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Sunday Open Thread:
Many commenters enjoyed the VC open thread from last week, so I think I'll try making it a regular event. Weekends are usually pretty quiet here, so in the tradition of the Sunday Song Lyric, I hereby introduce a new weekly feature, the Sunday Open Thread. What's on your mind? Comment away.
Cornellian (mail):
You could combine the two, and ask people what song lyrics are on their mind.....

I'm listening to the song "Dulaman" by Clannad and since it's in Gaelic I don't understand a word of it, but it sure sounds nice.
1.22.2006 4:15pm
Cornellian (mail):
Ok this time I have an actual issue: Any comments / predictions for the Canadian election tomorrow? My prediction is a Conservative victory (obviously, given the opinion polls), either a minority or a slight majority, followed by Paul Martin's resignation as Liberal party leader, and a bloody leadership fight.
1.22.2006 4:18pm
Fishbane (mail):
Music-wise, I've been listening to Poe. It really isn't my usual sort of thing (I'm more in to classical and some jazz), but a few songs on the album, like the title track, "Angry Johnny", and "Beautiful Girl" are really haunting. It isn't current or anything, but I just ran across it.

I think I've used up my cultural critic ration for the month now, so I'll stop.
1.22.2006 4:35pm
moonfall:
David Bernstein is on my mind.

Now, I know I'm just a reader - and I know that volkh used to not allow comments at all, and thus has clearly stepped forward/up (if you will) in the blogosphere. I also know that comments take a lot of work to edit, especially when on controversial topics like Israel, Cuba, and lobbyists.

It seems to me that when articles like the one of his just previous to this thread are posted without comments enabled, it screams "Troll!" It's basically an attack on Juan Cole, with no opportunity for anyone to respond.

Anyway, it's your playground, not mine. But I don't think these types of flamebait posts contribute in any way if comments are enabled. Heck, even redstate has comments.
1.22.2006 4:43pm
John Jenkins (mail):
It's basically an attack on Juan Cole, with no opportunity for anyone to respond. If Cole wants to respond, he has is own blog after all, as does anyone else who wants to. Trackbacks always work.
1.22.2006 4:48pm
Dave:
I've been thinking about a Jack Balkin post from a few weeks ago. Balkin argues that the law can be twisted for a lot of bad purposes, and discusses what to do about it. It's changed my thinking about legal culture:


Lawyers have always, to my knowledge, been willing to come up with clever and ingenious arguments for the interests they represent, even (and especially) when the other side believes those arguments to be spurious or to twist the law in ways contrary to its underlying spirit or purposes. And lawyers have always been willing to assert that, far from twisting the law, it is they, and not their opponents, who are being most true and faithful to the law... lawyers have been implicated in the worst injustices in human history, arguing heatedly for them all the way. They have used their considerable talents to defend-- or to protect from legal sanction-- human slavery, sweatshops, lynchings, and every possible evil that human beings can inflict on each other, they have repeatedly done so in the name of justice and the rule of law... The law always needs help from other sources in political culture if it is to do its job appropriately. The rule of law, I would insist, is not a purely legal or professional ideal-- it is a political ideal that demands that power be checked, circumscribed and made accountable in fair and publicly knowable ways.


The law is a tool that can be used by many hands, and Balkin has some good insights on both the problems that can raise and on the makings of a solution.

I hope ya'all find it thought-provoking. The whole post isn't terribly long, and I'd really recommend it.

Dave
1.22.2006 4:52pm
Defending the Indefensible:
John Jenkins:
It's basically an attack on Juan Cole, with no opportunity for anyone to respond. If Cole wants to respond, he has is own blog after all, as does anyone else who wants to. Trackbacks always work.
Not all of us have our own blogs, for one thing. For another, the reason many of us read VC is to read the interplay of comments between participants, and occasionally to share our own thoughts when appropriate. It's not my sandbox, I realize that, and David Bernstein is under no obligation to me or anyone else, but we're also under no obligation to visit this site. I find his sort of drive-by character assassination offensive and I absolutely would not care to visit the VC if posts like his were the norm.
1.22.2006 5:16pm
PersonFromPorlock:
Under legal positivism, how many legs does Lincoln's famous dog have?
1.22.2006 5:17pm
Frank Drackmann (mail):
I'm listening to the "Humpty Dance" by Digital Underground,,you know"My name is Humpty, pronounced with an Umpty. "
1.22.2006 5:35pm
SP:
I'm not sure if pointing out that Cole regularly cites people who are well past Pluto on the "wacko" scale is character assassination, since it appears that Cole in fact is regularly citing people who are well past Pluto on the "wacko" scale.
1.22.2006 5:52pm
JohnAnnArbor:
I'm listening to the song "Dulaman" by Clannad and since it's in Gaelic I don't understand a word of it, but it sure sounds nice.

It's about seaweed. Really. Gathering seaweed for use as fertilizer. Great song. Great band.
1.22.2006 6:09pm
Bruce:
Solvejg's Song from the Peer Gynt Suite. I'm not actually listening to it, it's just going through my head. (I.e., "I'm my own Walkman.") Unfortunately, my CD collection is elsewhere so I can't play it.
1.22.2006 6:09pm
Matt Barr (mail) (www):
Does Gonzalez v. Oregon represent dashed hopes that Chief Justice Roberts was going to start cracking down on these 46-page, 16-part opinions, or does he need some more time before that starts to happen?
1.22.2006 6:14pm
John Jenkins (mail):
Since he was in the minority, Roberts, C.J. doesn't have a lot of control over the majority opinion. At least he didn't write separately.

DTI, but you COULD have one if you wanted one, and Juan Cole does, which is my point, and you note you can choose not to read the posts or the site, but I doubt that threat is going to change anyone's habits (especially since many people will simply disagree with you that the post in question is "drive-by character assasination," given that it includes links and allows people to make up their own minds).
1.22.2006 6:21pm
stillers_fan:
Hey Todd,

Here We Go Stillers, Here We Go!!!

This year we get that one for the thumb!!!!
1.22.2006 6:22pm
Dissent:
"Look, We are angels on wires
From a pregnant sky
And if that's where you think you'll go,
Then that's where you'll go.
And if that's what you want to feel,
Then that's what I will sell you."

-Guided By Voices
1.22.2006 6:31pm
Mike Brown:
Just who is Juan non-Volokh? Any guesses?
1.22.2006 6:41pm
Matt Barr (mail) (www):
John J.: Well, it's his Court, and for all Rehnquist's virtues as an administrator certainly one of his main failings in that area was letting everybody write as long and inpenetrable opinions as possible on every little thing. You discourage that kind of thing by scheduling more or more productive conferences, tightening deadlines, etc. An easy starter would have been declining to join Scalia's 46-page, 16-part dissent.
1.22.2006 7:08pm
magoo (mail):
Random thought:
Today, Tim Russert played a clip of Harry Belafonte's assertion in Venezuela that Bush is the "world's greatest terrorist," and asked Barack Obama whether this kind of remark is appropriate. Obama responded, lamely in my view, "that's language I wouldn't use." I think Obama has the potential to be a transformational politician, but he needs to do better than this.

Carry on.
1.22.2006 7:24pm
Guest2 (mail):
I'm taking a break from writing a brief. Hate those long opinions! Anyone have a good explanation for why they keep getting longer? Pointing to word-processing technology just seems too easy.
1.22.2006 7:30pm
Frank Drackmann (mail):
..Hey Yo fat girl! c'mere are ya ticklish? Yeah I called ya fat, look at me I'm skinny, it never stopped me from gettin any, I'm a freak, I like the girls with the boom, I once got *** in a Burger King bathroom...


Humpty Hump, 1991
1.22.2006 7:36pm
JohnAnnArbor:
I think Obama has the potential to be a transformational politician

But he's blown every chance he's gotten, including this time, to show some daylight between himself and run-of-the-mill, don't-offend-the-almighty-base Democrats.
1.22.2006 7:36pm
Mike Brown:
Actually, I believe its "it never stopped me from gettin' busy." I know this because it was an unfortunate karaoke choice last night. Listen to those lyrics, Frank!
1.22.2006 7:40pm
JonC:
Any comments / predictions for the Canadian election tomorrow? My prediction is a Conservative victory (obviously, given the opinion polls), either a minority or a slight majority, followed by Paul Martin's resignation as Liberal party leader, and a bloody leadership fight.

I'll second that. I think the Tories will grab enough seats to give them just under a majority, and it will throw the Liberals into absolute chaos. It's been, what, 13 or so years since they've been out of power? I still wouldn't expect much policy change in Canada, as the Tories are basically the equivalent of the American Democratic party (with the Liberals more toward the socialist left), but I think we should expect US-Canada relations to improve, along with the miserable state of the Canadian military. It's about time too- Canada needs to become a major player again on the world stage.
1.22.2006 7:44pm
magoo (mail):
JohnAA — Sometimes he's truly uplifting and inspirational, but watching him wiff on this fat pitch was dispiriting. Is he slouching toward political hackery?
1.22.2006 7:47pm
VC Reader:

Just who is Juan non-Volokh? Any guesses?

I got an email from him once (in response to an email I sent). I looked up his IP address and it was from Washington state. If I remember correctly it was somewhere near Seattle, but it's been a while. I think Howard Bashman knows who he is...
1.22.2006 8:15pm
minnie:
RE: David Bernstein's latest post. I often enjoy reading the writings of David Bernstein, but nevertheless, I always do so keeping in mind his tremendous biases, which often overwhelm his logic. In this particular post, I find his words far less persuasive than those of Juan Cole or the other person whose views he summarily dismisses. I don't wear a tin foil hat (unless it rains and I can't find a plastic garbage bag around) and I certainly don't hate Israel, but for an objective argument concerning the topic of Israel, I would never look to David Bernstein. Also, I would suggest that David Bernstein not worry about putting labels on "The Protocols of the Elders of Zion" nor worry about who wrote it or for what reason (I personally don't think it has anything to do with Israel---seems more likely to have come out of Skull and Bones, imo), but instead read the entire text very, very carefully. I find it one of the most interesting discussions of human nature and how governments rule ever written. It dwarfs classics like The Prince by Machievelli. Could it happen? Personally, I don't think that is the question. In my opinion, it did. We're there now. The question is, how do we get out? The answer is, probably, we don't. We just go on, and on, and on, and on, to the last syllable of recorded time....
1.22.2006 8:20pm
A Blogger:
Minnie writes, on "The Protocols of the Elders of Zion":
Could it happen? Personally, I don't think that is the question. In my opinion, it did. We're there now. The question is, how do we get out? The answer is, probably, we don't. We just go on, and on, and on, and on, to the last syllable of recorded time....
Huh? Minnie, what are you talking about?
1.22.2006 8:31pm
GWU's sister (mail):
Is Minnie's post a very subtle satirical attack on Juan Cole and Justin Raimondo by associating their views with loonies who believe in the Protocols? Or is Minnie just one of those loonies who happens to otherwise agree with Cole and Raimondo?

VC Reader: if Juan wanted to keep anonymity, don't you think he'd be clever enough to use an anonymizer?
1.22.2006 8:35pm
Commenterlein (mail):
Am I the only one who thought Russert's question to Obama was entirely inappropriate? Can you imagine him playing Belafonte's nonsense to Hillary Clinton? Or David Duke's nonsense to Orrin Hatch?

Does Russert really assume that Obama has to have thought about Belafonte's rantings simply because they share their skin color?
1.22.2006 8:44pm
Gordon DeSpain (mail) (www):
Minnie,

What few people really know has been lost in propaganda for almost a hundred years. "The Protocols of Zion," were written by a 'hanger-on' to the Russian Court, and, made the rounds of Russia and Europe the first time, almost half again that far in the past.

It is a hate piece that was written to vilify the Jewish Community at that time, then, repeated endlessly until it became the only 'truth' remembered. It was neither written by a Jew, nor, a member of an organization of that name, an organization that never really existed.
1.22.2006 8:58pm
Duncan Frissell (mail):
Bush is the "world's greatest terrorist," and asked Barack Obama whether this kind of remark is appropriate. Obama responded, lamely in my view, "that's language I wouldn't use."

Magoo,

You're kidding, right? I remember when 60 Minutes in sequence promoted Julian Bond and Jesse Jackson as the Great Black Hopes that would transform politics and race relations in this country. Didn't happen.

Left-wing blacks can't be transformative because they haven't transformed themselves so they can't transform others.

As for the quote from Mr. Day-0... If George is the world's greatest terrorist, why isn't Mecca a pit or radioactive glass? Osama would certainly nuke someone if terrorists were capable of nuking anyone. Luckily, since their engineering skills are a bit lame, they can't.

The fact that George could nuke lots of people proves that he's not a terrorist. He's a normal military leader. The designation terrorist (like the older term guerilla - Spanish diminutive for 'war' - 'little war') labels someone who lacks the capability of fighting a real war since they can't get their shit together to do so.

See: Arabs at War: Military Effectiveness, 1948-1991 by Kenneth M. Pollack

The picture is not pretty. Save for the Glubb Pasha leading the Arab Legion against poorly armed Jews in Jerusalem in the 1948 war, no Arab army has successfully fought a Western army since the 17th century.
1.22.2006 8:59pm
Frank Drackmann (mail):
"People say Yo, Humpty, youre really funny lookin, thats allright cause I get things cookin, Ya stare,ya glare, ya constantly try to compare me, but ya can't get near me. I give em more,see,and on the floor,B,all the girls they adore me, Oh yes ladies, I'm really bein sincere cause in a 69 my humpty nose will tickle your rear. My nose is big, uh huh, I'm not ashamed, big like a pickle, I'm still gettin paid..I get laid by the ladies, ya know I'm in charge,.."
1.22.2006 9:07pm
Marcus1 (mail) (www):
Suggestion:

There should be a way to search the comments of posts! I say all these great things, and then I can never find them again. Or at least that's how I remember it. Plus I always wonder if I'm being slandered in some thread where I said something but then forgot to check back. Searchable comments would definitely bring this blog to the next level.
1.22.2006 9:08pm
Andrew Adair (mail) (www):
Does anyone besides me think that asking Sen. Obama to comment on Belafonte's remarks is totally racist? Why would Russert ask him about it, but for the fact that he's black? The implication to me is -- "you're black, like this guy, so tell us where YOU stand on this, since you look like him (sort of)." Other than the pigmentation of his skin, what's the connection between Obama and Belafonte??
1.22.2006 9:09pm
SlimAndSlam:
I just listened to the first half of Sufjan Stevens' album Illinois. Of course, I did so while reading this and other blogs (I can't fully concentrate on music and text at the same time), so I have little to report about it except that it makes fine aural wallpaper if you choose to listen to it that way.

The bar exam is in thirty days. An evening off is a lovesome thing, God wot.
1.22.2006 9:10pm
Duncan Frissell (mail):
Sorry. Forgot about the First Afghan War in the 1840s. Disaster for the British. The Second Afghan War went much better.

My response to 9-11 was to read General Roberts' (later Lord Roberts of Kandahar) bestselling biography: Forty-One Years in India (1897). Just to see what we were up against.
1.22.2006 9:11pm
Patrick McKenzie (mail):
I can see it now. "The Protocols of the Elders of Zion: Fake, but accurate."
1.22.2006 9:14pm
Wild Pegasus (mail) (www):
I still wouldn't expect much policy change in Canada, as the Tories are basically the equivalent of the American Democratic party (with the Liberals more toward the socialist left)...

I wouldn't agree with this characterisation. The Canadian Tories are Republicans constrained by a bigger constituency for big government (so, IOW, it's the Republican party of the 2040s). All of the offensive, reactionary social leanings of the Republicans are combined with even bigger government to satisfy the voters.

The Liberals don't lean more to the socialist left. They're more like the crony capitalists of the Asian capitalist countries. Socialised costs, privatised profits, favours and appointments spread around. They're political realists, not true believers.

- Josh
1.22.2006 9:25pm
Master Shake:
Frank Drackmann - since when does "busy" require an asterisk censor? Great song by the way.

First I limp to the side like my leg was broken
Shakin' and twitchin' kinda like I was smokin'
Crazy wack funky
People say ya look like M.C. Hammer on crack, Humpty
That's all right 'cause my body's in motion
It's supposed to look like a fit or a convulsion
Anyone can play this game
This is my dance, y'all, Humpty Hump's my name
No two people will do it the same
Ya got it down when ya appear to be in pain
1.22.2006 9:39pm
Frank Drackmann (mail):
Oh i thought "busy" was something x-rated, it was bleeped on the version I heard..
"Humpin,funkin,jumpin,jig around, shakin ya rump, and when the dude a chump pump points a finger like a stump, tell him step off, I'm doin the hump"
1.22.2006 9:50pm
ChrisAllan (mail):
If we could just get Osma to listen to Stevie Ray Vaughn, then everything would be okay
1.22.2006 10:05pm
JonC:
<i>All of the offensive, reactionary social leanings of the Republicans are combined with even bigger government to satisfy the voters. </i>

I dunno about that Josh- do you think the Conservatives are even remotely close to the American Republican party on, say, either abortion or gay marriage? Granted, I'm not a Canadian nor an expert on Canadian politics, but from what I've read that doesn't seem to be the case at all.
1.22.2006 10:15pm
Cornellian (mail):
Today, Tim Russert played a clip of Harry Belafonte's assertion in Venezuela that Bush is the "world's greatest terrorist," and asked Barack Obama whether this kind of remark is appropriate. Obama responded, lamely in my view, "that's language I wouldn't use." I think Obama has the potential to be a transformational politician, but he needs to do better than this.

My response would have been to say that Mr. Belafonte is free to make that remark in the US without any consequences to him from the US government because of the First Amendment. I'd add that he might wish to try going to Venezuela and declaring, just as publicly, that Hugo Chavez is the world's greatest terrorist. The difference in treatment would provide Mr. Belafonte with a useful education, something that that his clueless remark suggests is critically lacking.
1.22.2006 10:25pm
Cornellian (mail):
Re Protocols, probably my fav blog name was by a Jewish guy in New York who called his blog "Protocols of the Yuppies of Zion." Not surprisingly, with a sense of humor like that, he got hired as a writer for some comedy series and had to discontinue the blog.
1.22.2006 10:26pm
Cornellian (mail):
I dunno about that Josh- do you think the Conservatives are even remotely close to the American Republican party on, say, either abortion or gay marriage? Granted, I'm not a Canadian nor an expert on Canadian politics, but from what I've read that doesn't seem to be the case at all.

The Canadian Tories are nothing at all like US Republicans in terms of their views on social issues. Certainly there are a number of Tories who have those views, but not in sufficient numbers to make any real difference to Tory social policy. Harper knows full well that US social conservatism is suicide in a Canadian election. On abortion there are ZERO restrictions in Canadian federal law, and in the Canadian federal system, the federal government has general criminal law jurisdiction. Harper's position is that he will do nothing about abortion to alter the status quo of zero restrictions. Could the US Republican party hold that position? Same sex marriage is currently legal in Canada. Harper's position is a free vote in the Commons (not a party line vote) to have civil unions instead, with all the same legal rights but not the name of marriage. That's a position way to the left of the US Republicans, and even left of the Democrats at least at the national level. Whatever his personal views, Harper is a realist, and he knows that views that the views of the religious right in this country would be poison in a Canadian federal election.

The Canadian political spectrum doesn't map precisely onto the US political spectrum and it's therefore not really possible to say that the Canadian conservatives are simply more left wing versions of US Republicans, to reflect a more socially liberal political culture. On certain issues they are, but other issues considered significant here simply don't come up in Canada, or come up in a different form. For example, American reverence for its military doesn't have any equivalent in Canada. Thus "support the troops" type campaigning doesn't really work there. It's not a right or left issue, it just doesn't occur to anyone to talk about it. Canada is much more liberal than the US, but it's not simply a colder, larger version of San Francisco either.
1.22.2006 10:39pm
minnie:
A Blogger and Gordon: Many people who comment on "Protocol" have not read it carefully. They are focused on the various theories as to who wrote it, a Zionist, a Russian mystic, etc. or whatever theory is the latest making the rounds of the Internet. They are focused on its alleged purpose--- real, a fake to be used as a tool to foment hatred between various groups, a hoax, or whatever.....

Stipped to its bones, it's a very cynical, and in my opinion, utterly brilliant dissection of the nature of mass behavior, and how the leaders who rule the masses in any particular country can use that knowledge about the psychology of mass behavior to fashion a society which is so contentedly distracted that the leaders of those nations can retain their power and go about their business.

If I had read it 15 years ago, I would have assumed it was insane. I didn't know enough about human nature, governments, and life in general to be able to see how true it is.

But I also would have not believed 15 years that the trash called reality shows on TV would dominate the airwaves, or a play whose big number is Springtime for Hitler would become one of Broadway's biggest hits.

What's my point in this last statement? Well, I personally do not find anything even remotely funny about Hitler. I like humor at least as much as the next person, but a society which thinks genocide is cause for laughter is a society which is very similar to the type of society whoever wrote Protocols argued could, and should, be created to enable the leaders to retain power.

Remember Bush's invitation to the Ozbournes to visit the White House? How he said he loved that show?

Out of an infinite number of examples of things having run amok, so to speak, that example is as good as any.
1.22.2006 11:19pm
minnie:
PS. Wait, an even better example is how a depraved moral monster like Bill Frist gets to the position he holds in the Republican party, and nary a peep is raised in protest.
1.22.2006 11:25pm
GWU's sister (mail):
Minnie, what you seem ignorant of is that despite what you may read on the Internet, there is no dispute among serious scholars/historians regarding who wrote the Protocols--it was the czarist secret police, and it was laregly plagiarized from an earlier satire of Napoleon III and another book. http://www.ushmm.org/wlc/en/index.php?ModuleId=10007058
Anyone who goes around suggesting even the possibility that it was written by a "Zionist" runs the justified risk of being thought either an anti-Semite or a complete ignoramus.
1.22.2006 11:55pm
Galvanax II:
Minnie writes:

If I had read it 15 years ago, I would have assumed it was insane. I didn't know enough about human nature, governments, and life in general to be able to see how true it is.

Minnie, it is I, the GREAT SPIRIT GALVANAX II. I am the ONE WHO CONTROLS ALL. Your recent posts please me-- Do not listen to those who doubt you. Together, soon we will RULE THE WORLD.
1.23.2006 12:33am
therut (mail):
After listening to C-span this morning I realized how the blogs have brought about a severe case of real believers in conspiracy theories, radiacal left and right wing thinking and I wonder if we will see an increase in homegrown terrorism from these people. They will believe anything anyone writes that feeds on their paranoia and political beliefs. Some are even parrotted by educated people. I have noticed that I have been changed by this. Not in that I have become unhinged but that things that shocked me when I fist ran across some political blogs have now just become part of reality. I was shocked by the language and pure hate of religious people. I had no idea such people with such ideas existed in this country. That is what I have been thinking about.
1.23.2006 12:46am
Jadagul (mail) (www):
Minnie: if I understand you correctly, you're saying that even if (though) the Protocols are not a true account of Jews running the world, the book is a description of how small group could run the world. Is this what you're saying?
1.23.2006 1:22am
Fishbane (mail):
As for the quote from Mr. Day-0... If George is the world's greatest terrorist, why isn't Mecca a pit or radioactive glass? Osama would certainly nuke someone if terrorists were capable of nuking anyone. Luckily, since their engineering skills are a bit lame, they can't.

Duncan, I appreciate your approach, and I have read you since the Cypherpunk days. But that is a terribly weak analysis. Not only are you implicitly suggesting that this is a war of religion, but also suggesting that there's nothing more interesting than a simple, statist conflict going on here. I can come up with any number of differences with the current administration's approach to this conflict, but noting that it is "different" is not one of them. Indeed, that's become a marketing slogan.

I'll put aside asking when you put minimal statism aside.
1.23.2006 1:35am
Fishbane (mail):
Stipped to its bones, it's a very cynical, and in my opinion, utterly brilliant dissection of the nature of mass behavior [...].

Minnie does not speak for me. I have read it, and I find it somewhat silly and simplistic. Furthermore, it is political trash, designed for a purpose. Anyone on the left (and, apparently, that includes me now, even though I'm a libertarian) would do well to renounce not only these sorts of analysis, but also the Raimundos of the world. A fair world has no place for racists of any stripe.
1.23.2006 1:50am
Fishbane (mail):
A fair world has no place for racists of any stripe.

I would like to correct that statement. It was poorly constructed.

I will not associate with racists of any stripe, and don't believe that a modern state should institute any policies based on racist arguments.
1.23.2006 1:54am
minnie:
Minnie: if I understand you correctly, you're saying that even if (though) the Protocols are not a true account of Jews running the world, the book is a description of how small group could run the world. Is this what you're saying?

Mostly. I am saying to forget about the accuracy of The Protocols, in terms of any groups it names, or to whom its views are attributed. It's a psychological blueprint for how, taking into account how relatively easy it is to mislead and thus control the masses if you manipulate them in certain ingenious ways, any group of leaders (not necessarily a "small group" and not necessarily from one nation) can rise to power and singly or collectively control the citizens of their various domains. We all have heard the statement, whether or not we believe it, that "religion is the opiate of the masses." Protocal goes way beyond that. It covers all the different opiates which can be used to distract large groups of people so that you can move the cheese without them seeing it.

One of those opiates is entertainment. People with time on their hands, according to this theory, are more dangerous. Those happily watching Survivor are not likely to cause any trouble while they are thus engaged.
The more prurient and mindless the entertainment, the more likely to capture the interest of the least intelligent, so they too are given something to chew on, so to speak.

It covers everything, from "Hey, they cut off the heads of our soldiers and stuck them on poles" to, well, Howard Stern.

If you substitute "Ruling Class" for "Zionists" and substitute "those ruled" for everyone else, you get the picture.
1.23.2006 2:30am
Fishbane (mail):
One more statement and I'm done: Justin Raimondo is even worse than I thought. Much like Minnie, this is not someone I would associate with. A visit to antiwar.com will demonstrate it.

(Back when I was in school, a mock court judge told me to shut up sooner rather than later. I am suspecting that that was good advice, but, well, here I am.)
1.23.2006 2:34am
Fishbane (mail):
If you substitute "Ruling Class" for "Zionists" and substitute "those ruled" for everyone else, you get the picture.

Sorry to so quickly violate my rule to not post again.

Minnie, can I merely suggest that taking strategy from a discredited bit of agitprop is a bad idea? The material suggestions in that book are not even that good. Please. Go back to Machiavelli, if you must, but pick a better role model.
1.23.2006 2:42am
therut (mail):
Wow. I saw this Raimondo guy on the Univ. of Cali station on Direct TV giving a talk at some University(as usual) with Phil Donahue. They guy was odd. All he did was rant Bush this and Bush that. He made Donahue look like a Conservative was how out in loopy land he was. How anyone with any commmon sense can listen to someone like this with a straight face amazes me. But there was a audience applauding everthing he said like it was the gospel.
1.23.2006 2:46am
WB:
I'm wondering what the Democrats are thinking these days.

I listen to all of the criticism of the Bush administration, I'm troubled by much of it, but I don't see any leaders stepping forward on the Dems side to offer an alternative. I'm afraid that they've lost the ability that an opposition party must have to keep the party in power honest.

To me, this is evident on a number of levels. First, their last two presidential candidates have been mediocre at best. John Kerry had to ask his handlers who he was, couldn't make a coherent point in a speech, and seemed to be running on the platform of "Bush is worse than nothing, and I'm at least nothing, so vote for me." This may be good enough when you're preaching to the choir, but not when you're trying to persuade swing voters. Al Gore was just as bad. And the party tried to sweep their lack of charisma under the rug by saying "they have no style because they're intellectuals. please pretend that lack of style means substance." The ACS is all energized over a speech Al Gore made that does little more than regurgitate the NYTimes op-eds and offer more criticism of the president without coming up with any ideas himself.

The judiciary committee is the same mess. The loudest Democrat voices on the committee are Schumer, Kennedy and Feinstein, and none of them seems to have a clue about what judges do. Schumer just complains a lot, and his attempts to trap Bush's nominees with his questions are about equivalent to me trying to trap Stephen Hawking with a math question. Kennedy just makes a lot of noise and seems to be going with the obscenely ironic tactic of criticizing Bush's nominees on moral grounds. And Feinstein clearly doesn't care what judges are supposed to do, as long as they preserve abortion rights.

Bush et al. make me very uncomfortable, but the other side strikes me as so disorganized and incompetent that I think I'll keep voting GOP and rooting for his judicial nominees until someone with a plan and a decent IQ steps forward and convinces me otherwise.

That's what's on my mind today.
1.23.2006 9:01am
WB:
And Eminem's "My 1st Single" track (from the Encore CD) has a nice beat.
1.23.2006 9:02am
Houston Lawyer:
Was it racist to ask Obama about Bellafonte's comments? Was it racist for Democrats to throw oreos at a Black Republican candidate? As long as Democrats assert that any Black person in this country who supports the Republican party is a race traitor, I think it is fine to ask any Black politico to comment about what any other prominent Black person has stated.

Obama has clearly blown any opportunity to put any distance between himself and the worst elements of the Left. Clearly this is a choice he has made. I believe that if he were asked about some asinine comment from David Duke, he would allow himself a little more distance.
1.23.2006 10:33am
farmer56 (mail):
WB

I agree.

You left off several points. The one that comes to mind is all the screeming about Bush nominees being out of the 'mainstream'. Just the executive and legislative branches have been elected by the 'mainstream'. Thus defining the mainstream.
1.23.2006 10:40am
gramm:
late predictions, for sunday january 22, 2006 open thread:

1. kobe bryant will not be remembered as the "next michael jordan" but as a vulgar, selfish, vain little child whose limitless talent and potential were no match for his immeasurable ego and deep insecurities. his 81-point game will be recalled as a measure of his sadness rather than greatness.

2. meaningful mine-safety legislation in west virginia will be killed by industry lobbyists who will remind state politicians who really pays the bills. instead, a superficial and largely symbolic measure will be enacted and signed by governor manchin. at least 5 more miners will die this year.

3. the term "brokeback" will become the most recent epithet for homosexuals or gay culture, generally.

4. on the west wing, alan alda (senator arnold vinick), will defeat jimmy smits (congressman matt santos) in the upcoming presidential election (it'll happen in mid to late june - - before the series finale, which will feature the peaceful transition of government and windy speeches about the strength of american democracy).

5. the "beef" between rappers nas and jay-z, while temporarily suspended by their new alliance, will be renewed after nas blames jay-z for lackluster sales of forthcoming works. the two will split and, after doing his best to generate interest in a new release, without success, nas will fade into obscurity.

** bonus ** superbowl xl: steelers 28, seahawks 24.
1.23.2006 10:41am
therut (mail):
You do realize the word brokeback already has a meaning in the homosexual community. That title was picked for a reason. Let us just say it has something to do with the "bug catcher" movement.
1.23.2006 11:26am
minnie:
Fishbane, I am no apologist for Raimondo. I never heard of him before he was mentioned on this thread. I should have phrased my original comment differently, that I was no MORE persuaded by David Bernstein's arguments than those of anyone else, because I consider David Bernstein, wonderful though he may be, and producer of gorgeous children like Natalie Bernstein though he may be, to have a biased outlook on certain subjects.

As for your statement that Protocols is a discredited piece of agiprop, I could not disagree more. Maybe you discredited it, but I have not. I consider it a brilliant, albeit highly cynical, analysis of how leaders can manipulate their subjects to gain and keep control over them. Is there a "Society To Discredit Ideas?" If so, I haven't heard of it. We each make that choice ourselves. Your discrediting it is of no interest to me.

Also, I am hardly "taking stragegy" from any book. Last time I looked, I wasn't an elected official or a member of the Ruling Class.

As for telling me what role models I should use, your arrogance is only exceeded by the preposterousness of you and people like GWU's sister implying that anyone who says anything against Zionism, which btw I did not, is, or could be accused of being an Anti-Semite.

I could accuse you of being an intellectual bully. Does that make it so?

Wait......

Finally, I am always amused when someone says an idea is discredited. Facts can be proven wrong. Ideas are eternally open to debate.
1.23.2006 4:59pm
minnie:
Correction: I just reread David Bernstein's post and I stick with my original statement. Almost nobody could be less persuasive to me than David on this topic, as his inflammatory tone, the language he uses, the way he dismisses people as nutjobs who disagree with him, and his insistence, despite disavowals, of really thinking that everyone who is against Israeli foreign policy is a racist or an Anti-Semite or a fascist, is really over the top.
1.23.2006 5:08pm
Marcus1 (mail) (www):
For anyone interested, I put up a long post on my blog about the lack of Constitutional support for the "public use requirement." It's sort of a compilation of my various rantings here.

If anyone had a response I'd certainly be interested to hear.
1.24.2006 1:49am