Obama versus the prohibitionists

December 28, 2008 at 2:37 pm (Civil liberties, Max Dunbar, Obama, puritan, United States)

There was always going to be a disillusionment among the President-elect’s leftwing backers. After all, he is going to pile more troops into Afghanistan (what?) and he is supportive of the state of Israel (noooo!)

But there’s something even more unforgiveable about the guy from Illinois.

Via Norm, Christopher Caldwell explains that: ‘The attention paid to Mr Obama’s relationship with cigarettes is evidence of a pathology – and not on the part of the president-elect.’

Evidence of the pathology can be seen in this news story:

‘It’s a wonderful opportunity,’ says Cheryl Healton, president of the American Legacy Foundation, a Washington-based group that seeks to prevent smoking among young people. ‘The president-elect is in a position to help people understand that it’s difficult to quit, and to encourage the 43 million adult Americans who smoke to join him in his efforts.’

Sure Cheryl – it’s not like Obama will have anything else to do, right?

And this is John Gibson from the hilarious Fox News:

Sure he’s young, sure he’s charismatic, but what do we really know about Barack Obama? And what does he really stand for? Obama is the kind of presidential hopeful who appeals to the masses. He portrays himself as a political moderate, but he’s much more liberal than he says he is. And his team works overtime trying to hide Obama’s dirty little secret. He is — get this — a cigarette smoker. The point is: What else do we not know about Barack Obama?

Back to Caldwell:

The TV journalist Tom Brokaw recently closed an interview with Mr Obama by asking him if he had quit smoking. Mr Brokaw wanted to know, since ‘the White House is a no-smoking zone’. Whether it is or is not is a tricky constitutional question. The White House has two functions. On one hand it is a government building. Mr Brokaw may well be right that it is, as such, covered by some intemperate smoking regulation. But it is also the living quarters of Mr Obama, citizen, during the time he is president. There is no reason that getting elected president should make one less entitled to privacy in one’s home. It is not always easy to delineate clearly between personal and governmental activities, but smoking is unambiguously a personal one. The rules ought to be whatever Mr Obama says they are. Once you mix up the body personal and the body politic the way Mr Brokaw does, you lose sight of why the president should enjoy any right to privacy, or any personal freedom, whatsoever. If the people feel reassured by seeing their president grovel before taking power, then grovel he must. This was the attitude in some of the negative letters the Washington Post received when columnist Michael Kinsley dared to suggest that anti-smokers should leave the president-elect alone. ‘He needs to make this sacrifice,’ wrote one correspondent unhappy with Mr Obama. What odd language. Did the US elect a president or a priest?

obamasmokey

80 Comments

  1. KB Player said,

    I wondered how he looked so slim!

    He is setting a bad example of course. He will influence people. I knew this guy who used to excuse his all day drinking on the grounds that Winston Churchill started the day with a whisky. I pointed out that this guy was not prime minister of Britain during World War II but if he ever held that post I’d be less critical of his drinking habits.

  2. maxdunbar said,

    One of the stories I link to claims that Obama looks older than his age – forty-seven because he’s a smoker.

    But to me the President-Elect looks like he’s still in his twenties.

  3. KB Player said,

    What will happen will be a smoking cabinet block as there used to be amen’s room block.

    Women would complain that something would be decided in a meeting but then the blokes would go for a pee, have a hasty consultation over the urinal, and return and a new bloc would undermine the decision.

    So the Cabinet will be deciding to invade somewhere, or pull out of somewhere, a few of them will nip out for a quick puff and chin wag, come back and start debating the policy on different lines.

  4. maxdunbar said,

    I hadn’t thought of that.

    It’s a shame that smokers and non smokers can’t seem to coexist in a civil manner. I’m always pleased to see non smokers, but it rarely cuts both ways.

  5. KB Player said,

    Well, just stop puffing that smoke in my direction, and I’ll be as civil as you like.

    Otherwise I’ll be coughing and waving my hand in front of my face.

  6. Andrew Coates said,

    He certainly has gone up in my estimation.

    How’d he feel like joining us in ‘Leper’s Lane’ (as we call the bit next to our Wetherspoon’s where we go to grill a few fags?)

  7. voltairespriest said,

    I guess smoking really is cool after all…

  8. Trevor Loughlin said,

    There are a lot of highly intelligent people who smoke. Ian McCulloch of Echo and the Bunnymen for example, and you think they would know better.
    However, since according to some people nicotine is more addictive than heroine, and having never tried this addictive product myself even once, then I am in no position to make judgments.

  9. resistor said,

    ‘…and he is supportive of the state of Israel (noooo!)’

    Dunbar claims ignorance about the state of Israel, which he supports as a ‘liberal democracy’. I assume he has found out in the last few days what the true nature of Israel is, perhaps he finds it easier to blow smoke in our eyes.

  10. maxdunbar said,

    Like it or not Israel’s leaders are elected.

    I’ve been reading the latest coverage and it seems like Israel is simply defending its people from a barrage of rocket fire from the fascist movement Hamas.

    What are your thoughts?

  11. modernityblog said,

    max,

    why bother?

    resistor’s only worry is that the Hamas rockets are too small to kill that many Israelis

    resister and his Jew hating mates are loving it, they hated the cease fire, this new conflict provides ample cover for them to vent their hatred in all of the confusion

    blood and guts is what the “resistors” of the world like, they are ghouls, carnage and hatred of Jews, not politics drives them

  12. maxdunbar said,

    Yeah I know.

    I’m the only one that ever responds to his bullshit.

    I should probably just ignore him like everyone else.

  13. tcd said,

    “Like it or not Israel’s leaders are elected.

    I’ve been reading the latest coverage and it seems like Israel is simply defending its people from a barrage of rocket fire from the fascist movement Hamas.

    What are your thoughts?”

    my thoughts are you are a fool. Israel broke the ceasefire in November before Hamas launched any rockets, and has killed around 300 people “in response” to 6, which is just the latest action in a 3 year state of seige they have placed the entire population of Gaza under, 75% of whom are now suffering from malnutrition.

    It is pretty obvious that this is part of the goverments aim to look tough before the upcoming elections and has little to do with real security needs. It is actually quite obvious that Israel is trying to smash the Palestinians into complete submission so that they will accept any amount of Israeli robbery of land and draconian measures without resistance, because the price of resistance will be aniquilation.

    If you are on Israel’s side int his case you are little better than a fascist sympathiser.

  14. tcd said,

    oh and one more thing:

    “Like it or not Israel’s leaders are elected.”

    umm, so are Gaza’s!

    do you read that boring thing called “news”?

  15. resistor said,

    tcd, Dunbar admit that he doesn’t know what a fascist is, nor would he take the word of Albert Einstein (who turned down the offer of being President of Israel) that Menachem Begin was a fascist.

    The question is what this site is doing allowing an ignorant fool like Dunbar embarrass them in this way. Are the AWL on holiday?

    As for ModBlog, it seems he thinks the Palestinians are subhuman as he doesn’t even mention the hundreds of dead at the hands of the Israelis. Secondly he is clearly an Anti-Semite as he associates all Jews with the actions of the criminal gang in charge of the Israeli state.

  16. modernityblog said,

    Max,

    you can see that TCD is on a charm offensive !

    of course, TCD carefully forgets that Hamas launched a coup d’etat in Gaza, taking full control of Gaza, killing any one that objected.

    I have no doubt TCD would have laughed as Hamas’s opponents were thrown off of the top of tall buildings, handcuffed:

    “Mohammed Suewherekey, a 28-year-old newlywed, became a casualty of the fighting. He worked as a cook and supply clerk with Force 17, an elite unit controlled by Mahmoud Abbas, the Palestinian president and Fatah leader.

    Suewherekey was kidnapped by Hamas militants while delivering food to soldiers Sunday evening as new factional clashes erupted. Around dusk, Hamas gunmen took him to the roof of an 18-floor abandoned high-rise in central Gaza City and pushed him off.

    “Mohammed’s legs had been tied together with his own belt. His hands also had been tied, and they threw him off the roof,” said Rami Suewherekey, Mohammed’s brother.”

    http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=10988462

  17. tcd said,

    “Max,

    you can see that TCD is on a charm offensive !

    of course, TCD carefully forgets that Hamas launched a coup d’etat in Gaza, taking full control of Gaza, killing any one that objected.”

    But by Max’s logic, once you are elected, you have full right to do such a thing. The Israeli government is allowed to place Gaza under 3 years of seige and bomb it whilst still proclaiming “ceasefire”, because it was elected byt he Israeli electorate. So presumably once elected Hamas also has the right to use repressive force against its opponents? Or, wait, does being elected not give you the right to do that?

    Now if Max wants to differentiate the finer points, maybe he should. His argument was, “like it or not, Israel’s leaders are elected”. Which suggests he doesn’t even know that Hamas were elected.

  18. modernityblog said,

    Max,

    you will notice how TCD does not address my points concerning Hamas’s coup in Gaza and puts words in your mouth, rather than accurately representing your views, thus it is a waste of time trying to argue with such limited thinkers

  19. resistor said,

  20. tcd said,

    “you will notice how TCD does not address my points concerning Hamas’s coup in Gaza”

    which is funny considering that modernity has not addressed any of the points about Israel’s current bombardment of Hamas, its breking of the ceasefire and November, and the 3 year which this is the latest expression of.

    somepeople are so arrogant that they think they can walk into a conversation and then decide that “their” issue has to be addessed, without even addressing the issue being immediately talked about. amazing!

    “and puts words in your mouth,”

    showing a fault in someone’s logic by extending their logic is not the same as putting words int heir mouth. max, if you knew Hamas were elected, then why did your defense of the Israeli state centre on “the Israeli leadership is elected”? If you did not know Hamas was elected, then why are you even commenting on Palestine?

    “rather than accurately representing your views,”

    Max’s views have been accurately represented here. HE is an apologist for the Israeli massacre of the Gazans, and thinks that they are “defending themselves” fromt he nationt hey occupy, have been starving and bombing for three years, and are now massacring on an enormous scale. His justification for this is that the far right murderers leading the Israeli state are elected. Logic which should then lead him to also justify Hamas’ attacks on Israeli civilians.

    “thus it is a waste of time trying to argue with such limited thinkers”

    this is coming from an apologist for mass murder. scum.

  21. tcd said,

    correction:

    its breaking of the ceasefire in November, and the 3 year seige which this is only the latest expression of.

  22. resistor said,

    This is the post that Max Dunbar moved because he could not reply to it. What a snivelling little coward. He could’ve moved one paragraph, but chose to move all of it, even though it was part of the discussion above.

    Hamas did not stage a coup in Gaza. Abbas and Fatah broke the Palestinian constitution, the Hamas leadership in the West Bank was kidnapped by the Israelis – and Hamas prevented Mohammed Dahlan, a CIA thug, from launching a coup in Gaza.

    Meanwhile, who could possibly have said this, a Hamas spokesman?, “Hitler was an unparalleled military genius. Nazism promoted Germany from a low to a fantastic physical and ideological status. The ragged, trashy youth body turned into a neat and orderly part of society and Germany received an exemplary regime, a proper justice system and public order. Hitler savored good music. He would paint. This was no bunch of thugs. They merely used thugs and homosexuals.”

    The answer, Moshe Feiglin, a candidate for the Likud party of Chas, Julie and Max’s hero ‘Bibi’ Netanyahu in the upcoming Israeli election.

    http://www.haaretz.com/hasen/spages/1045101.html

    I suppose Max will deny that Feiglin is a fascist on the grounds that he hasn’t heard of him. Ignorance is bliss.

  23. modernityblog said,

    Max,

    surely the above shows why it is a waste of time even TRYING to argue with the likes of Resistor or TCD

    you’ll notice that the dim witted resistor tries to deny that Hamas staged a coup d’etat in Gaza, shame that he’s forced to lie and re-write history to defend his arguments, as the BBC reports:

    “Last Updated: Friday, 15 June 2007, 12:38 GMT 13:38 UK

    The Gaza Strip is under the control of Hamas, following a week of factional fighting which left more than 100 dead.

    1) Gaza City:
    Presidential compound seized overnight on 14 June
    Headquarters of Fatah’s Preventative Security Force seized
    Key security and intelligence compounds targeted
    2) Beit Hanoun:
    Four killed and at least 15 injured in fighting on 11 June, UN reports
    Most of northern Gaza under Hamas control by 12 June, UN reports
    3) Central Gaza:
    Hamas believed to control area, including Maghazi, Brej and Nuseirat refugee camps by 12 June
    4) Khan Younis:
    Explosion wrecks headquarters of the Fatah’s Preventive Security Force, killing five, on 13 June
    5) Rafah:
    Hamas seizes control on 14 June
    6) Key roads:
    Hamas controls main north/south road and coastal road
    7) Gaza/Egypt border:
    Hamas claims control of border in south
    8) Erez crossing:
    About 600 Gazans, including 100 Fatah security men, attempt to flee into Israel but are detained at the border”

    http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/world/middle_east/6748621.stm

  24. Voltaire's Priest said,

    Transistor: you may or may not have noticed but Max’s post isn’t actually about Gaza. I appreciate that you seem to find this conversation lark difficult at times, but if you could try to stay vaguely related to the topic (even just once in a while), it would be appreciated.

  25. maxdunbar said,

    Well, it’s not as if I deleted the post – which I’d be within my rights to do, since you’re a troll here and you’re posting off topic. And if you will keep going on about Julie Burchill…

    You boys have extrapolated a lot from my few comments here so just to clarify:

    1) I’d like to see an end to Israel’s occupation of the West Bank and a return to pre ’67 borders

    2) Hamas is a clerical fascist organisation, elected or not. I don’t agree with the actions of the Israeli government but like it or not it is still a liberal democracy.

    3) It’s legitimate for states to defend themselves from rocket attacks.

    If we’re going to turn this into yet another Israel/Palestine thread then my views are similar to Eric Lee’s here:

    http://www.hurryupharry.org/2008/12/29/the-left-israel-and-the-%e2%80%9cholocaust%e2%80%9d-in-gaza/

    Also, I like this David Aaronovitch piece, especially the last line:

    ‘[T}he friends of the Palestinians would be best advised to put pressure on Hamas never to launch another of its bloody rockets and to stop its death-laden rhetoric, and the friends of Israel well placed to cajole it into making a settlement seem worthwhile. All else is verbiage.’

    Verbiage, I suspect, is pretty much all we are going to get from Comrade Resistor on this or any other issue.

    http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/comment/columnists/david_aaronovitch/article5415342.ece

  26. maxdunbar said,

    Voltaire, maybe we should have a ‘Resistor’s Israel/Palestine thread’.

    Or maybe he could just start his own blog.

  27. tcd said,

    “If we’re going to turn this into yet another Israel/Palestine thread then my views are similar to Eric Lee’s here”

    which places you on the far right of the political spectrum. thanks for confirming.
    Yes, I am familiar with this sophistry. Arguing that the sole responsibility of ending the massacre of the Palestinians is on the current leadership of Gaza ignores the fact that Israel is occupying Palestinian territory, that it has been placing Gaza under seige for 3 years, that it broke the current ceasefire in November, and that the current slaughter, which is only the beginning of an unprecedented anihilation of Gazan society, has much more to do with the upcoming election campaign that security needs.

    But then ignoring reality and instead stating abstract principles seems like your modus operandi. let’s see:

    “1) I’d like to see an end to Israel’s occupation of the West Bank and a return to pre ‘67 borders”

    But you resist Palestinians right to use force to resist a forceful occupation of these territories, and instead call upon the same state which is currently preparing to enter the Gaza strip, to reverse its entire policies and impose this happy state of affairs, against iots own interests.

    “2) Hamas is a clerical fascist organisation, elected or not. I don’t agree with the actions of the Israeli government but like it or not it is still a liberal democracy.”

    Ah so you are comparing the ideology of the movement which won the ealections in Gaza with the constitutional status of Israel. What a worthless comparison.

    A better comparison would be that reactionaries won the elections in both Israel and Palestine. The Palestinian reactionaries then launch rockets at Israelis who did not elect them, and you oppose this. But when the Israeli reactionaries in chare of the state (most of whom are not elected) anihilate Gaza, you justify this by abstractly stating that they are a “liberal democracy”, ignoring the fact that the Palestinians they occupy do not get to vote and neither do the 5 million in exile.

    “3) It’s legitimate for states to defend themselves from rocket attacks.”

    By launching, umm, attacks which kill over 345 people in response ot the deaths of 6 people (who were killed after Israel had already broken the ceasefire). That is not legitimate outside the mind of an apologist for state terrorism.

    ‘[T}he friends of the Palestinians would be best advised to put pressure on Hamas never to launch another of its bloody rockets and to stop its death-laden rhetoric, and the friends of Israel well placed to cajole it into making a settlement seem worthwhile. All else is verbiage.’

    Of course if you ignore reality and simply say that Hamas must stop firing rockets and then everything will be ok, you only show your own uselessness to the majority of the planet living in nation oppressed by US imperialism.

    Which is part of the reason why I am glad to see your political tenndency being exposed as quasi-fascist by this recent massacre. I know that in most countries in the world mass opinion is strongly against people like you, and I know that your barbarity wiñll soon come back to bite you.

  28. Voltaire's Priest said,

    Oh for God’s saKe, pull yourself together. You might not agree with Eric about this (nor do I), but he’s no more “far right” than you or I, and neither is Max.

  29. tcd said,

    Actually I am not a person to react hysterically or emotionally.

    I do not think that people like Max Dunbar or Eric Lee consider themselves far right. But in country, Max and Eric Lee’s lines on this massacre by Israel would place them firmly within the right.

    If British society is so reactionary that this isn’t the case there, it doesn’t change the objective fact that Max Dunbar and Eric Lee are apologists for the colonial world order and the recurrent state terrorism against oppressed nations by the imperialist powers which is neccessarry to sustain this.

    The inherent assumption that the Israelis somehow represent civilization amongst a sea of barbarians is right wing in itself, and anyone who clings to it in the face of Lebanon 2006 or Gaza december 08 is neccessarrilly going over to the far right, just as apologists for any reactionary regime, in a time of polarisation, are forced to either break with the regime, or accept the reactionary measures needed to sustain it.

    You might adapt to such people, I don’t, people like that can only be treated like the scum they are, and we should use the same atctics against them which we do against any hard right reactionaries.

    I am not here to debate such people, just to hit their morale by consistently “putting my finger in the ulcer” (as is a nice saying in Spanish, “metiendo el dedo en la llaga”) of their inconsistencies.

  30. Voltaire's Priest said,

    In other words… you’re a somewhat obsessive online weirdo?

  31. resistor said,

    (irrelevant stuff about Chas Newkey-Burden – moved to Resistor’s Julie Burchill post)

  32. modernityblog said,

    Max,

    I think resistor is annoyed that Eric Lee is a Jew and prepared to fight back

    nothing scares shitty little racists like “resistor” more than the sight of Jews with guns

    Eric Lee runs the great Union web site Labour Start, http://www.labourstart.org/

  33. resistor said,

    Eric Lee used to have a link from labourstart to the child killers of IDF. He removed it when he tried to get trade union funding. Don’t give this bastard a penny.

    I’m not scared of scum with guns like Eric Lee, but then I’m not a Palestinian child or someone like protecting them like Tom Hurndall.

    Funny how the IDF met an enemy in Lebanon that could fight back, and ran away.

    Much safer for them to bomb mosques, universities and sleeping children from the air.

  34. modernityblog said,

    this is where reality and the likes of “resistor” part, Labour Start front page carries a link to the ITUC’s Calls for Immediate End to Violence, Deplores Killings of Civilians [ITUC] 2008-12-30

    http://www.ituc-csi.org/spip.php?article2665

  35. Voltaire's Priest said,

    Transistor, oddly enough (and you may not believe it) but I agree with those ranging from our fellow blogger Mr Osler to Jewish Voice for Peace, who do condemn the Israeli actions. However surely even in your den (wherever it may be) you can surely see the difference between people who take the view that Max, Eric and possibly Mod do, which I think is an incorrect though reasoned stance, and people who are outright Likudniks? There is a difference, and it’s an important one.

  36. resistor said,

    ‘you can surely see the difference between people who take the view that Max, Eric and possibly Mod do, which I think is an incorrect though reasoned stance, and people who are outright Likudniks’

    No I can’t. What is it?

  37. Voltaire's Priest said,

    As far as I can gather, Eric et al think (and I’m willing to be corrected if I’ve misunderstood this) that the Israeli state has to do what it is doing to protect its own security. I think that’s thought-through but incorrect. The Israeli right believe that they have the right to physically occupy Gaza, for ideological reasons. That’s nuts.

  38. tcd said,

    “In other words… you’re a somewhat obsessive online weirdo?”

    aww, I was rude about your friend and exposed his incoherency, deep dishonesty and vacuous stupidity, so this is your response? cute. still I prefer to deal with the issues, which are that your blog makes apologism for mass slaughter of the Palestinians, and evades any serious debate on the issue (funny how a vocally pro–Israel blog hid away entirely from events in Gaza and only reluctantly discusses them under heavy questioning).

  39. modernityblog said,

    Volty,

    Resistor’s answer: “No I can’t. What is it?”

    surely, that gives his game away?

    to Resistor and Co the people that you mentioned are just Jews or Jew lovers (you’ll remember the American South’s version of that) and thus in Resistor’s eye all about equal.

    Resistor can dance about, but ultimately his racism comes out.

  40. tcd said,

    “Volty,

    Resistor’s answer: “No I can’t. What is it?”

    surely, that gives his game away?”

    actually it is VP’s ame which has been given away.

    let us look at his answer: he thinks that when someone argues the following: “Israel’s slaughter of at least 345 Palestinians, in response to the ‘breaking’ of a ceasefire by Hamas is actually an act of self-defence against Hamas firing rockets at Israeli citizens and killing 6.” Despite the fact that Israel in fact broke this ceasefire in November, and has for three years been placing Gaza under seige, a seige which has left 75% of Gaza suffering from malnoutrituion, and many of its children deaf and suffering from PTSD. Despite the fact that Israeli politicians are using the slaughter of the Gazans as political propaganda for the upcoming election, in order to appear the toughest, are gloating about the deaths, and are promising many more to the electorate. Despite the fact that the tanks are massing on the border with Gaza. No. It is all about “self-defence”. The liberal democracy (which does not allow the vote to any of the people it exiled since 1948 or their descendents, nor to the occupied territories), must defend itself!

    Voltaire’s Preist however does not really want to deal with this issue and would rather talk about the supposed motives of anyone who talks about it.

    Volataire’s Preist doesn’t see any reason to become impassioned over the simple deaths of 345 Palestinians.

    We should just disagree in a nice civilised way, like a game of cricket among friends. Nice civilised English chaps like Max should not have to face vulgar insults over such things. Such good old chaps will invade you, exploit you, and (regretting it and saying it makes them sad) use force if you resist. But the patronising newtonian rationalist tone of such people is comforting, because like wise parents, they sometimes hit those of us still in the “infantile” stage of human development, but they defend us from the fascists and fanatics in the shadows.

    We could all be friends if we ungrateful ones just understood the motives of such nice chaps. The Palestinians really need to do the same and just learn to be more sensible. Nice liberals in the west have the solution all planned out if only the “wretched blighters” would put down their arms. :D Jolly nice!

    Correct?

  41. tcd said,

    http://www.theaustralian.news.com.au/story/0,25197,24856602-15084,00.html

    “AN Israeli patrol vessel rammed a boat of Palestinian activists carrying a shipment of medical aid that tried to break the blockade of the Gaza Strip, Israeli military radio said today.

    Play
    12345Loading…Please login to rate a video.You can’t rate an advertisement.(1 vote)

    Israeli warplanes attack Hamas buildings
    Israel pressed on with Gaza air attacks early Tuesday, leaving at least ten Palestinians dead.
    Views today: 541Sorry, this video is no longer available.The Dignity was ordered to turn around, and warning shots were fired across its bow, but the 20-metre vessel nevertheless tried to navigate around the patrol boat which blocked its passage, the radio station reported.

    No one was injured in the collision, but both vessels suffered damage.

    Warplanes continued to pound Gaza today with the Palestinian death toll rising to at least 360 as tanks stood by to join the “all-out” war Israel vows will wipe out Hamas.

    Israel made it clear yesterday the offensive was just beginning, even as UN chief Ban Ki-moon urged world leaders to work urgently to end the “unacceptable” violence. ”

    Self-defence from aid workers. a cheer for liberal democracy!

  42. maxdunbar said,

    Voltaire

    As far as I can gather, Eric et al think (and I’m willing to be corrected if I’ve misunderstood this) that the Israeli state has to do what it is doing to protect its own security. I think that’s thought-through but incorrect. The Israeli right believe that they have the right to physically occupy Gaza, for ideological reasons. That’s nuts.

    But surely you can accept both arguments, that Israel needs to protect its civilians and also that the occupation is stupid, wrong and ideology/faith-driven.

  43. maxdunbar said,

    TCD

    Actually I am not a person to react hysterically or emotionally.

    Based on what I’ve seen in this thread, I’d dispute that.

    Resistor

    You can surely see the difference between people who take the view that Max, Eric and possibly Mod do, which I think is an incorrect though reasoned stance, and people who are outright Likudniks

    No I can’t. What is it?

    The point here is that you can’t tell the difference between your average Israeli and your raving imperialist Likudnik.

    They’re all the same to you aren’t they?

    As Modernity said: ‘Resistor can dance about, but ultimately his racism comes out.’

  44. tcd said,

    “Based on what I’ve seen in this thread, I’d dispute that.”

    no, you need to learn the difference between an impassioned stance and anirrational reaction. you are indeed an apologist for mass murder and apartheid, and on the hard right of the political spectrum when it comes to international politics, as is the repugnant Eric Lee whose mailing list I am on – though I do not know where his little group stole my email from – as well as many many others, on so don’t tell me about all the “good work” he does). this is not a hystericalor emotional reaction, but an objective description of your kind, which I have justified many times in this thread.

    now you are invited to give a refutement of those arguments insteadof attacking the personality of the person arguing.

  45. Voltaire's Priest said,

    TCD;

    Unless I’m very much mistaken Max has never invaded anywhere, and you equally are not writing on a sputtery laptop from a Palestinian refugee camp. So let’s not be so pretentious as to act as proxies for two sides in a war, because the bottom line is that we’re mere commentators. You clearly aren’t “impassioned” enough to hop on a plane and get in the mix in the Middle East, instead preferring to have a go at people on the internet.

    Yes as I said, I do disagree with Max whilst still respecting his view. I think Israel-Palestine is probably the only issue on the left where people would think it remarkable for that to be possible. What’s more yes I am sick of the moralistic carping from Western left-wingers (in both camps) who appear to think that one has to prove the worth of one’s views by pouring the maximum possible amout of bilious hatred upon the other side. You can’t just be wrong in this debate, you have to be the scum of the earth, right?

    Max – my disagreement with you is firstly that I simply don’t believe the Israeli actions are motivated by internal security concerns, and further that even if that were the motive, a killing rate of more than 100-1 is grossly out of proportion to the actions taken by Hamas. And that’s putting it euphemistically. This is about a term-limited George Bush and a pending general election likely to produce a Likud-Yisrael Beiteinu government, and the Gaza Palestinians serving as a tragically expendable means of gaining political capital for Kadima and Labour.

    Look at it this way – the UK didn’t launch air strikes on West Belfast during the 1980s. That’s because not only would it have been counter-productive (just like the Gaza attacks will prove to be IMO), it would also doubtless have been considered a war crime even by the Thatcherite government of the time.

  46. tcd said,

    “Unless I’m very much mistaken Max has never invaded anywhere, and you equally are not writing on a sputtery laptop from a Palestinian refugee camp. So let’s not be so pretentious as to act as proxies for two sides in a war, because the bottom line is that we’re mere commentators. You clearly aren’t “impassioned” enough to hop on a plane and get in the mix in the Middle East, instead preferring to have a go at people on the internet.”

    No I am not in a refugee camp, I am an activist for communism in a third world country where we have had tens of thousands of disappeared int he last generation, and I have no doubts about my moral authority to call Max Dunbar an apologist for mass murder.

    Likewise I do not see you using this “calm down chaps” argument, or his “chicken hawk” argument, when your friend Jim Denham is on the offensive against the “scum” in Iraqa nd the leftwing “scum” who “sympathise” with these “fascists”

    So apparently this tactic of “appeal for calm”, rejection of “moralism”, and demand that those hwo use “strong language” be prepared to “fly out to Gaza” to be slaughtered by the Israelis (a call which conveniently aims to make any militant anti-war action outside of the middle east impossible), is a purely one way, opportunist and hypocritical approach, purely because you don’t like the fact that today you are on the defensive, and your friends have been shown to be reprehensible.

    You’re response on the issue alsois evasive and cowardly, because clearly Max Dunbar cannot deal with any of the questions around the slaughter in Gaza, and you simultaneously avoid having to deal with them by stating that you do not agree with him, but then “respect” his opinion by refusing to seriously challenge it. In otherwords, you erect a barrieraround an uncomfortable question with a kind of “let’s agree to disagree”.

    Wells adly this attitude means protecting apologists for mass slaughter.

    “Yes as I said, I do disagree with Max whilst still respecting his view. I think Israel-Palestine is probably the only issue on the left where people would think it remarkable for that to be possible. What’s more yes I am sick of the moralistic carping from Western left-wingers (in both camps) who appear to think that one has to prove the worth of one’s views by pouring the maximum possible amout of bilious hatred upon the other side. You can’t just be wrong in this debate, you have to be the scum of the earth, right?”

    Maxis scum of the earth for supporting theoccupation of Afghanistan and Iraq as well. It is hardly a new development. I am just taking advantage of the recent events which make this self-apparent. One thing about capitalism which all serious communists have noted is its tendency to resort to barbarism which allows us very easily to point the barbarity of its supporters and agitate anger against them.

  47. voltairespriest said,

    Remarkably always available for comment on the internet for a “communist activist”, aren’t we? Or do you actually work in the Blog Department of the Revolutionary Party? Look, I don’t think your postcode imbues you with any more or less “moral legitimacy” than anyone else but I saw fit to raise the point that you don’t live in the war zone (which you don’t) because of the hysterical and moralistic tone of your contributions in this thread.

    Frankly no, I’m not on the defensive, and I think I’ve made my grounds for disagreement with Max perfectly clear. The fact that I don’t on that basis appoint myself the moral guardian of the debate as you appear determined to act, is merely because my motive is where possible to persuade people to my view. You on the other hand seem to think that the point is to issue shrill denunciations and point-scoring, which in my view has been a large part of the left’s problem with the Israel-Palestine debate for three generations.

    As to Jim, primarily I have the luxury of being able to disagree with him face to face over a beer when the need arises.

  48. resistor said,

    Eric Lee was perfectly willing to turn his gun on Palestinians on behalf of a fascist Likud government.

    Max Dunbar denied that Begin, Sharon and Netanyahu et al were fascists despite being given plenty of evidence, which makes him a Likud apologist.

    Shiraz Socialist? Try Fitou Fascist for size.

  49. voltairespriest said,

    Transistor, would you like a choccy biccy?

  50. johng said,

    So no post on the bombardment of Gaza. I guess you don’t have an agreed position on it. Incredibly there has been no comment from Engage on the targetting and destruction of the major academic institution in Gaza. Its beyond belief.

  51. johng said,

    Ah. Voltaire is sick of people criticising Israel. And taking sides in the conflict. I’m sure Palestinians will thank him for his moderation and good sense.

  52. Dr Paul said,

    Now this thread has moved to a relevant topic (let’s leave O’Bama and his harries to my old chums at Spiked and their obsessions), read something good from someone a lot closer to the scene — see the statement by Israeli socialists at http://www.socialistunity.com/?p=3240 — full opposition to the Israeli military action, no illusions in Hamas. One of the best things I’ve seen on the matter.

  53. voltairespriest said,

    So when I said that I disagreed with Max, thought the Israeli actions had malign motive and would not achieve their stated aims (whose sincerity I said I did not buy into), you took that to mean I was “sick of criticising Israel” did you JG?

    I mean come on – you’re someone who actually is capable of putting the SWP’s position on Israel-Palestine in a sober manner. That is surely a good thing and better than hysteria, no?

    And yes, you’re correct that we don’t all have the same position on the Gaza attacks, although of course any one of us would be able to put our own personal position in a post. Or indeed you could do us a guest one if you like!

  54. maxdunbar said,

    Voltaire – fair enough. You make a good point.

    TCD – no one cares where you’re writing from and even if you are in the third world it doesn’t make your commentary any less risible.

    Resistor, Eric Lee’s done more for the working class movement than you ever will in your whole miserable life.

    But he’s persona non grata to you because, er, he did military service to defend his country from fascism.

    John G

    So no post on the bombardment of Gaza. I guess you don’t have an agreed position on it. Incredibly there has been no comment from Engage on the targetting and destruction of the major academic institution in Gaza. Its beyond belief.

    Yes, because there is so little coverage of this stuff in the political blogosphere.

    But like Voltaire I would be happy for you to write a guest post on the issue.

  55. modernityblog said,

    agreed Dr Paul, that’s not a bad post but I think Coatesy’s is rather good:

    “Wrong Skin Colour?

    I post on this for one simple reason: the Israeli attack on Gaza, wholly unjustified, will obscure the far greater war crimes being carried out by the Sudanese Islamicists against the people of Darfur. The janjaweed militas can be compared to the Hutu murderers, and indeed to Pol Pot’s Khmer Rouge.

    I realise that for a certain type of European the dislike of Israel is paramount. For all Islamicists it is an article of faith that the Tel Aviv State is a monstrous aberration that must be wiped from the map. For certain leftists, to their shame, ‘Zionism’ is a word describing some kind of nest of conspiracies.

    I have only the words on this clavier to condemn the killings in Gaza.

    Would that a few more would do something to alleviate the suffering of the people of Darfur.

    But they are black, and perhaps count for little.”

    JohnG, I suspect that Engage haven’t commented because 1) they are an anti-racist campaign, not a standard blog 2) they are holidaying
    3) they are mostly away from a PC. etc

  56. johng said,

    No they are not away from their PC’s. They are writing about anti-semitism in two greek newspapers and have just written another post. There is a lively discussion underneath in which the targetting of the Islamic university in which their colleagues work is justified, at the same time as any attempt to raise the matter is treated at diversionary and/or anti-semitic. The campaign around which the site is built originated in a campaign against a boycott campaign of Israeli academics. The name given to this campaign “Engage” attempted to suggest amongst other things that engagement between the parties was the way foward. Here we have the deliberate and unabashed targetting of the most prestigious university in Gaza as part of a campaign of terror directed at what is left of Palestinian civil society in Gaza. And Engage can’t even be bothered to condemn this. They should change their name forthwith. And Voltaire rather then become worried about the ‘hysteria’ generated by the hundreds and hundreds of dead and more then a thousand injured, and the further destruction of the civilian infrastructure which will cost hundreds more lives (note on the Tomb the revelation that ‘terrorists’ includes policemen and public servents and indeed any male of a certain age), you might like to show some solidarity with those suffering under this attack as opposed to continue to ridicule those who are attempting to fulfill their very basic duty as socialists. Perhaps you’d like to publicise the demonstration on Saturday unless you find it morally difficult and hysterical to show elementary solidarity with the Palestinian people. Its entirely up to you of course. Perhaps you’d prefer not to.

  57. maxdunbar said,

    John, I completely condemn the bombing of universities. It seems Engage should indeed be speaking out on this.

  58. Voltaire's Priest said,

    Who exactly (other than two trolls) have I “ridiculed”, JG?

  59. Voltaire's Priest said,

    On the point about Engage, I haven’t actually even looked at their site in months. I certainly don’t agree with everything they say about Israel-Palestine, in particular the historical analysis to which most of their members seem to adhere. You may or may not have noticed me disagreeing with supporters of theirs in discussion on this very site in the past, but I assure you it has happened. That having been said, I think there are other points where their analysis is interesting. We link to them from here for the same reason that we link to Lenny Seymour, Splintered Sunrise and others with whom I certainly have both points of agreement and other points of radical disagreement – because they’re worth reading whether one agrees with them or not. It simply escapes me why there should be a problem with that.

    On the demo, sure, I’ll publicise it, no problemo. Again, why wouldn’t I?

  60. modernityblog said,

    JohnG,

    again, you argue in bad faith, assuming the very worst of motives for those that consider to be your political enemies

    in this case, Engage

    er, so what’s new?

    I am sure that your attitude towards Engage has nothing at all to do with them exposing the SWP’s pandering to anti-Jewish racism and the SWP’s support of an active anti-Jewish racist, Gilad Atzmon?

  61. johng said,

    Excellent. It did the trick. Hysteria or otherwise. Perhaps Engage would like to condemn the targetting of the university.

  62. voltairespriest said,

    Err, no. You just reminded me to do something I’d already been meaning to do but had forgotten. However if you want to believe it’s because of your powers of persuasion then please do so ;)

  63. voltairespriest said,

    PS – incidentally JG I copied the post from AWL member Janine Booth’s post at Stroppyblog, something I’d been meaning to do for a few days. I’m sure you’ll want to be the first to join me in publicly congratulating the AWL for continuing their long tradition of support for solidarity work in the Middle East?

  64. modernityblog said,

    JohnG,

    maybe you could clear something up?

    are there ANY circumstances that the SWP think it is legitimate for Israel to defend its citizens, from the threat of attack?

    if so, what are they ?

  65. voltairespriest said,

    Of course there aren’t. They think Israel should be destroyed.

  66. modernityblog said,

    now now Volty, let’s not assume anything until JohnG has had the chance to give a considered reply :)

  67. resistor said,

    Max Dunbar writes, ‘Resistor, Eric Lee’s done more for the working class movement than you ever will in your whole miserable life.’

    I doubt it.

    ‘But he’s persona non grata to you because, er, he did military service to defend his country from fascism.’

    I don’t think even Eric Lee is old enough to have fought for Britain against the Nazis.

    Oh, you mean his willingness to take part in an illegal occupation of another people’s country on behalf of a government led by a fascist. Which is very grata by you.

  68. resistor said,

    Max Dunbar writes, ‘Resistor, Eric Lee’s done more for the working class movement than you ever will in your whole miserable life.’

    I doubt it.

    ‘But he’s persona non grata to you because, er, he did military service to defend his country from fascism.’

    I don’t think even Eric Lee is old enough to have fought for Britain against the Nazis.

    Oh, you mean his willingness to take part in an illegal occupation of another people’s country on behalf of a government led by a fascist. Which is very grata by you.

  69. tcd said,

    “Wemarkably always available for comment on the internet for a “communist activist”, aren’t we?”

    actgually msot of the time, no. I do spendmy free time on the internet, but that is actually nto a great amount of time. Count my number of comments from Septmeber to December, very few, relatively.

    You may have noticed the time of year. this means people tend to ave a lot of free time. my family is not exactly interested in discussing Israel, so I do it online. ok?

    “Or do you actually work in the Blog Department of the Revolutionary Party?”

    No, I have been active in the grounds of more factories and more industrial suburbs than you will se in yourlife. Fact.

    “Look, I don’t think your postcode imbues you with any more or less “moral legitimacy” than anyone else”

    I did nt claim to have more moral legitimacy than anyone else. I know my heritage, I know my material situation, and I know I am part of a serious struggle and will go all the way if it arises, like millions before me.

    If you have doubts about yourself that is not my problem. Keep them to yourself though and do not project them onto others!

    “but I saw fit to raise the point that you don’t live in the war zone (which you don’t) because of the hysterical and moralistic tone of your contributions in this thread.”

    well it is an irrelevant point.

  70. tcd said,

    “no one cares where you’re writing from”

    Actually,Max, Voltaire’s Preist does care, for it was he who raised the petty issue in the first place. I was simply responding to his post.

    You really are stupid.

  71. Voltaire's Priest said,

    Tcd: you still here? I don’t know whether it’s an issue with reading comprehension but I think I made totally clear why I questioned your direct association with Palestine (which you don’t have). It was because of your bizarre attempts at moral one-upmanship upon people with whom you disagreed, more or less on the basis of “I care more than you do”, with a couple of old hoary political slogans chucked in as icing. It seems to me that a part of the essence of your contributions in this thread has been to claim greater moral legitimacy than those with whom you are “debating”, if one may use such a term to describe your hectoring, one-way traffic model of discourse.

    Well done, you’ve been in factories (past tense?). One imagines you have indeed been in more than me – the UK doesn’t have many factories left and I’m not an industrial worker. In terms of this discussion however, your point is specious, self-aggrandising and irrelevant.

  72. maxdunbar said,

    Resistor

    Max Dunbar writes, ‘Resistor, Eric Lee’s done more for the working class movement than you ever will in your whole miserable life.’

    I doubt it.

    Really, you doubt it?

    What is it you do apart from leaving these pointless comments on websites?

    And if you think Hamas, Hezbollah and anti-semitism would simply disappear overnight if Israel ended the occupation then you’re even more naive and stupid than you appear from your comments.

  73. tcd said,

    “It was because of your bizarre attempts at moral one-upmanship upon people with whom you disagreed, more or less on the basis of “I care more than you do”, with a couple of old hoary political slogans chucked in as icing.”

    no, you boviously do not understand the very clear issues at stake which I have repeatedly stated.

    “Well done, you’ve been in factories (past tense?). One imagines you have indeed been in more than me – the UK doesn’t have many factories left”

    actually it does, it is just that the left does not go there.

    “and I’m not an industrial worker.”

    many communists seek jobs in the working lass in order to agitate. the pathetic british left very rarely does though.

  74. Voltaire's Priest said,

    Yes I know, it’s called colonisation by some groups.

    And no, you’re factually wrong if you think that the UK working class is primarily located in factories. It isn’t – and in fact most of it does not work in any kind of unionised workplace, unfortunately.

  75. maxdunbar said,

    Yeah, you need to take into account the decline of manufacturing, and the growth of the service sector.

  76. tcd said,

    “And no, you’re factually wrong if you think that the UK working class is primarily located in factories. It isn’t – and in fact most of it does not work in any kind of unionised workplace, unfortunately.”

    This is the same situation as in most countries. The point is not that oranised labour or the industrial proletariat is a majority but that it has the potential to be a vnguard sector which others do not.

    18% of the UK workforce works in industry (which is not that low, China is only 25%) , which accounts for 23% of the GDP.

    https://www.cia.gov/library/publications/the-world-factbook/geos/uk.html#Econ

  77. tcd said,

    in other words, over 5 million workers employed in industry, with a workforce of 30 million, and a population of 60 million. in a time of crisis this sector will be forced to struggle (for example there is already an industrial dispute in the steel sector and have been disputes in the automobile industry), and if this sector becomes radicalised it would be very significant.

    However the chances of this are very much lowered, because the left in Britain did not gear itself towards this sector very sinificantly since the 1980′s, and now will have to “go from the outside”.

  78. voltairespriest said,

    I think it’s equally important for organised labour to reach into less traditional areas (retail, call centres, other services) which could feasibly be worked with as well. If you look at my own union (Unite-TGWU), our own membership is drawn from an increasingly diverse base of workplaces, which is one of the reasons we’re recruiting. That’s not to say we ignore our traditional base in the car industry, but I think it’s right to try other things too – after all one can walk and chew gum at the same time, especially with a general union.

  79. tcd said,

    call centres are important, I work in one and am organizing there. obviously state employees are another traditional militant sector in many countries. and I obviously think it is impoortant to organise in as many sectors as possible.

    But industry is the baseof the global economy and all great powers are built on their industrial conglomerates, finance capital rises from this. I do not want to state general rules for all palces at all times but in Britain today I do not see a strong classist consciousness developing unless your industrial proletariat develops one.

  80. Sro Gold said,

    I think that Obama is fine, it’s just economy is desctroyed long long before and there is nothing he can do but do it slowly….

    I don’t know, maybe i’m wrong.

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