Hard News by Russell Brown

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Hard News: He even has his Baldrick

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  • rodgerd,

    Copeland [...] provides a clear centre-right choice for voters rather than the 'centre-power' choice that is Dunne.

    Right. Because pro-death penalty, pro-jailing homosexuals, both Future New Zealand policies last time round, are "centre right" positions in New Zealand.

    Can I have some of your crack?

    Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 512 posts Report Reply

  • Kadife Blue,

    Can I have some of your crack?

    Ok...it was a theory of Copeland's reasoning not my personal opinion but thank you for implying I must be on drugs because of that statement. Very productive.

    Since Mar 2007 • 16 posts Report Reply

  • Simon Pound,

    Hitchens makes me sad.

    His diahrettical style (I just made it up so I'll spell it how I fancy) means he'll shit over anything anywhere anyplace.

    But in the process his searing contrarian viewpoint gets lost.

    He has one of those rare eyes that sees patterns other people don't. And then he gets a bit carried away with them.

    He makes alot of sense on certain subjects and is a fool in that he lets himself be drawn on too many - but when he says the same violence informs abortion clinic bombers and suicide bombers and that it is a kind of intellectual poison that is fed through education I feel like cheering.

    That said, when he gets going on some other topics I feel more like chucking.

    MFAK • Since Nov 2006 • 20 posts Report Reply

  • hamishm,

    Yeah, a little Hitchens goes a long way IMO.
    A problem that he will be having is that his support for the Iraq war puts him close to the "Europe is doomed " camp which is very strong in America. So he's got the problem that the war he supports is used as a motivating factor by radical Islamists who in turn are used as a motivating factor by some of his pro-war fellows.
    The Q and A asociated with the article is very interesting too since Hitchens says outright that he is a supporter of multi-culturalism and it is not doing it's job properly if it allows the growth of radicalism. That's not going to go down too well with the right-wing talk show hosts who see multiculturalism as the new communism. Might cause a few diary cancellations.

    Since Nov 2006 • 357 posts Report Reply

  • Simon Pound,

    I think that Hitchens and his stances are a little like the monkeys with the typewriters and the complete works of Shakespeare.

    If you keep him talking long enough he just might argue eloquently, cogently, convincingly for and against every position on earth.

    But if there is one thing i like it is a contrarian - they don't have to be right for me to like them either.

    MFAK • Since Nov 2006 • 20 posts Report Reply

  • Simon Grigg,

    And are you one of them? How does that work, exactly?

    I think its rather more complicated and mutual than that, but there are, as I said, many who think the AIPAC, controlled as it is by far right Jewish interests, and in bed with conservative Christian and certain elements in the US administration, exerts an undue, and unhealthy influence.

    Witness the attack last year by Israel on Lebanon, condemned, as it was, by as close to at universal voice around the world, as I've seen in my lifetime, APART from the US Congress who unanimously voted support for Israel. The fear of being tagged anti-Semitic in US politics is a powerful driving and tempering sword. Just the phrase is enough to send most politicians running for cover, screaming denials.

    Witness the attacks on John Mearsheimer and Stephen Walt last year when they dared question the stance and the undue influence of AIPAC.

    Just another klong... • Since Nov 2006 • 3283 posts Report Reply

  • Simon Grigg,

    And Hitchens on the screen is a loud obnoxious bore. He talks over people, sneers, belittles and is, without offering anything to support his position, absolutely derisive of anybody he may disagree with.

    On the other hand, I do find the relentless attacks on the man, that make reference to his much documented alcohol history, to be just as boring and unnecessary.

    Just another klong... • Since Nov 2006 • 3283 posts Report Reply

  • Nobody Important,

    The fear of being tagged anti-Semitic in US politics is a powerful driving and tempering sword.

    The fear of being tagged anti-Semitic for any reason is a powerful driving and tempering sword. I hate it. Israel has done well to redfine support of Palestine as akin to wishing all Jews were dead. Which it's not. How many years did it take for a solution to the Irish "troubles" to be found? It will take twice as long for an Israeli-Palestinian solution -- and that's discounting the regional emergence of nuclear weaponry.

    expat • Since Mar 2007 • 319 posts Report Reply

  • Simon Grigg,

    It will take twice as long for an Israeli-Palestinian solution -- and that's discounting the regional emergence of nuclear weaponry.

    As an American, I'd be mightily ashamed of the way Edwards, Clinton and Obama have all groveled to Israel of recent. The Republicans don't need to, we know where they stand.

    Just another klong... • Since Nov 2006 • 3283 posts Report Reply

  • Neil Morrison,

    ...the way Edwards, Clinton and Obama have all groveled to Israel of recent.

    This is where I find the debate about Israel swerves into some strange territory.

    Might it not be that case that Edwards, Clinton, Obama etc actually support Israel because they, like most US politicians of whatever ethnicity and/or party for the past 50 years, think it's the right thing to do. One could just easily disagree with their position without the need for the "undue influence" bit.

    That's where Mearsheimer and Walt went so wrong. They wrongly conclude that the loud voice of AIPAC and US foreign policy are casually linked. There are many other reasons for US support for Israel. It's also a theory that doesn’t explain a great deal about the rest of US policy in the Middle East such as its ties with Saudi Arabia.

    Just as it would be wrong to consider all criticism of Israel as anti-Semitic, it is wrong to consider all support for Israel to be the result of a Jewish conspiracy.

    Since Nov 2006 • 932 posts Report Reply

  • Mark Easterbrook,

    On the radio a few years back, I interviewed David Zwartz from the NZ Jewish Council, soon after the Malcolm Evans cartoons business.

    What we discussed at length, but didn't really resolve, was the difference between a) the State of Israel; b) Judaism as a religion; and c) being Jewish.

    It seems to me that debate so often breaks down when discussing a,b or c because the 3 have become too-tightly connnected in post-WWII discourse. It is hard to support/decry the actions of Israel without being seen to support/decry Jewish people or Judaism. I do think that there is some political deliberateness in that, and if anything it highlights the issues of state and religion being too buddy-buddy...

    The thing with Israel is that nowhere else (that I can think of) are issues of state/religious/ethnic identity so tightly connected.

    Imagine the confusion if American, Christian and Anglo Saxon were used almost interchangably...to me, that's the situation we have with Israel/Judaism/being Jewish.

    How that's resolved? Pass...

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 262 posts Report Reply

  • rodgerd,

    groveled to Israel of recent. The Republicans don't need to, we know where they stand.

    What, as the last group of politicians to attempt to moderate Israeli behaviour? It was Bush senior who threatened to remove some of the huge subsidy paid to Israel unless they stopped the "facts on the ground" strategy of appropriating Palestinian territory via settlements.

    It will take twice as long for an Israeli-Palestinian solution

    Unfortunately there are rather a lot of people who don't _want_ a solution. Just as a lot of fuckwad Americans were happy to subsidise IRA terrorists (many of them New Yorkers, in a rather black irony, all things considered), based on romantic stories of the 'old country', long after most Irish had lost value for them, there are plenty of people outside Israel who are far happier with a millitant, expansionist Israeli state than one at peace with its neighbours (just as, on the other side, there are many people who wouldn't want a Palestinian state at peace with Israel).

    Plenty of the support for the more radical/anti-Arab/millitant factions in Israel comes from groups (apocalyptic Christians, as one random examples) who don't have to live with the likely long-term consequences of Israel being locked in a constant state of hostility with its neighbours.

    And that's before even considering the Israeli domestic politics, upon which I cannot claim to be well-informed, but what I hear from better-informed friends makes my hair curl. Well, more than it is already.

    Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 512 posts Report Reply

  • rodgerd,

    Imagine the confusion if American, Christian and Anglo Saxon were used almost interchangably...to me, that's the situation we have with Israel/Judaism/being Jewish.

    What, you mean like the way everyone with white skin in NZ is supposed to call themselves a European?

    Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 512 posts Report Reply

  • Stephen Judd,

    to be the result of a Jewish conspiracy.

    It's not much of a conspiracy though is it, when it's out in the open! AIPAC are very effective lobbyists, but there's nothing covert about them.

    The funny thing is that the very hard line taken by AIPAC is not at all representative of US Jewish opinion when polled. I would suggest that what Simon sees as Jewish lobbying is better characterised as US evangelical lobbying. Jesus isn't going to come back on his own, you know.

    Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 3122 posts Report Reply

  • rodgerd,

    Simon sees as Jewish lobbying is better characterised as US evangelical lobbying. Jesus isn't going to come back on his own, you know.

    It's a pity the term Zionist got derailed from the original Jewish and Christian groups who campaigned for the state of Israel in the late 19th century to a nutty anti-Semetic/conspiracy theorist term of abuse, because it was a neat way of encapulating said groups.

    Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 512 posts Report Reply

  • Neil Morrison,

    The funny thing is that the very hard line taken by AIPAC is not at all representative of US Jewish opinion when polled.

    Indeed, since the Jewish vote has always gone to the Dems. I'd add that AIPAC (and the crazier evangelicals for that matter) has had little influence on US foreign policy, even though they like to think so.

    The idea that there is a hugely influential Jewish lobby that makes the WASP political establishment go against its better judgment to irrationally support Israel is a very large distraction. A distraction from looking at the real reasons both Democrat and Republican administrations have had a fairly consistent line towards Israel.

    Looking at those real reasons doesn't have to imply agreeing with every aspect of US policy in the Middle East.

    Since Nov 2006 • 932 posts Report Reply

  • Joe Wylie,

    It's a pity the term Zionist got derailed from the original Jewish and Christian groups who campaigned for the state of Israel in the late 19th century to a nutty anti-Semetic/conspiracy theorist term of abuse, because it was a neat way of encapulating said groups.

    (Sigh) Yes, and while this has no doubt been harped on ad infinitum it's amazing how the language has been so effectively hijacked, when Palestinians, Saudis, Iranians etc, are every bit as semitic as Israelis:
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Semitic

    flat earth • Since Jan 2007 • 4593 posts Report Reply

  • Stephen Judd,

    Don't blame the Jews for the hijacking, Joe. "Antisemitism" is a 19th century German coinage ("Antisemitismus") and it never has been intended to denote anything other than Jew-hating.

    Iranians, by the way, are largely not Semites at all. At least, about half the people who live in Iran now are Persians (and Iran is an old Persian name for the country and the Persian nation). About a quarter are some kind of Turkish (Azeris mostly). Most of the rest of Kurds. Arabs in Iran are a small minority, and I suspect they wouldn't call themselves Iranians anyway.

    Now you will hear the odd Arab say "I can't be anti-semitic because I'm an Arab, and we're semites too!" We could wrangle over terminology, or we could just say Jew-hater - I really don't care.

    Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 3122 posts Report Reply

  • Joe Wylie,

    Don't blame the Jews for the hijacking, Joe. "Antisemitism" is a 19th century German coinage

    I don't, Stephen. It does bug the hell out of me to hear Chomsky, for example, tarred as a self-hating Jew, as if he's somehow broken ranks by being an independent thinker.
    Point taken about Iranians - I stand corrected.

    flat earth • Since Jan 2007 • 4593 posts Report Reply

  • Stephen Judd,

    self-hating Jew

    Boy, I hate that label too. It's one of those shut-down-the-argument-and-go-home things. Once it's brought out it's time to give up.

    Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 3122 posts Report Reply

  • Simon Grigg,

    The funny thing is that the very hard line taken by AIPAC is not at all representative of US Jewish opinion when polled. I would suggest that what Simon sees as Jewish lobbying is better characterised as US evangelical lobbying.

    I think I said or implied such. But AIPAC is a Jewish organization whatever way you look at it, and a mighty powerful one. That it represents the polling or otherwise of domestic US Jewish folk is neither here nor there, but it does lobby on behalf the state of Israel, which is a different thing IMO. And it has a very conservative agenda, which it pursues in a very nasty manner, that agenda converging and dovetailing neatly with the likes of the AEI and the current admin. And American politicians of all colours are scared to death of it....

    What, as the last group of politicians to attempt to moderate Israeli behaviour? It was Bush senior who threatened to remove some of the huge subsidy paid to Israel unless they stopped the "facts on the ground" strategy of appropriating Palestinian territory via settlements.

    And that was almost twenty years ago. A lot has happened since then, not least in the Republican Party. Bush Jnr has made no attempt to moderate or to reign in Israeli behaviour in recent years...as the events of 2001 in the West Bank, and last year showed, quite the opposite was true.

    Just another klong... • Since Nov 2006 • 3283 posts Report Reply

  • Alex Coleman,

    US evangelical lobbying. Jesus isn't going to come back on his own, you know

    You said a mouthful there. One thing I worry about is what happens after they hold an apocalyptic war and Jesus doesn't come back. Whose fault will _ _that_ _ be do we think?

    All that Christ killer literature is still in the back room and at various times in the last few years the chatrooms at the rapture loving sites have been quite disturbing, in a "spaceship behind hale bopp" kind of way. Except these guys are not planning on it being them that's gonna die.

    It's not just Chompsky either. It's Hollywood and New York. And they don't even need code when talking about George Soros. Lordy.

    And no I am not saying that all endtimers are anti semites in disguise. I am just saying that the rhetoric is almost there, and that the actual belief was there not that long ago. It wont take much to leap into life again. If some demogogue feels that Israel betrays them (and they do seem to feel quite proprietorial about Israel in a creepy kind of way, many are more pro Israel than most Israelis) then it all could turn nasty very quickly.

    Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 247 posts Report Reply

  • Andrew Miller,

    I guess I shouldn't be surprised at Hitchens not letting facts get in the way of his argument, but given I live only a few minutes walk from the Finsbury Park Mosque it's still annoying. The Finsbury Park he describes isn't recogniseable to me, or anyone else I've spoken to who's read the article. I would imagine any part of London for someone of his age would have change considerably since their youth.

    Whilst it can't be denied that some considerably unplesant people were associated with that Mosque, what he fails to mention is it closed for sometime in very public circumstances 2-3 years ago in an attempt to rid it of the extremists, & quite how it is anyway tied to atmosphere in the wider community is beyond me.

    Hitchens claims to be in favour of multiculturalism, but of those who've been bandying about the 'Londonistan' tag he'd be pretty much alone. His brother, Melanie Phillips, Richard Littlejohn amongst others have quite clearly used it as a trojan horse for an attack on multiculralism & immigration in general. Whatever his claims about his own position the picture he tries to pain of cricket & fish & chips turning into down town Kabul, is in keeping with that painted by the others I've mentioned, it's both distorted, dangerous & entirely counterproductive. Yes Britain has produced home grown extremists, but to imply that they're anything but a tiny minority is nonsense.

    Right next to Finsbury Park & other areas in the region with sizeable muslim communities is Stamford Hill, home to third largest Orthodox Jewish community in the world. The communties live peacefully side by side, community leaders from both regaurly meet to try & improve relations. This is the London most Londoners would recognise, people simply getting on with their lives, & one you would imagine that those trying to defeat the extremist would be trying to foster rather than pushing an agenda likely to alienate sections of the community even more.

    London • Since Jan 2007 • 6 posts Report Reply

  • rodgerd,

    It's not much of a conspiracy though is it

    To steal a good quote else: Clearly it is that world view shared by Noam Chomsky, Richard Perle, Stephen Gould and Steve Pinker, Arnold Schoenberg and Jack Benny.

    (From http://scienceblogs.com/insolence/2007/05/how_to_destroy_wikipedia.php#comment-433743 )

    Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 512 posts Report Reply

  • Michael Fitzgerald,

    Has anyone seen the cartoon poster from NZUSA regarding the $9Bill student debt?
    A top hat wearing, big nosed, evil/greedy man, clutching a bag of money.
    Of course this wasn't anti-semitic it was demonising the mentally ill. The Mad Hatter to be precise. Yes that character who shared everything he had with Alice for FREE was the target for the NZUSA or so the Co-Prez said.
    Nasty little nazis either way.

    Since May 2007 • 631 posts Report Reply

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