Tidbits on a Sunday Evening


First of all, I had to share this photo above from Vancouver. While my schedule proved to be too unpredictable to meet TWN readers in that city, I did catch up with some of Oakley the Amazing Weimaraner‘s cousins. These two are Jethro and Ellie May. Great dogs.
This caught my eye. Mary Cheney’s book, whose most important line is that President Bush is trying to write discrimination into the Constitution, has only sold 6,000 books. Bad news, I think, for Mary Matalin who helped arrange a $1 million advance.
In other news, “War on Terror” profiteer James Woolsey chastises his church for trying to punish firms involved in the razing of Palestinian homes. Woolsey didn’t stop at just saying that such principled stands against indirectly involved companies were often not successful — he went further to paint the Palestinians as a total lost cause — the implication being that their homes probably should be razed, or at least that’s the way he sounds. The Zionist Organization of America agrees with Woolsey. TWN does not.
More later.
— Steve Clemons


22 comments on “Tidbits on a Sunday Evening

  1. larry birnbaum says:

    “..you totally lack any knowledge of factual history regarding Germany and all the factors involved in WWII and the Jews…one word…get an education…and not from your religious source….it was far more involved than you try to portray.”
    I cannot begin to fathom why someone would say something like this. But this topic is clearly a Rorschach test for … something.
    I’m done.


  2. Carroll says:

    Ugh..here we go again with the nut cases…..
    Larry my dear..you totally lack any knowledge of factual history regarding Germany and all the factors involved in WWII and the Jews…one word…get an education…and not from your religious source….it was far more involved than you try to portray.
    Judith my dear..you are a true clutist…please go thru your kitchen and throw out all envelopes labeled kookaide before you do yourself harm.


  3. larry birnbaum says:

    “Using THAT bit of unadulterated hogwash you could make the argument that the Jews that didn’t make it through the holocaust DESERVED the ovens.”
    Like I said, brings out all sorts of things in people. In case it isn’t obvious, even as just hyperbole aimed at making a point, this is hurtful — intentionally hurtful — language.
    It’s harsh to put suffering on a scale and weigh it. Up to 40,000 Iraqi civilians have been killed in the war, many no doubt as a result of US military actions. Estimates of the number who have died in Darfur run as high as 10 times that many. My point, again, is not that the deaths of Palestinians don’t matter, it’s simply to point out that the level of emotion attached to this issue is, in some people, far higher than the level of emotion attached to what is happening in Iraq (even though that is directly our responsiblity) or Darfur. And that this calls out for an explanation.
    My point about the obligations of Christian churches was misunderstood. My point was not that the Christians have no right to criticize Israel given what they’ve done themselves in the past. My point was that given the long history of Christian projection of sin onto the Jews, and then punishment of the Jews for that projected sin, churches have a special obligation to scrutinize their motives in this situation. Perhaps the Presbyterian church did so in this instance. But I have no evidence that they did.


  4. Pissed Off American says:

    “I do not say if you win its okay with God; I say if you’re a winner in the long run of time it must have been okay with God for he has blessed you and your family, peoples, race, nation, in the fact that you are yet living and go on; those in the dustbin are their from incorrect choices in the eyes of God.”
    (Gee, just call it “D.I.E.”…. Divinely Inspired Evolution)
    Gads, what a bunch of ignorant evil bullshit. Using THAT bit of unadulterated hogwash you could make the argument that the Jews that didn’t make it through the holocaust DESERVED the ovens.
    Sometimes I read crap such as yours and it becomes painfully obvious why mankind continues the same kind of murderous actions today as he has for thousands of years. It’s truly a pity we can’t exile your kind to some deserted isle, give you meat clevers and lances, and turn you loose on each other.


  5. Den Valdron says:

    With all compassion, I can only say that your opinions are vile and repulsive, small minded and self satisfied, and do not reflect well on you.
    In particular, I find your equation of survival with Gods approval to be theologically suspect and not a little bit repugnant. The notion that all who have passed did so for incurring Gods ire is also repugnant. It is also, and I know no better or kinder way to put this, moronic.
    The reality is that life is 100% fatal. Everyone dies. God plays no favourites there. The reality is that 99% of the cultures and civilizations that have existed in the human story are extinct. On a larger level, 99% of all the plant and animal species that have existed are extinct.
    The lesson of history is that the current crop are not favoured for eternal grace, but are merely the current crop, gifted by luck or circumstance to have their day and pass away. No moral virtue comes automatically with their current success. If virtue is to be acknowledged, then it is a quality striven for, and not bequeathed.
    To suggest God’s favour and forgiveness is simply by virtue that a thug is particularly successful is absurd.
    As for your excerpt, I will make the following observations.
    1) It may or may not be true. Propaganda and fabrications of this sort were common in that era. The account records no verification. It does record, however, a great many leaped conclusions and reconstructions which could not be justified, but which were coloured to inflame.
    2) While it might possibly be true, it is at best an incomplete account which gives little description of the circumstances or context, in either the particular or larger sense. We do not know what this expedition of immigrants was doing, whether they had perpetrated their own massacre or attacks or were merely innocent victims. We do not know about the relations of Indians and Whites in this area, or whether there was a state of active warfare and the immigrants had marched knowingly or unknowingly into it. We do know, however, that the immigrants were travelling into Indian territories to expropriate and steal the lands from those who currently lived there and to eliminate or expell those same persons. In short, you are cherry picking your atrocities without any acknowledgement of the larger picture.
    3) As part of that larger picture, you blithely ignore atrocities going the other way, including, arguably, that the atrocities were as likely to belong to the whites as the Indians. I’m not going to trade you horror stories. I will however, make some observations that the practice of scalping originated with whites not indians, and was used to pay bounties. Its hard to justify the treatment of Indians of the time on the basis that they were immoral and savage, if the whites were themselves equally immoral and savage.
    4) Finally, I will say that two wrongs never make a right. A massacre by Indians is repulsive and objectionable. On the other hand it does not justify a massacre by whites, any more than it is is justified. Nor does it relieve those with power from responsibilities for the oppression of those without power.
    And yes Judith, after exposure to your morally degenerate views of the world and of God, I do believe I will need to scrub down to my soul.


  6. judith says:

    I do not say if you win its okay with God; I say if you’re a winner in the long run of time it must have been okay with God for he has blessed you and your family, peoples, race, nation, in the fact that you are yet living and go on; those in the dustbin are their from incorrect choices in the eyes of God.
    A reminder why your Indians were dustbined by God with their false gods that did them no good:
    The Union Democrat – Sonora, Tuolumne Co., CA
    Saturday, 7 Oct 1854
    “INDIAN OUTRAGE — The following letter, published in the Oregonian (Portland, O.T.), gives a detailed account of the late massacre of immigrants in the vicinity of Fort Boise, by the Shoshonees, or Snake
    Indians. The writer, John F. NOBLE, was on his return, by the overland route, from a visit to the Atlantic States:
    “On the morning of the 22nd of August last, a party of 18 men left Fort Boise, for the purpose of rescuing 3 ladies and a number of children, who
    were supposed to be in the hand of a party of “Winnass” Indians, (one of the small tribes of Snakes, who live on Boise river), who attacked Mr.
    Alexander WARDÂ’s train, from Missouri, on the 26th of August, about 25 miles above Fort Boise, on the south side of Boise river.
    “This party, on arriving at the place where the first attack was made, found the bodies of Alexander WARD, and Robert, his oldest son, Samuel Mulligan, Charles ADAMS, William BABCOCK and a German whose name is unknown.
    “Following the trail, for about 300 yards, the body of young AMON was found — a lad of 17 years of age. He was 1 of 7 who came to the rescue, on the
    day of the attack, with William YANTIS. This young man fought with great valor, pursuing the Indians to the bushes, where he was killed. About 100
    yards farther on, the body of Miss WARD was found, having been shot through the head with a musket-ball. Her body was much bruised, her hand showing signs of a desperate fight in resisting off the fiendish attempts of the [illeg] violate her youthful person. The marks of [illeg] were plainly
    indented upon her left cheek; [illeg] a hot piece of iron had been thrust into her person, doubtless whist alive, as a punishment for her resistance.
    “About 50 yards farther on, in the brush, 3 wagons were burned. The trail was followed up, and in about 600 yards the body of Mrs. WHITE was found,
    stripped of her clothing, and scalped. Her head was beaten in by clubs, and also a musket-ball had passed through her head. Her person showed signs of
    the most brutal violence.
    “In about 30 yards farther, upon the north bank of the river, their place of encampment was discovered. It consisted of 16 lodges, made of willow bushes. Here the bodies of Mrs. WARD and 3 children were found.
    “Mrs. WARD was lying in the encampment, in front of the fire. Her body had been robbed of all its covering, and was much cut and scarred by bruises.
    Her face had a deep wound, inflicted by a tomahawk, which probably caused her death.
    “The children were lying upon the fire, in front of her, having evidently been burned alive, as a portion of the hair still remained upon their
    heads, showing they had been held by the hair until they were burned to death, in front of their mother, and she doubtless was compelled to witness
    the horrid barbarity. She was soon to give birth to another child, which rendered the sight still more shocking. Several parts of limbs were picked up at some distance from the fire, having been dragged away by the wolves, or the Indian dogs; for several had been left in camp by them.”
    Remind you of anyone that you presently champion, Den?
    Time for another shower; scrub down to your soul.


  7. Matthew says:

    Eli: It’s even sadder. There is no belief in law. We supposedly learned at Nuremberg that there were non-negotiatable norms of behavior. Just like the Geneva Convention, I guess those are “quaint”….


  8. Eli Rabett says:

    It’s sad how many wars boil down to my grandpa pissed on this earth so it belongs to my family for all eternity.


  9. Den Valdron says:

    Gee Whiz Judith, I admire your committment to social darwinism as the natural order of things and apparently ordained by God’s will. What other atrocities is God in the business of endorsing?
    You seem to be saying that if you win, then its okay with God. So the real sin of the Nazi’s was that they lost?
    You seem to be saying that it is natural and just for the strong to oppress the weak, and that morality is for crybabies soon to be discarded on histories dustbin. I dunno about that. The historical record does not support you, the dustbin is pretty full of tyrannies that did not endure, oppressions that eventually devoured their oppressors and people who believed as you did and failed.
    Judith, let me say that I have seldom heard such profoundly repellent and vile sentiments couched so nicely. Reading the words in your last post made me want to shower. I beg that you read your own words and consider them carefully. If you truly believe in these things, then I don’t think we will have much to say to each other.
    I actually work for American Indians, pushing back and trying to remedy or ameliorate the injustices of the past. See, even when the Indians were being screwed over, people were saying its wrong. And it hasn’t become ‘right’ over the years.
    In any event, America’s treatment of the Indians a hundred years ago, which is a big goddammed stain on America and its honour, is not a justification for Israel’s treatment of the Indians now. That shit is no longer acceptable.
    The sins of our fathers were sins. They were wrong. The fact that they were a long time ago does not make them right. And, most definitely, the sins of our fathers do not license the sins of today.


  10. judith says:

    Many sins are committed; much guilt is felt; sorrow enters into those who must do cruel things to others. But, if you do sinful deeds to ensure that your seed, the seed of your family, the seed of your race, the seed of your nation, all continue on in life through the generations, then these sins are forgiven by God for you are doing his will by carrying Life onward. Much contemplation and communion with God must be entered into before embarking upon conquest of another for the good of your People. God understands that Life is rough and he forgives those who walk with him their trespasses if those trespasses better ensure that God’s people will flourish. God forgives His People in their struugle for Life.


  11. Frank says:

    Give Woolsey a break. He is polishing up his image with AIPAC. It’s good for the business that he’s in.


  12. judith says:

    All Larry is trying to say is that Israel’s treatment of the Palestinians is exactly like Americans treatment of the Indians, and this kind of stuff has been going on forever, and will continue to go on because that’s Life.
    Israel will take it’s lumps from the do-gooders, who would do the same thing if their own were in Israel’s position because that’s Life.
    Their is much in Life that is very harsh, like my family ascending and subjugating yours, however subtle or overt such dominance may appear. And this happens also on the world stage between peoples and nations and races. That’s life.
    The squeamish amongst us will cry foul like they always have through history and either find their place or become extinct, life being too rough for them.
    Crybabies die out; the courageous carry on through the generations.


  13. Den Valdron says:

    I dunno Larry, you seem to be ducking and weaving there.
    So you are saying that Israel did not steal land from the Palestinians to establish itself?
    It did not dispossess the local population and expell them from its territories?
    It does not occupy the remaining territories of this local population?
    In occupying the remaining territories of this local population it is not engaged in a historical and ongoing policy of stealing or expropriating lands and resources? Including water resources?
    In occupying the remaining territories of this local population, it does not frequently employ military action against said population, firing missiles, using artillary and fighter jets, deploying raids, destroying homes, imposing curfews, controlling movement, arbitrarily cutting off goods and services?
    That it kills Palestinians at a rate of four to one for each Israeli killed?
    That it has invaded a neighboring country and occupied large parts of it for 18 years?
    That in the course of said occupation, it facilitated massacres?
    That it has launched air raids and terrorist actions over the years against other countries in the region?
    Gee Whiz Larry. No projection going on I think. These ‘sins’ really happened, and they really were Israel’s sins.
    Now, your comment might be that its a bit hypocritical for Churches to talk, right now, about Israel’s ongoing sins, instead of dwelling on those committed a hundred years ago during America’s own settlement and land grabs.
    I dunno though. Unless you’re trying to divert attention, my own thinking is that it is human nature for people to be focusing on the here and now. So the stuff that Israel is currently or has recently done is more significant than the stuff done centuries ago. I suppose we could damn the visigoths for invading Rome, damn the Romans for invading Egypt, damn the Hittites for invading Sumer…
    I think that your point is also quite mistaken. You seem to feel that the Presbyterian Churches were wholehandedly engaged in land theft and genocide back in the day… I’ve got two problems with that.
    First, you might have had a better argument with the Catholic Church, particularly in Latin America, which actively did some nasty things to the locals. But the Presbyterian Churches were not really front and centre at the whole ‘steal and kill’ thing. Indeed, many Presbyterian Churches were opposing that sort of thing, and doing their best to stop or ameliorate it, in their own day. So near as I can tell, your allegations on this front seem reflexive and lacking in some indefinable quality of honesty.
    The second thing, Larry, is that you are just sliding over a pretty critical yardstick. And that yardstick is that all this ‘stealing and killing and oppressing’ stuff just stopped being acceptable after 1945.
    Not going to lecture you on history, Larry, but once upon a time… say about 1933 to 1945, there was a real bad bunch of guys who believed, as many had before them, that might makes right. They believed that if they wanted someone elses lands, they could just take them. They believed that the populations of those lands could be intimidated, liquidated, expelled or oppressed. They believed that problematic groups could be eliminated.
    Now, admittedly, these ideas were once fashionable, and had been fashionable for a great long while. But they had begun to fall out of favour, starting to be questionned over the last century or so. Moreover, there was since 1918, a growing feeling that these were not good ideas after all.
    Now, when our ‘bad guys’ rolled around in 1933-1945, they were so awful, and they managed to stink up the place so bad, that their ideas were permanently and perpetually discredited and rejected by the world. The world drew a line and said “this sort of shit will no longer cut it.”
    The problem is that the message hasn’t sunk through for Israel, which by virtue of those same bad guys, seems to believe that it just might have a ‘get out of jail free’ card that would allow it to morally do the sort of stuff the bad guys tried to get away with. Or at least not to be criticized for it.
    Sorry Larry, that don’t wash.


  14. larry birnbaum says:

    The issue certainly brings out the best in people.
    Ven, that’s a complete distortion of what I said. My point is that Christian churches have a particular obligation to be aware of the historical and theological disposition of Christianity to project sins on (historical) Israel as the paschal lamb, and to examine their motives closely in dealing with this issue.
    Pissed Off reminds us that people tell us what they are.


  15. Pissed Off American says:

    lowen brow >”…Judea and Samaria were given to the Israelites by God…”
    Killing over such unverifable claims is pretty lame no matter what your beliefs or which side of the matter you support
    Time to grow up
    “Those who make peaceful change impossible make violent change inevitable” – attributed to John F. Kennedy
    Posted by daCascadian
    Hey, back off. If the Big Boy In The Sky could create the universe in seven days, than he is CERTAINLY capable of giving the asses like Larry an inside scoop.


  16. daCascadian says:

    lowen brow >”…Judea and Samaria were given to the Israelites by God…”
    Killing over such unverifable claims is pretty lame no matter what your beliefs or which side of the matter you support
    Time to grow up
    “Those who make peaceful change impossible make violent change inevitable” – attributed to John F. Kennedy


  17. Pissed Off American says:

    larry birnbaum……
    How long are you scumbags going to use the holocaust as a rationale for your despicable murder, enslavement, and oppression of the Palestinians?


  18. Den Valdron says:

    Larry Birnbaum’s position, as I understand it, is that given that Presbyterians killed or robbed Indians and stole their land a hundred or a couple of hundred years ago, they shouldn’t be complaining now when Israel kills and robs palestinians and steals their lands. Its all part of that happy circle of life, wherein the strong devour the weak, the rich prey upon the poor and inferior races give way to their masters.
    Y’know, there’s a bunch of Germans in the 1930’s and 40’s who saw the world in that exact same way. In fact, they saw the world so clearly that way, and were so enthusiastic about their world view, that those sorts of notions were completely discredited ever since.
    Except for guys like Larry, who seem to feel that there’s merit to it. Of course, Larry knows there are important distinctions between those german guys and himself. The germans were baaaaaaaad men. Larry is a good guy. And those Palestinians are just whiners, and they’re not even white, and they blow themselves up.
    In any case, in Larry’s world, its only a little bit of land that Israel has stolen, not a whole continent, and its only a few million people who are displaced or occupied, and only a few thousands here or there who are killed. So thats all right then.
    In any case, there are bad things happening elsewhere in the world, and Larry would appreciate it if people would focus on those other bad things and leave Israel to its theft and murder in peace.
    A lot of those old Germans felt the same way, the world would just not leave them alone. The way they saw it, it was all self defense, from the first bullet to the last gas chamber.
    It’s a funny old world, isn’t it.


  19. bakho says:

    WTF would buy a book by Mary Cheney? Certainly not her gay bashing friends in the GOP. Certainly not the Democrats she contemptuously vilifies. Who is left? Her partner that would rather she not to write the book? Her friends? Log Cabin Republicans are too tight to waste their money.
    So WTF was the publisher thinking? Book deals are one way to funnel large cash payments to people who otherwise would be unable to accept them. This has become a huge racket. Is there some inside deal at work here?


  20. larry birnbaum says:

    I don’t endorse Woolsey’s larger pessimism over the prospects for an eventual peaceful settlement.
    However, context matters. As I’ve written before, actual genocide — deaths of 10’s and 100’s of thousands of people, sometimes millions of people, for being who they are — has occurred many times since World War II. It’s arguably happening right now in Darfur.
    Meanwhile, many in the West focus on Israel’s conflict with the Palestinians. It’s a very emotional issue. For me, too. Still I think it’s a fair question to ask where this intensity comes from.
    The conclusion I’ve come to is that many in the West feel guilty for our colonial sins — the Presbyterians in America live on land we stole from people we killed, for example — and this guilt is projected onto Israel. Thus Israel’s sins get magnified and invested with meaning far beyond their reality. This unfortunately is not an unknown paradigm in the history of the Christian West.
    So it takes an amazing lack of historical awareness, not to mention psychological self-awareness, for a Christian church to do what the Presbyterians did. Did Woolsey criticize them for doing it? Good for him.


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