posts, which I sometimes feel it is better to leave as a kind of historical record, to remind us of the madness in the world. Check out the comments here: I feel reluctant to remove them.

bob said...

c. Paul's first rule. I think threats and abuse against public figures is fine. Threats and abuse against me is not too bad. Threats and abuse against not so public blogosphere antagonists not actually contributing to the comment thread are borderline. Threats and abuse by my enemies against my friends in the comment thread is completely unacceptable, although if my friends (like Noga) say bring it on I am reluctant to delete. Threats and abuse by my friends against my enemies might get the odd free pass. Totally contradictory - I know!

d. Paul's second rule: I'm fine with long comments and long comment threads. In fact, in general I welcome them, although in specific instances I might not. Some long comments here (e.g. Slack Andy's defence of Chomsky, Social Republican's analysis of Green antisemitism, one of yours WS on anti-fascism) I've thought have been worth publishing as guest posts.

bob said...

e. Paul's third rule. Lots of links and youtubes I don't mind either. Obviously, we have one mutual friend here who irritates me immensely by dropping in loads - as one commenter above said, why doesn't he just start his own blog? But as a rule it is silly.

f. Paul's fourth rule ("Remember this blog is paid for and run by Mossad/New Labour/Zionist-Rothschildism/Me, and that all posts should be viewed in that light."), however, almost certainly applies in my case.