Sunday, February 1, 2009

Otherworldliness at the NYT

Nicholas Kristof is a highly regarded pundit at the New York Times, so I'm told. Yesterday he published a column with the thesis that if only Obama puts lots of pressure on Israel to be nice, peace will flourish in the Middle East.

Now, I'm not going going to argue much with him. It's a free world, or anyway, the parts of it he and I live in are free, and there's no law against being uninformed or wrong. I've been uninformed and wrong myself more than once, even spectacularly so back in the 1990s when I held convictions similar to those Kristof still has. Lots of people died after that mistake, even though it looked real plausible at the time, or so we thought.

One small paragraph, however, does sort of stand out:
That means that Israel must lift the siege of Gaza, completely opening the crossings. If Hamas resumes its unconscionable rocket attacks on Israeli civilians, then bomb the tunnels or strike Hamas targets in a proportional way, but don’t escalate.
Umm, Nicholas?


Unknown said...

Nicholas Friedman and Thomas, excuse me,...N. Kristof and T. Friedman... I forgot what I wanted to say...

Anonymous said...

from Silke
Maybe it would help if those guys could be forced to live in Sderot for a number of weeks until they cannot deny that their bad dreams and the "harmless" rockets are somehow connected and after that they have to serve on check points knowing constantly that one of those to be checked could be a nutter and after that they have to embed were the real action is after signing a waiver that in case of injury they can only claim the same benefits as any ordinary IDF-Soldier -
Churchill loved war until he spent some time on the Western Front close to the action of WW1, then he realized things had changed from his time in Sudan, which is proof that people can learn, maybe even a NYT-columnist. Having been embedded in first class columnist style is not the same.
When there was an arsonist for some time in the little village I lived in it took years before my heart stopped beating like crazy whenever the sirens were tested. Even though I knew it was only alarm and it was announced my heart feared otherwise.

Anonymous said...


It's a known fact that to politicians, fish wrap of all sorts needs to be coddled; because they have "readership." That's just not the same world as RESPECT!

And, since the Internet has invaded the public's ability to gather news as they see fit; the "dailies" are hours, at best, too late in reporting anything. And, they've never been wise!

Since I am so fascinated by THE DEFINING MOMENT; a wonderful history book on FDR's first 100 DAYS, I am now aware that FDR changed some of the rules. Because Harding and Hoover had nothing to do with the press. Didn't meet with them. And, very rarely even took written questions.

FDR, sure of his skills, met them head on. And, won the battles. (He even won out against H.L. Mencken. A famous writer known to be scathing. And, funnier than Maureen Dowd.) How many of you even know one sample from Mencken's work?

Meanwhile, lots of people are still delving into the magic that was FDR! (I think at some point he said to Orson Welles; "Orson, you and I are the best actors out there.")

I've also decided that politics is a game played on a stage; where backstage the players keep re-writing lines, so when they're on stage they can trip up an opponent, and have it look like a "surprised." A set piece.

I've used the term "PENN & TELLER" to conjure this up. But FDR, himself, went on record as saying: "I'm a juggler where my left hand doesn't know what my right hand is doing. And, I never drop a ball." TRUE! MAGICAL!

In today's world, where some people are way past the point of even caring what the NY Times has to say; can still be aware of their bottom line. No longer in black in.

While in Israel? I'd venture to guess the man-in-the-street interviews would be very interesting indeed. First, because Jews are loud enough, you'd hear this stuff. And, loud enough that few people just shrug in response.

By now, too, backstage, Bibi knows he's going to be Israel's next prime-minister. (And, yes, I did read that if Livni loses a lot of mandates ... probably meaning more than four. There will be a move inside of Kadima to dump her out. South.)

Since I can bet ahead of time, I will. Livni loses by more than four. And, Shaul Mofaz tells her to go to hell. After that "shake up" ... where she "resigns of her own free will," there would be no big problem for Bibi to make an offer to Mofaz. Hence, a larger UNITY government forms. And, Shas wouldn't be able to intimidate Bibi all that much. Some? Yes.

But it will also be a new day. Since Bibi has had the BRAINS to say: BLUE & ORANGE. Instead of leaving the Settlers out in the cold, the NEW DAY is the OLD ISRAEL. And, it won't be run by a bunch of snot nosed academics. The socialists? For that number you'll have to watch Labor.

I think Labor will do "well enough." It will hold its own. (While I don't see how the Gil Pensioners can? But that's just me.) There's also a good chance that Labor will do a bit better than it has in the last election. This gives MORE room to make ministers.

While if Kadima loses seats, each and every one of them means an elected Knesset member has to turn in his keys to the office. His keys to the government Volvo. And, leave.

That's why Avram Mitznah left when Labor first began loser customers. Amir Peretz: Ditto. And, what was good for Laborites? May suddenly become the NEXT PERFORMANCE ON STAGE.

But to see it? No tickets. Just buy popcorn. And, wait for February 11th to roll around.

As to Obama, here, in America. I know it's hard to convince you of this: But FDR had a terribly slow start. Where Obama has to "shake the incompetence of being Black; FDR had to shake the image of a rich kid, way out of his element. (To help you with this one? Neither Bush ever seemed presidential timber. And, today we talk of FDR as one of America's three or four best United States Presidents. 43 men. 44 times elected. And, out of the whole group? So few memorable "ancestors."

To be proven? It takes time to "cook up in the oven." And, then it takes time to gel.

Meanwhile, it is my personal belief that Rahm Emanuel, sensing victory for Bibi; gave Obama the smart advice of sending in George Mitchell. I say this because Livni started LOSING SEATS! (And, that's politics.)

George Mitchell, meanwhile, is getting press. Heck, even Jimmy Carter loves "getting press." And, Obama made sure to even tell the idiots at the NY Times that Mitchell is only going on a "LISTENING TOUR."

A "listening tour" is when you're looking for the "next big band," to become the BEATTLES. Or Guy Lombardo, in Mitchell's case. Of course, if they ran a bubble machine from behind the curtains, to on-stage ... you'd get a better clue. (Enough to remember, when FDR was running in 1932, Eddie Cantor took a shot. And, bought air time, to advertise "CAN-TOR FOR PRESIDENT.) He didn't win. But me? I thought Pat Paulson, in 1972, a member of the Laugh-In crew, was first. And, I was wrong.

Again, we're not part of the show. We're only in the audience.

And, sometimes? Critical acclaim can mean your reviews aren't "critical." You're not dying. But, instead, you're show is up and running. And, the audience is always filling the seats.

Obama keeps filling the seats, too.

And, yes. On Obama's watch there will be a need to do something about terrorism of all sorts.

It's not about sending in the army! It's about "Special Forces," who leave entire swaths of population, alone.

While losers? Dither. Someday, someone speaking Hebrew (the only language Livni really understands), is "why she thought cutting the rug under the 'settlers' was gonna help her at the polls?" When the question is ask you'll have the proof of the pudding that Livni gets rejected; and not decent Israeli Jews.

Unknown said...


I don't know...good ole Jewboy Tommy - Israel basher - Friedman was running around Brandeis U. as a fanatical pro-Palestinian before he shipped overseas to serve the NY Times Middle East desk in Lebanon in the 80's...

...doesn't seemed to have cured him of anything...except maybe wanting to go back to Lebanon...

... maybe it affects you differently when Jews are involved, huh?

Philip I said...

Holocaust?.....What Holocaust?!

Anonymous said...

I suspect those correspondents sitting around in foreign capitals of spending their time mostly with their buddies in the lobby and in bars and the local voices are the famous taxi driver, barber and maybe sex worker, not those locals who are so comfortable in their circle that they do not seek the friendship of foreigners. If you read on the other hand a guy like MIchael Totten you do not get all this overblown insiderism and those laughable quotes but just a tale about what he was able to observe.
As to the learning curve of all those - metaphorically speaking - sagging bellied wise men, once you expose them long enough so that it amounts to some real hardship something is bound to happen but of course it could also be that they'd blame the Israelis even more.
By the way in my school time those pupils who wrote the nicest pieces tended not to be the smartest - mybe they became all columnists.

Anonymous said...

It's awful how many people cannot understand the worls, and try to tech others.They usually don't have words, Philip! Poor guy.

Anonymous said...



No, by $70 book from Amazon has not arrived. Instead, I just received "BIG IDEAS FOR AMERICA" ... written by Rahm Emanuel. And, published in 2006.

In 2006, the tides began turning. And, the GOP has "left the field." In that the democrats no control Washington. That's what happens when you win, in America. No need to make deals with Shas. Or anyone of the other dozen parties that come to the table to hold up the Israeli taxpayer.

I also know that Obama has selected, his friend, Rahm Emanuel, to be his CHIEF OF STAFF. (And, in American politics that's a plum very close to the top.) A man I dislike, James Baker, who worked for the Bush's and Reagan, was a Chief of Staff, too. So if you don't understand American politics and their positions; you could use this as a reference point.

Now, the book opens with a PROLOGUE. I'm gonna quote most of it. Because it sets the stage. (And, the "stage" is where the action will continue to be "at" for the next 4 years. Until America gets another presidential election. In 2012.)

"Most Americans think people in Washington have no idea what they're doing. From the budget deficit to Irak, to Hurricane Katrina, the Bush administration did a heck of a job calling government's competence into question.

But [Rahm Emanuel and Bruce Reed, his co-author]have spent most of the past two decades in Washington, we have encountered a more distrurbing truth. Although Washington has its share of screw-ups and incompetents, most politicians here are pretty good at what they're doing. The trouble is, they're not always sure why they're doing it.

"We're both dyed-in-the-wool, lifelong Democrats, but we can't help but notice that in recent years, both parties in Washington lost their way. Americans scratch their heads in wonder that Republicans and Democrats can't find common purpose. But the challenge is deeper: Each party needs to be clearer in its own purpose.

"How could conservatism - which even with its many shortcomings was once a rigorous doctrine - have come to such a small-minded, unsatisfying demise? Republicans who rode to power on conservative ideals turned them into a hollow faith. Conservatism became a strategy for winning elections, not leading a nation - for staying in power, not respecting its limits. Conservative leaders forgot what made them conservatives in the first place: a recognition that rigid ideology has always been the God That Failed, and that no idea is good if it doesn't work."

I haven't even brought you to Page One. BIG IDEAS FOR AMERICA. In print. Amazon "sends."

Now, on February 10th I think Israel changes course. I think Bibi, who has been OUT of government, will be back. And, I think when the counting is done, Israel will turn another political corner. And, Bibi will get along very well with Obama, in the White House. Where Rahm Emanuel is his Chief of Staff. You would rather bite your fingernails? See if I care?

Oh, and I think George Mitchell returns to the USA without having found the next big hit. Or the "next big band." Though he's gonna make a great ad for some hearing aid company. Because he's old. And, he can listen. Whoopie.

Anonymous said...



I notice at the end of your post an "update" to Nicholas. Which leads to YNET, and the fact that the "quiet" isn't so quiet. And, that there have been "flying garbage cans" again, and again.

When I went to look I was amazed at how the Negev could produce so much plant life! Nothing, ya know, in gaza, looks like that. So, kudos to those who can plant in the Negev and watch things grow. And, come to harvest.

Which also teaches that it takes time from when you plant a seed in the ground; until harvest-time.

And, right now the BIGGER issue is out at sea. Where Iran is investing in some sort of sea-worthy structure ... that gives hamas access to "portals." Portals are the same as "hidey-holes." But they have all the electronics to make sending and receiving signals/instructions from iran/and, what-not, possible.

If I had to guess? I think the "next one" is being played now, in Cypress. Where everyone is running scared of BOTH the Obama response (telling the American navy to get off it's big fat arse) ... And, the Israelis, who would probably like to take care of the smuggling ship in cypress ... where the goods are undergoing more counting. And, iran is pressuring the cypres idiots to see if they'd like to lose Israeli tourism. (I have no answer to that.)

Right now, Bibi has a pretty good idea of what lays ahead. And, if Livni and Barak are at logger heads? (He seems to figure out ways to put his foot in front of the lady. As if "all he wants in life" is to watch her go "splat.")

Livni can't even deal with Ehud Barak! You want her more aggressive now? Why she'd have to FIRE Ehud Barak! She certainly cain't ask Olmert to do it! (You got any other brilliant suggestions?)

Who knew you could squeeze farce from so much serious stuff, I have no idea. But keeping a pleasant personality was what FDR taught. And, it's still the best lessons out there you could even teach to your own kids.

When you can't influence anything? Use statistics. In statistics, in Israel, you stand a better chance getting hurt just driving around in your car.

Again, what's at play isn't "victimhood." No group stupid enough to keep crying "victim" ever gets rewarded. That's why the goyim "built" and "sold" 'yenna-plotz' ... Zul gurnicht helfin.

Anonymous said...


Over the Internet, at the American side, I just saw that Israel bombed a few more tunnels. (Using Lucianne's site to see this report.)

First, the Israeli air force flies over Rafah. There are a few sonic booms. Which translates down into the tunnels. And, those inside the tunnels RUN for safety. (If they're trying to smuggle a goat? No mention of how this would affect their speed.)

But people also ran outside of their houses. So there was lots of "milling about." And, then? The tunnel diggers go back down inside their holes. To work.

Not the best of conditions.

But you're asking people to draw pictures; when, unless you've seen tunnel digging, you have no idea of the "effects." In other words, I'm pretty sure some men have to change their pants.

But the good news is that it "disrupts" the arabs, and now when they hear sonic booms they'll take flight faster than birds. What's so bad about that?

Livni didn't go splat. And, Ehud Barak figured out that Labor is losing ground to Avigdor Lieberman. This is the nature of democracy.

And, at least the deterrent that has been earned by the IDF isn't being squandered by Ehud Barak trying to trip Livni, so she goes "splat."

The race is still on.

It takes place, for Israelis, on February 10th.

For the arabs? Their bowels are in an uproar. Believe it or not. Why? Because it's hard to concentrate on shoveling when the next moment can bring your tunnel's collapse. Maybe, even, some men go back down to see "what happened?" We're being told "nothing." But I believe that as much as I believe "move on, nothing to see."