Props to Blumenauer and DeFazio on Gaza Resolution

Dan Petegorsky

I’m not sure if Elana Schor was intending to be humorous or not in her post on TPM yesterday, More House Members Stand Up to Israel Than in '06:

The House just approved its version of the praise-filled pro-Israel resolution approved yesterday in the Senate. And though I've yet to see a co-sponsor tally that would show any senator courageous enough to resist the lure of AIPAC, the stiffened-spine caucus in the House reached 26 members today: 4 who voted no and 22 voting "present" in a gesture of stoic disapproval.

26 House votes against 390 voting “Yea” isn’t exactly something to write home about – but as Schor observes it’s more than the 12 members who demurred in a similar 2006 vote applauding Israel’s invasion of Lebanon that year. And there was some interesting and encouraging Oregon related news beneath the surface: Reps Blumenauer and DeFazio were among the 22 members who voted “Present.” Credit where credit’s due. Here’s the text of the resolution, and here’s the full roll call.

And while we're focusing on local angles: Mercy Corps is responding to the crisis as well. Here's how you can help.

Comments

  • Zarathustra (unverified)
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    [I have removed this comment due to extremely offensive content. While the culture of Blue Oregon generally discourages this kind of editorial management, since the comments were made on a thread I initiated I'm taking responsibility for removing them.

    Perhaps we need a separate thread on this, but here's my reasoning: using the "water cooler" analogy: if I were trying to create a lively and open discussion space around the water cooler in my office, I would not tolerate highly offensive/abusive behavior and comments, and if someone were displaying such behavior consistently I would bar them from the space altogether. I would do so out of respect for others who are trying to engage in a respectful conversation.

    In this respect, I come down squarely on Tim O'Reilly's side. Following the Kathy Sierra incident a couple of years ago, Tim issued a call for a "Blogger's Code of Conduct." While the Blue Oregon editors have disagreed with my/Tim's position on this, I continue to feel that the abusive/hostile/offensive tone and content of much of the commentary here degrades the quality of discussion for all in order to accommodate online the kind of disrespectful and rude behavior that we would never tolerate we were hosting similar discussions in our homes, meeting spaces, offices, cafes, etc.

    Dan]

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    Thanks, Dan. This is a much appreciated bit of news.

    Kudos to Blumenauer and DeFazio!!

  • DCOD (unverified)
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    Let's be honest and fair to the story Dan since you haven't been here:

    While voting "present" is not voting "yea", and certainly demonstrates that American public sentiment around our foreign policy towards the nation-state of Israel is dramatically shifting, a "present" does not demonstrate the true moral courage that four morally virtuous Democrats (shout their names in moral support: KUCINICH, MOORE (wi), RAHALL, WATERS) and one consistently, refreshingly, idiosyncratic Republican (Paul) exhibit with a resolute "nay" vote.

    Your attempt to put the most positive spin ("props"), rather than a sternly judgmental "acknowledged, but you have no defensible excuse for not doing more", is distressingly exemplary of the moral weakness of NW not-so-progressives.

    True honor only lies holding up the morally ambiguous position of a "present" vote, and the efforts of supporters to play it up as a more principled moral position that it is, against the kind of protest elsewhere that would make the 390 "yea" voters in the House and 100 "yea" voters in the Senate realize they have just ended their own careers with their arrogant, ill-considered vote:

    UK, Europe hit with riots over Israel's Gaza campaign www.google.com/hostednews/afp/article/ALeqM5h8mjwm8cd19Ro0mYM6HEnKMKDkeg

    A "present" vote is simply an attempt to insure one's political future in a state that I believe will make Wyden's unprincipled position on Israel a key reason for voting to end his tenure in 2010.

    After all Dan, we are talking about war crimes here:

    UN (High) Commissioner (for Human Rights): Investigate Israel for war crimes rawstory.com/news/2008/UN_Human_Rights_Commissioner_calls_for_0110.html

    and Israel has announced it will escalate it's campaign of terror against Gazan:

    Israel warns it will escalate attacks on Gaza www.kansascity.com/451/story/974455.html

    Dan, the only thing I care to listen to from you is whether you are ready to call for the defeat of Ron Wyden in 2010, and for the defeat of Merkley in 2014, unless they demonstrate moral leadership by vigorously calling for a fundamental change in U.S. policy that investigates Israel for war crimes as the UN and Kucinich has done --- and for an immediate ban on shipments of military supplies to Israel until that investigation is complete --- and that no longer rationalizes their savagery towards the Palestinians?

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    A couple of things. First, I profoundly disagree with both Congressman Blumenauer and DeFazio on merely voting "present" to this rather tepid resolution. Unlike Elana Schor, I see no praise for Israel in it at all, but a simple laying out of the facts. Never the less, I still respect and support the two Congressmen. Unlike some, I don't go howling in a pathological frenzy every time an elected does something I wouldn't have: they have to represent everyone, not just me. And on balance, I've very happy with them.

    Second, I have Zarathustra's post in cache, and was pretty shocked at his "Call me biased, racist, or whatever" attack on "pieces of excrement" Serbians. (Serbians!?!) ...because Governor Blago is Serbian, and Democrats are "heading in the direction" of acting like him (in voting for the Israel resolution? - it's not exactly clear what he was trying to say).

    While I know that wasn't his best post, I believe everyone can screw up. (I have, here, and have apologized when I've done so.) So I hope Zarathustra just says "my bad", and we can all move on.

    I also must point out that after the U.S. bombing campaign in the 1990s, the Serbians did indeed take their government back from their murderous extremists. And in fact, today they're on the path towards EU membership. One would hope Palestinians would follow that same example.

  • DCOD (unverified)
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    And by the way Dan: Most decent people would put down your right to control how people express themselves in the workplace stem only from the fact you would be the boss through appointment or ownership. That hardly has anything to do with anything that represents honor or morality. I think you seriously might want to reconsider how you represented yourself in your first comment and restore Zarathustra's comment. I know your claim you have the right to control how other's might express themselves just gave me the lowest possibly opinion of another one could possibly have.

    And by the way, you've also helped extinguish any defense against defamation proceedings Blue Oregon might have by in fact acting as an editor of content. The general legal climate right now is that online properties have a defense against such claims if they conduct their operations simply as channels for purveying content and not in fact cognizant of and responsible for editing content.

    Sometimes people like you in their false sense of superiority get themselves into much more trouble, and demonstrate they actually are anything but superior. Kudos to you.

  • Zarathustra (unverified)
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    true moral courage that four morally virtuous Democrats (shout their names in moral support: KUCINICH, MOORE (wi), RAHALL, WATERS) and one consistently, refreshingly, idiosyncratic Republican (Paul) exhibit with a resolute "nay" vote.

    Wouldn't it be nice if one of them had run for President! Now that would have been a real choice. What were the adjectives bloggers here used to describe Paul and Kucinich during the campaign, and the reams written here on how their fundamental differences from everyone else on US policy isn't something you could even seriously entertain doing? You mean like voting "nay" on this? Go back and reread it folks. Loud and clear; the Dems will never be this good. And don't include those 4 victims of primitive democracy. It's just another non-parliamentary artifact. In a system where one extra vote wins, guess how many parties you end up with?

    Now, to flaming a damnable PC language Nazi, if you care to move on...

    What I meant was obvious and I won't submit to a PC language test. I have the right to characterize my personal experiences how I care to characterize them. The only thing I'll add is that I've met, maybe one other person in my life that I would characterize the same way. No, changed my mind. None. Run the numbers in a chi squared test. The numbers are hard to achieve by chance. I also don't use generalization proactively. If I did I wouldn't be here. Besides, how does one use an invisible criterion proactively? I can't recognize a Serb on sight. And by the way, do not dare to tell me my experience is wrong because you have an a priori rule or category that knows better. If you know a Serb that you like, fine. Mention it. But do you know one Serb personally? Why do you have more concern for a mental category than for my seeing someone brutally knifed? That's what people like about FDR, Obama, Clinton, and what they find stale about so many political operatives. You really care more about the concept. Those leaders communicated to people that their lives were more important. On another post I characterized American politics as answering the ratty four year old's perpetual, "but I don't want to". I should have added, "you said a naughty word". Let's guess. Next will be an inspired point about "playing well", in the form it usually takes here, i.e., cliquish behavior.

    if I were trying to create a lively and open discussion space around the water cooler in my office, I would not tolerate highly offensive/abusive behavior and comments

    Yeah, you get sued. And you know what? You get sued back. Offensive? I find most of the way you live offensive and I tolerate that. Just make a list of the things you've done to other people in the last week, and then tell me why I should be working on my language before you address any of those actual behaviors.

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    Zarathustra: I find most of the way you live offensive and I tolerate that.

    As my sister in law likes to say, friend, take a chill-pill. You're better than this.

    I don't think cutting out offensive commentary has anything to do with lawsuits. It's more that certain lines should not be crossed. BlueOregon sports plenty of bashing about behavior. And bashing about ideology. And just general overly-hostile argumentation. But we don't bash people here for how they were born, be it Gay, Jew, or... Serbian(*). That's just not right.

    As I said before, you're better than this. Come back when you've got a little distance, and we can talk about how it is not merely American politics in which politicians are answering the ratty four year old's perpetual, "but I don't want to", but rather ALL politics EVERYWHERE on the globe is that way.

    I'm sure we'll have a grand old time.

    (*) Serbian?!?

  • DCOD (unverified)
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    And in an important complementary story to Senate's unanimous "yea" vote on Thursday condoning Israeli war crimes, we have two Jewish American senators who have yet to speak against that fully embracing the "Just doing what I was ordered to do" defense that was rejected at the Nuremberg war crimes trials:

    Senators say no witch hunt aimed at spy agencies http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20090110/ap_on_go_pr_wh/obama_intelligence

    WASHINGTON – While eager to find out more about the Bush administration's harsh interrogation and detainee policies, Senate Democrats are hinting that spy agency veterans need not fear that the groundwork is being laid for punishing those who carried them out.

    Sen. Ron Wyden, D-Ore., said he is (just?) interested in revealing the origins and sweep of the Bush administration's controversial interrogation program and is willing to sponsor legislation if necessary to release many of the documents about the program.

    When Biden said Obama was going to face a terrorist threat early in his term, who would even have dared to suggest he was telling us it would come from Wyden, Feinstein, and the rest of Obama's Democratic senate colleagues?

    Still waiting for Merkley, who was such an inadequate and inept andidate he had to have the DSCC run his media, (and then had the audacity to say he had no responsibility for or control over the negative attack content), to say something.

    A couple of weeks ago I heard someone on KPOJ saying they finally had enough of the "D" Party because of it's continuing failure to lead over the last 8 years. Well the events of the last week have finally also pushed me to that point. After spending my entire life as a "D" and defending the Democratic Party to NAVs and Democrats who got here before me, I'm going to the courthouse this week to change my registration from "D" to "NAV" for now. I'm then delivering my old "D" card to the sanctimonious morons who run my county incarnation of the DPO.

    I hope to not have to stay a NAV for long: I'd love to see a new third party arise built on the strength of hundreds of thousands of disaffected, principled, D's and R's to put forward a candidate that will challenge Wyden and whoever the GOP puts up in 2010.

    It's just a quiet little personal, peaceful, anti-war protest I know many of you have done long ago. But it's one that each and every individual can make, and which at this particular time would have a profound effect here in Oregon and across the country if many did it. Anybody else who is a "D" thinking about doing the same? That's really "Change We Can Believe In" because it's grassroots change we can make en masse.

    And Dan, you should know it is the essential lack of courage in Blumaneuer's and DeFazio's attitude, and audacity in the face of the last 48 hours' news by people like you to try to argue it was courage that was the absolute final straw. I guess in the end I should thank them and you for that.

  • Iris (unverified)
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    Voting" present" is a coward's way out. These two are representatives and should be the voice for the majority of their constituents on this issue. As is the norm for this erectally challenged duo mentioned here, standing tall and voicing a straightforward opinion devoid from triangulation is again impossible. But they don't have to worry about their silence on genocide. Oregon dems got their hunch backs.

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    The everlasting, but entirely self-created problem for ideological purists is that it's all fine and good to decide who has to be voted out based on one vote on one issue.

    But then along comes another vote on another important issue and the break down doesn't match the earlier vote.

    Then another vote on another important issue and the same thing happens.

    And so on and so on until there is NOBODY who matches up to their ideological purity litmus tests and they are left bitter and angry at the world for having failed them when the reality is the exact opposite - they failed the world

    That's the mentality fueling the bloodshed in Palestine/Israel.

    Thanks but no thanks!

  • DCOD (unverified)
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    Steven Maurer wrote:

    But we don't bash people here for how they were born, be it Gay, Jew, or... Serbian(*). That's just not right

    Sadly Steven you're one of the clueless: It's fair to question if the behavior of someone is shaped by the circumstances of their birth: How are Ron Wyden's and Diane Feinstein's values that cause them to defend rather than denounce Israel's behavior, which the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights has characterized as war crimes, shaped because they were born and raised as Jewish Americans?

    That is a question the people Wyden and Feinstein want to vote for them have an obligation to ask and that deserves an answer. If they refuse to answer the question humbly and forthrightly as Kennedy did in 1960 with regard to his faith, they have not right to serve.

    You're invalid reading that in the resolution you "see no praise for Israel in it at all, but a simple laying out of the facts" reflects at best that you are not knowledgeable: The sponsors of both the Senate and House resolutions have said they intended it to be a forceful statement in full support of Israel's actions. And Keith Ellison said in the floor debate he was going to vote "present" because:

    At the same time I cannot vote for this resolution because it barely mentions the human suffering of the Palestinians in Gaza.

    House Refuses (Overwhelmingly) To Promote Gaza Peace http://www.thenation.com/blogs/state_of_change/395677/house_refuses_overwhelmingly_to_promote_gaza_peace

    You might want to consider apologizing to Zarathustra for trying to haughtily trying to cast false moral aspersions to gain the upper-hand. We can't see the comments Zarathustra made since Petegorsky has chosen to prevent that. You have shown you have a serious problem with veracity, so there is little reason to believe your characterization of what anyone has said.

  • David (unverified)
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    It is disingenuous for you to say that either of the gentlemen showed a "courageous"vote. They are just following the lead of their President's Present votes in Illinois. We are in for a rough Four years But this too shall pass

  • Carla Axtman (unverified)
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    Another reason not to blog about Gaza: the nasty, visceral, ugly and disgusting comments that follow.

    Ugh.

    The situation over there is itself completely immoral and horrific. How anyone think leaving comments like the ones in this thread creates greater enlightenment or awareness is baffling.

    Or perhaps that isn't the intent.

  • Harry Kershner (unverified)
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    Being a progressive Democrat is being present, a new definition of progressivism that we should all embrace. Far superior to "less evil" or "less insane", and a requirement that fits the BO motto.

    Talking about U.S.-Israel crimes is disgusting and therefore it should be censored. And the censors are progressive, because they are present.

  • Zarathustra (unverified)
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    My personal experiences stand as written. I regret if you don't like the expression. Ironic that my first post here was about the Putamayo report to the Commons which wasn't acted upon for years, allowing all kinds of colonioal atrocities, because the only language that could accurately express the outrage was considered unnacceptable.

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    Harry-If you were censored, your comments wouldn't be here.

    The nasty and vitriolic (not to mention unnecessarily personal) tone does nothing to elevate the awareness or sympathy/empathy for the Palestinians in Gaza. It simply sullies the person who leaves the comment.

    Its disgusting and frankly a fundamental disservice to the cause of justice (which all people deserve), in my opinion.

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    For all the anger directed towards Blumenauer and DeFazio the fact is that they were among an extraordinarily small group of members who went against AIPAC. The boilerplate text of the message AIPAC wants people to send them begins as follows:

    I write to express my disappointment that you did not vote for H. Res. 34, an important bipartisan resolution supporting Israel’s quest for peace and its right to defend itself against Hamas rocket attacks from Gaza. The resolution sends a strong message of U.S. support for Israel as it takes action to defend its citizens from Hamas’ indiscriminate rocket and mortar fire.

    Those who want to encourage Blumenauer, DeFazio and others to further distance themselves from AIPAC should send supportive messages to counter the condemnation they'll be receiving from AIPAC supporters. For those who see the good as the enemy of the perfect, I recommend Phillip Roth's recent novel, Indignation.

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    Steven Maurer wrote: But we don't bash people here for how they were born, be it Gay, Jew, or... Serbian(*). That's just not right

    DCOD: Sadly Steven you're one of the clueless: It's fair to question if the behavior of someone is shaped by the circumstances of their birth: How are Ron Wyden's and Diane Feinstein's values that cause them to defend rather than denounce Israel's behavior ... because they were born and raised as Jewish Americans?

    I am apparently clueless... how could I possibly forget that Ron Wyden is incapable of properly understanding that terrorists have the right to murder and kidnap Israelis (with no immediate provocation after Israel's exit from Gaza in 2005), simply because he is a dirty dirty Jew? No one could possibly conclude Israel has the right to defend itself independently - it must be those people, mistakes of God, AIPAC !!booga-booga!! ... mind-controlling the American public again.

    Once again, it is shown that the vast majority of Israel bashing is little more than pure antisemitic bigotry.

    p.s. How the hell does Serbian fit into all of this?

  • DCOD (unverified)
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    Carla, there is something psychologically damaged in a person who actually justifies not speaking out about war crimes because it provokes debate that you find distasteful: Another reason not to blog about Gaza: the nasty, visceral, ugly and disgusting comments that follow..

    Dan, frankly you have a real problem with a superficial, condescending tone. It is the height of incivility and rudeness to make passive-aggressive attacks such as describing those who forcefully offer logically-sound, morally-upright, unanswered criticisms of the lack of courage in a "present" vote, as "those who think the good is the enemy of the perfect".

    Your fundamental failure is that a "present" vote is not "the good" by any standard of morality you've offered here, so your comment clearly is irrelevant. The only obvious reasons applicable here for offering irrelevant comments here are ignorance or making personal attacks. (And by the way, it is not a personal attack to analyze how you present yourself.)

    Your meritless defense of those who voted "present" and your rationalization using AIPAC reminds me of how our parents tell many of us at a younger age something along the lines of: "I don't care what others do and I damn sure am not going to listen to your childish, lame excuses. All that matters to me is what you do and I am here to tell you that you damn well are going to take responsibility for that".

    At least in quoting AIPAC, who played a key role in bringing it about, that the resolution sends a strong message of U.S. support for Israel, you provided refutation of Steve's equally invalid claim unlike Elana Schor, I see no praise for Israel in it at all. His claim is invalid because, in the context of her comment, Schor used the phrase "praise-filled" clearly to mean an expression of support for Israel and it's war crimes, and because he chose to spin the meaning of her words to impugn the comment rather than to fairly represent the substance of the resolution her criticism of it.

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    Carla, there is something psychologically damaged in a person who actually justifies not speaking out about war crimes because it provokes debate that you find distasteful

    You can continue to miss the point if you like--but it certainly doesn't help your cause.

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    Oops..messed up my comment. It should read thusly:

    Carla, there is something psychologically damaged in a person who actually justifies not speaking out about war crimes because it provokes debate that you find distasteful

    DCOD--You can continue to miss the point if you like--but it certainly doesn't help your cause.

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    (with no immediate provocation after Israel's exit from Gaza in 2005)

    I think you know that's a specious assertion, Steve. A substantially more defensible assertion would have been to challenge the legitimacy of the multiple provocations that have been cited by Hamas and referenced by an exceptionally diverse group of non-Palestinian entities around the world (literally).

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    I'm sorry, Keven, but it's not a specious assertion. Israel left Gaza in its entirety. It opened up the border. For nearly 1/2 a year, there was free flowing people and goods between Gaza and Egypt. The border to Israel was relatively open as well. Assuming that Hamas was willing to start playing nice, there was a real possibility that they could have turned into a real alternative for the often corrupt Fateh.

    In fact, according to at least one newspaper article at the time, that's the exact reason why the kidnapping was done: to make sure Hamas moderates didn't take over.

    The kidnapping earlier this week of IDF soldier Gilad Shalit has revealed the nature of the secret power struggle that has been raging among the top brass of Hamas political leadership ever since the Islamic movement won the parliamentary election last January.

    Today it is evident that there are two major forces in Hamas - one headed by Prime Minister Ismail Haniyeh and the second by Damascus-based Khaled Mashaal. Haniyeh represents the relatively moderate and pragmatic camp in Hamas, whereas Mashaal is viewed as a hardliner who is taking Hamas toward further extremism.

    In many ways, the dispute within Hamas resembles the historic conflict between the 'old guard' and the 'young guard' in the rival Fatah party. But while the power struggle in Fatah has been over money and power, the feud in Hamas is over the movement's future political and military strategy.

    Haniyeh and his aides insist they had nothing to do with the attack on the IDF post near the southern border with the Gaza Strip.

    In private conversations with Fatah leaders, they revealed that the attack was carried out on instructions from the Hamas leadership in Syria and Lebanon. Although Haniyeh's men did not mention names, the Fatah leaders were quick to hold Mashaal responsible. (end snip)

    In other words, Hamas kidnapped the IDF soldier for about the same reason we invaded Iraq just before the 2002 elections: to settle an internal struggle with what the leadership thought were weak accommodationists.

    It had nothing to do with Israel at all.

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    Before "same reason we invaded Iraq just before the 2002 elections" please insert "held the vote to". Somehow, a cut paste got dropped.

  • MiMi (unverified)
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    Posted by: Kevin | Jan 10, 2009 5:23:53 PM

    Thanks, Dan. This is a much appreciated bit of news.

    I've been waiting two years for someone here to grow some and censor that crazy. For those keeping score, that's domesitcaters 2, wild men 0.

    Could this vote have happened without AIPAC? You want to fight the rule of the mob? Write a check to AIPAC! Can you imagine what our response would be like with everyone and their brother getting into the act? Look at Europe. They have glass in the streets this morning. This is why we have standards about crazy talk and crazies in general. That's why we don't have glass in the streets this morning.

    Kudos to the Congress and the American system! Let's hope Israel gets this taken care of before spring. Our troops are supported far more by quiet on the "Western Front". Those fearful it might cost American lives way down the road are missing that it will save our troops' lives now.

  • Dan Petegorsky (unverified)
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    I confess that I'm confused by MiMi's evocation of the classic All Quiet on the Western Front, whose theme is aptly summed up in the IMDB summary of the film version: "A young soldier faces profound disillusionment in the soul-destroying horror of World War I."

    Maybe MiMi's nostalgia is similar to that expressed so ably this morning by "Joe The Plumber" Wurzelbacher "reporting" from Israel (hat tip to brownsox at Kos for the reference:

    You know, I liked back in World War I and World War II when you'd go to the theater and you'd see your troops on, you know, the screen and everyone would be real excited and happy for'em. Now everyone's got an opinion and wants to downer--and down soldiers. You know, American soldiers or Israeli soldiers. I think media should be abolished from, uh, you know, reporting. You know, war is hell. And if you're gonna sit there and say, 'Well look at this atrocity,' well you don't know the whole story behind it half the time, so I think the media should have no business in it."

  • DCOD (unverified)
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    I am apparently clueless... how could I possibly forget that Ron Wyden is incapable of properly understanding that terrorists have the right to murder and kidnap Israelis (with no immediate provocation after Israel's exit from Gaza in 2005), simply because he is a dirty dirty Jew?

    Steven you will not get away with tired immoral and despicable tactic of shrieking that I or anybody else who will not tolerate war crimes by Israel, just like we would do not tolerate war crimes by anybody else, are bigots. This is a watershed time in our relationship with Israel. The majority in Oregon and the U.S. are no longer going to tolerate the kind of behavior by Israel we have not condemned in the past as we should have, or the despicable behavior you exhibit here of trying to smear their character and their morals anytime they rightly say Israel is outside the bounds of what is conscionable.

    And for both you and Kevin: Israel may have withdrawn troops from inside Gaza, as you state in your attempt to spin the situation by contradiction a claim no one made. In a massive violation of human rights and in violation of international law, they have also been illegally militarily blockading Gaza preventing sufficient quantities of food, fuel, medical care, and all other manner of material to which Gazans have a legal right. The world is clear and sound on it's position that they have illegally turned Gaza into an open air prison over the last year (and actually to a lesser degree for years before that).

    Steve, as I said you will not be allowed to impugn my motives or the people I know whose moral character is beyond reproach. You are an abettor and defender of war crimes as the UN High Commissioner on Human Rights has described Israel's acts. (And what is your defense that Israel refuses to join international conventions against white phosphorus munitions and most recent reports they may have used those munitions over population centers against those international conventions with the full knowledge they would horribly injure civilians in Gaza like the U.S. has in Iraq?)

  • DCOD (unverified)
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    Carla, I didn't miss your point. I quoted your lede (are you suggesting you are such a poor writer that you buried your lede?) in the context it is your lede, and which you conveniently omitted in your response, to wit:

    Another reason not to blog about Gaza: the nasty, visceral, ugly and disgusting comments that follow.

    You also didn't state your point in your attempt to deflect attention from the fact people can see that you comment may in fact show something ugly and disgusting in the presentation you make.

  • DCOD (unverified)
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    Carla, I didn't miss your point. I quoted your lede (are you suggesting you are such a poor writer that you buried your lede?) in the context it is your lede, and which you conveniently omitted in your response, to wit:

    Another reason not to blog about Gaza: the nasty, visceral, ugly and disgusting comments that follow.

    You also didn't state your point in your attempt to deflect attention from the fact people can see that you comment may in fact show something ugly and disgusting in the presentation you make.

  • Dan Petegorsky (unverified)
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    While Steven Maurer and I are at opposite ends of the pole on many of the issues debated here, I share Steve’s belief that the position the anonymous poster “DCOD” has articulated above does indeed smack of anti-Semitism. I don’t know what else to call the statement that Jews have no right to serve in Congress unless they answer questions about how their Jewish upbringing has affected their policy beliefs. I can only imagine the protests that would erupt (and properly so) were anyone here to demand a similar test for, say, a Muslim Congressman like Keith Ellison.

  • Contemporary Furniture (unverified)
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    I hope the situation changes this time round as I am looking forward to a policy change by the new government.

  • Harry Kershner (unverified)
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    Carla: I am mystified at, "Harry-If you were censored, your comments wouldn't be here."

    I wasn't censored, and I have no idea what was said by the person who was censored, because it was censored.

    Although I agree with DCOD about almost everything s(he) wrote, I agree with Dan that, "How are Ron Wyden's and Diane Feinstein's values that cause them to defend rather than denounce Israel's behavior...shaped because they were born and raised as Jewish Americans?" is anti-Jewish bigotry. I call upon you now to acknowledge that the unqualified support for Israeli crimes by our non-representatives can only result in increases in anti-Semitism of all kinds, Arab and Jewish alike.

    Furthermore, Blumenauer's and Defazio's weak-kneed "present" votes have predictably resulted in their being attacked by AIPAC anyway, so wouldn't it have been better for them to have taken a principled stand in the first place and voted, "No"?

    The "progressive" DP strategy of always triangulating, regardless of the moral consequences, is a loser. The triumphalism and hubris resulting from having won an election is blinding you to the consequences of continuing to travel down this road to perdition, where all will indeed be quiet if we do not soon act.

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    Harry, your observation about DP cowardice is not completely misplaced. There are times where I feel that Democrats underestimate their own popularity, and do too much bargaining with themselves when dealing with Republicans. It's unfortunate that you choose to believe that this has any place in the discussion about Israel, however. Fundamentally, you either believe Israel has a right to exist, or you don't. And Democrats believe it has the right to exist.

    If conflict was about the suppression of a true Palestinian peace movement, even one that demanded major land concessions from Israel, I'm certain you would see the Democratic Party take a more recognizable role as the traditional defender of the weak. But so long as Palestinian dreams begin and end with driving the Jews into the sea, there really isn't much of anything to talk about.

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    To a group with AIPAC's mindset an abstention is tanamount to betrayal. They are, after all, a Zionist organization, who have been pretty clear that the day to day gasoline that is poured on the fire is something that the Palestinians need to get used to.

    80% unemployment and a series of ritual humiliations every day for every Gazan who ventures out of their houses. Checkpoints, road closures, sequestration of water supplies, violent expropriation of ancestral land, for both ideological and real estate interests, and so forth.

    Then to top off the impossible standards for the "civilized palestinian". If, out of 1.5 million souls, some few Hamas radicals who wish to keep the pot boiling as fervently as any two bit US arms merchant, fire off some rockets in Albany, you, a resident of Gresham become just another "They", as in "All THEY understand is force."

    Note: During the twelve months preceding the latest invasion, 12 Israelis were killed by terrorists (from Hamas or Fatah) firing rockets. Now we've seen the typical "proportional response" from Kadima's knee jerk fear of appearing "soft on terror" in the upcoming Israeli elections. Kind of reminds you of snivelling Democrats giving Bush Carte Blanche a few years back.....

    <hr/>

    Put me with the other cluless idiots that believe that Blumenaeur and DeFazio did indeed take a major stand against AIPAC. You can bet your ass that AIPAC members and I agree on that point at least.......

  • DCOD (unverified)
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    At least we know now that Dan is either just as clueless as Steve, or more likely just another example of the shreiking bullies on the left and right who demonstrate no standard of moral decency. Even if he does it in that quiet, pathological, NW passive-aggressive way.

    Let's recap first to illustrate just how indefensible Dan's, Steven's, and now Harry's comments are:

    Dan first tried to misrepresent a "present" vote, which in fact is nothing more than standing by while Israel engages in barbaric violence outside any acceptable norms of acceptable conduct and thumbs it's nose at the UN Security Council. Steven jumped in by misrepresenting the nature and substance of the House vote in support of Israel's barbarity, even as one of representatives Dan was trying to laud apologized for his "present" vote by saying At the same time I cannot vote for this resolution because it barely mentions the human suffering of the Palestinians in Gaza.

    The response to that was a clearly and carefully worded comment. Neither Steven, Dan, or Harry has presented any remotely resembling a reasoned argument demonstrating the validity of any of their accusations based on the actual comment:

    Sadly Steven you're one of the clueless: It's fair to question if the behavior of someone is shaped by the circumstances of their birth: How are Ron Wyden's and Diane Feinstein's values that cause them to defend rather than denounce Israel's behavior, which the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights has characterized as war crimes, shaped because they were born and raised as Jewish Americans?

    Steven in his demented little propagandistic attack edited the original statement to change it's clear meaning. It is proper and incumbent on voters to rationally consider whether, of their own volition, Feinstein and Wyden have expressed and acted on values that are wholly inconsistent with peace and justice. He did that by omitting the key phrase shown in bold which the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights has characterized as war crimes. In that lie by omission we see one dishonorable tactic those who want to stop legitimate debate use.

    Dan has sunk to an even lower level. By not quoting that statement at all in his baseless response, he has lied by omission. Even worse, by slanderously misstating what actually was said, and instead substituting his own words: the statement that Jews have no right to serve in Congress unless they answer questions about how their Jewish upbringing has affected their policy beliefs., he has also lied by commission. We see two more dishonorable tactics of those whose only goal is to poison legitimate debate.

    Harry engaged in petty character assassination without offering anything more than his unsubstantiated opinion. He seems to have his own curious tactical logic for that. There really isn't much that bears comment in that for now.

    What they all did not have the even the basic decency to admit was that we as voters in our representative Democracy have the obligation to determine if those who want power genuinely represent our values of peace and justice. They are asking us for the authority to act on our behalf in matters of foreign policy and war. Their values and the acts they take are a matter of their own individual free-will. They are not pre-determined by accident of birth, and the accident of one's birth is not a defense against principled examination of those values and actions. One's individual values and actions are determined solely by how one chooses to define one's own character regardless of the accident of one's birth. The only right to serve is that which we the voters in our judgement confer on those we choose, based on the values they say they pledge to us they will represent and our determination whether they are doing that.

    These two Senators by accident of birth do have the opportunity by virtue of their unique personal moral authority to set a more compelling standard of leadership in this particular situation than others can. Those of us with perhaps a broader world view will remember how it was said that only a Republican like Nixon could change our relationship with China because of the values he embodied as a American and a Republican (and a Quaker, BTW). And many have said Nixon bore a unique obligation because of that unique opportunity for genuine leadership.

    We have a right to ask whether these two Senators have honored that personal moral authority by choosing of their own volition to join Senators like McConnell (a Senator whose values otherwise I'll bet a lot of the shrieking unhinged bullies here believe THEY have the right to question) to speak out in unapologetic defense of Israel's behavior. By the rational and moral principles just articulated, and by virtue of the leadership statusthey have asked us to give them by voting for them through promises about the values they tell us they wil represent and defend, we have a right to question their position whether Israel that transgresses any norm of acceptable international behavior by it's violence and it's arrogant disregard for the UN Security Council resolution.

    The record is clear that to the extent these two leaders have referenced that behavior at all, they have chosen to try to justify that which is unjustifiable. If they continue to do that, or even answer us in the most frank way about why they have taken the unprincipled positions they have, we have the right, no, the obligation to our state, our country, and the world, to find others to who will faithfully represent our values of peace and justice.

    No nation can bomb it's way to peace or justice as Israel has done in Gaza. Nor as we have done in Afghanistan and Iraq. As I have heard from many genuinely wise people: You do not persuade people to co-exist peacefully when you are blockading them, starving them, and killing their children. I'll repeat that we are in a watershed era in which there will now be legitimate and robust political debate. Israel through it's own violent actions has actually made sure that the dishonorable, worn-out tactics of the bullies who seek to thwart those good citizens who take seriously their obligation to hold our elected representatives accountable to our most honorable principles of peace and justice aren't going to work anymore.

    <hr/>

    Pat: I'd agree with you, as you phrased your point, IF it can be shown that AIPAC ever actually previously counted the "present" voters as "yea" voters or as a surprise in this vote as the resolution is actually worded. Despite Dan's haphazard statistics, so far I haven't seen anyone citing much evidence from the record on that. In fact, I've been trying to figure why a NW representative like McDermott might have swung from a presumptive "nay" to "present" in the House. And why a Senator like Durbin apparently became a "yea" in the unanimous Senate voice vote since I haven't found a statement from him explaining what he did or denying he was a "yea".

  • (Show?)

    A few facts for you, Pat.

    Gaza unemployment is 45% Not 80%. It would be lower if there weren't the current tensions, caused entirely by Hamas.

    This would be a very different situation if what you call "some few Hamas radicals", weren't the popularly elected government in Gaza, controlling all the major institutions with popular support. (Though admittedly, its popular support has been shrinking of late, given its penchant to never quit provoking Israel.)

    "Proportionate response", which people who hate Israel like to quote from the Geneva conventions (the actual term used in the text is "principle of proportional action"), isn't proportional to ones own casualties. It's whether civilian damage among the enemy is proportional to a combatant's anticipated military advantage. For example, to get Hamas to stop rocketing its civilians (Israel's legitimate military purpose), Israel could: A] Bomb specific rocket sites, or B] Nuke Gaza. Option "B]" would be disproportionate, not because it would kill all the Hamas combatants (which is fine under the Geneva conventions - even if not a single Israeli lost his life in the process), but because there are other military options that wouldn't kill quite so many civilians.

    Since Israel has not yet achieved its legitimate military objective, and it is clearly not targeting civilians, nothing it has done so far is disproportionate. (Disproportionately weak, perhaps, but not the reverse.)

    Again, two points: 1] Before anyone goes spouting off about "International Law/Geneva Conventions/Wahhh Wahhhh Wahh", you really should f--king READ them. I guarantee you they don't say anything nearly close to what you think they say. (Honestly, some of you people are worse than holy-rollers making up their own fake Biblical passages.)

    2] If you believe Israel does not have the right to exist, you really should just admit it. You're not fooling anyone other than yourselves with all this ever-so-selective outrage.

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    Carla, I didn't miss your point. I quoted your lede (are you suggesting you are such a poor writer that you buried your lede?) in the context it is your lede, and which you conveniently omitted in your response, to wit:

    No, you missed my point. Evidently you're still missing it.

    You also didn't state your point in your attempt to deflect attention from the fact people can see that you comment may in fact show something ugly and disgusting in the presentation you make.

    Uh..okay.

    You do get that there's a recognition on the part of pretty much everyone here that the situation in Gaza is horrific and reprehensible, right? What you don't seem to get is that the tone of the comments are ugly and disgusting--and do nothing to bring awareness or enlightenment to the situation.

    Anti-semitic comments (already noted above by others) are particularly ugly and debasing.

    And Harry, I think I owe you an apology. I believe I misread your comment above this morning (was up very early to make the trip to Salem for the first day of the Oregon lege) and may have been a bit too sleepy yet to have managed the read appropriately.

  • (Show?)

    My words: "...the statement that Jews have no right to serve in Congress unless they answer questions about how their Jewish upbringing has affected their policy belief."

    "DCOD"'s words (emphasis mine):

    "How are Ron Wyden's and Diane Feinstein's values that cause them to defend rather than denounce Israel's behavior, which the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights has characterized as war crimes, shaped because they were born and raised as Jewish Americans?

    That is a question the people Wyden and Feinstein want to vote for them have an obligation to ask and that deserves an answer. If they refuse to answer the question humbly and forthrightly as Kennedy did in 1960 with regard to his faith, they have not [sic] right to serve.

  • DCOD (unverified)
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    Dan, smug bully that he is continues to distort. When the comment he himself cites is highlighted correctly, his deceit is clear:

    If they refuse to answer the question humbly and forthrightly as Kennedy did in 1960 with regard to his faith, they have not [sic] right to serve.

    In other words, if these two candidates arrogantly continue to thumb their nose at voters --- who have every right to question the values a candidate will represent as he or she exercise power on their behalf and receive an answer --- it is the core principle of our democracy they have no right to assert the voters are obligated to entrust them with power (ie." to serve").

    Dan himself thumbs his nose at all of the discussion about the paramount rights and obligations we have as voters, and the fact this comment was specifically about Feinstein and Wyden, and their actual performance after they have been entrusted with power, instead deceitfully paraphrases this as:

    the statement that Jews have no right to serve in Congress unless they answer questions about how their Jewish upbringing has affected their policy belief.

    Carla doesn't quite get it either: She was criticized exactly for what she herself claims is her point: That in her value structure, it is even appropriate to consider HOW someone doesn't conform to her norms of civility (which actually aren't very civil at all) in a decision to take up discussion of matters as critical as war in the Mideast. That fact she even considered that, much less felt compelled to open her mouth and comment on the HOW of others express themselves rather than the WHAT of their expression, is exactly the point.

    I think one just needs to look at Carla's nasty, juvenile comments on other threads as I just did, to see she doesn't quite practice what she preaches, and would be utterly ignored if others did.

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    If they refuse to answer the question humbly and forthrightly as Kennedy did in 1960 with regard to his faith, they have not [sic] right to serve.

    The clear implication is that Kennedy had a right to serve because he humbly bowed to the prevailing anti-Catholic prejudice of the day - much, I guess, as in "DCOD"'s eyes Keith Ellison earned that right by responding good naturedly to Glenn Beck's bigoted inquisition.

    The right of voters to question electeds or candidates was never at issue; the bigoted content of those questions was.

  • DCOD (unverified)
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    Dan persists in misrepresenting what was said as the only way to defend his indefensible accusations. He is demonstrating he is a skilled propagandist and a bully. He repeats his scurrilous allegations even in the face of repeated demonstration they are worse than baseless. Of course, this really isn't suprising from the arrogance he demonstrated right form the thread by insisting as an agent of Blue Oregon that he has a right, and demonstrating he has the means, to control how others may express themselves in this forum.

    There is no implication anyone has a right to serve in the sense that Dan states, only Dan's unsupported insistence. No one has a right to be elected to office, only to offer themselves for election. The example provided demonstrated an example of a true leader handling the situation in a way that inspired the trust and respect of voters, and thereby earned the privilege to serve. This stands in stark contrast to the behavior of Feinstein and Wyden.

    If Dan wants to demonstrate his respect for voters in representative democracies, he might start with this:

    Israel bans Arab parties from coming election http://www.salon.com/wires/ap/world/2009/01/12/D95LNB200_ml_israel_arabs/index.html

    Israel on Monday banned Arab political parties from running in next month's parliamentary elections, drawing accusations of racism by an Arab lawmaker who said he would challenge the decision in the country's Supreme Court.

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    That news article you found, DCOD, does not speak well for Israel. It matters not that Arabs still can run as members of the Communist and mixed Arab/Jewish parties, restricting ballot access on the basis of ideology is far too reminiscent of Iranian electoral dictatorship in my book. I trust that this decision, which is not yet final, will be overturned by the Israeli Supreme Court. If not, I will be sorely disappointed, and see it as a terrible step backwards, akin to the U.S. adopting torture as a policy.

    Understand people, that my support for Israel's side in this current conflict comes directly from the facts. If those facts were to change, then my opinion of the situation would too. This, I believe, is in direct contrast to the behavior of many posters here, who have a "Creationist" mindset towards Israel: they twist or invent facts to conform to their ideology, rather than the reverse.

  • Carla Axtman (unverified)
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    That fact she even considered that, much less felt compelled to open her mouth and comment on the HOW of others express themselves rather than the WHAT of their expression, is exactly the point.

    So how dare I open my mouth and demonstrate that your nastiness and ugliness is actually a detriment to a very important and crucial issue.

    I freely admit to playing with language in a way that can piss people off. If that falls under "hypocrite" for you DCOD, then so be it. But your attempts to equivocate my use of language with your racist and nasty garbage is fundamentally dishonest and silly.

    Then again, based on the way you've handled yourself in this thread, at least its consistent.

  • Harry Kershner (unverified)
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    People I respect don't see any nation state having the legitimacy necessary for the "right to exist". Not the U.S. Not France. Not Israel.

    Having lived in Hawaii for 12 years, I assure you that "local people" there do not accept the "right to exist" of the U.S. on territory that they see as belonging to them. That does not mean that they are threatening to kill all mainlanders or the Haoli's who live in Hawaii. They do want their own state, however, and I wish them well in that effort, just as I wish the Palestinians well.

    Zionist/DP-elite propaganda aside, there have been several offers of acceptance of the right of Israelis to be free from attack by Arab states in return for the withdrawal of Israel to 1967 borders, all of which have been rejected by Israel. The "history" has been so fouled that few understand this. It's not hard to find the information if you care, however.

    And let's try to focus: We are all complicit in this. We are not Israelis, we are Americans, and we have an obligation to future generations to act in ways that reduce the probability that we will again be attacked by people who WE continue to slaughter, torture and humiliate. This latest vote is more evidence of the lack of difference between the two hegemonic parties; they both endanger the rest of us, and they both deserve to be eradicated from American political life.

  • S. Q. Ire. (unverified)
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    Mayoral Race Gets Weird Dan Petegorsky

    [Editor's note: Today, we're thrilled to announce the addition of Dan Petegorsky to our stable of contributors. Dan is a longtime progressive activist and currently works as the executive director of the Western States Center. Of course, his words here are his own - and do not represent the views of any organization he's affiliated with.]

    Posting that blurb once, two years ago does it? At a minimum it should be in the bio, if it's not to be repeated. It also strains credulity how the executive director of a social justice center can speak on social justice without his views being those of the center. At the least it definitely is reflective. I can tell you that I would find myself otherwise occupied if the WSC called to hire legal counsel, after reading this piece of work.

    How about some free legal advice, for what it's worth? This thread is a primer in how not to censor material. Blue Oregon has an editorial policy. All you need say is, "it violated our editorial policy and the offending material was deleted". That's an editorial judgment. As it only reflects on you, you can make those statements all day long. It is not a characterization. Characterizing the material gets you onto a slippery slope. Characterizing absent material adds a big shove in the back as you try to keep your balance. The adjectives used to describe the material are either not violations of policy or so extreme that no jury would ever agree that any statement satisfied all of them. "Visceral"? You have praised posters for that. "Visceral" just means gut. It doesn't say if it is spilling them or a punch to the solar plexus. T.A.'s story of his accident was "visceral". Certainly, there's nothing applicable in the editorial statement. Basically, it amounts to, "and I really didn't like it".

    You also put others in a very difficult position. What if Z submits something to Preemptive Karma and Kevin declines because of this incident? What if he's a student completing assignments or receives consideration for his work? What about coworkers, friends, family that know his pseudonym? Someone researching his outside activities (and that's COMMON) sees, "oh, he was censored as a racist". They see, "comment deleted because it didn't conform to our editorial policy", they think, "oh". Long-string-of-clearly-unacceptable adjectives = "he has a problem". They can't see what was said and judge that for themselves. What's more important is that the law doesn't require them to. They are perfectly justified in acting on second hand data, and denying him whatever, as is Z to recover from every person that made the characterization, and the blog, if found negligent. There's no such thing as making material statements and characterizations with real social consequences, for absolutely no good legal reason. A jury will simply supply a motive, likely seeing those characterizations as spiteful and malicious. It would be very difficult to convince a jury of average Americans that an individual with an advanced degree from Berkely, currently running a not insignificant justice center, would be unaware of the issues. I assume there are extenuating circumstances that I don't know, like Z lives in a cave, or that he has never published his identity along with the moniker.

    Kevin's sentiment is common. I would say that 90% of the situations I see in practice where folks end up in civil court start with their doing something that they thought would keep them out of court! Hire a lawyer. Don't take anyone's casual word for it. People mean well, but often don't understand the role of case law. Normally I don't volunteer such sentiments, but this is so spectacularly mishandled I just had to comment. What is disturbing is how Dan could not know it or why Kari, who has demonstrated that he knows all of this quite well, is looking the other way. Note to self; have a lawyer review legal judgments.
    Following the Kathy Sierra incident a couple of years ago, Tim issued a call for a "Blogger's Code of Conduct.".

    Was that reviewed by a lawyer?

    I have to also add a point about the water cooler analogy, as long as I'm on this. It's a poetic description that captures the spirit of the blog. It isn't a good legal metaphor though. The big difference is expectation. You don't get to recover when a dead mouse falls out of a can of frozen orange juice because it was not hygienic, you can recover because there was no reasonable expectation of the consequence when you decided to open the orange juice. Workers around a water cooler have a reasonable expectation about language in the workplace. People coming to a political blog like Blue Oregon, and choosing the Senate's near-unanimous vote in support of Israel, do not have an expectation of not hearing partisan or extreme speech. It's not like buying a pack of cigs at the corner store and the Arab clerk says, "let me tell you about those no good blankety-blanks". You can sue for that. If he does it here, you can't. Legally, it is very different than the workplace water cooler. It's no less reasonable than if I were to complain that I got indigestion reading this during my lunch hour. If Texas Chainsaw Massacre 9 where on at Micky D's, that would be a complaint. When I choose to read Blue Oregon it is not an unreasonable expectation. The fact is that much of the rubric of "PC speech" is not legally defensible; it constantly expects rights appropriate to a very specific situation- what if kids where around, what if a blind man showed up to watch, etc.- to be present in every social situation. Those people can often be prosecuted for having caused distress by their taking on the role of social monitor. Social vigilanteeism doesn't play well in American courts, contrary to what many would like to believe.

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    Posting that blurb once, two years ago does it? At a minimum it should be in the bio, if it's not to be repeated. It also strains credulity how the executive director of a social justice center can speak on social justice without his views being those of the center.

    While I would readily agree that some sort of blanket statement to the same effect posted on the "contributors" page would probably be helpful..., it seems to me that the ever-present "legal stuff" blurb on the left-hand sidebar makes the same distinction, albeit less concisely, by placing the onus for what contributors write on the contributor him/herself.

    In both a legal and a logical sense the distinction is there for those who choose to avail themselves of it. However, I think we'd all have to admit that the possibility that associations will be drawn by some readers regardless of what distinctions are drawn or how visible they are. Which brings us back to the "legal stuff" blurb that has been there for years. It implies, at least to me, that contributors choose to contribute here of their own volition and accept the consequences, both logical and illogical, thereof.

    That said..., while I'm flattered that my blog and I were used as examples here, the fact of the matter is that I read what Z had posted before Dan deleted it. I have studiously avoided commenting on it out of respect for Dan's decision to delete it - which shouldn't be used to imply that I either agree or disagree with his decision. He wrote the post and I feel that gives him a degree of ownership over the resulting thread that is uniquely his by virtue of having written the post.

    Being a contributor here myself, I know that contributors only have the capacity to modify comments on their own posts. Only editors - to my knowledge, that is - have the authority/access to modify comments and posts blogwide.

    As noted, I'm also the editor of another multi-writer blog and as such can empathize with the apparent decision here to grant writers an exceptionally high degree of autonomy over their own posts/threads. I take the exact same approach at Preemptive Karma.

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    S. Q. Ire. How about some free legal advice, for what it's worth? This thread is a primer in how not to censor material.

    First, "SQire", you really shouldn't be offering legal advice, free or otherwise, if you are not a licensed lawyer. Unlike what Dan did, that could actually get you in trouble - at least if anyone made an actual legal decision based on your advice.

    Second, the right of free speech is not the right to use other people's resources to broadcast that speech, such as this blog - which is paid for by others. Not only does Dan have the right to delete this post, he has the right to ban Zarathustra as well. Period. The only straw for you to grasp at is the idea that characterizing the post, instead of blandly citing a policy, could somehow be considered libel. But given U.S. laws, the legal standard for winning such a case makes it absurd - and ridiculous on its face, given that "Zarathustra" is a pseudonym.

    The fact that you call this "censorship" is a clear indication that you really have no idea what you're talking about, at least as far as the law is concerned.

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    We're way off topic now, but whatever.

    My question: Is it possible to libel a pseudonuym?

  • J.R. (unverified)
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    How about some free legal advice, for what it's worth? This thread is a primer in how not to censor material

    For the benefit of those who like myself aren't lawyers, I'll pass on in general terms ("privilege" and all that, you understand) what I have been taught in my participation in a web business that purchases legal advice about these issues:

    Censorship is not the problem I would be most worried about. If I was Blue Oregon I'd be worried about being slapped with a suit some day claiming a contributor like Carla or Dan defamed someone. Defamation is something I'm not qualified to explain, but I can tell you the mechanics of how I was told to avoid problems:

    1) Blue Oregon's best defense in a defamation suit would have been that is just a channel through which people communicate. (The defense companies like Google and Qwest assert). That is, to claim it is NOT like a newspaper and that it exercises no editorial control over the contents of comments by the general public.

    2) To make that argument fly requires that Blue Oregon's agents generally keep their hands off any comments. And Blue Oregon would have to implement a "take down" process triggered by notification from someone that they personally have been defamed, they have a copyright on something posted here, or someone has posted something illegal.

    3) Dan has made it harder for Blue Oregon to assert that defense. As someone else has pointed out, Dan probably has acted as an agent of Blue Oregon: He has been introduced as a featured contributor, Blue Oregon provides prominent links to his content (the "Posts" menu), and Blue Oregon has provided him with access to edit the comments of the general public that we don't have. That's a dicey situation.

    4) Dan has also pretty much stated that Blue Oregon has not provided him with any clear and specific editorial guidelines he should follow. He has stated he has substituted his own guidelines for exercising editorial control. Worse still, he has explicitly stated those guidelines and they are not necessarily and unambiguously consistent with legal definitions of defamatory, illegal, or copyrighted content in any specific instance. He has said it's just his personal judgement of what he doesn't like.

    From what I've been told, the problem for Blue Oregon will not necessarily be with what gets censored --- although commentors own the copyright to what they submit and there are other rules Blue Oregon should follow to avoid copyright problems --- but on what is allowed to remain that is genuinely defamatory, illegal, or copyrighted.

    If Blue Oregon is determined to have negligently allowed people to act as its agents, exercising editorial control on their own hook without proper guidelines (and Dan provides explicit evidence of most of the things we were specifically cautioned against) Blue Oregon is subject to a higher level of scrutiny in a defamation suit than a channel provider would be. That scrutiny will look at whether Blue Oregon is negligent for not exercising a level of editorial control that is measured against the editorial control it has demonstrated in the past.

    Like I said, I'm not a lawyer. But based on what I've been instructed, I sure wouldn't endanger my business by placing myself in that position. But that's just me.

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    I'm not a lawyer either. But I do have a reasonable grasp of the English language and I read pretty well too.

    1. This is all being blown WAY out of proportion. Not the least of which is the legal absurdity of libeling or defaming a pseudonym, as Kari rhetorically noted.

    2. At the very least, Steve Maurer and myself both read and understood the comment before it was deleted. <u>Neither of us disagrees with Dan's characterization of it.</u> Given that the comment was still there when I first commented over two hours later, there has to be hundreds of other potential witnesses.

    3. Read the "Legal Stuff" blurb permanently affixed to the left-hand sidebar. I believe all of this is already covered within it.

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    Zarathustra,

    You wrote: I have the right to characterize my personal experiences how I care to characterize them. The only thing I'll add is that I've met, maybe one other person in my life that I would characterize the same way. No, changed my mind. None. Run the numbers in a chi squared test. The numbers are hard to achieve by chance. I also don't use generalization proactively. If I did I wouldn't be here. Besides, how does one use an invisible criterion proactively? I can't recognize a Serb on sight. And by the way, do not dare to tell me my experience is wrong because you have an a priori rule or category that knows better. If you know a Serb that you like, fine. Mention it. But do you know one Serb personally?

    Of all the things that go into shaping any human being, if this person was so uniquely vicious, what warrant is there for ascribing that to ethnicity as the occasion for your chi square?

    One aspect of the Yugoslav civil wars in the 1990s was that it blew apart some older ethnic stereotypes derived from there having been a strong Serbian backbone to anti-Nazi partisan resistance in World War II vs. considerable pro-Nazi collaboration among Croats (Tito was a Serb). While Kosovars clearly were victimized toward the end of the Milosevic regime, I can find you stories in the NY Times from the late 1980s in which what was essentially Kosovar terrorism (i.e. terrorism by a subset of Kosovars) became the excuse through which Milosevic changed the internal workings of the old Yugoslav collective presidency & set in motion the secession of Slovenia and eventually the disintegration of the country. I know slightly one gentle Croatian historian of the Balkans who was a vigorous critic of Croatian government crimes in the civil wars and know "virtually" i.e. through e-mail contact on a listserv over a number of years a Serbian democratic socialist in DSA who has to be one of the more serious ethical thinkers about international relations I've ever come across, whose internet persona, and self-projection in taking part in panel discussions I observed at conferences, I "liked," though I couldn't really say I know him.

    Perhaps I am missing something. but your position seems perilously close to that of a philosophy professor at NYU back in the heyday of anti-PC hysteria who was the counterpart at the opposite end of his colleague the infamous Leonard Jeffries. Jeffries you may recall inverted the pro-"Aryan" climatic racial determinism of much 19th and early 20th century racialism (itself a transvaluation of Montesquieu's neo-classical praise of Mediterranean "temperateness" compared to the purported racial effects of both more northerly and southerly climes) to denounce whites as cold, vicious "snow people" suffering from melanin deficiency.

    Anyway, his lesser-known philosophical counterpart and bete-blanche taught that anti-black racial prejudice was rationally based on personal experience and that racial discrimination against blacks therefore was moral and ought to be legal. It didn't help matters, in terms of acrimony, that the fellow happened to be Jewish.

    Am I missing something?

    DCOD, given the overwhelming numbers of the votes, I am having a little trouble understanding why Jewish members of Congress should be singled out for inquiry into the effects of their ethno-religious family backgrounds on their views on Israel and Palestine.

    I see that you are arguing that Jewish politicians have a unique opportunity and moral authority to critique Israeli government actions. It also seems apparently therefore a uniquely greater moral responsibility? But really I am not sure such inquiry would get us far. Why not inquire into the effects on Ted Kennedy of growing up in the milieu of Catholic anti-semitism under Richard Cardinal Cushing of Boston and perhaps reactions against that? Or a similar general point about both reactions against anti-semitism and its persistence in the aftermath of Nazi genocide and U.S. indifference at the time? Into the effects of certain evangelical Protestant eschatology as it involves Jews and Israel and the rebuilding of the Temple? Into the complicated relationships of African-American politicians with Jews who were both disproportionately represented in the Civil Rights movement among whites and leading questioners of affirmative action in light of the history of anti-Jewish quotas, not to mention the historic characteristic of Black Churches to place special emphasis on "Old Testament" narratives of escape from bondage in their idioms of expression? Really the failure of values you identify is something close to universal in this vote, so why single out Jewish family background?

  • Dan Petegorsky (unverified)
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    OK people. At this point it's obvious that my intention in removing the original post failed. While Maurer has demolished his/her legal arguments, one comment by "S.Q.ire" makes good sense to me: "Characterizing the material gets you onto a slippery slope. Characterizing absent material adds a big shove in the back as you try to keep your balance." The only person who likely benefited from my decision was "Zarathustra" him/herself.

    So: here is "Zarathustra"'s original post in its entirety:

    "Courageous following up the other post, which response I personally thought was a very, very sad indictment of the readership. ...and now back to your regularly scheduled Party rhetoric. So, do we not have representative government, in which case why do you give a good gd which party you belong to, or is this blog not representative of sentiment? 7%. Wow. That's double Nader's numbers that you love to dismiss as "nothing". You have to forgive those of us that don't let the boob tube decide which issues we will attend to and how much. Freed of the accursed device, I hadn't been subjected to Blago on CNN until I needed to spend a few minutes in a convenience store on Friday. Now I understand the extreme sensitivity here to hearing that "there's no difference between the parties". That's what the media buddies of corporate Amerika are selling going into the new Administration. "See, he's a male, Dem version of Sarah Palin". BTW, he is. You can only be in the country but not of its mindset for so long. Call me biased, racist or whatever, but I have met about 13 Serbians in my life and every one is a walking piece of human excrement. Closest I've come to violence in my adult life was chasing a malingering, begging Serb around a Boston block with his stage-prop crutch. Maybe I have really bad luck with Serbs. Maybe living as the whitest sh*theads for centuries has created the "Robert Wagner" effect, where they have no personality left and are their acting. Bottom line, you think you're different than Blago, don't you? I don't know, except that you're definitely heading in that direction and, personally, I only care about where your nose is pointed. If AIPAC thinks this helps their cause, good. More fuel for the fire."

  • Dan Petegorsky (unverified)
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    And here is what might have been an alternative to my deletion:

    Call me biased, racist or whatever, but I have met about 13 Serbians in my life and every one is a walking piece of human excrement.

    Ouch. It sure does sound bigoted. Your experiences are your experiences, but painting an entire nationality as "excrement" based on that experience is way, way over the line.

    Though it seems odious to me even to have to respond to such an assertion, let me offer one Serb of many I greatly admire, the poet Charles Simic. I first heard Simic read when I was a student way long ago, and his words have stuck with me decades later. So in that spirit, let me offer up one of Simic's poems about war ( a frequent topic of his works. It's from his 1971 collection, Dismantling the Silence.

    Marching

    After I forgot about the horses And when the fire turned into cool water flowing, And the old woman took off her mourning to enter a coffin At the end of a long life

    A horse stood like an apparition, A dream of a drowned girl cast out by the sea, Suddenly he turned his head, bugler turning his bugle To face the moon shining like a newlaid egg.

    Then I rose in my house among sons, I put on my old clothes and my muddy boots, My clothes smelling of wolves and deep snow, My boots that have trodden men’s faces.

    I remembered the swamps, grass taller than horses, Fast rivers soften than chicken flesh, Where I’ll stumble into deep hollows, dark eyelids, Until I am buried under human droppings.

    Blood rose in my head shaking its little bells. In the valley the glow died in the utter of the cow. The trees ceased playing with their apples And the wind brought the sound of men marching.

    A dog went along the road in front of marching soldiers, A man who was to be hanged went along the road, His head was bent, his face was dark and twisted As if death meant straining to empty one’s bowels.

    So close the doors and windows and do not look, The stars will come into the autumn sky Like boats looking at survivors at see But no son of your will rise from the deep.

  • (Show?)

    Defamation? Seriously...?

    This is a BLOG. Its a series of opinion columns. I'm not sure that even the Oregonian columnists get this kind of stupid scrutiny. If you don't like the opinions, don't read them.

    There are some people commenting here that should seriously consider reexamining their priorities. Like why opinion pieces on a blog cause them to get so bunched as to spend time writing irrelevant legal jargon and veiled threats of lawsuits and such.

    Get a grip, people.

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    And while we're at it--its the discretion of the blog to keep comments up or remove them. It's not a legal issue and it's not a danger to "the business", whatever that means.

    Gawd..I can't believe we're actually down this path. Pathetic.

  • Jiang (unverified)
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    Call me biased, racist or whatever, but I have met about 13 Serbians in my life and every one is a walking piece of human excrement.

    Thanks for the clarification. I had to re-read that about a dozen times. I thought it meant every one of the thirteen. I see now that you're saying it says "and every Serbian". Got it. That really wasn't obvious before you pointed it out, to me at least. I think we would all agree that saying all anything is... would be over the top. I would love to ask him (for those wondering if anyone knows his identity), though that is not possible at the moment.

    I would like to think that this was like an argument I had about ethnic tensions with an Irishman, and I kept saying that it wasn't one side or the other, but all the fault of the mix, a point I repeated about every other sentence. He kept getting madder and madder until he just shouted "Hitler" at me. Realizing there had been some gross miscommunication, I asked what I had said, to which he replied, "well, you're blaming everything on the Irish. It's the Mics this and the Mics that..."

  • Harry Kershner (unverified)
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    Zara's comment was indeed bigoted, but hardly in the same class as support for ethnic cleansing, slaughter and torture.

    But you're all present, right?

  • Dan Petegorsky (unverified)
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    But you're all present, right?

    Boy this is getting old, Harry. It continues to mystify me why you spend so much your anger on those few members who did not vote in favor of "ethnic cleansing, slaughter and torture" in contrast to those who actually did.

    You can continue to insist that there is no difference at all, either moral or practical, between voting "present" and voting "yea" or "nay" - but as an organizer it strikes me as a self-defeating view. I mean, shit, the fact that the U.S. abstained from the U.N. vote on Gaza instead of its usual stance of vetoing it was a major international headline, including the current tussle between Olmert and the White House over whether he did or didn't force them to instruct Rice to abstain instead of actually voting in favor.

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    We're present, and waiting patiently to hear your explanation for your support of Hamas, which is the only party in the current conflict that intends ethnic cleansing under all circumstances, deliberately slaughters innocents, and tortures (often rival Palestinians) as a matter of policy.

    Israel, of course, as a nation has plenty of people who sometimes lose control. Bad cops, bad actors. And their settlers are much akin to our neocons (though admittedly less cowardly, because they actually risk their lives).

    But Israel has no national policy even close to anything you accuse them of. Indeed, they have a long record of restraining their own extremists, even in the face of repeated Palestinian provocation. And lest anyone think Israel is equal in provocation, remember that land can always be returned. Lives can never be.

    But this doesn't matter to you, Harry, because every fact that is placed before you that does not agree with your rank prejudices, washes off your mind like water from a ducks back. You are far closer in psychological profile to a hate-filled conservative, than a liberal. You live in a world of black and white, moral absolutes. We live in a world of moral grays, in which no one is absolutely good, or evil. And colors, too.

  • Dan Petegorsky (unverified)
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    ..the only party ... that...tortures... as a matter of policy.

    That's not really the case, Steven. Israel does use torture in what it defines as "ticking time bomb" cases, and this use, while technically prohibited, is nonetheless the practice of the Israel Security Agency as described in this report from B'Tselem, which states:

    For example, in July 2002, Ha'aretz quoted a senior ISA official who said that, since the High Court's decision, ninety Palestinians had been declared "ticking bombs" and "exceptional interrogation means," torture in other words, had been used against them.
  • Harry Kershner (unverified)
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    Dan: As political activists we need to stop thinking of outcomes that make us feel good about ourselves but don't give any tangible benefit to the oppressed and humiliated people we are attacking as some sort of victory.

    The failure of the U.S. to block a security council resolution has done nothing to end the U.S.-Israel policies that caused the current slaughter; it has not even caused a ceasefire to occur.

    Only the total removal of U.S. economic, political and military support will change Israel's behavior.

    Again: this is not about Israel. This is about us.

    I think you need to review the history of Blumenauer's votes on Israel-related matters. He has always been a regressive on this. If Blumenauer really supports justice for the Palestinian people, why would he not have voted "No", since he was predictably going to be attacked by AIPAC anyway?

    Beyond Earl, the triangulating exercises indulged in by DP poiticians are legendary. DP elites are feeling very smug because they won an election, but the DP dominated Congress is hated by the public more than Bush or Cheney.

  • Dan Petegorsky (unverified)
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    Only the total removal of U.S. economic, political and military support will change Israel's behavior.

    I see. So help me with the math, then, ok? Right now in the House you had 22 members who voted Present and 5 who voted Nay, while 390 voted Yea on the Gaza resolution. Your position is that the 22 who voted Present are worthless sellouts, which leaves you with 5. So let's assume for argument's sake that all those 5 would actually support cutting off all aid to Israel. What's your strategy for achieving the more than 200 additional votes you'd need to pass such a bill?

    Now, I completely agree with you that this is a virtually impossible task given the makeup of Congress. So where does that leave you? Are you saying that the situation is hopeless (which is not such an unreasonable position)? Do you actually have a strategy to achieve what you're describing as the only thing that will change Israel's behavior? If not, then aren't you also just venting your outrage to feel good, or is there some other "tangible benefit" that these posts are providing?

    As for me, my sole expectation in putting up this post in the first place was (a) that two Reps who took small steps might be encouraged to keep heading in the right direction, and (b) that some readers who were unaware of Mercy Corps' role in providing humanitarian relief in Gaza might be motivated to donate money. Small steps indeed - but, at least in my view, tangible.

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    Well, I won't waste time trying to defend that. I read the link you provided, and the evidence is clear.

    The Israeli high court declared torture illegal in all cases, but declined to punish rogue ISA officers who broke the law in "ticking bomb cases". Now the ISA is clearly trying to get around the law by having all their officers go "rogue" (at least in 90 "ticking bomb" cases). It doesn't matter whether this goes all the way up the chain of command (like our own detainee abuse scandal does to George Bush) or not. They should not be doing that.

  • Dan Petegorsky (unverified)
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    One last note (hah): Folks should take a good look at the piece on the front page of this morning's NYTimes. Bottom line:

    The more bombs in Gaza, the more Hamas’s support seems to be growing at the expense of the Palestinian Authority, already considered corrupt and distant from average Palestinians.

    “The Palestinian Authority is one of the main losers in this war,” said Ghassan Khatib, an independent Palestinian analyst in the West Bank city of Ramallah. “How can it make gains in a war in which it is one of the casualties?”

    In other words, as I've noted above, the political effects of this war are exactly the opposite of Israel's stated goals - and were entirely predictable.

  • Vlad the Impaler (unverified)
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    Serbsky great people. Proud of heritage. . Rothschilds start WWI!

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    Entirely predictable indeed. Here is a piece from VOA this past Sunday making the same point.

  • Dan Petegorsky (unverified)
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    I don't know if the post by "Vlad the Impaler" (the historical figure more commonly known in folklore as Count Dracula) was intended to be a joke or not, but the "heritage" site to which it links is actually one that seeks to defend the recently arrested Serbian war criminal Radovan Karadzic. Hatred of Muslims is evidently what brings the site to connect the defense of Israel and opposition to anti-Semitism with what ironically amounts to Holocaust denial - claiming, for example, that "the Serbs on taking Srebrenica did not murder one single Muslim or even Islamofascist."

    In fact, the International Criminal Tribunal has ruled that the Srebrenica Massacre constituted genocide:

    By seeking to eliminate a part of the Bosnian Muslims [Bosniaks], the Bosnian Serb forces committed genocide. They targeted for extinction the forty thousand Bosnian Muslims living in Srebrenica, a group which was emblematic of the Bosnian Muslims in general. They stripped all the male Muslim prisoners, military and civilian, elderly and young, of their personal belongings and identification, and deliberately and methodically killed them solely on the basis of their identity.

  • Harry Kershner (unverified)
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    My attorney advises me to answer the question, "Is Kershner in league with the terrorists, as has been alleged", so here is my answer:

    PRESENT.

  • Vlad (unverified)
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    Say what you will about me, I killed far fewer people than your "democratic republic", and I didn't leave agent orange, "depleted" uranium, napalm, and/or unexploded bomblets to destroy future generations of my enemies. You are the vampires.

  • Dan Petegorsky (unverified)
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    I didn't leave agent orange, "depleted" uranium, napalm, and/or unexploded bomblets to destroy future generations of my enemies

    It should certainly be possible to condemn dropping napalm and cluster bombs on civilian populations without at the same time falsifying history and excusing the mass slaughter of Muslims. One can denounce Israel's actions in Gaza without denying the Holocaust, and one can denounce Hamas suicide bombers without calling for the destruction of Palestinian society. Denying the basic humanity of one entire people or another is at the root of many of these conflicts.

  • Dan Petegorsky (unverified)
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    A footnote on the recent posts: one of the most perceptive things I've ever read on nationalism - especially the way it has played out in the post-Cold War world - is a book published in '94 by Michael Ignatieff, Blood and Belonging.

    (If you happen to have followed Ignatieff's contorted positions on the Iraq war, hold those aside & cut him some slack. This is well worth reading.)

  • Gavrilo Princip (unverified)
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    As to that business about staring WWI, put yourself in my position. You're out for a walk to the corner sandwich shop and the Bush motorcade gets lost, comes around the corner and stops in front of you. You just happen to have a gun in your pocket. You're not thinking, "I'm going to kill 20 million people, or however many it was". I don't like war. WWI destroyed my house. Opportunity was the motive.

    Americans are the butchers. If I had done here what I did there, being 12 days short of 20 wouldn't have saved my life!

  • well worth closing tag (unverified)
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  • (Show?)

    Dan Petergorsky: It should certainly be possible to condemn dropping napalm and cluster bombs on civilian populations without at the same time falsifying history and excusing the mass slaughter of Muslims.

    Not for anonymous internet trolls it's not.

    I've personally never understood why BlueOregon continues to provide a forum for hate filled lies posted by anonymous cowards. There's a difference between providing a forum in which to debate political disagreements and furthering extremist hate speech.

    But that's just me.

  • Stephen Amy (unverified)
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    Israel broke the ceasfire with its 11/4/08 raid. Hamas had not fired a rocket since the July agreement. And, not only that, Israel never lifted the blockade of Gaza (doing so was a requirement of the ceasefire).

    But, even IF Hamas had flagrantly violated the ceasefire, anybody that would support the kind of wholesale, fish-in-the-barrel, white-phosphorus-utilized, one-sided, child-murdering carnage that IDF carried out must be a sadist or a Democrat (or both).

    And, not only that, but Hamas WOULD agree to a ceasefire of many years in duration. Oh yeah- CAN'T DO THAT!- Hamas doesn't recognize Israel (does Likud recognize Palestine?- difference is that even if Israel elects Likud, they still get $12 bil. per year US aid, but if Palestine elects rejectionists, look what they get!).

    Oh yeah, and Hamas must also REJECT VIOLENCE (a pathetic joke of a request considering the last 3 weeks).

    And, Obama's nominee for the new UN Ambassdor, Susan Rice, laments that "Israel is being treated unfairly at the UN..." (Obama: GHW Bush with a suntan).

  • Stephen Amy (unverified)
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    What passes for courage in the present-day Democratic Party is a vote of "present" on the question as to whether or not to approve mass murder?

    Check the facts: Israel broke the ceasefire with the 11/4/08 raid; Hamas had fired no missiles up until then (as Olmert spokesman Mark Regev confirms); Israel did not lift the blockade (which was a condition of the ceasefire). And, even if Hamas had broken the rules, anyone who'd approve of this slaughter, with many civilian/child casualties and usage of white phosphorus and the fact of it being a world-class military vs. a non-existent military, is a sadist.

    So now the new Sec of State says, as is usual with US pols, Hamas must recognize Israel (does Likud Party recognize Palestine?), Hamas must decry violence (which is a particularly ironic condition to impose, considering the past three weeks). And Obama's new US Ambassador to the UN says she's troubled because Israel doesn't receive fair shrift in that body): translation: Barack Obama is nothing but GHW Bush with a suntan! (I'll give him credit as being slightly more reasonable than GW).

    Hamas would agree to a very long-term ceasefire; they just say "let the future take care of itself". The real problem is that Israel does not want to comply with law and end the occupation!

    This repulsive episode has been nothing other than 90% of elected federal Dem officeholders aiding and abetting a mass murder.

  • (Show?)

    Wrong, Mr. Amy. The "cease fire" was a cease fire associated with rockets and bombs being fired across the border at (or in the case of Israel's attacks) near, each other's civilians.

    It had nothing to do with Hamas's continuing attacks against IDF soldiers, or their kidnapping of the same using tunnels they dug under the Gaza/Egypt border. Nor did it have anything to do with the IDF deciding to kill the Hamas combatants digging yet another tunnel with which they could use to smuggle more weapons in, and further additional kidnaps.

    War is, of course, mass murder. When Hamas, and the majority of Gazans who support them, decide to pursue their claims in a peaceful fashion, then they will be deserving of sympathy. But not until then.

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    In what strikes me as good news, President Obama (woohoo) is reportedly ready to announce the appointment of former Senator George Mitchell as special U.S. envoy for the Middle East.

    Personally, I think Mitchell's a great choice, with solid creds from his previous work in Northern Ireland and the Middle East.

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