Sunday, February 17, 2019

Things I did not share on social media on Feb. 15

Three rules for readers:
  1. Read charitably.
  2. Read skeptically.
  3. Read widely.
A woman insisted mass shooters do not suffer from mental health issues but from white male entitlement syndrome. How that explains Brenda Ann Spencer or John Allen Muhammad, she did not say. #CannotMakeThisUp

Dear socialists, capitalists treat some people as subhuman. Don't do the same thing.

The question for modern journalism is who it is supposed to serve, and the unintended consequence of commercial journalism is it serves the publisher, not the public, so we continue to live in the world of 'if it bleeds, it leads.' Why it bleeds stays irrelevant.

Good manners are weapons and the left needs to learn how to wield them.

People who talk about "the wrong side of history" are on the wrong side of originality.

Romantic love: Platonic love with benefits.

I'm beginning to think it might not be possible to read all of Facebook.

Friday, February 15, 2019

Things I did not share on social media on Feb. 14


Life's too short to give negative reviews. If you must give bad reviews, do them after you're reviewed everything that's good.

We should not talk about gun violence in America when there's been a recent major incident, or when it's old news, or when it's a day that ends with "day".

People who make straw man arguments are not malicious. We argue with what we hear. They only hear two possibilities, their own and the straw man's.

Liberals love left-identitarianism because it lets them feel guilty about their past instead of their present. #UnderstandingTaNehisiCoates

"Contrarian" is only an insult to conformists.

You learn more from your opponents than from your echo chamber.


This Is How AIPAC Really Works:
Has anyone ever seen so many members of Congress, of both parties, running to the microphones and sending out press releases to denounce one first-termer for criticizing the power of… a lobby?

By its own admission, AIPAC has 100,000 members out of an American Jewish population of about 6 million. Of that number, most are Jewish but, as it proudly proclaims, many are evangelical (and other) Christians.

Thursday, February 14, 2019

The Israel and Palestine FAQ that Zionists don't want you to see

Who attacked first in 1948?

“Menahem Begin, the Leader of the Irgun, tells how ‘in Jerusalem, as elsewhere, we were the first to pass from the defensive to the offensive...Arabs began to flee in terror...Hagana was carrying out successful attacks on other fronts, while all the Jewish forces proceeded to advance through Haifa like a knife through butter’...The Israelis now allege that the Palestine war began with the entry of the Arab armies into Palestine after 15 May 1948. But that was the second phase of the war; they overlook the massacres, expulsions and dispossessions which took place prior to that date and which necessitated Arab states’ intervention.” Sami Hadawi, Bitter Harvest

Who attacked first in 1967?

“The former Commander of the Air Force, General Ezer Weitzman, regarded as a hawk, stated that there was ‘no threat of destruction’ but that the attack on Egypt, Jordan and Syria was nevertheless justified so that Israel could ‘exist according the scale, spirit, and quality she now embodies.’ ... Menahem Begin had the following remarks to make: ‘In June 1967, we again had a choice. The Egyptian Army concentrations in the Sinai approaches do not prove that Nasser was really about to attack us. We must be honest with ourselves. We decided to attack him.’“ Noam Chomsky, The Fateful Triangle

“I do not think Nasser wanted war. The two divisions he sent to The Sinai would not have been sufficient to launch an offensive war. He knew it and we knew it.” Yitzhak Rabin, Israel’s Chief of Staff in 1967, in Le Monde, 2/28/68

Who is responsible for the 1929 Palestine riots?

On August 17, a Jew named Avrahim Mizrachi was stabbed in a fight with neighbors. He died a few days later. Over the next four days, the Jerusalem police reported 12 attacks by Jews on Arabs and seven attacks by Arabs on Jews. On the morning of the 23rd, several Arabs were killed in Jerusalem's Mea She'arim neighborhood. Soon after that, violence erupted throughout Palestine with Jews killing Arabs and Arabs killing Jews. During the Hebron Massacre, a mob killed 63 Jews while over 400 were saved by local Arab families. The riots ended with almost equal numbers of people killed on each side, 133 Jews and 116 Muslims.

For more: 1929 Palestine riots and the Hebron Massacre

Didn’t Zionists legally buy their land?

“In 1948, at the moment that Israel declared itself a state, it legally owned a little more than 6 percent of the land of Palestine...After 1940, when the mandatory authority restricted Jewish land ownership to specific zones inside Palestine, there continued to be illegal buying (and selling) within the 65 percent of the total area restricted to Arabs.

Thus when the partition plan was announced in 1947 it included land held illegally by Jews, which was incorporated as a fait accompli inside the borders of the Jewish state. And after Israel announced its statehood, an impressive series of laws legally assimilated huge tracts of Arab land (whose proprietors had become refugees, and were pronounced ‘absentee landlords’ in order to expropriate their lands and prevent their return under any circumstances).” Edward Said, The Question of Palestine

Was the partition plan fair?

“Arab rejection was...based on the fact that, while the population of the Jewish state was to be [only half] Jewish with the Jews owning less than 10% of the Jewish state land area, the Jews were to be established as the ruling body — a settlement which no self-respecting people would accept without protest, to say the least...The action of the United Nations conflicted with the basic principles for which the world organization was established, namely, to uphold the right of all peoples to self-determination. By denying the Palestine Arabs, who formed the two-thirds majority of the country, the right to decide for themselves, the United Nations had violated its own charter.” Sami Hadawi, Bitter Harvest

When did Zionists begin seizing more land than the UN plan allowed?

“Before the end of the mandate and, therefore before any possible intervention by Arab states, the Jews, taking advantage of their superior military preparation and organization, had occupied...most of the Arab cities in Palestine before May 15, 1948. Tiberias was occupied on April 19, 1948, Haifa on April 22, Jaffa on April 28, the Arab quarters in the New City of Jerusalem on April 30, Beisan on May 8, Safad on May 10 and Acre on May 14, 1948...In contrast, the Palestine Arabs did not seize any of the territories reserved for the Jewish state under the partition resolution.” Henry Cattan, Palestine, The Arabs and Israel

How many massacres were committed by Zionists in 1948?

“For the entire day of April 9, 1948, Irgun and LEHI soldiers carried out the slaughter in a cold and premeditated fashion...The attackers ‘lined men, women and children up against the walls and shot them,’...The ruthlessness of the attack on Deir Yassin shocked Jewish and world opinion alike, drove fear and panic into the Arab population, and led to the flight of unarmed civilians from their homes all over the country.” Simha Flapan, The Birth of Israel

“...according to the former director of the Israeli army archives, ‘in almost every village occupied by us during the War of Independence, acts were committed which are defined as war crimes, such as murders, massacres, and rapes’...Uri Milstein, the authoritative Israeli military historian of the 1948 war, goes one step further, maintaining that ‘every skirmish ended in a massacre of Arabs.’” Norman Finkelstein, Image and Reality of the Israel-Palestine Conflict

Is Israel an apartheid state?

"I have witnessed the systemic humiliation of Palestinian men, women and children by members of the Israeli security forces. Their humiliation is familiar to all black South Africans who were corralled and harassed and insulted and assaulted by the security forces of the apartheid government." —Bishop Desmond Tutu


The Origin of the Palestine-Israel Conflict

NY Times Op-Ed article written by prominent American Jews (including Albert Einstein) critical of Menahem Begin's visit to the States, Dec. 2, 1948

Iran Didn't Actually Threaten to Wipe Israel Off the Map

Israel-Gaza conflict: The secret report that helps Israelis to hide facts
Israeli spokesmen have their work cut out explaining how they have killed more than 1,000 Palestinians in Gaza, most of them civilians, compared with just three civilians killed in Israel by Hamas rocket and mortar fire. But on television and radio and in newspapers, Israeli government spokesmen such as Mark Regev appear slicker and less aggressive than their predecessors, who were often visibly indifferent to how many Palestinians were killed.

There is a reason for this enhancement of the PR skills of Israeli spokesmen. Going by what they say, the playbook they are using is a professional, well-researched and confidential study on how to influence the media and public opinion in America and Europe. Written by the expert Republican pollster and political strategist Dr Frank Luntz, the study was commissioned five years ago by a group called The Israel Project, with offices in the US and Israel, for use by those "who are on the front lines of fighting the media war for Israel".
The Department of Corrections:'Ben-Hur', the LA Times & A Place Called Palestine
Despite the claim that "the Romans didn't rename Judea as 'Palestina' until a hundred years after the death of Jesus," contemporaries of Jesus also routinely referred to Palestine as, well, Palestine. For instance, in the first decade of the 1st Century CE, the Roman poet Ovid mentioned Palestine in both his famed mythological poem Metamorphoses and his erotic elegy The Art of Love. He also wrote of "the waters of Palestine" in his calendrical poem Fasti. Around the same time, another Latin poet Tibullus wrote of "the crowded cities of Palestine" in a section called "Messalla’s Triumph" in his poem Delia.


On depression, cancel culture, and why I’m taking a month off from Facebook and Twitter

"If you give me six lines written by the hand of the most honest of men, I will find something in them which will hang him." —attributed to Cardinal Richelieu

I was canceled ten years ago. This isn’t the anniversary quite yet—it’s in March. The occasion was a huge flamefest in the science fiction community called Racefail 09, which I think of as RaceReductionistFail—the participants hated mentioning class so much that one of them made it a square in a bingo card for identifying racists.

I tried to sell a book after I was canceled, but even though I’d recently been a finalist for the World Fantasy Award, I had no luck. One young editor was so excited about it and so sure there’d be no problem that she told my agent she wanted to buy it, but then a higher-up vetoed her. I’ve been fighting depression ever since and have pretty much lost my interest in the field I had loved. Depression is common after mobbing or canceling or whatever you want to call it. So are suicidal thoughts. And so is suicide. One of the targets of cancel culture, Mark Fisher, killed himself. Another, Freddie deBoer, fled social media to stay sane. I’m going to follow his example for a month.

What Fisher, deBoer, and I have in common is a class-first approach to understanding privilege under neoliberal capitalism. Another class-first socialist, Adolph Reed, said this:
I’ve been struck by the level of visceral and vitriolic anti-Marxism I’ve seen from this strain of defenders of antiracism as a politics. It’s not clear to me what drives it because it takes the form of snide dismissals than direct arguments. Moreover, the dismissals typically include empty acknowledgment that “of course we should oppose capitalism,” whatever that might mean. In any event, the tenor of this anti-Marxism is reminiscent of those right-wing discourses, many of which masqueraded as liberal, in which only invoking the word “Marxism” was sufficient to dismiss an opposing argument or position. ... This sort of thing only deepens my suspicions about antiracism’s status within the comfort zone of neoliberalism’s discourses of “reform.” More to the point, I suspect as well that this vitriol toward radicalism is rooted partly in the conviction that a left politics based on class analysis and one focused on racial injustice are Manichean alternatives.
Reed is right. Identitarians on the right and left realize universalist politics are existential threats. They have to do everything they can do destroy heretics, and therefore left identitarians have abandoned traditional leftist values like free speech. They think they wield Satan's tools in God's service and fail to see that when they do, Satan laughs. They often quote Audre Lorde's "the master's tools will never dismantle the master's house" without noticing that censorship and identitarianism are two of the master's favorite tools.

If I could go back to 2003, I would tell myself to keep my blog and stay away from LiveJournal, Facebook, and Twitter. Blogs are places to think. Social media are places to react.

Freddie deBoer has been doing stealth blog posts—-they appear and disappear quickly. This bit from today’s speaks to me:
As someone who went from frequent (to the point of pathological) engagement on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram to none quite suddenly, this plays out in very odd ways. I am not a news-avoiding monk; I certainly pick up, in time, on what’s going on in national news. But I find it deeply disorienting to speak with people who are compulsively online, as they refer to dynamics and debates that appear totally obscure and unimportant. My generic response to “what’s your opinion on X?” is “…what?” And it’s not merely that people are steeped in this culture, but that they appear unaware that anyone isn’t a part of it. That would be disturbing in general; when it comes to journalists, I find it truly troubling.
While I agree it’s wrong to think of life offline as “the real world”, life online is only the real world in the same way academia or prison or the wealthy 1% is the real world: those who primarily live online inhabit a tiny, isolating piece of the real world. It’s too easy for people to forget echo chambers may comfort and enrage,  but they cannot provide the truths you do not know you need.

So I’m stepping away from Facebook and Twitter for a month. I’ll still use them to share blog posts and news that’s either personal or professional, but I’ll look for my distractions elsewhere, and what I have to say, I'll say here.

P.S. I'm reading this now: Ten Arguments for Deleting Your Social Media Accounts Right Now by Jaron Lanier

Saturday, January 12, 2019

The intersectionalist's mythical history: Combahee River Collective or Derrick Bell?

On social media, I posted,
Intersectionality question: Was Kimberle Crenshaw influenced by the Combahee River Collective? Obviously, she was influenced by Derrick Bell, a very problematic figure. Do intersectionalists cite the CRT to avoid discussing Bell? He and Crenshaw were far to the right of the CRT.
A Facebook friend who is not a socialist but who is often a better researcher than I replied,
Mostly an attempt by what I have seen of creating a history. I can't find direct links from the 80's 90's with combahee, I find that after 2014.
It is very important to intersectionalists that the theory comes from a black woman. When most intersectionalists were liberals, they simply ignored Crenshaw's connection to Bell. But as intersectionality was adopted by some leftists, its roots mattered more. Bell was a male antisemite who had no interest in socialism, which makes three reasons to erase him from intersectionality's official history. The Combahee River Collective were black lesbian socialists who said this in The Combahee River Collective Statement:
We believe that the most profound and potentially most radical politics come directly out of our own identity, as opposed to working to end somebody else's oppression.
That may be the most selfish statement I've seen from people who claim to be socialists. Compare their take with that of a far more important socialist woman:
"I am just as much concerned with the poor victims on the rubber plantations of Putumayo, the Blacks in Africa with whose corpses the Europeans play catch […] they resound with me so strongly that I have no special place in my heart for the ghetto. I feel at home in the entire world, wherever there are clouds and birds and human tears." —Rosa Luxemburg