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Links With Your Coffee - Saturday


In the interest of fostering more rational arguments I'm going to present a common fallacy with each day's links, today's fallacy is the False Dilemma Please feel free to point out any arguments that you believe rely on fallacious reasoning, mine or others.

  • The Gaza Blame Game

    This article does a pretty good job of capturing my view of the conflict.

  • Richard Dawkins: Blurring the human/animal boundary | Science |
    Dawkins speculates about how a human-chimp hybrid or the discovery of a living Homo erectus would change the way we see the world


  • Direct eNewsletter for Democrats

  • Israelis admit militants not in UN school | World news | The Guardian
    The UN said last night that the Israeli military had privately admitted that the shelling of a UN school in Jabaliya which killed more than 40 Palestinians on Tuesday was in response to militant fire from outside, not inside, the UN compound.

  • Locus Online Features: Cory Doctorow: Writing in the Age of Distraction

  • Essay - Children of the Left, Unite! -
  • Type A | Narrative Magazine
    DOMINIC’S BREATH is soft in my ear, his accent a lilting roller coaster. He guides my hand, telling me exactly what he wants me to do. I’m moist with sweat, exhausted, but he’s patient, knowing it’s my first time. We’ve been at it for hours—his voice is coming from a million miles away.
    “Now, please type in C as in California, O as in Oregon, N as in New York, and F as in Fronk-en-shty-een.”
    “Excuse me?”
    “F as in Fronk-en-shty-een.”
    “That is correct.”
    I do as he says. A pause.
    “Yes! Yes! Yes!” I’m shrieking in ecstasy.
    Darling Dominic, or whatever your real name is, in Calcutta or New Delhi—thank you, thank you, my sweet love. After five grueling hours with you, I’m back online.

  • Is There a Cure for Greed? - Paper Cuts Blog - NYTimes.comDip into Michael Lewis’s new collection of pieces from different authors, “Panic: The Story of Modern Financial Insanity,” and you’ll probably take away a similar message. “No matter how many times you’ve read Charles MacKay’s ‘Extraordinary Popular Delusions and the Madness of Crowds,’ ” Lewis writes, “you remain at risk of being sucked into the passions of the moment.” We’re all victims here — and all predators too. “It’s not the markets that need to change,” Lewis says, “but our reaction to them.” Last Sunday, Lewis published a much harder-hitting, even radical, op-ed piece in The Times, cowritten with David Einhorn, arguing that the markets do, in fact, need to be changed. But whatever the case, the question arises, Carrie Bradshaw-like: Is there any cure for greed?

    What seems so wise about Blodget is that he answers “no.”



re:"the gaza blame game"

norm, i am forced to admit, this was, as far as the msm is concerned, one of the best, most balanced articles i've ever seen on the issue. if this indeed represents your views, i commend myself :) on my initial judgement of you 3 years ago as a fundamentally decent, intelligent armchair pundit, who is truly concerned about human stupidity, and not ONLY israeli stupidity, as seems to be the case with so many of your readers. i'm afraid that by praising your perspective, i may damage your reputation with your regular readers. maybe you should re-post some of our more contentious exchanges to save face. :)

This is a discussion we've had before. I think most on this site share the my view, the view presented in the article or in the Moyers video. The reason Israel comes in for what you characterize as disproportionate criticism is a result of several significant factors.

*We hold them to the standard they claim for themselves that they are a democracy in the western tradition. I think they fall short on several counts.

*We give Israel 3 billion a year in aid

*The mainstream media has a bias in favor of Israel

*Israel is an occupying power and as such has responsibilities they are failing to fulfill.

*Israel reminds me a lot of Bush and the neocons in their approach to the conflict, and to the press.

I do have a question for you. I assume that you are a settler living in an area that is on the palestinian side of the 1967 borders. If true, how do you feel about your part in being an obstacle to peace.

i didn't quite get your use of all the moyers quotes as a response to my positive reaction to the "blame game" article.

as for this

I do have a question for you. I assume that you are a settler living in an area that is on the palestinian side of the 1967 borders. If true, how do you feel about your part in being an obstacle to peace.

that's easy. i don't see myself as an obstacle to peace, rather as an obstacle to the cradle of jewish civilization being made judenrein by a muslim theocratic dictatorship.

sorry, that was pure snark. truly, i think all the settlements are an obstacle to is israel getting a really, really bad deal in a final settlement. that is, we're a card to be played in final negotiations. in the meantime, i take great pleasure in the countryside that was the cradle of my civilization and which has been available to reasonably secure jewish living ONLY during the time of israeli military government since 1967. a small historical window of oppurtunity for a very great benifit which, even now, only a very small and intrepid number of jews merit- and probably not for too much longer.

of course, i don't expect the majority of your readers to understand such an emotional, almost mystical connection and how much it means far beyond religion. but you have been honest with me before when it doesn't necessarily make you mister popular, and i feel i owe you no less.

btw, i like moyers, but i could argue the shit out of that video. i'm just trying to avoid this level of detail because the medium doesn't suffer it kindly, and frankly, because i ain't gettin paid for it.

Jonathan - I agree with the article also.

But, this situation is bad.

I asked you what people there thought because, to me, it's being very poorly handled. When 9/11 happened to the US, everyone was on our side and Bush politically squandered that. With Hamas dropping bombs on Israel, everyone understands that's untenable but, the response is politically and humanely destructive - which, again, looks like bad leadership to me.

jill, if you mean the international response as far as demonstrations, u.n.resolutions, anti-semitic blowups in europe and stuff like that, it's not that israel isn't concerned about these things, it just has more immediately pressing matters to deal with at the moment. also for americans- if you guys think that the main damage george bush caused was in the arena of world opinion, i would suggest you get your priorities straight. your own civil rights are seriously in danger, for instance. golda mair said (forgive the harsh reality) "it doesn't matter what the goyim say, it matters what the jews do". nothin personal against you, jill.

Hmmm...I'm not sure we're communicating.

I'm saying that GOOD leadership can accomplish the same goal in a better way. For example - instead of the U.S. going into the U.N. with Bolton being a complete @ss and then Bush basically saying the U.S. is going to do exactly what they want and we don't need you or your permission to do it - there was a way to get what they wanted AND not alienate everyone (or maybe not - since what they wanted was an illegal war but, ostensibly, what they wanted at the time.)

No - I'm not referencing ALL the damage Bush has done. I was talking about one specific area - the squandering of the feelings of solidarity and goodwill the world felt toward Americans after 9/11. As far as I'm concerned, he started his wide path of destruction in the very beginning of his Presidency (including - according to Paul O'Neill's book when early on he announced he was basically going to ignore the problems with Israel and the Palestinians).

I am saying, from the way I see it, Israel could've achieved their goals in a way that did not turn world opinion against them. With Hamas throwing bombs into Israel, you had your version of a 9/11 sympathetic response. But, from where I'm sitting (in an Israel-friendly California), it just looks like you guys went uber-cowboy. Why would it look that way here (see above where I said Israel-friendly) unless your administration chose to ignore at least 1/2 of their job which is diplomacy and, yes, fostering good will. As far as your quote...I think if Golda Meir were in charge, as a former negotiator and activist, she would understand the value of world opinion and wouldn't say you deal with that later - it is a currency and a powerful weapon of its own.

Yes, we had an @sshole administration who didn't give a d@mn and it caught up to them - right now, it looks like your administration is taking a page out of Bush's book.

Not sure if this is any clearer...

i think we are communicating, jill. you seem to be saying that what the world thinks of government policy should be much higher on said government's list of priorities. this may be so.

but in israel's case, world opinion has been against it from the very beginning, and certainly since 1967. so israel can't afford to take it too seriously. this is not to say they ignore it completely.

if you think you know what israel "wants" and have suggestions as to how to attain it without alienating world opinion even further, i'm certainly open to suggestions. but i'm not a real player here, and the real players have probably already thought of what you might say. many ideas, like economic partnerships, are being worked on even now, behind the scenes, and hopefully the time will be right for these things sooner rather than later. but first we have to stop killing each other.

there's an old joke here that goes " the english want to be respected. the russians want to be feared. and the americans want to be liked".

what does israel want? we've pretty much given up on being "liked".

This isn't about being "liked." This is about representing principles the world community (which theoretically is striving to live together) can support. I don't think this is winning some popularity contest - I think this is living in times of nuclear weapons and failing economies and very wide divisions between the have and have nots. (Nothing more dangerous than someone who has nothing to lose.)

If I think I know what Israel "wants?" I would assume they "want" to stop being bombed and be able to carry on their business as a nation in safety and security. Maybe I'm way off track here.

Personally, I don't know people who don't "like" Israel anymore than they don't "like" the U.S. That includes those who have really hated the Bush administration (the administration who made it clear what they were doing was more important than being liked or having the majority support - more urgent than necessitated obeying the Geneva conventions) Disagreeing with the administration doesn't mean you don't like a nation - a difficult concept for the "love it or leave it" conservatives here.

Nevermind. Bad venue for discussion and I've got a thousand things to do.

Hey Jonathan, since we're doing questions : exactly where do you think we're going to take this now? At first, I was pretty leaning toward agreeing with the operation, taking out the kassam sources as it was direct and clear, but now I'm not quite sure about the goals as it could take ages, if the media is right, and it's starting to get ugly. Do you think this was just a momentary "le'harot lahem" move, and now we're going to fall back and work it from here, or is this going anywhere?

you mean "we" the israelis? as i keep saying over and over, i think the game plan is to replace hamas with fatah so that a two state solution can be negotiated. i think israel, egypt, jordan, lebanon, the u.s. and saudi arabia are all on board with this- a completely unprecedented situation that is, astoundingly, almost not mentioned at all here or anywhere else- probably for the obvious reasons (no one wants to be labeled a "collaborater" with israel). but i don't have any better sources of information than anyone else here. i just don't see any other justification that makes sense. hamas has been rocketing civilians for 8 years, 3 years since the "disengagement" from gaza almost EVERY DAY. so to say it's about the rockets sounds ridiculous to me, much as i would like to see the rocket fire stop. fwiw, they're down to around 20 a day now, but who knows what that really means?

jill, i didn't intend to anger you. if i misrepresented or oversimplified your positions, i apologize- as you said, it's the venue. i think we're in agreement about most things here. my perhaps overly comlicated views on this conflict may lead you to think i am unconcerned with palestinian civilian fatalities, or israel's use of military force for simple bullying, but this is not so. far from it. :(

norm mentioned at another thread the principle of "charity"- that is, rephrasing the other persons point in the strongest possible way in order to best represent the INTENTION of the argument. i don't know where norm got this, i learned about it in marriage therapy. :) but if i have failed in my attempt, again, i apologize.

No worries. I get frustrated with my ineffectual ability to get my points across in this format. Happens all the time but I'm hoping it's helpful to work on it.

I do think there is some bad, short-term thinking going on with tragic results and I'm actually surprised you don't think so, too, but, there is obviously a different expectation in Israel.

Never occurred to me you were unconcerned.

Yeah, your rephrasing made me sound like a naive simpleton - I hope it worked better with the therapy...

how, about this, then: yes, i support bad, tragic, short term thinking.and my expectation is the same as everyone else's in israel. kill, kill, kill!!

no, the therapy didn't work. but it wasn't my fault! you see....

how was my rephrase? unfair?

are you kidding? is that a joke?

because what i said in my comment is that, obviously the expectation in Israel is different - that it is worth the cost and won't be short-term.

since i haven't been able to get one idea across and since i didn't find it at all funny, i can't tell.

i thought the "kill, kill, kill" part would be a dead givaway that i was joking. at the same time, i was trying to show how easily statements can be misinterpreted, even in good faith. i'll try to be perfectly clear here, and i am NOT joking:

i do NOT support israel's current activities in gaza, except insofar as they may, by accident, stop the rocket fire.

and i do NOT at all think of you as a naive simpleton.

having problems posting, will try again:

i thought the "kill, kill, kill" part would make it clear i was joking. i was trying to point out in a humorous way how easy it is to misinterpret and misrepresent someone elses views, even in good faith. it happens to me all the time here, for instance i'm quite sure that no matter what i actually say most readers here, including you, apparently, think of me as a kneejerk, one dimensional israeli apologist.

in another attempt at clarity, i hereby declare i am NOT joking about this:

i do NOT support israel's current actions in the gaza strip, except insofar as they MAY succeed in at least stopping the hamas rocket attacks on israeli civilians. i have stated elsewhere here, many times and in some detail, what i believe to be israel's REAL goals here- goals i think, unfortunately are unattainable. so, in other words, i take issue with israels STATED goals- eliminating hamas's ability to fire indiscriminately on her civilian population- and also with what i believe are its REAL, though unstated goals- replacing hamas with fatah in order to negotiate a two-state solution, something hamas opposes. the stated goal is foolish because hamas cannot be destroyed militarily and CAN, in fact be negotiated with for a cessation of the rocket fire. and the real goal is foolish (imo) because the religious radicalization of the palestinian people means that they don't, on the whole, support fatah (a secular movement) which is artificially propped up by american, european and israeli support AGAINST the true-and massive-support of the palestinians themselves for radical, fundamentalist, "kill 'em all" islam. which means that fatah, while it CAN be negotiated with, doesn't represent the views of the palestinian people. not even close.

and i do NOT at all think of you as a naive simpleton. no "buts".


"i take great pleasure in the countryside that was the cradle of my civilization, i don't expect the majority of your readers to understand such an emotional, almost mystical connection and how much it means far beyond religion."


Tell me about it. I'll tell you about a certain Mr. Diamond, his lieutinants, Abrams, Goldstein, etc., and their Luxury Development of our land. After the Anglos, Saxons, and Utes do the dirty work, these clowns scoop up all the loot. "beyond religion." indeed.

mr. tone, i have enjoyed your contributions here for years. sometimes i just let the wordplay wash over me, kind of like joyce's "ulysses", and sometimes i would really like to know what the hell you're talking about. this is one of those latter cases. i hope my curiousity won't lead to some kind of anti-semitic abuse. i only wonder because of the obvious jewish names you list as "scooping up all the loot" with their "luxury development" of "our" land. first of all, i'm not clear whose land you're talking about. would you care to (just for not) trade cleverness for clarity? i know i take my life in my hands by asking...


Well! As clear as Muddy Waters: some folks have alcohol problems, others seem to be congenital abusers of money and politics. Leaving aside the unowned unlegal unbound Native Savages' rubbery flexible spheres of former influence, confluence, mass killing, cannibalism, peaceful agriculture, etc., Mr. Diamond has a scheme for flipping State Land, all nice and legal, of course, he is said to be more powerful than the governor, who comes and goes, to head the Dept. of Homeland security, Ambassador to Argentina, whatever. Mr. Abrams is in charge of Pinal County, the Diamond children run the Studios (Mescal,etc.). Goldstein is in charge of environmental destruction, I think. It is something of a legal mafia, ultimately tied to the one on Wall Street I suspect. The McCains by marriage run the rum, beer, whichever. Yes, a woodpecker pecks, well, not just wood. A retriever dog, retrieves, not just birds, and the behavior of the various sub-species of homo "sapiens" seems genetically determined to do whatever they're genetically determined to do, way beyond religion. Of course, through mindfulness, anything is possible, one is "born again" hopefully not in Christ. Now, most of the "antisemitic" (mis)info going around seems to be more specifically targeted, maybe, anti-ashkenazi-ism (?), stuff whispered under the breath by, uhh, sephardniks, you know, the dark ones who tan almost black, parking their BMWs to jog daily in the sun alongside the Rillito bike path, living the balanced life. It's all about those damn sums of bitches from New York City, the, well, Jack Abramoff sure has a way with words. A loud psychopathic minority within a minority tarnishes the reputations of millions. On the other foot I always thought of Ralph Nadir as a kind of Semite, the right sort, Barry Goldwater was great on birth control. Wonderful. But I guess the loony rabbis of Israel wouldn't count him as Jewish because his father was Jewish but not his mother.

Sociobiology and Buddhism and Dr. Goswami. They explain just about everything.

Eureka. Israel should have been in Aotearoa. Damn Crackers and Maoris.

you know, when i was a kid, 99% of all schoolchildren had difficulty locating atlantis on a map. i'm afraid that's not true anymore.

thanx for your attempt at clarity. i'm guessing you're talking about issues of american politics/power plays that i'm just not familiar with. wish i didn't have to guess, tho.

keep up the good work!

you know, when i was a kid, 99% of all schoolchildren had difficulty locating atlantis on a map. i'm afraid that's not true anymore.

thanx for your attempt at clarity. i'm guessing you're talking about issues of american politics/power plays that i'm just not familiar with. wish i didn't have to guess, tho.

keep up the good work!

sorry about the double post.posting (at least on the computer i'm using most of the time) has been weird and difficult lately.


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